A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Story exposes viewers to concept of social anxiety disorder in particular and mental health challenges in general, encouraging respect for diversity of ability as a result.
Kids see some realities of social anxiety disorder from Noah's perspective, with effects that simulate panic symptoms like sweating excessively, sensations of sinking into the floor or having walls close in around him. This increases awareness and empathy related to anxiety and similar disorders. A supporting character is in a wheelchair. Noah's parents challenge traditional gender roles; his father was the one to homeschool him for several years.
Positive Role Models
Noah faces struggles doing everyday things that most people take for granted, and his resilience in doing so is admirable. When he opens himself to possibilities of friendship, he is rewarded by kindness, understanding. His parents sacrifice to support him in unique ways that help him solve problems at his pace and comfort level.
Violence & Scariness
No violence, but some scenes illustrate how panic attacks feel to Noah by showing him sinking into the floor, sweating profusely, and even being pressed by a mob of zombies.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Healing Powers of Dude is a comedy series about a tween who manages his social anxiety disorder with the help of a support dog whose thoughts are audible to the audience. The story has obvious messages about extending kindness, respecting different abilities (both emotional and physical), and finding common ground with others. Noah's experiences also demonstrate both perseverance and courage, always excellent takeaways for kids. Several scenes attempt to show what his anxiety attacks feel like to him using images like zombies, and floors that suck him downward, which could be unsettling for sensitive viewers. With some guidance, this series can encourage greater awareness about and empathy for mental health issues like anxiety disorders and related conditions.
Is It Any Good?
This hopeful series encourages awareness and understanding about what may be an unfamiliar condition in Noah's anxiety disorder. Because The Healing Powers of Dude tries to split time between the reality of Noah's struggles and the comical, often sarcastic opinions of his mutt companion, the overall presentation feels somewhat inconsistent. It's no Wonder, but there's slapstick, a goofy sidekick, a hapless principal, and many manners of tween foibles, as well as some exceedingly sympathetic moments in which Noah's anxiety threatens to swallow him up (literally, thanks to the show's visual effects that simulate his panic sensations). Both aspects of the story are worthwhile, but the constant shift from one to the other distracts rather than enhances the whole.
That said, the show clearly has merit, and it's always refreshing to see a show that makes an effort to promote diversity on the screen. Noah's condition is discussed at length, of course, but his friend Amara's physical disability (though visible) is not, nor is she hindered by it. Ultimately this speaks to the show's messages about choosing kindness, respecting diversity, and being confident in yourself regardless of what makes you different. And while the somewhat corny ruminating-dog shtick might be off-putting for adults who watch, it likely will help keep kids' interest in the show.
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.