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 while this show doesn't contain any really objectionable material, it's basically the equivalent of junk food and doesn't quite offer the kind of substance most parents look for in a TV show. The characterizations are broad (often to the point of being dumb and annoying), and the humor is often derived from things like flatulence jokes.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In Nickelodeon's manic cartoon series THE X'S, a family of four super-spies -- Mr. X (voiced by Patrick Warburton), Mrs. X (Wendie Malick), their daughter Tuesday (Lynsey Bartilson), and their son Truman (Jansen Panettiere) -- work for a top-secret organization called SUPERIOR. Armed with an arsenal of high-tech weapons and gadgets, they're constantly saving the world from the evil machinations of another top-secret organization, S.N.A.F.U., which is led by the evil Glowface (Chris Hardwick) and his minions. When they're not busy battling evil, the X's have their work cut out trying to fit into society and seem "normal" to their friends and neighbors -- not an easy feat when Glowface could track them down and blow their house apart at any moment. Anytime Mr. and Mrs. X attempt to do things normal families would do -- plan a slumber party for Tuesday, have a family portrait taken, use a coin-operated washing machine, or go to a bowling alley -- something goes wrong, and the family must scramble to keep their spy status a secret.
Is it any good?
If the basic premise of The X's seems familiar, it's because you've seen it before in Spy Kids and The Incredibles -- only those films gave it a much better treatment. The concept of an oddball family trying to blend in may be amusing to some degree, and tweens will identify with the story lines that involve Tuesday and Truman's sibling rivalry and their interactions with classmates. But besides being unoriginal, the show's humor often misses the mark, and the frantic animation and barrage of noise result in entertainment that's mostly flash -- blinding, headache-inducing flash -- and little substance. Although the subtle message about a family pulling together in times of need is commendable, overall the series lacks the high quality viewers expect of Nickelodeon, and its effect on children may be just like one big sugar rush.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the value of family members working as a team. How do the X's collaborate to defeat Glowface? Does your family work as a team in some ways? What are some ways you could help each another -- with daily tasks, etc. -- in order to make life easier for everyone? Another discussion topic could be respecting your family. Do the X's seem to respect one another? Why or why not? How does their behavior compare with the way people in your family treat one another?
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