Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Common Sense Media says

Classic 'toons in trouble with the law; teens+.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Classic cartoon characters are arrested and tried for a variety of offenses (drugs, bombings, etc.), but are almost always cleared in the end.

Violence

Courtroom officers carry guns, and prisoners are sometimes roughed up.

Sex

Some innuendo. In one episode, for example, the unpredictable Peanut says that he'd like "a taste of pubic hair."

Language

Mild: "Damn," "idiot," etc.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some characters are suspected of being under the influence.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this animated Adult Swim series features classic Hanna-Barbera characters that most kids will be familiar with (Shaggy, Speed Buggy, Yogi Bear, etc.), it gives them new personality quirks and puts them in some iffy situations -- which might confuse younger viewers. For example, Avenger, a large, purple eagle (Harvey Birdman's former sidekick and current legal secretary), likes to keep dead dogs around to play with, and Fred Flintstone is suspected of being a Mob boss. Little kids won't get the spoofy satire, so save this one for teens who will appreciate the humor.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Airing as part of the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup, HARVEY BIRDMAN: ATTORNEY AT LAW follows the washed-up, B-list Hanna-Barbera superhero-turned-lawyer as he represents other classic cartoon characters who find themselves in legal jams. Harvey (voiced by Gary Cole) works at the prestigious firm of Snedden & Snedden under the tutelage of partner Phil Ken Snebben (Frank Welker) and Peanut (Thomas Allen), a crass, unpredictable legal secretary. In each episode, Harvey uses his expertise in the fields of copyright law, criminal defense, and litigation to defend clients like Scooby-Doo and Shaggy (busted for drug possession), Fred Flintstone (suspected of being in cahoots with the Mob), and the Jetsons.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The main gimmick of Harvey Birdman is that cartoon characters can get into just as much trouble as their human counterparts. It's a clever concept, but the episodes often feel disjointed and feature characters doing silly, senseless things that don't have much to do with the main storyline.

Much of the adult-aimed humor will go over kids' heads, too. In one episode, for example, carefree Peter Potamus (Chris Edgerly) eats radioactive pellets that transform him into an obese, green "creature." He returns to his original state, but morphs again at the slightest hint of tension -- the "stress monster" metaphor will amuse adult viewers, but kids won't get it. Add that to the fact that the show presents beloved cartoon characters involved in some sketchy situations, and this one is best reserved for teens and up.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes this show funny. Is it the dialogue? The stunts? Seeing familiar characters cast in a new light? Which Hanna-Barbera cliches does the series play up? What other classic cartoon icons can you imagine coming through Harvey's court?

TV details

Cast:Gary Cole, John Michael Higgins, Stephen Colbert
Network:Cartoon Network
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byutonium4 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Inane Parody of Classic Cartoon Characters

Harvey Birdman is a hit-or-miss comedy that is probably one of the most tame offerings on Adult Swim. Playing off of Hanna-Barbera insider jokes such as Shaggy being a pothead or Race Bannon being gay, the show uses absurdity and parody as social commentary. There is nothing particularly offensive (I've watched it with my Grandma without blushing)but my kid's don't particularly enjoy it either. Again, CS's review contains a factual error--the Peter Potamus' radioactive transformation isn't a metaphoric "stress monster" but an attempt at getting past Marvel Comic's legendary tight control of its creations, in this case, the Incredible Hulk! C'mon, CS! Get some reviewers who are familiar with the genre before they take an authoritative stance!
Adult Written byjjj@aim.com April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Teen, 14 years old Written byevildude32 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

The most hilarious comedy on Adult Swim!

Sure, there's some suggestive content (Peanut sure is unpredictable...). Sure there's some minor language. Sure there's some drugs and violence. But don't let that fool you. This is a hilarious comedy about a guy named Harvey Birdman who is a lawyer defending classic cartoons. Scooby-Doo and Shaggy being accused for using marijuana? Fred Flinstone being accused for being associated with the Mafia? More crazy cases come up later on. Pretty soon this show's gonna end. Don't let that fool you either. This is an awesome show for 12+.

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