Napoleon Dynamite



Quirky, gross humor in animated series based on cult hit.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show's plots and situations are so eccentric and unusual that it's almost impossible to relate them to anything resembling reality. To support these plots, morality and reason are somewhat nonexistent -- for example, brothers who fight several times an episode and a lead character who chiefly seems obsessed with obscure minutiae.

Positive role models

Characters frequently represent negative stereotypes played for humor. Lead characters behave in self-serving, cruel ways, all in the name of comedy.


Occasional exaggerated animated violence for comedic effect, like wrestling, punching, etc. Some characters interact only through mocking and belittling one another.


The show's main characters are fixated on sex and women, with frequent innuendo and attempts to encounter the opposite sex (though they're rarely successful).


Occasional use of "damn" and "hell."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adult drinking is occasionally depicted, usually as part of a specific joke or comedic situation. Several adult characters smoke casually.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Napoleon Dynamite -- an eccentric animated comedy series based on the cult fave movie -- has more gross-out humor than its big-screen predecessor. While the jokes are extremely offbeat, the content itself rarely gets past the "ew" factor. Plus, the esoteric nature of the show's stories, coupled with occasional moments of sexuality and drinking, make the series most appropriate for teens and adults.

What's the story?

Based on the 2004 cult film of the same name, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE brings back the cast of the original movie as voice actors, returning to the unusual lives of Napoleon (Jon Heder) , his brother Kip (Aaron Ruell), their grandmother (Sandy Martin), and of course, their friend Pedro (Efren Ramirez). With the additional time and bigger budget of an animated series, the show expands into the world surrounding Napoleon's oddball bubble, revealing that the city and people in Napoleon Dynamite's universe are as unusual as the lead character himself. From Pedro's strange non-sequiturs to Grandma Dynamite's no-nonsense brutal commentary, the world of Napoleon Dynamite continues in animated form.

Is it any good?


Although Napoleon Dynamite was inspired by the movie, it seems to take more inspiration from another Fox animated show that's since gone on to the big DVD library in the sky: King of the Hill. Like that show, Napoleon Dynamite focuses on an exceedingly eccentric cast of characters living in a unique part of the country, chronicling their victories and disappointments along the way. Unlike King of the Hill, Napoleon Dynamite is strange -- almost too strange; the humor is so quirky and disconnected from reality that it's frequently hard to decide whether you're supposed to laugh or groan with disgust.

And yet, as a half-hour dose of animated comedy, Napoleon Dynamite is more watchable (for this reviewer, anyway) than the original film was. Perhaps it's absence making the heart grow fonder or just that 22 minutes of these characters is easier to digest than 90 minutes. Whatever the case may be, there are some strong laughs to be found here; the animation seems to help bring this unusual little universe to life more effectively than live-action. There's a distance created when you're laughing at an animated character who's covered in apocalyptic zits that makes it easier to find the humor than watching real zits on a real forehead.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Napoleon Dynamite's occasional violence. Is it appropriate for the story? What would be the real-life consequences of the fighting seen on the show?

  • How are these characters similar to or different than other comedic characters on TV? What's the appeal of these characters? How would you describe the humor in this show?

  • How does the show compare to the movie? Have the characters changed? Which do you like better?

TV details

Cast:Diedrich Bader, Jon Heder, Tina Majorino
Topics:High school
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Napoleon Dynamite was written by

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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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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old May 7, 2012


Awesome! A+
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bykendallinc1 May 14, 2012

Not innapropriate compared to FOX's other cartoons

I read the review for this, and I thought it was wrong. There is punching, but no sexual humor. Their is mild cursing (think of CN's Regular Show), but none to offensive. This is a funny show and will not offend, unless if you detest mild cursing. Also, the humor is awfully similar to the film, and some endings to episodes can be heartwarming... I like it!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written byndrwcd November 17, 2012

why did fox cancel it?

not as good as the movie but non the less it`s a pretty good cartoon series


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