What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this show, while occasionally a little bit crude, is basically harmless. Jake the monkey seems to be very proud of his own butt and even makes photocopies of it (some may find this funny, while others may find it offensive). Also, the animals in Adam's class gang up on him and pelt him with gym balls, which momentarily gives him a fat lip and black eye.
What's the story?
This lively cartoon follows 12-year-old Adam Lyon as he adjusts to his new school. Thanks to a clerical error (his last name was spelled \"Lion\"), Adam gets transferred to Charles Darwin Middle School, where all the students and staff are zoo animals. Schoolwork alone is challenging enough, but now Adam has to worry about fitting in with several other species -- and not becoming lunch for some of the larger ones! Luckily, he befriends a spider monkey named Jake who helps him navigate the vine-laden halls -- for better or worse.
Is it any good?
It's difficult to tell what age group the show's producers were aiming at -- the animation style and slapstick by themselves would seem to appeal mainly to grade-schoolers, while the jokes and life lessons are definitely aimed at the tween set. The sly humor may even give some adults the occasional laugh-out-loud moment.
Overall, MY GYM PARTNER'S A MONKEY is commendable for its effort to include a subtle message in each episode (such as sticking up for your friends, learning responsibility, winning a game through teamwork). Younger viewers (ages 8-10) will probably find Jake's sometimes-annoying goofiness amusing, and will definitely find the story lines entertaining.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how Adam makes the best of challenging situations because he uses his smarts and knows right from wrong. What kinds of things does he do to set a good example? Another topic of discussion could be Jake's behavior and how he causes trouble by goofing off. What sorts of things does Jake do that are irresponsible? Does he redeem himself in the end by doing something good?