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 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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.)
Talk to your kids 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?