What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this cartoon, while cute enough, leans heavily on slapstick for its humor, and some of it occasionally goes overboard. The characters sometimes clobber each other or play practical jokes just for the sake of eliciting laughter, and a lot of it comes across (to adults who know better, anyway) as simply mean-spirited behavior.
What's the story?
SKUNK FU! follows the adventures of young Skunk (voiced by Jules Dejongh), who was accidentally dropped off in the wilderness by the stork when he was born. Skunk was raised by wise old Panda (Paul Tylack), who teaches Skunk martial arts and guides him with his wisdom. Skunk is incredibly energetic and curious, so keeping him on the right path takes great effort on Panda's part. Skunk makes several friends, including feisty, bossy Rabbit (also Tylack), thick-headed Ox (Tony Acworth), and innocent, fun-loving Pig (Acworth again). An evil dragon (Rod Goodall) rules the animal kingdom with an iron fist, aided by his minions Baboon (Paul McLoone) and a throng of Ninja Monkeys. Tired of being oppressed, Skunk and his pals constantly dream up new ways to bring down Dragon's empire -- or just mess with the scrappy monkeys.
Is it any good?
Hard-core animation fans will appreciate Skunk Fu's Flash animation efforts, and grade-schoolers will enjoy the silly slapstick and the show's not-too-trite concept -- mixing animals and martial arts -- which yields reasonably cute results. That said, the plots could use more substance, and the point of the story occasionally gets lost in the fast-paced action. The dialogue is riddled with snippy, sometimes downright mean comments, and the physical interaction between the characters can be off-putting and tiresome.
Some episodes do attempt to wrap everything up with a very simple, subtle moral to help little ones navigate through the world -- usually a lesson learned by Skunk during one of his adventures. It's too bad that the recurring negative behavior exhibited by some of the characters -- which isn't too far off the reality of how some grade-schoolers treat each other -- doesn't get addressed in the same way, to remind younger viewers that such behavior isn't OK in the real world.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the way the characters treat each other. Do you think Skunk and his friends talk to each other and treat each other nicely? What do you think of they way they fight with each other? Do you think it's funny? Is it OK for them to tease and make fun of others the way they do? What other kinds of things do cartoon characters do that might not be as funny in real life?