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 Minimighty Kids is an animated series about talking animals whose personal flaws are suddenly and magically turned into super powers. This message is a positive one, but it's thoroughly subverted by the many flawed messages throughout the show. Both villains and heroes frequently use violence to gain their ends, yet it's presented as funny and acceptable when "good" characters hit or kick each other. In one scene, a boy steps on a dog's tail and laughs when the dog's eyes protrude in pain. Villains are typically physically unattractive and dark-colored; heroes are usually light- or brightly colored, and cute. They're usually male too -- only a small percentage of the Minimighty Kids segments center on female characters, and even then, those characters have stereotypical problems like being an "airhead." Jokes are often vulgar, sometimes nauseatingly gross, like a character who constantly leaks bright green mucous that he splatters on other characters' faces. In another episode, a character who has previously been invisible is suddenly visible, and naked; we see his butt briefly and he recites a rhyme about how going out naked will allow others to see your "bum and wee wee." Characters are mocked for physical problems, stature (both those who are "too small" and who are "super fat"), gender presentation (one male character with a high voice is called "she"), and more, and insulting language is common: "You big fat bowl of Jell-O," "snot nose," "pig."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Comic-book-turned-animated-series THE MINIMIGHTY KIDS takes place in a big city where talking animals struggle with physical problems like stutters and stinky feet, as well as bad habits like talking too much. But at night when they're sleeping, magical powers creep upon them, turning their former flaws into the source of super powers that allow them to smite their enemies and realize their dreams. With a day of extraordinary power behind them, each character ends the day with a rhyme that sums up his or her experiences.
Is it any good?
The animation is charming and the jokes perfectly pitched at a second-grade level (i.e., gross body humor), but the messages in this French import are so iffy that parents may want to think twice. In the anonymous big city they live in, each anthropomorphized animal character feels alone at the start of each episode, marooned in solitary misery over their physical, emotional, and/or character flaws. By the end of each episode, they've come to appreciate, sometimes even to celebrate, the things they once lamented. So far, so good; self-acceptance is a message most can get behind.
But it's all the stuff in the middle of The Minimighty Kids that's problematic. Characters are painted in an awfully stereotypical way: unsympathetic characters are ugly, good characters are cute (and usually white to the dark-furred villains). Female characters are rare, and usually depicted as admirers and helpers for the male characters; if they star in their own segment, it's often for a classically female problem like being an "airhead" or a "motormouth." Some animals are mocked for their physical size, for atypical gender presentation, for physical problems that in real life would merit a trip to the doctor (persistent gas means a child has gastrointestinal issues, not that he's vulgar). Sophomoric gross-out humor is at Garbage Pail Kids levels, with many episodes focusing on body issues like farting, a runny nose, stinky feet, etc. One episode features a character with the "super sniffles" splattering everyone in sight with bright green mucous, and using ropes of it to rescue a girl from a burning building. Yikes. Shakespeare this is not.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about bullying. What instances of bullying exist in The Minimighty Kids? What different forms can bullying take? Is any one form more or less harmful than another? How can you distinguish the positive characters in this show from the bullies? What is different about them?
Which of these characters' powers would you most want to have? What would you be willing to go through to get a special ability? How would it help you on an everyday basis? Would it ever be a burden? Which of your special talents can you use to help other people?
Kids: What makes this show funny? How does its comedy style compare to that of other favorite shows? How does it reflect the characters' origins in comic books?
For kids who love cartoons
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