A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Meet the Chimps is a hybrid nature documentary/reality show that follows chimpanzee life at Chimp Haven, a sanctuary in Louisiana. As the stars of the show are wild animals, there are some "circle of life" elements to the plots that parents should be aware of. Some episodes mention chimps pursuing each other romantically and sex (obliquely). Veterinarians talk about chimp birth control failing and a chimp being an "oops baby," and they do a chimp paternity test. Sexual behavior is never shown on screen, and is referred to as "breeding." There is a moderate amount of violence between chimps -- nothing graphic but they sometimes push and shove each other when trying to show dominance. There is mention of chimpanzee death, though it's not a central plot point. If kids are old enough to realize that chimps are humans' close evolutionary cousins, they may have some questions about that.
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What's the story?
Jane Lynch (Glee) narrates this animal documentary series set at the Chimp Haven sanctuary in Louisiana. The facility is home to 30 families of chimps, and each episode of Meet the Chimps focuses on a few individual chimps within the families. The chimp families captured on camera experience some of the same reality-show-style drama recognizable in their human counterparts. Newcomer chimps have to learn to make friends, chimps are constantly jockeying for a higher social status in their family, and young chimps have to learn how to become more independent. The chimps' veterinarians and caretakers help explain more about the social dynamics of the families. The series shows all the elements of these chimps' lives in captivity -- the highs, the lows, and the silly.
Is it any good?
The show has a pretty great conceit -- because there are so many chimps living at the sanctuary, it's kind of like the chimp version of a reality show where chimps from different backgrounds have to learn to live together in the same house. In watching chimps navigate their rigidly-defined social hierarchy, it quickly becomes apparent just how close humans and chimps are to each other. Kids will likely feel seen when a baby chimp tries to get an older chimp to play with her, or when she has to learn to climb up a tree with her snack so other chimps don't take it from her. Kids will enjoy seeing the chimps climb, play with each other, and get into trouble. They also will learn facts about chimps and see how they really are our evolutionary cousins. Kids into animals and science will love watching the chimps' monkey business in this fun series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what the veterinarians and other staff at the sanctuary do to help chimps live good lives in captivity. What makes chimps happy? Why can't these chimps be released to the wild?
Does anything the chimps did in the episode remind you of things humans do? How are we the same? How are we different?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love monkeys
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