A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive themes include integrity and humility, with this show's sympathies clearly aligned with its underdogs.
Positive Role Models
Authority figures stumble along; they often intend to help Tom but wind up traumatizing him. Tom's mom comes to all her son's games and events to support him, but then is overly honest about their finances, causing him distress. Tom's teachers and coaches are interested in his welfare, but then are overbearing and insulting. Tom himself is a bit of a pushover; he means well and worries vaguely when situations are going south, but doesn't take action and lets himself be taken advantage of.
Tom's best friend, Nelson, is Black, and is voiced by a Black actor; the action is centered around a White kid, but Nelson has a large, colorful, and juicy role, and gets most of the best lines. Nelson is the son of a successful businessperson and is himself a fledgling entrepreneur who's smart, ambitious, blunt, and also a supportive and loving friend to Tom. Other than Nelson, there's not a lot of ethnic or racial diversity, though there is diversity in terms of age, socioeconomic status, and body type.
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Violence & Scariness
Violence is played for laughs: a despondent ice cream man says he wants to "blow" his "brains out" he hates his life so much; a coach angry at his players kicks over a bucket of balls in fury.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Vulgar references to sex: an adult talks to Tom about getting "tail," "trim," and "p---y," and makes a joke about how aroused girls will get at a baseball game: "They'll have to call a rain day at the park, the girls are so wet." One episode title makes the bawdy subject matter clear: "The Principal Is Banging My Mom."
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Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "hell," and "sucks," as well as vulgar words for body parts, e.g., "dong," "p---y." There's other offensive language too, like when a women is called an "old bag."
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Products & Purchases
Tom's principal delivers a Grey Goose ad during morning announcements; one episode focuses on an adult getting steroids (that turn out to be just Mentos).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are jokes about drinking, like when Tom's principal delivers a Grey Goose ad during morning announcements. There's also drinking (a mom shows up at every event with a glass of wine), and one episode focuses on an adult getting steroids (that turn out to be just Mentos) for a 10-year-old child (who takes the Mentos, believing they are indeed steroids).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that animated series Ten Year Old Tom is about, but not really for, children, with a main character who's the grade-schooler of the title, yet the humor's far too mature for grade-schoolers. The overall vibe of the show is positive, with family, friends, and other loved ones present and supportive, but jokes veer toward the iffy, such as an episode entitled "The Principal Is Banging My Mom"; an episode that features an adult helping a tween buy (faux) steroids; and a depressed ice cream man talks about wanting to end his life by suicide. One mom shows up at every event with a glass of wine, and there are references to her being drunk. Sex is referenced with vulgar words: "tail," "trim," "p---y." Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "hell," and "sucks," as well as vulgar words for body parts: "dong," "p---y." There's other questionable language too, like when a women is called an "old bag." Adults are present and often mean well, but frequently make mistakes and accidentally traumatize Tom. The action is centered on a White character, but his best friend is Black, a prominent and non-stereotypical character, and voiced by a Black actor. Positive themes include integrity and humility.
Is It Any Good?
With appealingly quirky characters and a bone-dry cringe-humor orientation, this animated sitcom calls to mind ironic 1990s stalwarts like King of the Hill and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. Tom is a well-meaning kid surrounded by absolute absurdity, always falling into terrible situations through no fault of his own (though it should be said he protests weakly at best). A typical scenario is the one found in the first episode, when Tom opens up to Nelson about his fears that he's not a good enough baseball player to join the school team. His school bus driver, who believes that Tom is going to miss out on all the "tail" baseball players get, convinces the boys to visit the local mall with him to buy some "juice." It would seem at first that said bus driver is pushing steroids on Tom and Nelson, but since the segment ends with the driver making a speech at a baseball game with emotional music in the background, you can guess things don't work out exactly that way.
Even when the "A" story isn't that grabby, viewers will be carried along happily on a tide of odd side characters, like the dark-night-of-the-soul ice cream truck driver (David Duchovny), who reflects aloud that the happiness and energy of his young customers really makes him want to blow his brains out. Or the cashier who responds with bewilderment when Tom and Nelson demand to buy $6,000 worth of Klondike bars at his convenience store: "This is such a weird challenge from two children." Tom's ill-fated misadventures are ones you'll want to go on.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.