Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law



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

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.


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


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


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

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.

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?

TV details

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

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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; OK 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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Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

It's funny..but not right for some kids.

Some episodes aren't too bad for kids, and are only rated TV-PG; but know your kid on the TV-14 ones. A lot of them have sexual references(which mostly come from Peanut)and some suggestive dialogue; but overall, It's not as bad as some shows you'll see on Adult Swim. I say it's a funny show for 11+.
Kid, 10 years old July 6, 2013


pretty dumb it isnt evan funny
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 13 year old Written byDr. Weird September 11, 2010


Silly, adult.


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