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 Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show is an animated series that chronicles the continued adventures of a time-traveling genius dog and his human son, this time as hosts of a TV talk show. Famous historical figures visit them, and they travel back in time to witness events for themselves, which puts them in the middle of wars and in other situations that can be perilous. Expect some mild stereotyping for comic effect (notable physical features are exaggerated, for instance) and the occasional excrement, nose-picking, or butt joke. You'll also hear a fair amount of name-calling, including "dummies," "idiots," and "fools." On the upside, central to the story is an appealing father-son relationship that bucks tradition but proves the value of all different types of families.
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What's the story?
THE MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN SHOW puts the famous interspecies father-son duo in front of the cameras as late-night talk show hosts. Mr. Peabody -- aka the Smartest Dog in the World -- has primary hosting duties, introducing each segment and interviewing the historical figures who grace their stage courtesy of the time-bending WABAC machine of his own invention. His spunky human son, Sherman, runs segments of his own and accompanies his dad back in time to visit with famous figures on their own turf and to keep history on its intended track. As if things aren't complicated enough, chaos ensues when production personnel, friends, and even the stray neighbor drop by to see what's up on the show that night.
Is it any good?
This animated series clearly looks to ride the coattails of the feature film's popularity, so viewers who enjoyed the unique pair's first round of escapades will find more to like here. It can feel jumbled at times, as though characters are vying for screen time and verbally elbowing each other out of the frame, but the helter-skelter format lends itself well to physical humor and comical caricatures of the folks it brings into the stories.
The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show is no fifth-grade history lesson, but the fact that it presents notable people and events in a way that's appealing for kids has its value. You can separate fact from fiction later (no, Napoleon didn't really throw a tantrum over a dessert while the Battle of Waterloo raged), but as a jumping-off point, it's enough that the show makes some awfully dusty subjects come alive in creative ways. And if your favorite aspect of the movie was the nontraditional but affectionate relationship between the dog and his human, rest assured it has a place of prominence in this format as well.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about time travel. Where in time would you visit if you could? Would you like to observe a certain event or take part in it? Whom would you like to meet?
Kids: Why is it important to understand historical events and how they influenced how things stand today? What does it mean to say that if we disregard history, we are doomed to repeat it? What lessons can we take from those who have gone before us?
What is the basis for Mr. Peabody and Sherman's close relationship? How do their similarities help them overcome their differences? Can there be any limit on what defines a family?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love history
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