What parents need to know
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.
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?
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?