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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 Moone Boy is a family comedy imported from Ireland about a sweet 12-year-old boy trying to make his way in the world. Four-letter words are frequently heard, generally in a mild context, and there are sexual jokes and references. A pair of bullies push main character Martin Moone around and there are scuffles and slaps. Characters drink and smoke onscreen, but nobody acts drunk. Martin's loving if imperfect parents are present and caring, however, they admit they hate their kids at times, which may require explanations if children watch. Martin's three sisters are all teens who date and flirt; a scene in which Martin promises a friend he can feel his sister's breasts is played for laughs. Martin himself has an invisible adult best friend who often mocks him and calls him things like "idiot boy," yet acts mostly supportively.
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What's the story?
Martin Paul Kenny Daglish Moone, the MOONE BOY of this half-hour comedy's title, is a 12-year-old boy growing up in Ireland in the 1980s with his distractible dad, his feminist mum, and three sarcastic big sisters, who barely let Martin get a word in edgewise. Martin himself is dreamy and sweet, given to antics like trying to revive a dead bird with CPR, which does nothing to bring back the bird but invites the attention of the school bullies, the Bonner brothers. Oh, and he has an imaginary adult best friend, Sean (Chris O'Dowd, show creator), who alternately eggs him on and insults him. But plucky Martin keeps on keeping on, taking solace in the animated figures he creates to keep his company, and in his family, imperfect as they are.
Is it any good?
Feck yeah! Feck? That's the Moone Boy stand-in for "f--k," apparently, repeated ad nauseam by characters who wonder "What the feck are you on about?" or "What the feck do we have here?" when Martin is discovered yet again doing something goofy like practicing kissing on his hand, or befriending a new boy just to be invited to eat the gourmet meals his parents prepare. Moone Boy boast the same DNA as a fine wacky American family comedy like Malcolm in the Middle, but its enchanting foreignness (Americans won't even get many of the jokes, much less be able to understand all the dialogue) gives it a unique and special spin.
Also special: Show creator O'Dowd, who based Martin and his foibles on his own life, apparently likes and respects women, who are given a lot to do here. His mom and sisters aren't just background or preparers of tea; they're political animals who support "girl power" and give Martin hell whenever he does something stupid. They're as vital and complex as the male characters; rare in comedy, especially in sitcoms with a male main character. They look a lot more like the real families of the tweens and teens who should enjoy watching Moone Boy right along with their parents, because this show has a realistic character for everyone in the family to relate to.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether Martin Moone's family is loving or not. The family often mocks one another. Is it done kindly or unkindly? How can you tell?
Moone Boy is set in Ireland. How can you tell this is not an American show? Are the accents different? The themes explored? The setting? The moral codes of its characters?
Moone Boy is written and created by Chris O'Dowd, who plays imaginary friend Sean. Given that the show is set in the 1980s, right about the time O'Dowd would have been an adolescent, do you think the show is autobiographical? Why or why not?
Themes & Topics
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