MAD

(i)

 

Sometimes crude animated satire is sure to appeal to boys.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Anything that’s a hit with fans -- especially all of the big movies and TV shows -- is ripe for being taken down a notch with well-done parody, which simultaneously makes fun of something while also recognizing its pop-culture value. That’s the formula that MAD magazine has perfected over the years, and while it's not outright mean-spirited in most cases, there's no concretely positive take-away, either.

Positive role models

The artists behind MAD don’t take themselves too seriously, nor do they take anyone or anyone else too seriously.

Violence

Some parodies of popular films and TV shows feature over-the-top explosions and shootouts, but it’s all played for laughs.

Sex

Plenty of ribald references, but the humor is mostly based on bodily functions other than sex -- think poop and puke jokes.

Language

Mild swearing, such as “turd."

Consumerism

The show includes many spoofs of well-known movies and TV shows, such as Avaturd and Star Blech.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Network:Cartoon Network
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:NR
Available on:DVD

This review of MAD was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Adult Written byKatakama June 24, 2011

Just plain awful

This show is just disgusting and I fail to see how it hasn't been canceled yet. This is a terrible, disgusting, often cruel, sketch compilation show. There is nothing funny about anything in this show. It is based around disgusting humor, making fun of celebrities and other people, and hurting people. The language is rather coarse for a kids show and I don't see how it was approved for a kids network. The even go far enough to kill Lightning McQueen, a popular character from the kids movie, Cars. This show should not be watched by anyone and should be canceled immediately.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byJusticeSeeker March 23, 2011

The immaturity of it all makes my head spin

Although I can understand why some children may like this show, I disagree with the message it brings. The show is all about picking on other things or people, the younger generation is going to end up a big mess! It's discusting, and very immature. I mean, they rely on poopoo jokes, vomit, violence, and gas.. those things have been played out for years, now it just includes popular topics. Now many people may think I'm just an overstricked teenager, but simply, I can see through the mindless and empty humar. If you let your kids watch this (and if they like to imitate- as many children do) then you'll be hearing a lot of gross jokes from them. Please spare your children from this show, surely their brains will be saved that way.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Kid, 9 years old September 18, 2010

Not appropriate for any age.

I waited three 12-minute episodes to officially voice my opinion, and now here it is: this show is crude, violent, and not for kids. The FIRST EPISODE parodies Avatar (a five-star movie) and turns into one big joke based off of memes and potty humor. The second episode...THE ANIMATION WAS HORRIBLE, DARK, VIOLENT...I can't even put something that hideous into words. The role models are no one your kids should follow, and also use some crude language you don't want your younger ones repeating. OFF 1-17!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism

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