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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Teen Titans Go! is a second incarnation of DC Comics characters first seen in Teen Titans. This time around, the characters' secondary personas as "normal" teens living together in their home/command center is the show's focus, so the stories center on how they deal with everyday troubles like divvying up chores, jealousy, and trying to be a good friend. Of course, the fact that they have superpowers (and live on their own) always complicates matters since there's so much potential for comical mayhem. There are some exchanges of blows and weapons (swords, a staff, gunfire from a robotic arm), but it's not central to the stories' themes, and it's very short-lived. Positive themes of friendship, compromise, and resolving differences are tangible in some of the stories as well.
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What's the story?
TEEN TITANS GO! marks the return to TV of a team of young superheroes based on characters from DC Comics. In this incarnation, Raven (voiced by Tara Strong), Robin (Scott Menville), Starfire (Hynden Walch), Cyborg (Khary Payton), and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) are roommates in Titans Tower, where their individual powers make things nearly as unpredictable as they are when they're battling villains. But even superheroes have down time, and that's when these cameras are rolling, observing their interactions during the mundane events of everyday life because nothing can turn a normal afternoon into chaos faster than five teens with superpowers and an affinity for hijinks.
Is it any good?
These popular characters get a youthful makeover and new purpose in this sharply written cartoon. The focus veers away from the characters' superhero personas and zeroes in on how they interact with each other when they're not called on to save the world. Given that there's no telling when Beast Boy will morph into another creature or Raven will use witchcraft to get her way, there's a lot of potential for absurdity among these friends, and that's the stuff that kid-pleasing cartoons are made of.
Whereas its predecessor, Teen Titans, monitored the heroes' battles against evil villains, Teen Titans Go! brings their relationships more to the forefront as it drops them into everyday situations that are more of a challenge than any attack would be. How do you guarantee "alone" time to watch your favorite cartoon by yourself? What if your best friend's perfect birthday gift isn't budget-friendly? And is it any easier to deal with these problems when you have superpowers? Because these kinds of kid-friendly issues drive this show's content rather than the battles themselves -- not to mention that the characters look decidedly younger here than they did in Teen Titans -- it's a safer choice than most superhero shows for younger kids and even manages a few positive messages alongside the clever comedy and characterizations.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Teen Titans Go! takes a different tactic than do most superhero stories. Do you think it makes it more or less successful than was the original Teen Titans? What are the benefits of this less-violent content? Why do you think the creators re-imagined the characters this way?
Kids: What makes this show funny? How does its comedy style compare to that of other favorite shows? How does it reflect the characters' origins in comic books?
Which of the characters' superpowers would you most like to have? How would it help you on an everyday basis? Would it ever be a burden? Which of your special talents can you use to help other people?
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