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 Zig & Sharko is a silent animated series from France with a lot of cartoon-style violence -- explosions, crashes, extensive falls, etc. -- that's meant to be funny rather than fearful and never yields any consequences. The show centers on one character's persistent attempts at catching and eating his mermaid neighbor, all of which are foiled by the friendly neighborhood shark. Despite the plotline, the would-be victim is never in any real danger, so there's no sense of peril to the content. Kids will also notice the surprising relationship between the shark and the mermaid, which is a good reminder that what's on the inside is more important than what's on the outside when it comes to friendship. There are some gender issues that might concern parents, with the mermaid's constant primping and the sea king's flirting.
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What's the story?
ZIG & SHARKO is about a hyena named Zig who lives on a volcano island with his crab pal, Bernie, and plots against a beautiful mermaid, Marina, whom he wants to eat. Through a series of schemes and elaborate inventions, Zig attempts to snatch Marina from her ocean rock perch, but he's always thwarted by Marina's protector, Sharko. At times other sea dwellers make attempts as well, including the self-absorbed King Neptune, who hopes to win the affections of the beautiful mermaid.
Is it any good?
Zig & Sharko takes a page out of Wile E. Coyote's playbook in revamping a classic cat-and-mouse relationship between its characters. Zig pulls out all the stops in his efforts to nab Marina for a meal, but no amount of extravagant disguises or mechanical wonders ever does the job, thanks to the timely interference of Marina's fiercest friend. Even so, it's light-hearted, slapstick comedy that's just plain fun to watch.
The show might have improved upon Marina's character by making her a bit more self-reliant in her own defense, but as it is, she seems blissfully oblivious to the onslaught of attempts on her life. Of course, this paves the way for Sharko's gallantry in protecting her, and their relationship is a testament to friendship that defies the odds. The bottom line? There's not a lot of substance to this cartoon, but there's little to worry about either, and its silent format is a fun departure from the norm.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship. Kids: What qualities do you most appreciate in a friend? Do you have any friends who are notably different from you in hobbies, culture, or personality? How do those differences benefit your friendship?
Kids: Why do you think Zig never gives up on his goal? What goals do you have for yourself? How do you learn from past failures to improve your future chances of meeting these goals?
What makes the violence in this series funny rather than upsetting? If the characters were human, would the effect be different? What place, if any, does violence have in kids entertainment?
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