Moral Orel

 
(i)

 

Older teens can tackle this 'toon's adult themes.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show is a parody of extreme religion, which may not sit well with some viewers.

Positive role models

Most adult characters are anything but moral, serving as questionable role models for both Orel and younger viewers.

Violence

Occasional hitting and punching for comic effect.

Sex

Some edgy sexual content. In one episode, for example, Orel is caught masturbating at school. When his dad explains that it's a sin to squander sperm when it doesn't result in a human life, Orel decides to play "God's chef" by using a pastry bag -- and the result of his "activities" -- to impregnate unsuspecting women in Moralton.

Language

No actual swear words, but iffy language (like "crackhead") abounds.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters are shown smoking, drinking, and buying and using illegal drugs like heroin and crack.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this satirical Cartoon Network comedy is animated, it's part of the Adult Swim lineup for a reason: It's rife with graphic humor and isn't appropriate for young children. (For example, when the 11-year-old Orel takes a drag from his very first crack pipe, he snaps at his talking Jesus figurine and tells him to shut up.) Troubling content aside, however, the show can serve as a way for parents and older teens to talk about the pitfalls of religious fanaticism -- although families who are deeply religious may find the program offensive.

What's the story?

MORAL OREL is created by Dino Stamatopoulos, a regular contributor to adult comedy shows like Late Night with Conan O'Brien. This sinfully clever stop-motion series packs a wallop of a message in a short amount of time -- and that's part of the problem. So much controversial humor peppers each episode's 15-minute run that the shock value of the humor could overshadow the program's subtle message. Borrowing its distinctive animation style from classic Rankin-Bass shows like Davey and Goliath, Moral Orel follows the often-shocking misadventures of 11-year-old Orel Puppington (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence), a devoutly Christian boy who tries his best to live by "the book" but often misinterprets God's teachings. Orel's good intentions lead to disaster.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Parents should be aware of the types of "lessons" that kids could inadvertently learn from watching this show. For example, in an episode chronicling Orel's brief addiction to crack cocaine, his father cautions him that crack "is a gateway to slang," prompting the boy to solemnly vow: "When I do drugs, I'm going to speak properly." So while adults are more likely to see Moral Orel for what it is -- a biting social satire mocking religious fundamentalism and hypocrisy within the Christian church -- kids (even some older teens) probably won't appreciate the sophistication of the humor. (And in case you were wondering, young children definitely won't get the joke.)

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ways in which religious dogma can be misinterpreted by those with good intentions. Does a person who is considered to be religious always act morally?

  • What statement are the creators of this series making about the state

  • of modern-day Christianity?

  • How does this cartoon compare with Davey and Goliath, the early 1960s animated series it parodies?

TV details

Cast:Britta Phillips, Carolyn Lawrence, Jay Johnston
Network:Cartoon Network
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Moral Orel was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byM34nMrMust4rd July 20, 2011
 

Food for thought, a peek at the road to unhappiness.

It has to be said right off the bat that the first season is a very different thing than the second and third, the third being the darkest but also most powerful. Also, while alcohol use is abundant it is in no way glorified and the viewer is made to feel sorry for the characters reliant on it (especially Orel's father). The sexual element is not graphic, and exists largely as a means to talk about repression of human nature, and of course that sexual repression's effect on the citizens of Moralton (again, most especially Orel's father, who serves as the secondary main character.) Orel lives in a town of good moral protestants, or so they would have you think. In reality they are for the most part depraved hypocrites. Religion in the show serves as a means of deceiving themselves and others into believing they are good and happy people. Orel himself is a good person, and as a devout Christian, tries his hardest to please God. His comical failings stem from a combination of him being boundlessly naive and having very poor guidance. While the show does have a hostile attitude towards religion it doesn't attempt to show that religion makes people bad, only that it does not make them good and that a lot of bad can come of even completely earnest attempts at doing good under its guidance. As a student of philosophy, I take the show to be a very strong critique of a very popular moral theory, divine commandment (though I feel it can be extrapolated to other rule based theories). Aside from the religious aspect that so rules the earlier parts of the show, the citizens of Moralton are all explored in some depth, dealing with the issues they seek to cover up. These issues are not exclusive to the religious, they are very real human situations that arise from social pressure, formative experiences, and basic human emotions. It's a show for adults and kids a bit older. 13 can handle the "bad stuff", but maybe not get the messages. The older the viewer, the more it is likely to resonate with them. The younger the viewer, the more useful the show could be. It's claymation, but it's not a happy show. It has some uplifting moments, but they are outnumbered by depressing ones, which is not at all to say that the show isn't also very funny. Watch it if you want something that will make you think, not if you want a carefree laugh, a positive role model, and positive messages. As for religious viewers, some of the humor may offend you, as religion is the sort of thing people are quick to take offense about. To my recollection God or Jesus are never made fun of, only people and dogma. If you can watch with an open mind you might have a few laughs and maybe find yourself having a long think about something you otherwise might not.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byNew Age Retro Hippie June 15, 2011
 

People misunderstand what this show is.

While it is perhaps not the best example of a show that could provide good religious discussion for families, it is not "anti-religion". The focus of the show is to serve as criticism for the fanaticism of religion, and how being religious does not entail that a person has decent morals. In the end, the show even supports religion, as we see Orel in the future having settled down and maintained his religion despite a crisis of faith, but also making sure to not be like his parents, who they themselves were made into what they were from their own abusive parents.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bygidorah-7x April 9, 2008
 

some people might like it...

i didnt think this show was all that great,because its not for everyone.if you get offended by stuff against religion you shouldnt watch this.it also has some comic violence and drug use.it shold be noted though that the sexual content contains stuff like masturbation and peircings (all done by a curious not-knowing kid).overall its an okay show,but it should be for 16+ or so.

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