Is Adventure Time appropriate for a 2-year-old?
September 6, 2018 8:27 AM   Subscribe

My spouse has banned our 2-year-old from watching Adventure Time based on this scene. I want to push back – but maybe they're right?

We have agreed to start letting our 2-year-old watch a little TV (no more than 30 mins/day) and so far he's only a little interested so we're only watching once every 5-7 days (I'm sure he'll get obsessed like every kid sooner or later). We've watched a little Cars and a little Sesame Street and that's about it.

After this FPP I turned on Adventure Time for the first time and really liked it, and so did our son. But when my spouse watched for a few minutes they saw the Sexiest Adventurer scene and asked that we not watch Adventure Time until he's 7 or 8. I will admit that the scene made me slightly uncomfortable too, but I shrugged it off as no big deal because I couldn't think of any reason why it was a problem and assumed my discomfort was just a little bit of ludicrous cultural programming (I grew up in a household where anything that is fun or surreal was immediately treated with suspicion, so sometimes I have a hair trigger for discomfort that I need to shake off).

I guess I'm looking for wisdom on whether this really is inappropriate for a two year old. I can't think of a reason why a cartoon character wearing makeup and waving their arms “seductively” at a monster is a problem. But maybe others can help me understand? I haven't talked to my spouse yet about why this scene makes them uncomfortable because in the moment I wanted to be supportive rather than turn it into a discussion in front of our kid. And this isn't a hill that I need to die on so I may just accept the rule and move on. But while I make my decision whether to bring it lifting the ban or just accepting it, I'm hoping MetaFilter can help me understand both sides. I'm torn between “I want to watch a cartoon that my son and I both enjoy” and “maybe there really is something weird or problematic about seduction jokes in a kid's show.”

One of the obvious responses is “watch a few episodes with your spouse,” and that's on the table, but I'm pretty certain they're going to hate it. They dislike any show that's even a bit surreal (Community and Archer come to mind – they can't stand either). So I'd rather have a thoughtful discussion about “is this sort of joke a problem?” than trying to win my spouse over with Adventure Time's charms.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (51 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Absolutely not. God, no. So many gruesome and adult images in Adventure Time (a show I love) that at first I had concerns about letting my 6 year old watch it.

At 2, stick to Paw Patrol and similar.

You know what will be awesome in a few years though, say at 4 or 5 years old? STEVEN UNIVERSE by Rebecca Sugar, who originally worked on Adventure Time. Steven Universe is currently streaming on hulu and you will both love it.
posted by jbenben at 8:32 AM on September 6, 2018 [42 favorites]

When your kid is 2 years old, I'm sorry, but there's really nothing that I know of which you and he could both enjoy. I don't know if this show is even right for a 2 yr old in terms of engagement alone (not sure what it is about the content that is considered inappropriate?) - at 2-3 years old, kids really enjoy very simple animations and music.


- Super Simple Songs on YouTube

- Dora the Explorer

- Daniel Tiger

- Sesame Street


Be patient!! When your kid is maybe 5 or 6 years old, that's when the fun really starts. I became a huge fan of Spongebob and Disney/Pixar movies and even (ugh ugh ugh I hate to admit it) Captain Underpants because of my kids. (Grew up in India myself, had no exposure to any western/english-language cartoons when I was a kid.)

But that comes later. First you have to sit through all the mind-numbing and repetitive shows. I recommend massive quantities of wine.
posted by MiraK at 8:35 AM on September 6, 2018 [14 favorites]

Adventure Time is a cool show but your 2 year old should be watching shows that are actually designed for 2 year olds. Children's TV has a lot of research done on it. Shows for 2 year olds will model appropriate social skills and things that 2 year olds are learning. My kid is older but we really liked Wonder Pets at that age. I suspect there are a ton of more recent shows too.

