The Great North

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Great North TV Poster Image
Occasional rude humor on sweet animated family show.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

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.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There's a strong streak of sweetness in this comedy, particularly in the way that family love is strong and central. The show clearly has a love for oddballs, and the humor is gentle and non-mocking. 

Positive Role Models

A teenaged girl is the center of this show, which is rare for animated comedies. The Great North also has a Black main character, another animated sitcom rarity. Still, the gender balance tilts more male than female, which is more typical for the genre. Characters are heightened for silliness, but they're still lovable, supportive, and tolerant of one another; one member of the Tobin family is openly gay and accepted and loved by all. 

Violence

Violence is comic: a moose rampages through the Tobin house, there's a running joke about the family matriarch being eaten by a bear (she wasn't), Beef falls, breaks his leg, and learns a moral lesson. 

Sex

Jokes can tend towards the rude: Judy jokes about a cute male mall employee whose tight pants "highlight his downstairs situation," two characters have a running gag centered around the number 69. Several characters are single and interested in romance; expect dating, flirting, kissing. 

Language

Cursing is infrequent but expect "ass" and "son of a bitch" as well as stand-in words like "frigging" and "son of a beaver." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parnets need to know that The Great North is an animated comedy centering on a family of quirky dreamers who live together happily in Alaska running a commercial fishing business. The show has a gentle tone, with silly characters who love, accept, and support each other. Though jokes can be a bit rude, they're not bitter or mocking. The diverse cast (particularly considering the standards set by most prime-time animated comedies) includes a Black main character and a gay teenaged boy, and the show's lead is a teenaged girl. Violence is infrequent and played for laughs: a family pretends to believe their matriarch was eaten by a bear; a moose rampages through a family's house, destroying sentimental keepsakes. Jokes can also be mature in a sexual sense, with gags about body parts and references to sex that might sail over young viewers' heads (but middle schoolers and up will get). Language is infrequent too: "ass" and "son of a bitch" are heard, but the cast also relies on sound-alike substitutes like "frigging" and "son of a beaver." 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bynuenjins March 26, 2021

It's just OK, but "adult" material is peppered throughout.

There are cute characters in this romper room, but the typical woke culture political boxes are all still checked. The days of naturally occurring family dynami... Continue reading
Adult Written bydenise_p_111 February 23, 2021

If you enjoy watching Bob's Burgers, then this show is for you!

The Great North literally became my new favorite show when Fox aired the 2 special previews back in January 2021. I love how the animation for The Great North i... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byLoranikas303 December 27, 2021
Teen, 14 years old Written byGusAllen9 April 24, 2021

What's the story?

Created by Bob's Burgers scribes Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin along with Regular Show's Minty Lewis, THE GREAT NORTH is set in a coastside Alaska town, where Beef Tobin (Nick Offerman) runs his fishing boat business along with his oldest son Wolf (Will Forte) and his fiance Honeybee (Dulcé Sloan), teenage son Ham (Paul Rust) and daughter Judy (Jenny Slate), and youngest son, 10-year-old Moon (Aparna Nancherla). And through moose and ice caverns, direct-sales money pits and visits from Judy's imaginary friend Alanis Morissette appearing in the form of Northern lights, the Tobin family muddles through life somehow. 

Is it any good?

Fans of Bob's Burgers will want to draw up a chair for this animated comedy, which boasts a similar gentle vibe and comedy mined from silliness and foibles instead of mockery. At first, the similarities to Bob's may make The Great North feel like a bit of an also-ran: both shows center on quirky families running a seaside business; the animation style is definitely from the same universe; the baby of each family even wears animal ears. But The Great North does something that puts a major shift on the types of stories it takes on -- teenage daughter Judy is the lead, not patriarch Beef, as we're primed to expect from shows like Bob's and Nick Offerman's comedic fame. 

Slate, who here sounds more like her Missy character on Big Mouth than her conceited eighth grade Tammy in Bob's Burgers, is up to the challenge. Her Judy is brimming with confidence, loves her family, and is ready to take the world by the butt cheeks as she tells us in the show's pilot episode. And though her burgeoning independence initially cause some family fallout, it's all smiles and hugs by the show's end. And that's what viewers can expect from The Great North, some sharp jokes, gentle whimsy, and smiles and hugs by the end, with "A" plots that center on such things as school dances, a new job at the mall where a cute older boy works, and Wolf's hopes to turn the family's fishing boat into a tourist attraction. For a show set in a cold place, The Great North sure feels warm and comforting. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about animated comedies like The Great North. What kinds of things can an animated series offer viewers that a live-action series can't? Do you think animated comedies rely on more risqué behavior to please their audiences? 

  • Many animated sitcoms focus on iconoclastic families. Why? Is there a show that set this mold? How old is the tradition? How many live-action sitcoms also center on weird families? Why is this a rich comedic setup? 

  • The Great North has the same art style as another animated comedy created by some of the same people, Bob's Burgers. Can you name other animated shows that take on the artistic style that another show popularized? Does this imply that the shows are set in the same universe? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animated comedies

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