By Will Wade,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Ultra-violent jailhouse cartoon is NOT for kids.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Don't look for any positive take-aways here; the show revels in its hyper-violent, sexualized content and doesn't make any attempt to convey anything remotely positive.
Positive Role Models
The prison's supposed authority figures spend little to no time actually managing the prisoners, some of whom seem free to wander the facility as they please. Both the prisoners and guards routinely use extreme violence to avenge slights and maintain order, while the Warden seems unconcerned with anything other than his own entertainment and his infatuation with Alice.
Violence & Scariness
Characters routinely engage in savage, gruesome fights using a variety of weapons and sometimes just their bare hands. Heads, arms, and legs are pulled off; people are impaled, cut in two, and worse; and there's plenty of blood and guts. Some fights occur in anger with little provocation, while others are staged for entertainment. The show seems to revel in its ability to shock -- all of this is animated, but it's still quite gruesome.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some animated nudity, and plenty of sexually charged situations and imagery. There are almost no women in the jail's world, and several scenes suggest homosexual behavior using stereotypical images -- including violent jailhouse encounters and group sex. One guard character appears to be either a man in drag or a transsexual; the show doesn't specify, but it does base some plotlines on Alice's mysterious sexuality.
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Few actual swear words, though there are plenty of sexually suggestive phrases.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A fair amount of drinking, sometimes to excess, that leads to impulsive behavior. One character, a recovering alcoholic, is mocked for trying to abstain and finally falls off the wagon.
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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.
Where to Watch
Based on 14 parent reviews
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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?
- Premiere date: May 13, 2007
- Cast: Christy Karacas, David Wain, Teddy Cohn
- Network: Cartoon Network
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: January 23, 2023
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate