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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 SuperMarioLogan is a YouTube channel with videos in which creators use plush dolls, particularly Super Mario and other Nintendo figures, to enact skits with mature humor. Jokes visit a wide variety of not-for-little-kids topics: rape, murder, kidnapping, suicide, oral sex, anal sex, body parts, body fluids, pedophilia, drugs, drug dealing, and many other sensitive areas. Many characters are called "retarded," and there are others who muse non-stop about gay sex, violent video games, or murdering other characters. Several characters are racist stereotypes: one, Black Yoshi, speaks in a "ghetto" voice and constantly proclaims his love of KFC, and another, Jackie Chu, has stereotypical Asian intonations (complete with "R"s for "L"s) and makes jokes about Chinese people. In one popular video, main character Mario threatens to and does "rape" (i.e. move atop him rhythmically as the "son" cries out in pain) his adopted son to punish him; we are informed in a title card that the son killed himself later. Language is milder on newer videos, but older ones contain "f--k," "bitch," "hell," and other curse words; both old and new videos contain vulgar words like "homo," "dick," "retarded." Young kids may be attracted to this channel due to hosts' use of familiar characters, but it's most definitely not for them. We recommend parent co-viewing of YouTube content for kids under 13. Please note: Our reviewers watch between 1-2 hours of content to determine the general appropriateness of each YouTube channel. Some channels contain more variety within their content than others; we do our best to capture the channel’s overall subject and tone to help parents make the best choices for their families.
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What's the story?
SUPERMARIOLOGAN (also known as SML) is a YouTube channel that's been churning out skits enacted by plush toys for over a decade. Starting in 2007, creator Logan Thirtyacre began using Super Mario and other Nintendo-themed toys to act out goofy scenarios: making breakfast for the family, getting in trouble at school, searching for the mythical fountain of youth. The videos have evolved into a sort of really dumb (by design!) soap opera, with dozens of characters who appear in 6 to 12-minute videos that emerge at the rate of 2 or 3 a week. The subject matter is mature -- but the humor is second-grade-level, and that's just the way its fans like it.
Is it any good?
This very popular YouTube channel is your basic online nightmare for parents of young kids: content that will appeal to them, yet is laden with messages parents don't want them to receive. It's all too easy to imagine an unsupervised young viewer clicking on a video that features characters from that game they like, only to get a face full of "edgy" humor that parents would find terribly unfunny. One example: substitute teacher Jackie Chu, who says he has difficulty reading his class's attendance list because his eyes are "so slanty," tries to teach about the "Chinese food pyramid," which is drawn on the board behind him. Sushi (a traditional Japanese food) appears as one of the bottom sections; "cat," "dog," and "egg roll" at the top. "We ruv some egg roll!" says Jackie. Ugh.
One of the channel's most popular character is "retarded," speaks as if he has a speech impediment, wears a bicycle helmet, and typically has a pencil shoved up his nose; in one popular segment, his adopted dad Mario rapes him as a punishment for misbehaving at school. Other characters are unrepentant pedophiles, sex workers, drug dealers, stereotypes of young black men, child abusers; it goes on and on. The humor is witless and sophomoric -- and there are millions of YouTube users who apparently find it hilarious. If you value thoughtfulness, kindness, and tolerance in your kids, don't let them watch this channel.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why people watch SuperMarioLogan. What age group is it aimed at? Would you feel comfortable watching with small children? With your grandparents? Why nor why not?
Would small children be more or less interested in watching these skits if they used unfamiliar puppets? Does using familiar characters from video games or entertainment franchises make these videos more appealing to young viewers? Is that a good thing?