My 9 year old recently started getting into Adventure Time and at least once or twice in an episode we need to discuss something.
posted by k8t at 8:36 AM on September 6, 2018 [30 favorites]

I mean I’ve watched 90% of Adventire Time. Most of it twice. I adore it. As long as kid doesn’t get scared by the fighting I see no problem. But there are lots of monsters and fighting if you’re okay with that. Kid doesn’t get “sexy adventurer” as a concept (which I love Tree Trunks and giggled at that scene.) There are also tons of positive and inclusive messages in the show. Overall your 2 year old likes the colors and silly voices im sure. Skip an episode you don’t like I guess. Or just skip the show because of the violence. But hell I grew up watching Rockos Modern Life and Power Puff Girls and playing video games and I’m fine. I didn’t “get” the adult jokes in shows like MST3K until I was old enough to get them or have them explained. I don’t think harm will come to your child from Adventure Time in general but you know your kid.
posted by Crystalinne at 8:38 AM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

In truth a lot of the stuff you and your spouse pick up on will just go way over your child's head, especially at aged two. I have certainly had many experiences rewatching shows and movies as an adult that I enjoyed as a kid and marvelling at all the double entendres and otherwise risque stuff I missed.

But as your child gets older they will see and hear things that they will have questions about and you and your spouse have to think through what concepts you want to have to try and explain to your child. Examples of gender stereotypes, unfortunate racial stereotypes in that classic movie you loved, kissing, romance, fighting, etc. are all concepts your child will be exposed to at some point in the consumption of culture and you and your spouse will need to be ready to respond directly to impart your values about these important topics.

If you aren't ready to discuss these things, then don't let your kid watch them.
posted by brookeb at 8:41 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I find Adventure Time really hard to watch and I'm in my 20s, because I favor mature art styles to go with mature content (early 2000s anime fan here). In my opinion, it's extremely hard to absorb and gets a lot of popularity from the dissonance in aesthetic and tone.

Keep it to age appropriate stuff, your kid is gonna grow up really fast and good shows are worth watching several years after its aired. When I was 6-7, I watched a lot of early 2000s cartoon programming like Pokemon and Cardcaptor Sakura and Powerpuff Girls and Hey Arnold. But I already was starting to have some consciousness of social issues by then. I honestly don't even remember anything before 4 or 5, but I think I just didn't watch very much stuff back then.
posted by yueliang at 8:50 AM on September 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

And I’ll add here... As a parent that feels similarly to you.... I’ve watched most of Adventure Time + listened to a lot of interviews with the creators and artists. Not only are many of the situations and imagery too adult, violent, and scary, but there are lots of concepts in there about drugs and society, and frankly occult magic (as per the writers, this is not my opinion) which I prefer to introduce and discuss with my child in a safe and wise way.

Watch Adventure Time by yourself.

Steven Universe is in exactly the same wheel house without the terror or dark dystopian edgy bent. If you think Adventure Time is appropriate at 2 yrs old (it absolutely isn’t) then I think you will be able to compromise with your spouse by enjoying Steven Universe together. I know I said 4 or 5 above, but 2 yrs old is fine for Steven Universe if you are inclined that way already. They just might not understand the story entirely? But the characters and imagery of Steven Universe are just as surreal and delightful, without the negative messaging of Adventure Time.

+1 for research about children’s television and modeling social interactions, etc. This really is A Thing and you can read up about it.
posted by jbenben at 8:51 AM on September 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

“maybe there really is something weird or problematic about seduction jokes in a kid's show.”

Bingo. Over time this stuff seeps in everywhere and teaches your son that femininely gendered people should or will use their bodies as 'extra special' tools. Will this one scene in this one show do that for a two year old? No, but believe me your son will accrue millions of instances of this message.

