A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this '70s cartoon is clearly influenced by Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Josie and the Pussycats, and 1975 blockbuster movie Jaws. Less trouble was taken with the characters on this show than even the cardboard creations who make up the Scooby team (not that we don't love them, bless their two-dimensional hearts). So the villains are foreign, girls are either dumb or vain and self-centered, and boys are hippie slackers or muscley take-charge types. That said, there's not too much to be worried about here -- just the usual cartoon "chase" violence.
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What's the story?
Scooby-Doo meets Josie and the Pussycats in '70s cartoon JABBERJAW, about a pop band in a futuristic underwater world. Two boys (one dumb, one less so; one handsome, the other less so), two girls (one dumb, the other less so; one pretty, the other less so), and one shark play music while foiling the plots of bad guys. Only the shark (voiced by Frank Welker) is well-rounded -- he's based on three characters instead of just one: Scooby, Curly of the Three Stooges, and Rodney Dangerfield. Most episodes revolve around a villain who has some form of Aquaworld-conquering plot. Jabberjaw dispatches any monsters with his fins, teeth, and the occasional lucky sneeze (and by "dispatches," we mean he causes them to swim away, since no life forms are permanently damaged in any of Hanna-Barbera's mystery oeuvre), while villainous humans are captured by the rest of the band.
Is it any good?
Jabberjaw is actually one of the more entertaining Scooby-Doo knock-offs. There are occasional clever lines, and the shark himself makes most kids giggle with his Stooges voice and his "no respect" muttering. Chase scenes are set to music and resemble those in the best Scooby episodes (parents may find themselves wondering in horror if any of these little ditties by "The Neptunes" ever had actual airplay -- the answer appears to be no). Extremely mild violence -- chasing, bumping into things, locking people up -- might frighten kids raised strictly on Noggin-style fare, but they'll probably be too busy laughing at Jabberjaw to worry about it. Jabberjaw now airs on Cartoon Network's Boomerang channel, which means no commercials except those for other Cartoon Network shows.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this '70s cartoon's futuristic world compares with that of The Jetsons. Why do the underwater cars look so much like the space cars? What really exists today, and what has happened that the folks who made the cartoon didn't expect? (Parents might have to remind kids of the technological limitations of the period when this show was made.) How is this show like Scooby-Doo? Can you think of other cartoons from the same time that were also like Scooby? Why do you think they all got made?
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