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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 animated series leaps straight from the pages of venerable satire classic MAD magazine and offers the same parodies of popular TV shows and movies and other sketches. The jokes come fast and furious and are both witty and juvenile – in other words, exactly the kind of thing that will appeal to tween and teen boys. Much of the humor is ribald and/or crude, but the focus is much more on bodily functions (i.e. farts, poop, and puke) than on sex. And though there's no real swearing or sex, some parents might still find the humor too vulgar.
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What's the story?
For decades, MAD magazine has set itself as an arbiter of pop culture impact; a TV show or movie isn’t a certifiable hit if it hasn’t been spoofed in the venerable comic’s pages. The animated MAD series brings the magazine's classic send-ups from the pages to the screen, complete with crudely twisted titles (Avaturd), lowbrow potty humor, and nonstop quips. If there’s a cheap laugh to be had at someone’s expense, MAD will take it. The fast-and-furious comedy is clever, but it also aims low, with plenty of vulgar one-liners and a heavy focus on bodily functions.
Is it any good?
MAD magazine has perfected its unique form of satire over the years: The jokes come so quickly that you hardly have time to notice that they're both outrageously unsubtle and amazingly witty. Just because the target audience seems to be tween/teen boys, there’s no reason for the humor to be completely simplistic. The magazine, and the show, clearly have a finger on the pulse of the entertainment world, and, now, decades after its debut, MAD is still able to spot -- and tweak -- the "big moment" in popular culture.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about parody. Do you find the MAD-style spoofs funny? How do they compare to other satires?
Why do some people find bodily humor jokes funny while others think they're gross? How does humor "work"?
What does it indicate when a show or movie gets the MAD treatment?