By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Animation, live action, crude humor in entertaining show.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.
There are few lessons to be learned here, as the characters' adventures relate more to having fun than to any sense of reality. There are some decent examples of friendship among Kirby and his pals, who are always there to help each other out of various predicaments. Bathroom humor is common; in one scene, multiple characters vomit on each other in succession, and in another, farting is heard and joked about.
Positive Role Models
Kirby's talents open doors for him, and he and his friends must craft creative ways to get out of the jams they find themselves in. But Kirby's also been known to enjoy irritating other people with unflattering drawings of them. Dawn's obsession with her social status often causes her to take friendship for granted and mistreat her best friend, whose quirks she fears reflect badly on her. The kids' parents seem weak and ineffective.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon characters often punch or kick each other and meet with unfortunate accidents such as falling down and running into things, all without any lasting consequence. Live-action characters don't endure so much, but they suffer their share of bumps and collisions.
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No cursing, but some language such as "butt" and "shut it" and name-calling such as "loser."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kirby Buckets is an energetic mixed-media series about a teen whose illustrated creations come to life and join him in outlandish adventures. The blend of live action and animation makes the show a lot of fun to watch, and kids will enjoy the bizarre characters' antics and the implausible scrapes in which Kirby and his friends find themselves. On the downside, a sibling relationship is often contentious, and a teen girl's obsession with social status casts her as vain and pretentious. Cartoon characters throw punches and suffer unfortunate accidents; crudity (vomiting, farting) is popular; and you'll hear "butt," "shut it," and the like. Because Kirby sometimes uses people around him as inspiration for his characters, the show opens the door for conversations about bullying with your kids. That said, this creative series may inspire viewers to try their hands at drawing or cartooning.
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A Really Mature Series
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What's the Story?
KIRBY BUCKETS centers on a 13-year-old aspiring animator named Kirby Buckets (Jacob Bertrand) who jumps at the chance of a lifetime to compete in a character-design contest and meet his idol, cartoon creator Mac MacCallister (Michael Daniel Cassady). But catastrophes are par for the course for him and his best friends Eli (Cade Sutton) and Fish (Mekai Curtis), and he has to deal with the nagging of his older sister, Dawn (Olivia Stuck), who resents that he uses her for inspiration in some of his caricatures and will do anything to get him in trouble with their parents. Lucky for him, he has a following of his animated characters who show up from time to time to join in on the fun, which is always good for some laughs.
Is It Any Good?
Kirby Buckets takes style inspiration from the likes of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, blending animation and live-action characters enhanced by modern technological effects. The result is a vibrant, fast-paced, thoroughly entertaining visual treat sure to appeal to its target audience of grade-school boys. Kirby's animated friends -- whom only he and the viewers can see -- are a motley crew of the curious and bizarre, but that's just because they reflect the imagination of this particular demographic.
The series spends decidedly less effort on the complexity of its content than it does on enticing viewers with its unique look, though. The characters and their experiences are fairly superficial, and their adventures are more like something out of a comic book than they are relatable to real life, so there aren't any standout life lessons to be found here. Of course, none of that will matter to your kids, who will be too busy enjoying the ride to care about whether they're learning anything from Kirby and his pals.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about this show's unique look. Do the animated characters add anything to the plot, or are they just there for show? Do they ever distract from the story? Why do we not see more shows and movies like this?
What do you make of Kirby's relationship with Dawn? Are sibling relationships more often cast in a positive or negative light on TV? How do your kids' experiences with siblings differ?
In what ways does Kirby draw inspiration for his characters from the people around him? What is the difference between laughing at someone and laughing with him? Does Kirby's artwork ever cross that line, or is it all in good fun?
- Premiere date: October 20, 2014
- Cast: Jacob Bertrand, Cade Sutton, Mekai Curtis
- Network: Disney XD
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, High School
- TV rating: TV-Y7
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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