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 Adult Swim series wasn't created with kids in mind, but older teens might want to watch anyway. If they do, they'll see a good bit of cartoonish violence, including stabbings, shootings, decapitations, and blood, and hear characters toss around terms like "vagina," "poop," and "penis." Speaking of genitalia, there's also sexual innuendo between characters and a bit of puppet nudity; some scenes take place in a bars.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Thanks to time-bending "Frankenholes" that connect the immortal Dr. Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Jeff Bryan Davis) and his assistants, Professor Polidori (Scott Adsit) and Ygor (Tigger Stamatopoulos), to the past, present, and future, it's now possible for the scientist to help iconic historical figures get the things they most desire in MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENHOLE. That can mean facilitating a reunion between Blanket Jackson (Mark Rivers) and his late pop star father, Michael Jackson (Britta Phillips) ... or helping founding father Thomas Jefferson (Adsit) better satisfy his slaves in bed. The doctor also has a wife and two sons, but their family dynamic is discombobulated.
Is it any good?
Fans of the Adult Swim stop-motion series Moral Orel (a now-canceled but clever send-up of morality also created by Dino Stamatopoulos) will likely be disappointed in this unfocused parody of hero-worship and celebrity culture that doesn't quite measure up in the laughs department. But it's still worth a look, particularly for animation junkies who can appreciate the artfulness of Frankenhole's weird and wacky world.
Others are bound to complain about the show's admittedly crude material, which can sink dismally low at times. It's bad enough that Thomas Jefferson seeks the doctor's help in acquiring a black man's penis so that his female slaves will find him more sexually attractive. ("When I force myself on my slave women, they look a little well, unexcited," he admits.) But when he mistakes Barack Obama for a "poop slave" ... and takes advice from Ike Turner about how to treat women ... it's hard to give it glowing reviews.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about parody and the show's use of shock-value humor. How does the Dr. Frankenstein in this series compare with other incarnations? (Not sure? Check out the classic monster movie, Mel Brooks's slapstick spoof or, the original novel penned by Mary Shelley.)
Does Frankenhole ever go too far? Who decides what "too far" is?
What messages are the show's creators sending about celebrity culture? Does the show celebrate it or skewer it?
Is the violence on the show too shocking for kids? Is it easier to digest something like a decapitation if it's presented in cartoon form? Why?