Rocky & Bullwinkle

 
Slapstick and satire has aged well but may bore kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show follows the exploits of a couple of well-meaning good guys, but sometimes it's violent and displays many stereotypes, from Boris and Natasha's cliche Russians to a series of nagging overweight housewives. It's also worrisome that many of the larger characters on the show are painted as not so smart, and talk in "dumb" voices that sound like the owners have a speech problem. 

Positive role models

Rocky and Bullwinkle are bumbling but generally well meaning and supportive of each other. They do frequently insult each other, however: "Stupid!" And they're not above cartoonish violence like pushing each other off cliffs.

Violence & scariness

Plenty of cartoonish violence: guns are drawn, characters get into car crashes and try to blow each other up. There are no consequences for the violence and everyone comes back just as they were. There are also references to suicide, i.e. characters putting a gun to their head in moments of despair.

Sexy stuff

Boris and Natasha sometimes leer at each other, and there are references to romance and kissing in many of the Fractured Fairy Tales.

Language

No cursing, but some words will make parents wince. The characters don't shy away from calling each other "stupid," or from insulting each other in general.

Consumerism

Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris, Natasha and other characters do appear on merchandise from T-shirts to keychains.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There are sometimes references to drinking that will probably pass over kid's heads, as when Boris pours something into a punchbowl that the narration says is a "Mickey Finn" but looks like booze.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Rocky & Bullwinkle is a relatively slow-moving retro cartoon about a talking squirrel and moose that's filled with satire that may go over kids' heads. Adults still find Rocky & Bullwinkle delightful, however, and may want to give this one a try for whole-family watching to see if it's a fit. Keep an eye out for stereotypes and slapstick violence. Boris and Natasha are constantly after Rocky and Bullwinkle, threatening to blow them up, drown them, etc. It's all played for laughs but it's still intense hearing characters in a children's show threaten to kill each other. In general though, the dry absurdity of Rocky & Bullwinkle has aged well, and parents who watched the show as children may be eager to try it out on their own kids.

What's the story?

In midcentury cartoon classic ROCKY & BULLWINKLE, Rocky is a swift, sarcastic gray squirrel and Bullwinkle is a big bumbling moose. They live in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, a town beset by odd happenings like the visitation of moon men from outer space, and are the targets of tireless spies Boris and Natasha, who are always trying to foil whatever plans Rocky and Bullwinkle have going. In each half-hour episode, Rocky and Bullwinkle's episodic adventures are continued from the last outing, and interspersed with short adventures from other characters, like talking dog/historian Mr. Peabody and his master, Sherman.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

When collaborators Jay Ward and Alex Anderson made Rocky & Bullwinkle in the late '50s and early '60s, they were way ahead of their time. Maybe that's why this mix of silly and deadpan satire still seems pretty modern. It's not laugh-out-loud funny, but it's smirk-worthy, and that's a rare quality in television you can watch with your children. Speaking of those children, they might find Rocky & Bullwinkle boring. Sometimes the moose and squirrel do cartoonishly interesting things like going out in space in a flying saucer; other times they sit and talk for minutes at a time. The references alone will confuse the heck out of most children: Mom, what's a telegram?

Fractured Fairy Tales are the likeliest segments to appeal to kids, taking on classic fairy tales with a satirical bent as they do. For instance, in FFT's version, passive Sleeping Beauty becomes obnoxious Leaping Beauty. Even very young kids can get that joke. The rest of the show may drag too much for them, but older kids may catch on faster. This is great whole-family viewing, as mom and dad will like Rocky & Bullwinkle as much as (maybe even more than) kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether Rocky & Bullwinkle is more violent than today's kid's shows. Do characters shoot each other in the cartoons made today? Why or why not? What's different about today than the times that Rocky & Bullwinkle was made?

  • Do you think Russian people or people from Eastern Europe would be offended by Boris and Natasha? Why or why not?

  • Who is smarter, Bullwinkle or Rocky? What about their characters make you come to this conclusion?

TV details

This review of Rocky & Bullwinkle was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Kid, 9 years old November 29, 2013
age 2+
 

MrLevi Reviews for parents: Rocky and bullwinkle

Ah,Rocky and bullwinkle...What a great show,full of slapstick and fun gags It's kinda low budget but what do you expect from a show from the 1950's? They don't air it that much anymore...But it might bore some kids But I love the cheep puns and slapstick.
Adult Written byLowe's man April 20, 2014
age 5+
 

fun for all

Here's a joke in the show that even many adults might not get. The town where Rocky and Bullwinkle live, Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, is a parody of the icebox of the nation- International Falls, Minnesota, which is on the Canadian border. If you think about it it's logical. After all, in March the temperature in Frostbite Falls "rises" to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Other jokes in the show are more obvious, at least to adults, and sometimes to kids too. Kids will see that Boris and Natasha are evil, but they won't think much beyond that. After all, they never succeed. The slow pace will bore some kids, but others won't mind and will even find it a refreshing departure. As for the title characters, Bullwinkle isn't very smart, but Rocky is. Kids will identify with that, as most kids either have a friend who's smarter than they are or have a friend for whom everything has to be explained. Just give this show a try.
Kid, 9 years old February 5, 2014
age 2+
 

Really Good

Great role models! Very Positive messages! But some smoking. I really like this show!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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