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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 Mixed Nutz is an animated series about Babak, a young immigrant from Iran whose multicultural classmates help him overcome his self-consciousness about being different. In so doing, he contemplates how people might view him because of his home country, likening him to a terrorist, among other things. The characters' appearances, manners of speech, and even hobbies, can seem over the top, but the effect is to celebrate diversity rather than to poke fun at their differences. The stories include recurring messages about asking for and offering help when it's needed, plus finding common ground with people who are different from you.
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What's the Story?
Starting at a new school can be tough, but for Babak (voiced by Danny Rahbar), the fix isn't as simple as just making new friends. He feels like an outsider because he's from Iran, and he wonders if his new classmates will accept him as one of their own. What he discovers when he gets there, though, is that everyone is a little different in his or her own way, and the struggle to fit in isn't his alone. With his new friends Sanjay (Rohith Gopal), Jae (Christian Chung), Adele (Emma Ashford), and Damaris (Glenda Rodriguez), Babak takes on the challenges of a new school, a new town, and everything else life can throw at a 9-year-old.
Is It Any Good?
It's been likened to Peanuts with an multicultural flair, and the similarities between the classic cartoon and this one are striking. The dialogue-driven show feels a bit sluggish compared to more action-filled series that populate the line-up for tweens -- Mixed Nutz doesn't hook your attention at the start and pull you along for the ride; you have to work some to get to know the characters and come to appreciate their evolving relationships.
Mixed Nutz thoughtfully tackles the timely issue of multiculturalism that a lot of shows either oversimplify or overanalyze. It's refreshingly honest through the eyes of the kids (as when a classmate asks Sanjay if being from India is like cowboys and Indians) and through the experiences of their parents and other elders as the characters wrestle with generational and cultural disconnects. As such, it can jump-start valuable discussions between parents and kids about diversity, immigration, assimilation, and respect.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Babak's insecurities. Tweens: Can you relate to his worries about not fitting in with his new peers? Is fitting in something that you think much about? In what ways does belonging to a group encourage self-esteem?
How does Mixed Nutz celebrate diversity? Where is the line between positive and negative stereotypes in a series like this one? How can you translate the characters' behavior to your own interactions with peers?
In what ways does Babak demonstrate courage and perseverance? How does his family help him do so? What character strengths of your own do you attribute to your family's influence?
- Premiere date: January 1, 2019
- Cast: Danny Rahbar, Rohith Gopal, Christian Chung
- Network: Amazon Prime Video
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Friendship
- Character Strengths: Courage
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 27, 2022
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