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 hyper-violent cartoon definitely isn't meant for kids. Blood and gore flow freely as the characters engage in extremely brutal combat; scenes include dismemberment, impalement, and more. The jail setting also has plenty of sexually charged images (often involving stereotypically gay characters), including nudity, violent sex, group sex, and one female character with such obviously male traits that she's either a transsexual or in drag -- her ambiguous sexuality makes some other characters lust after her. Some episodes feature drinking; one character is a recovering alcoholic who's urged to fall of the wagon, to disastrous results.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Prison is supposed to be unpleasant, but it's hard to imagine that any penitentiary is as horrible as SUPERJAIL. This animated series takes place in an institution where gruesome death matches between prisoners are considered entertainment, the guards pay little attention to misbehaving prisoners, and recovering addicts are encouraged to drink heavily. The show focuses largely on the misadventures of the Warden (voiced by David Wain), who spends little time attending to his duties and instead cooks up schemes to win the attention of Alice (Christy Karacas), a guard of ambiguous sexuality. The Warden's assistant, Jared (Teddy Cohn), serves as an enabler, helping carry out one half-baked plan after another.
Is it any good?
Even among its fellow over-the-top Adult Swim shows, Superjail stands out for its violent imagery. In scene after scene, characters attack each other a wide variety of lethal weapons. Arms, legs, and heads are severed. Bodies are impaled, crushed, and cut into pieces. And, as blood and guts gush out, other characters watch with glee.
There's lots of sexual content as well; though little of it falls into the category of explicit nudity or sexual activity, it's hard to miss the suggestions of violent prison rapes and the clichéd portrayals of jailhouse homosexuals. Superjail seems determined to offend, and it does.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about who this show is designed to appeal to. How would you describe its target audience?
Do you personally find it funny, or does it cross the line? Who determines where "the line" falls in the first place?
Media depictions of prison vary dramatically, from brutal places where violent acts like rape and murder are commonplace to less-threatening environments in which people try to better themselves. Which do you think is more realistic? Where does this show fit into this spectrum?