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 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love comedy
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.