Steven Universe would be more appropriate, IMO, and scratch the same itch AT does. I love Adventure Time, but I didn't let my son watch it until he was old enough to have coherent conversation with me about stuff like this (violence, stereotypes, drugs, etc.).
posted by cocoagirl at 8:51 AM on September 6, 2018 [21 favorites]

I think the main problem with showing Adventure Time to a two-year-old is that it's just TOO MUCH in general. It's fast-paced adult action! Lots and lots of dialogue and surreal fast-moving plot! It's luridly colored with lots of fast scene changes. It's a sensory overload, regardless of the content.
posted by daisystomper at 8:51 AM on September 6, 2018 [9 favorites]

My daughter loved Adventure Time at five, and a lot went over her head, like double entendres etc. We did talk about a lot though: "Jeez, Ice King seems lonely, but he's a total jerk to everyone around him!" But we also have an older child who watched it, so it certainly wasn't a decision I'd make without that situation.

At 2, go for Yo Gabba Gabba instead.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:55 AM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

I haven’t seen Adventure Time, but I have patented 3 two year olds, and my rule of thumb is that if I don’t want my 2 year old repeating/acting out what she sees on tv 50 times a day, I don’t show it to her.
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:58 AM on September 6, 2018 [10 favorites]

Honestly I'm not even really sure if Steven Universe is super appropriate since parts of Pearl's relationship with Steven is kind of uncomfortable (I'm thinking of a particular episode with his new pet Lion that kind of turned me off) but it may go over your kid's head. But by a very wide gap, it's a lot more age appropriate with really sweet and wholesome imagery and progressive views.
posted by yueliang at 9:01 AM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

My kids started watching Adventure Time when my youngest was 5. They love the show, and so do I, but my wife thinks it is too weird for her and she can’t follow what is going on. Now my kids are 9 and 11 and they read the AT comics as well. But 2 is way too young. Even at 5 my youngest didn’t really get a lot of the show, but he wanted to watch it because his older brother loved it.

I don’t think Steven Universe is appropriate for 2 year olds either, and both my kids like that show.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:07 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

You might want to take a gander at Am having trouble liinking on mobile but will comment again with some more information. I have many thoughts on this topic! :)
posted by Hermione Granger at 9:16 AM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

I would respect your husband's request. Seems like the wrong hill to die on, if you ask me.

I think most children's programming is complete dreck, but I do love love love Spongebob Squarepants. It's one of the few English-language cartoons I've been able to enjoy together with my sons, and it has a sorta similar vibe to Adventure Time.
posted by JamesBay at 9:22 AM on September 6, 2018

Here are all the shows that are wonderful for both kids and adults but should probably be introduced around age 6-7 just because they are worth exploring with an older child so you can discuss more of the themes together.

1. Adventure Time
2. Steven Universe
3. The Regular Show
4. Avatar: the Last Airbender
5. Miraculous Ladybug

For 2-3 year olds, I suggest:

1. Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood
2. Daniel Tiger
3. Sesame Street

Common Sense Media is a great resource for this, though, because it's a big database of books, movies, games, and TV shows that have been carefully reviewed by parents and early childhood education experts so you can pick what you think is t best match for your child. Full disclosure: while I never worked for them I did work with them for over 3 years. :)
posted by Hermione Granger at 9:26 AM on September 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

The sexual themes will go over the kids head. There are still many blatantly sexual things I saw as a kid that I occasionally think of and only now realize it was sexual all along. If anything, Adventure Time might be too much for a little kid because it's built on so many tropes and history and references to other things a kid cannot possibly have the frames of reference for. I'd also think the violence to be worse than the sexual stuff, Finn kills somebody in this scene.

Stephen Universe is great and safe, but even then these are all shows that just have nothing for such a young baby. 2 year old seem like the age where they just watch dumb weird shit like telletubbies or nick jr or whatever. The art of older age shows is utterly wasted on a toddler.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:26 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think neither adventure time nor steven universe are suitable for a two year old.
I watched both over the past year with my son who turns 10 soon. I think the action is fast paced, and the mood dystopian, which i end up talking about with my son a noticed it does affect him and influence him quite a bit.
Also the story lines are so disconnected from real life, how could a two year old follow the plot?

