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Spaceballs: The Animated Series
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 -- just like the live-action movie it's based on -- this animated parody of the Star Wars franchise can be rude, crude, and risqué. Some episodes also have a fair amount of cartoon blood and gore. Much like many other Mel Brooks creations, the series mines laughter from innuendo and characters who skate close to the edge of being offensive. It's clever, and the frequent references to pop culture icons will entertain fans, but some people might think some of the jokes go too far.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
As its name makes obvious, SPACEBALLS: THE ANIMATED SERIES is based on Mel Brooks' 1987 cult favorite Spaceballs -- which itself was, of course, a spoof of the original Star Wars franchise. Brooks, an elder statesman of parody, is the show's executive producer and co-creator and reprises his roles from the film by voicing both evil President Skroob, who seems bent on conquering the universe, and the oh-so-zen Yogurt, whose sage advice helps defeat Skroob and his henchman, Dark Helmut. Other returning characters include dashing hero Lone Starr (Rino Romano) and beautiful Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga, also reprising her role from the film).
Is it any good?
Some jokes are funny because they're new and surprising, while others make us laugh because they're familiar, taking the comfortable and giving it just enough of a twist to seem different. SPACEBALLS: THE ANIMATED SERIES definitely falls into the second category. And, since this is Mel Brooks (who will never be accused of being overly sensitive), the humor is clever but coarse. There are plenty of jokes about sex, drugs, and religion, and some of the female characters have costumes so small they could never function in a world where the laws of physics apply.
While the original film focused squarely on the Star Wars movies (with frequent references to many other films thrown in for good measure), the series takes aim at the entire universe of sci-fi, fantasy, video games, and pop culture Each episode gleefully skewers a new target, including The Lord of the Rings movies, Jurassic Park, the Grand Theft Auto games, and, of course, the three Star Wars prequels that were released too late to get their due the first time around (it's a good strategy, since the original Star Wars movies are now decades old, and young viewers might be more entertained by a show making fun of something they've seen recently).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about parody. This show's entire point is to make fun of other popular movies, TV shows, video games, and other media. Why do you think viewers respond so well to seeing familiar scenes/lines/moments being mocked? Does recognizing the source make people feel like they're in on the joke? Do you think stories that capitalize on other shows are just taking advantage of other people's work? Would the jokes be as funny if they didn't refer to other material?