I love watching cartoons with my kids, and I’m not afraid to admit it. It takes me back to a simpler time. My sisters and I would get up early on a Saturday morning and pour ourselves a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and then park our asses on the green shag carpet and watch a few hours of cartoons until our parents kicked us outside. Ah, the good ol’ days.
One of my family’s current favorites is Cartoon Network’s The Amazing World Of Gumball (rated TV-Y7), which is a bright and colorful cartoon about a 12-year-old cat named Gumball and his pet fish, Darwin, who has legs. I know it sounds bizarre, but stay with me here — this isn’t your typical cartoon. It’s known for taking typical stereotypes you find in other kids’ shows and turning them on their heads. It’s progressive, witty, and if you haven’t watched it, you’ve got to give it a shot. Trust.
Gumball and Darwin shake shit up going on adventures where they often get themselves into trouble, but they always have each other’s backs. They share a true friendship. In one episode, they are being bullied by a classmate and all the kids band together and stand up to the bully. Talk about relevant and refreshing. It takes the approach we all try to teach our kids — which is that when there is a problem we come together and solve it — but it does so in a quirky and hilarious way that doesn’t make our kids’ eyes glaze over.
There is a strong family bond that is present in every episode. Gumball’s dad, Richard, is my hero. He can be flighty and laid-back, but he constantly shows up in his kids’ lives and tries to step up his game for his family. There isn’t a “macho” bone in his body, and I love the example Richard, as a stay-at-home dad, sets for my sons and daughter.
His mother, Nicole, is a strong leader and problem solver for the family. Basically, she takes no shit and sets the tone for the household.
The humor is good and clean and has the ability to make adults laugh right along with their kids. Believe me, it’s not one of those annoying shows that my kids watch where I am counting down the minutes for it to be over.
My kids are getting older, so it’s nice to sit and enjoy a long The Amazing World Of Gumball marathon together. In fact, the other night I was in the kitchen making dinner after a busy weekend, and all three kids were watching in the other room. I heard Gumball scream, “Not everyone can afford to shop at an organic grocery store. Maybe you should check your privilege!” I literally stopped what I was doing to watch the rest with them — and a cartoon hasn’t done that to me since I was 6.
I mean, “Check your privilege”? I am totally going to use that quote until I leave this fine earth. The writers have mastered the art of appealing to adults and kids alike, while also tackling the bigger issues of the day. But more than that, they’ve captured the true essence of a 12-year-old (believe me, I’ve had two) which is why my kids like it so much.
There’s a lot of trash out there for our kids to feast their eyes on, but rest assured, if they are watching The Amazing World Of Gumball, you don’t have to worry. So turn it on, pop some popcorn, and bond with your kids — while laughing your ass off.