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 action cartoon series contains a fair amount of violence, though it involves martial arts rather than guns.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In XIAOLIN SHOWDOWN, four preteens (Clay, Raimundo, Kimiko, and Omi) study martial arts at the Xiaolin Temple, learning superhuman skills. Each represents one of the four elements -- earth, air, fire, and water -- and together are engaged in a continuing struggle to find and control sacred objects of power, the \"Shen Gong Wu,\" and keep them out of the wrong hands.
Is it any good?
The action and combat sequences are the show's main focus, and each episode is contrived to end in a "Xiaolin Showdown": a one-on-one martial arts duel involving the magical Shen Gong Wu. And the plot moves along at a dizzying and often confusing pace, jumping from scene to scene and sacrificing details like motivation and credibility for action. (Is it really likely that Clay's little sister would kidnap her brother and his friends and threaten to kill them?) Also, Clay, Raimundo, Kimkio, and Omi are remarkably undeveloped, seeming less like people and more like four collections of catchphrases and martial arts moves masquerading as characters. Their teacher, Master Fung, is little more than a plot device, appearing briefly to spout enigmatic "wise man" sayings and set the kids on their next adventure, then vanishing.
Because the characters aren't developed enough to stand out as individuals, the show often relies on stereotypical clichés, such as Clay's Texas drawl, ten-gallon hat, and passion for pork, or Omi's yellowish skin, slanted eyes, and lisping accent. Although young viewers might find it easy to get caught up in the show's quick pace and heady action, in the end, without fully developed characters and plots that make sense, this falls flat.
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