A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.
George and Harold cause all sorts of trouble at their school, all intended to be funny for viewers. They never consider -- or face -- consequences. To fix the problems, they manipulate Mr. Krupp using hypnosis and get him to do their bidding. In fairness, it eventually saves the day, but Mr. Krupp has no defense against the boys' demands. Characters are drawn to emphasize negative physical features (baldness, weight, etc.) and sometimes are mocked for them. On the upside, the boys are creative thinkers, and Mr. Krupp's dual personality suggests that there's often more to people than meets the eye.
Positive Role Models
Harold and George intentionally cause havoc on their school and community for their own entertainment or to distract from something they don't want to do. Everyone around them is drawn into the mess by association, and their principal is transformed into Captain Underpants by the boys' hypnotic powers. Adults typically are at odds with kids, yelling at them and interfering with their attempts at fun.
Violence & Scariness
Some peril and action violence, mostly of the crashing, falling, bumping, general destruction variety. When Captain Underpants is around, he seizes villains and can swing them over his head and send them flying, which usually helps them revert to a more innocuous state. Slapstick violence includes long falls and strong impact, all without injury. Adults are cast as angry and are heard yelling at kids and berating kids in school. Predictably, potty humor also borders on pseudo-violence, as some characters use their farts as weapons against others.
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Name-calling like "tattletale" and "loser." Generally antagonistic language between kids and adults.
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Products & Purchases
Follows a feature-length movie and a popular book series and a licensed merchandise line.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants is a Netflix series that follows the events of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, which was inspired by Dav Pilkey's popular books. Bathroom humor is the name of the game here; every variation of farts, poop, wedgies, briefs, and butts is mined for laughs. There's also vomiting, toxic slime, unsavory school lunch menus, and lots of other gross-out material at play. The main characters are intentional pranksters who rely on mischief to interrupt class and school functions, causing adults much grief and angering their cranky principal, whom they then hypnotize to strip down to his undies, don a cape, and save the day as Captain Underpants. Safe to say they never learn valuable (or realistic) lessons from their behavior, but they do have a lot of fun. Know that the stories rely on some stereotypical physical characteristics (being overweight, elderly, bald, etc.) for laughs, and there's some name-calling, like "tattletale" and "loser."
Is It Any Good?
Flatulence, vomit, poop jokes, butt references, and underwear laughs sum up this series that's slightly less enthralling than the film that preceded it. Once again, if this kind of humor isn't your cup of tea, then The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants episodes will feel like two-hour movies themselves. But if you have the stomach for the gross-out stuff, then you're sure to enjoy the show's creative use of mixed media (sock and stick puppetry included) and clever humor that includes the characters addressing the audience directly at times.
It's difficult to love Harold and George's inability to take anything seriously, and viewed through a real-world lens, their pranks have detention and grounding written all over them. But if you can see past that, there are some positive qualities in their friendship and their creativity. The boys' control over Mr. Krupp/Captain Underpants is a good opening for discussions about respecting authority figures, and the animation style's exaggerated representation of negative body traits encourages reminders of respect for differences. The bottom line? If your kids love the books and the movie, then they're sure to appreciate the laughs here as well.
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.