A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Series paints a mostly positive picture of a community and its members, suggesting value of each person's contribution to the whole.
Kids see characters interact with community members and friends in positive ways. Their adventures demonstrate value of different services to a community, such as a neighborhood store and various entertainment venues. Recurring theme of friendship. Some potty humor, as when a boy plays with his snot to "pet" the tiny germs inside.
Positive Role Models
Adult characters often are cast as naive. Kids are good friends and get into mostly harmless mischief.
Violence & Scariness
Rarely slapstick-style incidents, as when a character punches a friend to snap him out of a fit of sorts.
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"Oh my God" on occasion.
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Products & Purchases
Series is based on the Toca Life apps and features the characters and settings in their virtual play world. Kids who watch may take an interest in seeing what the apps have to offer.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Toca Life Stories is a series of animated shorts based on the characters and settings in the popular Toca Life apps series. The stories center on the experiences of four friends -- Zeke, Rita, Nari, and Leon -- in the community where they live and play, following them as they go to the movies or visit the local grocery store, for instance. Viewers can infer how various members contribute to the community as a whole, and the characters' interactions are genteel throughout. These slice-of-life vignettes are cute on their own, but they're also effective ads for the apps themselves, which allow users to dictate the same characters' moves in various community locales. Expect some mild potty humor but otherwise lighthearted fare in these characters' experiences.
Is It Any Good?
This YouTube series does its job well ... if that job is enticing new users to try out the Toca Life apps, that is. By endearing the foursome of characters to viewers, Toca Life Stories brings new visibility to the franchise. These are true slice-of-life clips; there's no backstory to the kids themselves or to their friendship, and new characters are introduced without fanfare. All of this lends itself to a seamless transition for viewers to become users of the apps that put them in control of the characters' actions in community settings like a hospital or an afterschool activity venue.
Toca Life Stories is a prime example of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) entertainment: Kids ward off boredom by exploring their town and getting into mild mischief now and then. There are no lessons to be learned, no messages to be considered, and nothing worth digging below the surface to find. On the upside, though, their experiences do emphasize the value of community members of all different types in keeping a society running for the common good.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.