We started with trotro the donkey, at about 2 1/2, and i actually liked watching them. Peaceful and about daily life.
posted by 15L06 at 9:28 AM on September 6, 2018

Steven Universe is in exactly the same wheel house without the terror or dark dystopian edgy bent. If you think Adventure Time is appropriate at 2 yrs old (it absolutely isn’t) then I think you will be able to compromise with your spouse by enjoying Steven Universe together.

We have a very liberal media policy. My daughter loved Steven Universe at 2, but by 3 it was way too scary for her. I think the final straw was the episode with Bismuth, a character initially positioned as a friend who quickly turns scary. That kind of stuff freaks her out consistently--like she wasn't scared of the skeletons in Coco but was scared of the twist with Ernesto De La Cruz.

Anyway, the sexiness here isn't what gives me pause so much as the general scariness and violence of this scene. In my experience, kids will ask for clarification about romantic/sexual content but will absorb or be scared of violence in a way that tends to be more . . . mindless. And concerning.

I think if you want a show without this kind of thing, though, you should watch My Little Pony, which can be scary but without the heavy layer of adult innuendo.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:32 AM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Not because of sexuality, but this entire show - this kind of show - is just not developmentally appropriate for a 2 year old.
posted by Miko at 9:38 AM on September 6, 2018 [18 favorites]

There's a lot that will go over your kid's head, sure, but my daughter turned 2 recently and I've been amazed at what she's picked up from the TV we do watch. She will sing snatches of songs, imitate gestures and actions, learn words and character names...way earlier than I thought she would. So I agree with the advice not to show your kid TV you don't want to see them repeating later.

There's quite a few TV shows I've enjoyed watching with my kid. Daniel Tiger, Sarah and Duck, Puffin Rock, and Tumble Leaf are all really age appropriate, high-quality shows that don't numb my brain. Since you're only doing occasional screentime anyway, I would give one of those a try and save AT for after the kid goes to bed.
posted by cpatterson at 9:39 AM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've got a two year old and no fuckin way I'd let her watch that. Stick to Daniel Tiger.
posted by saladin at 9:46 AM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'd be concerned that the brain beast thing would be very frightening to a child that age, who is pretty much too young to understand what's real and what's just an image.
posted by thelonius at 9:49 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

The problem I had with Adventure Time, and why I wouldn't let my (little) kid watch it (she has since watched it as a teen) is that it has a lot of elements that I find sincerely troubling. The sexy adventuring is supposed to be funny for adults, and over the heads of kids-- but it still gets into their heads. They'll make sense of it later, for themselves, but it provides a foundation for sex = strategy.

And on top of that, The Ice King is an old pervert who is abusive to everyone around him, but because he has a tragic backstory, we're supposed to feel sorry for him and everybody is just supposed to ignore how inappropriate he is with Marceline in particular, and women in general because "he can't help himself." Marceline, and women in general, are supposed to coddle him and not "cruelly" separate themselves from him (for their own good) because awww, poor Ice King.

I love, love, love that AT is surreal and that it is unabashedly genderqueer and queer at times. But I couldn't ever get past the way that we were supposed to forgive, excuse and accept everything the Ice King does and says. It's like a primer for men can't help themselves/women are obligated to provide emotional labor even at their own risk.

And as an aside, this is not part of your question. But when your kid is little, get used to doing things with them that entertain them, but not you. Otherwise, you will end up with a teenager who is a stranger, because you only know how to spend time with them when it's what you want.
posted by headspace at 9:53 AM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Also, FWIW, I don't think that your 2-year-old is damaged or whatever from what they've seen. I don't think that it would be horrible if they walked in the room and you were watching AT, but rather, if you're going to let your toddler have some TV viewing, better to select shows that are going to be better suited for their age and development.

