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 The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants in Space continues the adventures of George (voiced by Ramone Hamilton) and Harold (Jay Gragnani), the two fourth graders who created a superhero alter ego for their principal. Inspired by Dav Pilkey's book series, this intergalactic story relies on lots of potty humor and bathroom references for laughs. So you can expect repeated use of words like "whiz," "leak," and "turd," among other gems. The fact that George and Harold have a notable disrespect for authority figures fuels a lot of their outrageous adventures. You may want to remind kids that consequences are different in the real world. With some help, though, this books-based series can help persuade young readers to read about the characters' other adventures.
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What's the story?
In THE EPIC TALES OF CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS IN SPACE, best friends Harold (voiced by Jay Gragnani) and George (Ramone Hamilton) learn that an agency called P.O.O.P.S.I.E. needs a school to volunteer for a new space program. Inspired by the antics on their favorite tv show, the two commit their elementary school to the mission and soon find themselves blasting off into space. What comes next involves an intergalactic toilet monster; a power struggle between Principal Krupp (Nat Faxon) and his high school rival, Captain Moxie Swaggerman (Secunda Wood); alien doppelgangers; and, of course, a scantily clad superhero who swoops in to save the day when his creators, George and Harold, need help.
Is it any good?
Having exhausted Earth’s capacity for silliness, Harold, George, and Captain Underpants take their irreverent show on the road to space in this outlandish story arc. The Captain Underpants franchise has capitalized on kids’ enthusiasm for potty humor and has a lot of fun with continued gross-out content in this new setting. Not surprisingly then, a viewer’s appreciation for a well-timed butt joke or reference to toilet habits is a key indicator in how well this miniseries will be received.
The Captain Underpants programming is a veritable poster child for successful book adaptations. While it might not be a favorite watch for some parents, it and others like it can help bridge the gap between screen entertainment and books for reluctant readers. The show’s value is minimal beyond some cheap laughs at the effects of zero gravity on vomit, for instance, but parents can capitalize on its popularity by encouraging kids to explore the characters’ other adventures in Pilkey’s books.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the irreverent humor in The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants in Space. Why are subjects like bathroom habits and body noises funny to some people? Do they make you laugh? Is there an age divide in how viewers respond to this kind of humor?
Do the Captain Underpants adventures translate well from books to the screen? What other book adaptations have you enjoyed? Does watching these kinds of shows inspire you to read about the characters' further exploits? How do you balance screen time with screen-free activities?
What character strengths do you see in Harold and George? How do they assert themselves as leaders among their peers and, to a different degree, among the adults they're around? In what ways does their friendship help them overcome challenges?
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