Horrid Henry

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Horrid Henry TV Poster Image
Book character's bad behavior dominates cartoon series.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 34 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show intends to entertain rather than educate. 

Positive Messages

Kids see Henry throw tantrums over minor inconveniences such as going shopping for new pants and doing his homework, all without any consequence from authority figures and often to the point that he finally gets his way. The content is meant to be funny, but it sends questionable messages about what's appropriate behavior. Some bathroom humor. Most of the characters have nicknames that mock personality traits such as rudeness, anxiety, and moodiness. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The title says it all with regard to Henry's chronically bad behavior, and his parents are ineffective against his tirades and typically cave to his whims. His brother's more compliant personality sets a better example, but the fact that Henry mocks him for his pleasant attitude casts even that in a negative light. 

Violence & Scariness

Henry pulls pranks that scare his victims, such as pretending to be a werewolf during a camping trip. He throws and kicks things during temper tantrums, and when he's really angry, he morphs into a monster or an animal that tramples everything around him. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

Some name-calling such as "worm," plus frequent use of "stupid." Henry also complains about the day's frustrations by saying that he hates them.

Consumerism

The show is based on a book series of the same name. There's a live-action movie, video games, and other products in the franchise as well. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Horrid Henry is an animated series based on books by Francesca Simon. It centers on a boy whose chronically bad behavior is played for laughs and whose temper tantrums are so fierce that they cause him to turn into a monster or menacing animal. He'll do anything to get out of compulsory tasks such as doing chores or running errands, even if it means sabotaging other people's plans, and he's frequently heard calling people names and complaining about all the things he hates. His parents have little control over his unruliness, and his well-mannered younger brother is the brunt of many scathing remarks and name-calling ("worm," for one) because he follows the rules. Kids likely will find Henry's unique world view amusing (and may even relate to his woes), but parents will find the incessant whining and scheming less enjoyable. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymeathings January 14, 2015

Not one good thing about this show!

My son just turned 5 and he started watching this show a couple of months ago. I didn't think much about it until he started talking back to me and doing t... Continue reading
Adult Written by7-7- August 16, 2015

No, there is no excuse for a show like this for existing.

This is a HORRID show. And a lot of people want to say that this show appeals to what all children want to do. As if that excuse is good enough for such a show... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 8, 2015

He'll Teach You Nothing!

I tried him out one time looking for something for my four year old brother and realized that this wasn't made for young kids. We watched and watched for a... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bygogoboymelton August 11, 2017

Horrid Henry is actually really good.

Horrid Henry is a really enjoyable TV series which from a little kid to going on 16 still amuses me. The writers clearly make an effort (most of the time) for a... Continue reading

What's the story?

HORRID HENRY is the story of Henry (voiced by Lizzie Waterworth), a scowling, mischievous boy who pulls pranks on his classmates; makes fun of his younger brother, Peter (Emma Tate); and wages friendly war on his teachers and peers. He's never met a job he didn't love to hate, whether it's doing his homework or attending a family member's wedding, and he'll do anything to get out of situations that displease him. Often that means inventing creative ways to get around what's expected of him, but he figures anything's better than doing something you don't want to do. And when things get really bad, watch out: No one has a temper quite like Henry's ... except maybe his inner monsters.

Is it any good?

If Dennis the Menace set the bar for comical misbehaving, then Horrid Henry smashed it to smithereens and littered his neighbor's yard with it. From a parent's standpoint, there's not much that's appealing about Henry himself. He's whiny, selfish, disrespectful, and argumentative, and he puts others out for his own gain. In fact, the only quality of the show less likable than Henry himself is his parents' blissful oblivion to his antics.

That said, Horrid Henry has won a following among young fans for obvious reason: Despite his faults, Henry is a highly entertaining character, particularly for grade-schoolers who will appreciate his laundry list of complaints and the show's occasional gross-out humor. His behavior is shocking at times, but it does speak to the undeniable fact that kids aren't always even-tempered and compliant. Henry's escapades will find a more receptive audience in kids than they will in parents, of course, so unless your kids are particularly susceptible to mimicking what they see on TV, they'll probably just laugh along at the implausibility of Henry's over-the-top antics. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Henry's behavior would play out in the real world. Kids: What repercussions would you face if you acted like him? How would your family and friends react? 

  • Is it important to have good manners? How does having them affect how others respond to you? Are you ever bothered by things that your friends say or do? How do you handle situations like that?  

  • Is this show trying to make a statement about Henry's behavior, or is its intention just to have fun? Do you often find lessons in the shows you watch? Do any stand out as very positive?  

TV details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love grade-school antics

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