I promise that you have many years of enjoying your favorites with your kid ahead of you. No need to rush it.
posted by k8t at 9:55 AM on September 6, 2018 [10 favorites]

I asked my 11 year old, who is a giant AT fan ... he thinks kids should be at least 7 before watching AT because of “too many monsters and some episodes are too weird”. He also thinks kids under 7 shouldn’t watch SU because they wouldn’t understand it.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:11 AM on September 6, 2018 [8 favorites]

My kid is 7 and baaarely ready for Adventure Time-type shows (Hermione Granger's list is spot on; we went through exactly this thing with Avatar). I kinda think that at 2 it's not much of a big deal, because a 2 year old isn't likely to pick up on some of the more distressing themes. But it sets up a precedent and you probably wouldn't want to watch it with a 4 year old. It's not that specific clip that gives me pause, but what it says about what the show wants to talk about, and a kid younger than about 5 isn't going to be able to take it at anything other than face value (example: "Of course he can handle himself, he's 12" is a hilarious line when you are old enough to know that a 12 year old is a child and that Jake doesn't know anything, and is maybe thinking in dog years. Way beyond a 2 year old, who now thinks a 12 year old is a grownup.)

The recommendations in this thread are good. Yo Gabba Gabba does weird silliness well. Your partner might enjoy Shawn The Sheep as a family show; it was one of the very few shows at that age that everyone in the house enjoyed. Nature shows can be fun too.
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:14 AM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

You and your son should watch things you both enjoy...because you, the adult, have made the conscious decision to enjoy things that are amusing for a two-year-old. There's plenty of good programing for children that will entertain you too. It's possible to raise your child without them ever getting a glimpse of Barney or the like -- the ones that'd drive an adult insane. Find the quality children's programming and stick with it. There will be time to catch up with Adventure Time later.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:50 AM on September 6, 2018

Our four-year-old loves Adventure Time... the comic books. We pre-screen them to avoid more violent stories and skip/skim/simplify a lot of stuff as we read. In addition to being able to edit on the fly, reading a comic is a lot less overwhelming than watching a cartoon, plus you can focus on things like “ha ha Jake looks like a chair isn’t that silly.”

For reference, when we read stuff that’s too old for him (not just AT), we usually skip:
- violence/death
- stuff with implied attraction even if it’s G-rated because that’s not how we want to present female characters or male/female interactions, and besides it’s never interesting
- rudeness like name-calling, “shut up,” etc.

I wouldn’t let him watch the show because it’s just too old for him on every level. It gets pretty damn nightmare-fuely, even for an adult, and there’s a lot of violence, which toddlers/preschoolers aren’t ready to handle. The scene you link to wouldn’t bother me, but so much else would.

So, if it turns out your kid loves Adventure Time, the comic books are a possible alternative, though bear in mind they’re not completely little-kid-friendly either. But if your goal is to find a TV show for him, stick with stuff specifically designed for preschoolers. Better to sit through twenty minutes of boring-to-you TV than to spend three weeks trying to explain to a toddler why he shouldn’t call people “donkus.”
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:10 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

You'll all be a lot happier if you don't push back against your spouse when she says a show makes her uncomfortable for your child. Respect her instincts and support her. It's not like she's banning protein or fresh air, you kid doesn't *need* Adventure Time or any other show your spouse would rather delay introducing. That whole orientation matters more in the long run than whether your two year old watches this or any show. Even if every stranger on the internet said it was fine for a two year old it would not be great to bring that to your spouse as some kind of proof that you're right.
posted by nantucket at 11:49 AM on September 6, 2018 [11 favorites]

I will admit that the scene made me slightly uncomfortable too, but I shrugged it off as no big deal because I couldn't think of any reason why it was a problem and assumed my discomfort was just a little bit of ludicrous cultural programming (I grew up in a household where anything that is fun or surreal was immediately treated with suspicion, so sometimes I have a hair trigger for discomfort that I need to shake off).

