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 Toys That Made Us is a fun docuseries about toys geared toward teens and adults. Featured products range from famous dolls and action figures to movie and TV-based merchandise. All of this is offered in an informative context. Some episodes contain some strong sexual innuendo, and most contain some quirky, risqué humor for an audience that's ready for a nostalgic trip back to childhood.
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What's the story?
THE TOYS THAT MADE US is a documentary series about the history of some of the most iconic toys in the United States. Toy company CEOs, product designers, and marketers discuss how dolls like Barbie, action figures like He-Man, and Star Wars merchandise of all kinds came about and evolved to meet marketing and consumer demand. It also looks at how some toys, despite their popularity, failed to make a profit, while others resulted in multibillion-dollar sales. Throughout it all, it shows how these toys reflect the cultural norms of the time in which they were created, while still challenging trends and transforming the industry.
Is it any good?
This entertaining, quirky series explores the thinking behind some of America’s most popular toys. It reveals how dolls like G.I. Joe were designed to give kids a chance to play in ways that weren't possible before, while other toys were specifically made to expand film, TV, and comic book franchises. Designers describe the challenges they faced when trying to create a product with mass appeal, even if it looked different from other toys on the market. The unique corporate deals and marketing schemes that led to big profits (and some epic failures) are also discussed.
The Toys That Made Us uses colorful images, wacky reenactments, and risqué humor to keep it as fun as the playthings they are showcasing. But the specific details it offers about the toys it examines are interesting in their own right, especially when addressing historically questionable design decisions (like Barbie's unrealistic body proportions) and notoriously bad business deals. Overall, the series offers a chance to learn more about the toys many of us grew up with and how they evolved to become an important part of American popular culture
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes certain toys more memorable than others. Is it the timing? Their design? Popularity? Does The Toys That Made Us give a good explanation?
What were (or still are) your favorite toys? Why?
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