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 Twelve Forever is an animated series about Reggie, or Twelve (Kelsey Abbott), whose desire to remain a kid is so strong she's able to escape to a fantasy island where she won't grow up. Her friends Todd (Anthony del Rio) and Esther (Jaylen Barron) join her on Endless Island and together they relax, adventure, fight off villains, and grow as friends and individuals. Created by Julia Vickerman, of Powerpuff Girls and Yo Gabba Gabba fame, this series addresses middle-school issues with its own quirky voice. Weirdly constructed creatures populate the island, toys that get buried there come to life, and their adversary is called the Butt Witch. Cartoon-style, bloodless violence, and some scary, perilous moments pass in a closing battle. Reggie regularly has angry outbursts; on occasion, her friends do, too; using language like "stupid," and "jerk," but they always get to the root of the problem and support each other. Tweens and younger teens will enjoy the imaginative world, relatable, yet quirky characters, and the raw emotionality of this colorful cartoon.
What's the story?
TWELVE FOREVER is a story about twelve-year-old Reggie, a weird kid who doesn’t want to grow up, still likes playing with toys, and hates girly things. She and her friends Todd and Esther can escape to Endless Island, an absurdly wonderful place full of strange creatures who adore and are loyal to Reggie's crew. Endless Island serves as a respite from the real world, but fears and anger have a way of manifesting into real and troubling creatures on Endless Island that force the friends to confront their problems, rather than running from them.
Is it any good?
Twelve Forever is a surprisingly touching show that will appeal to older kids, teens, and adults. Real-life for Reggie, Todd, and Esther in Bethune, Iowa is drab and stressful, while Endless Island is an 80s-era fever dream -- all exploding color, bizarre creatures with cute voices, ice cream cone forests, and life-size, rideable balloon animals. The quirky characters are reminiscent of Adventure Time, and fans of that show are likely to be pleased with this one.
What makes Twelve Forever unique is the show’s compassionate core. Unlike in their real lives, the friends experience acceptance and unconditional love on Endless. The lessons that come on the island feel well-earned; they aren't forced upon the kids as they often are back at school and home. The non-stereotypical gender representations and same-gender attraction/love have a light touch and feel natural.The friend’s reliance on fighting and weapons to resolve conflicts is also a concern, though it’s entirely bloodless and their victims are mostly fantasy creatures and villains. Younger kids might be baffled by the humor and the intense weirdness of Endless Island, but tweens and teens are sure to love this fun new show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Twelve Forever alternates between fantasy and reality. Why do you think Endless Island exists? How do problems get solved in real life and on Endless Island? How does using violence create more problems than it solves?
This series involves some pretty serious themes like being an outcast, parents who pressure kids to be something they don’t want to be, and intense anger. What issues do Reggie/Twelve, Todd, and Esther face that you can relate to? How do they deal with their problems? How do you? Who can you go to for support?
Reggie/Twelve, Todd, and Esther have very different personalities, but that doesn't stop them from being great friends. What character strengths do you see in them? Which characters inspire you? Why?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love quirky animation
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