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 this cartoon about a child movie star references realistic Hollywood situations -- like the media exaggerating stories and the pressure to maintain a good public image. One storyline involves the young star preparing for an onscreen kiss -- he frets about his inexperience, fights his childish disgust, and ultimately prevails in an age-appropriate ending. His rival is a mean, competitive female child star who often tries to embarrass or discredit him. She, along with his playfully unappealing sister, are the show's main female characters. Potty humor, exaggerated yelling, and pratfalls make up much of the comedy. The show gently pokes fun at celebrity and the media, providing good entry points for parents to talk to kids about these subjects.
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What's the story?
RICKY SPROCKET - SHOWBIZ BOY track the ups and downs of a child star as he handles fame, friends, and family. The show takes a page from real life as the media tracks Ricky's (voiced by Jillian Michaels) every move -- from award shows to movie sets to his Hollywood mansion, where he lives with his nerdy dad (Jeff Lumby), gregarious mom (Jayne Eastwood), and apathetic sister, Ethel (Tabitha St. Germain) -- spreading rumors about his (non-existent) love life and plastering embarrassing pictures across the papers. In one episode, for example, Ricky's sister spills juice on his white tuxedo during an award show, and the press goes nuts, thinking he's peed his pants. His nemesis, Kitten Caboodle (Andrea Libman), is a stereotypical stage child -- spoiled, competitive -- who plays mean tricks on him.
Is it any good?
The show's potty humor -- the pants-peeing story, jokes about Ricky's farting dog and his annoying sister, etc. -- keeps its humor relatable for its pre-adolescent audience. The jokes about Hollywood and celebrities, meanwhile, will mostly go over the head of the youngest viewers, though they add a tongue-in-cheek tone that older kids and adults will enjoy. (For example, in one episode Ricky attends The Sweepies, an award show produced by the men and women who sweep the movie theaters. Astute viewers will appreciate this nod to the seemingly endless round of celebrity prizefests.)
Overall, Ricky Sprocket is funny, sharp, and provides great stepping-off points for conversations about celebrity and media for parents who are willing and able to watch alongside their kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the media's coverage of celebrities. Why is our culture so obsessed with gossip about movie stars, musicians, and other famous people? How often do you think stories about celebrities are actually true? Is it possible to enjoy movies and TV shows without getting bogged down by celebrity gossip? What kinds of truths about Hollywood and media coverage does this show point out?
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