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 '80s cartoon (which was based on characters originally created for a line of Hallmark cards) is mild enough for the youngest grade schoolers. That said, it's less flashy and slower paced than a lot of today's shows, so some kids may not be interested. And it's worth noting that although the smartest members of the gang are the girls, when non-Shirt Tale girl characters appear, they're strictly stereotypes, fanning the boys and running and fetching.
What's the story?
SHIRT TALES looks like a cross between the Superfriends of old and today's Save-ums and is perhaps the first cartoon to be spun off from a line of Hallmark greeting cards. The popular early-'80s cards featured cuddly critters with messages on their shirts offering holiday greetings; the show features cuddly critters whose thoughts appear on their shirts as they fight less-cuddly critters committing crimes. In each episode of Shirt Tales, the gang -- Pammy Panda (voiced by Patricia Parris), Tyg Tiger (Steven Schatzberg), Digger Mole (Bob Ogle), Rick Raccoon (Ronnie Schell), and Bogey Orangutan (Fred Travalena) -- have adventures that are often based on fairy tales, the bad guys get their comeuppance, and a member of the crew learns a lesson like "friends are more important than money."
Is it any good?
The show's connection to the Hallmark cards isn't entirely clear, but gee, they're cute! And they're smart too, especially that Pammy. (Remember, there were a lot fewer cartoons to choose from in 1982...) There's peril that's mild enough for even the youngest viewers (although the Shirt Tales stories are less tailored to preschoolers than the shoe-tying dilemmas faced by the Save-ums), a flying vehicle, and plenty of camaraderie to go around.
But the morals of the show are pretty tame and usually underplayed -- this is no VeggieTales (in more ways than one). Shirt Tales often pops up on TV these days as part of Boomerang's "No Undies Mondays" line-up. You can probably guess why, but there's nothing even remotely salacious about Shirt Tales. It's nothing more than a very mild introduction to the typical superhero cartoon.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the stories (like Aladdin and the Magic Lamp) and mild lessons that underlie most of the cartoons. Kids: What did the characters learn in this episode? What did the bad guys do wrong? How did the Shirt Tales stop them? Families can also discuss what makes this show different from more modern cartoons. How do you think it would be different if new episodes were coming out now?
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