What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know although that the main character in this edgy cartoon is patently evil, speaks with an evil accent (apparently German is still a stand-in for evil), makes creatures called fiends with the intent to destroy another character, and keeps her parents in a cage, it's quite funny -- if you and your kids are up for this kind of humor. Expect some violence (though the primitive animation keeps it from being particularly scary) and iffy behavior -- as well as the potentially confusing (for kids) situation of rooting for the "bad" guy.
What's the story?
Vendetta (voiced by Aglaia Mortcheva) rules Clamburg in the way that the small boy from the old Twilight Zone episode ruled his town: fear, intimidation, and really weird powers. In Vendetta's case, she can mix up "fiends" in a pot using ingredients found around the house, a pack of Insta-Fiend, and an extrememly useful recipe book. The fiends are endowed with whatever powers she chooses -- touching them might make you bigger or smaller or cause a shock -- and most are ready to chow on other Clamburg inhabitants. Vendetta particularly wants to "destroy" Charlotte (Amy Winfrey), an annoyingly sunny, oblivious girl who can charm even the worst fiends that Vendetta cooks up.
Is it any good?
The dialogue is simple, the animation is intentionally scribbly and dark, and the color palette is limited. The whole thing looks like a kid's flip book. And yet it's funny -- funny for the kind of parents who think Dexter's Laboratory is funny, and funny for any kid old enough to handle the weirdness of rooting for a patently bad girl who will never win and with nothing but a secret, lingering fear of monsters under the bed.
The humor is mainly just the goofiness of watching the fiends fail -- they're too slow to catch their prey, or they accidently eat one another -- and the wobbly artwork (the show is based on a Web series created by Winfrey). It's not gross or political or even gory, and although it's dark -- and looks dark -- it's a beginner's sort of dark. Because no matter how cynical Vendetta's outlook or how random the results of her machinations seem, she'll never ever actually win.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why "bad guys" are sometimes more likable and sympathetic characters than "good guys." Is it wrong to hope that a "villain" will win? How often does that actually end up happening in most TV shows and movies? What about in real life? Families can also discuss the show's sheer absurdity. How do the show's art and animation make the fiends even funnier -- and the humor more universal? There aren't many shows that both a parent and a kid laugh at for the same reasons. What makes this one work?