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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 this cartoon is filled with sexual innuendoes and humor. Although the characters' various deformities are exaggerated for comedy, the underlying implication of the effects of toxic waste on our lives is slightly disturbing. Good lessons are scattered throughout the show, as the characters exhibit amazingly indomitable spirits despite their limitations.
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What's the story?
Created by Angus Oblong, whose book Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children inspired the show's very unique characters, THE OBLONGS is the story of a deformed (and slightly dysfunctional) family living on land polluted by the careless lifestyle of the wealthy and snobbish residents up in The Hills. The Oblongs and all of the other unfortunate residents of The Valley are victims of various disabilities because of the toxic state of their resources. Bob Oblong (voiced by Will Ferrell) works at a poison factory and manages to navigate the world despite lacking both arms and legs. A lifelong resident of The Valley, Bob managed to catch the eye of beautiful Hills native Pickles (Jean Smart), and, in true forbidden-love fashion, the unlikely couple married. The Oblongs have four children -- conjoined twins Biff (Randy Sklar) and Chip (Jason Sklar); Milo (Pamela Adlon), who's riddled with mental and social issues and an unidentified eye affliction; and Beth (Jeannie Elias), who appears normal except for the phallus-shaped growth atop her head. Bob and Pickles trudge through familiar mid-life relationship issues like decreasing self-esteem and fear of losing a partner's affection, but their passion for each other is undeniable and is consistently renewed (often rather noisily) in each episode.
Is it any good?
Although the show garnered lots of criticism when it debuted on the WB in 2001 for its extremely disabled characters, the overall mood is a positive one, and adults and mature teens who can put the humor in perspective are bound to enjoy the show. No character seems bothered by his or her limitations, and Bob in particular is never less than blissfully chipper. And, in the end, it's hard not to chuckle as he undresses himself with his teeth.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the daily challenges faced by real people with disabilities. What types of situations (driving, eating, working) pose the most difficulties for them? How do they find ways to deal with these challenges? Parents can also use the show to jump-start a discussion about the environment. How can we change our lifestyles to better maintain the health of the earth? What might the result be if we don't take care of it now?