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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 mature cartoon (part of the Adult Swim line-up on Cartoon Network) is so riddled with violence, sexual references, and disturbing dialogue that it's easy to miss what little inane plot actually exists. Human characters often meet untimely demises, from being constricted by a snake man to the point of decapitation to being burned by an intentionally combustible baby's soothing toy. The main characters are inbred squid who are appallingly stereotyped as hillbilly inhabitants of the southern United States. This show is completely inappropriate for kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
The reason parents should talk to their children about the CONTEXT of programming, not just content.
What's the story?
The animated comedy SQUIDBILLIES is part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup and tells the tale of a squid named Early Cuyler (voiced by Danny "Unknown Hinson" Baker) and his family, who all live in rural northern Georgia. Early is the product of inbreeding, extreme poverty, and illiteracy; he's unemployed and engaged to a morbidly obese human woman who is forever demanding various tokens of his love, so he holds up a store at gunpoint to satisfy her needs. He's quickly convicted of armed robbery (since the sheriff was behind him in line at the store he robbed) and sent to the slammer for a 15-year stay. Meanwhile, Early's girlfriend bears his illegitimate half-human, half-squid child and dumps him on the doorstep of Early's sister, Lil (Patricia French). After serving his time, Early is reunited with teenage Rusty (Daniel McDevitt), the son he didn't know he had. To satisfy his parole requirements, Early lands a job with local corrupt businessman Dan Halen (Todd Hanson), who markets life-threatening infant products and dabbles in espionage.
Is it any good?
Squidbillies is little more than 15 minutes of heaped-up negative messages. Beatings, shootings, and stabbings are routine solutions to problems, and Early and Rusty's relationship is marred by physical and emotional abuse -- which, incredibly, Rusty almost welcomes, since he's so desperate for a role model in his life.
Simulated sex is common, and sexual references are both spoken and spelled out on Early's myriad of message-touting hats, one of which features the words "Booty Hunter" surrounding a silhouette of a shapely woman on her hands and knees.
Racial and otherwise derogatory slurs are harsh and unfettered. Early is especially vicious toward women and white people, for whom he harbors great hatred. Rampant prejudice coupled with issues like illiteracy, incest, and poverty are tied to the show's stereotyped "white trash" characters. While adults may be able to put the show's humor into context, its crassness makes it completely inappropriate for kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the dangers of prejudice and stereotyping. Why are stereotypes so often played for laughs on TV and in other media? What groups of people are most commonly picked on? How are they portrayed? In what ways are the portrayals exaggerated? How might it feel to be part of a group that's often the butt of jokes?