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 "Adult Swim" show is perfect for its late-night time slot because chances are kids won't see it. Language is explicit, and the show's heroes set a poor example by reinforcing intolerant -- and downright racist -- attitudes that are meant to amuse adults but may confuse children who don't get the irony. No racial, ethnic, or religious group is spared, with the Minoriteam's Asian leader taking a particularly brutal beating. Supporting characters include the imposing White Shadow (who represents both "The Man" and "Big Business") and his lackey, Racist Frankenstein, whose descriptive name fits him to a tee.
What's the story?
As members of the crime-fighting MINORITEAM, five motley superheroes use the power of racial stereotypes to challenge a villain known as the White Shadow, the oppressive and influential leader of an evil band of racists and bigots. The Minoriteam includes Non-Stop, an Indian man who runs a convenience store; Fasto, an African-American man who can run really, really fast; El Jefe, a Mexican man who loves his leaf blower; Dr. Wang, a Chinese businessman who owns a Laundromat; and Jewcano, a Jewish man who fights crime with the power of his religion and the unexplained aid of a volcano. The White Shadow's cronies include Hot, Stuck-Up Bitch, an attractive woman who refuses to \"put out\"; the Black Cock, a mysterious man in a rooster costume; and Seamus McFisty-Cuffus, an Irish alcoholic who hates Chinese people with a vengeance.
Is it any good?
Taking a concept that could be funny and really overdoing it, this animated spoof of classic cartoons and comic books thumbs its nose at the concept of political correctness and toes the line between clever and crude. Part of the good news is that the show is short, with each episode lasting a mere 15 minutes. But while the humor will probably satisfy most open-minded adults, the show's penchant for turning racial slurs into a gag runs the risk of influencing older teens (and especially young children) to be less sensitive when it comes to matters of racial, religious, and ethnic prejudice.
Perhaps more disturbing is Minoriteam's reliance on explicit language to make a joke. (And even though the really bad words are bleeped out, most older kids will know exactly what's being said.) For example, one episode ends with a member of the Minoriteam uttering this thoughtful insult to the White Shadow: "Once again, you (bleep)-ed up, you triangular (bleep)-face!" before adding "What a (bleeped)-up ending!" In short, the show is shocking without a whole lot of substance, resulting in a program with a list of "cons" that far outweighs its "pros."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the pros and cons of using prejudice as a punch line, which can either point out its ridiculousness or reinforce its usage. Why do minority groups so often become the target of tasteless jokes -- and, more importantly, why do we laugh? Would a member of the groups that are mocked in this series find it funny or offensive? Does glorifying racial, ethnic, and religious intolerance for comic effect make the concept easier to swallow?