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 although Mongrels is a puppet sitcom, this is not a show for kids. It carries a mature TV rating for good reason, leaning heavily on jokes rooted in sexuality (including allusions to rape and masturbation, and graphic physical contact like licking a puppeted partner's breasts) and excessive swearing ("f--k" is edited, but "s--t," "bitch," "c--khead," "ass," and plenty more of the like are audible) for humor. No subject is sacred to this show's writers, who routinely tap touchy topics like prejudice, body image, nontraditional sexual relationships, and even ethnic profiling for laughs. Adults can take the over-the-top content in stride, but it may not have such a benign effect on teens since the puppets' appearances make it easier to gloss over the severity of these issues on a real-life playing field.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
MONGRELS is a British puppet comedy situated around a group of animals hanging out behind a London pub. At center is Nelson (voiced by Rufus Jones), a hip, well-meaning fox harboring a crush on his beautiful, but self-absorbed neighbor, Destiny (Lucy Montgomery). When Nelson's not hanging on Destiny's every word, his moronic feline friend, Marion (Dan Tetsell), usually is hanging on his, fancying Nelson to be something of a role model. Rounding out the group are Vince (Paul Kaye), Nelson's corrupt older brother, and Kali (Katy Brand), the tattered, scheming neighborhood pigeon who lives to exact her own brand of justice.
Is it any good?
That Mongrels is prefaced by a viewer discretion warning is initially a surprise, given that the characters are puppets, but spend a few minutes among the Mongrels and it immediately becomes clear why that's the case. They're foul-mouthed and sexually motivated, prone to violence and unabashed about saying whatever occurs to them, which means you're going to hear –- and see –- a lot about "banging," drug use (typically in the form of catnip overdoses), and prejudice among different species. You'll also learn why beautiful people (er, dogs) are better than ugly ones, why consensual sex shouldn't have a minimum age requirement, and why anti-drug and anti-smoking campaigns give good habits a bad name. In other words, just about every one of the show's scenarios flies in the face of the life lessons you hope hit home with your kids.
So what's the point of cramming so much mature humor into a show littered with puppets? The truth is that Mongrels isn't out to really offend anyone, and its outrageous satirical humor really is very funny, especially at the hands of these unique characters. There's less guilt in chuckling over the blasphemous content delivered by puppets than there would be with real people on the screen in identical situations. Plus, letting these hot-button issues (like the assumption that a would-be terrorist is Muslim, for instance) play out in the context of this show shares insight into their existence in the real world, giving the audience something to ponder at its end.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about this show’s comedy style. What is the purpose of using puppets instead of animation or a live-action cast? How does it contribute to or detract from the show's humor?
What groups of people likely would find this show offensive? Are their feelings warranted by what you see here? Who decides where to draw the line on this brand of comedy?
What is this show's attitude toward issues like homosexuality and racism? Are the writers intending to say something about these issues? How does their stance compare to yours?
Themes & Topics
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