Yes, that joke is inappropriate for young children who don't have the tools to make sense of how adults think about sex. That seems so obvious to me that I think your hair-trigger discomfort is very much worth deeply assessing, as here I think it led you to egregiously overreact.
posted by watermelon at 11:52 AM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Sorry to pile on a bit but as a dad who let his kid watch a lot of crazy shows (my son's favorite movie from 3 to 5 was this - my wife was not pleased) I'd say 2 is way too young for Adventure Time or even Steven Universe. But you'll get there soon enough - trust me it goes quick. Try Yo Gabba Gabba, Peg + Cat, Daniel Tiger, Sesame Street, Zooboomafoo, maybe even Pee Wee's Playhouse.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:53 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hahaaaaa an anecdote for you... we introduced my brother to adventure time and he thought his at the time 4 year old daughter might like to watch an episode. We put a random one on and it happened to be a Lemongrab ep. Within minutes she had declared it “too scary” and we switched it off feeling a bit embarrassed we hadn’t thought it through better! I’m glad she felt able to say it - several times since we’ve been halfway through an ep and been like, what were we thinking?!

I see you’re newish to AT. If you haven’t encountered Lemongrab yet then a) you have a treat* in store and b) it will probably help you to come round to the idea that AT is yep wow totally unsuitable for any kid under 7 :)

*An acquired taste shall we say. Not always acquired by all.
posted by greenish at 11:58 AM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

You'll all be a lot happier if you don't push back against your spouse

Yeah, what we think doesn't matter in this case. Be on the same team with your spouse. You can try and watch it together and see if their opinion changes (FWIW my wife doesn't like Community, can't stand Archer, and likes Adventure Time just fine), but if it doesn't, don't push it or try to convince them.

I do agree with the consensus that it is not a great choice for a toddler either.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:07 PM on September 6, 2018

Curious George movies like A Halloween Boo Fest, A Very Monkey Christmas, and Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle are all movies that my kid at age 2 enjoyed and we as adults enjoyed, too - especially Boo Fest.

Elias: The Little Rescue Boat was another one that was on streaming at age 2 that we all enjoyed.
posted by jillithd at 12:13 PM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Another vote for Peg + Cat as something that can be enjoyed by kids and parents, though 2 is maybe a little young to understand everything yet. Shaun the Sheep is another good option. I think there's even a spinoff (Timmy something) that's aimed at younger kids.
posted by stopgap at 12:49 PM on September 6, 2018

On the “you’ll be happier if you don’t push back against your spouse” thing: there will be times when you disagree with your spouse on what’s best for your kid, or you both lean in the same direction but to different degrees, and you will need to be able to hash that out productively and come to a place where you agree. Sometimes pushing back is the right approach.

However, if your spouse says “I’m not comfortable with X for our kid,” whether they have a clearly articulated reason or not, it’s often best to err on the side of caution. Especially when the kid is very young, and there’s so much else in the world to experience and so much time (later on) for them to get into the more complex stuff. And a lot of times the “I’m not comfortable with this” feelings can’t be reasoned away or measured on an objective scale of kid-appropriateness, and trying to turn it into a discussion will just cause unnecessary friction.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:52 PM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Of the shows my kids have watched, I think I would have missed out if I hadn’t seen Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom and Hey Duggee.
posted by tomcooke at 12:55 PM on September 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

I never got into Adventure Time, but was introduced to it in college by college-aged friends, so definitely thought it was for adults. I'd say it's not appropriate for two-year olds.

Also, as a kid I was really uncomfortable even with some parts of kid movies but never knew how to articulate it, so my mom would just keep playing them and I'd keep on feeling uncomfortable/scared. I was super disturbed by Pinocchio smoking and playing pool, and the monkeys from the Wizard of Oz are downright scary to me even now! Sometimes even kids' entertainment needs to be screened.
posted by bruschetta_cat at 3:09 PM on September 6, 2018

I agree it's too soon to watch Adventure Time. When my daughter was two we just started watching Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. Both of these are fine for toddlers and were really entertaining for me too. Also plus plus plus for Yo Gabba Gabba.

I also agree with the comments above that little ones are just not ready for the fast pace and overwhelming content of a lot of these shows--let them watch kid stuff while they can!
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:16 PM on September 6, 2018

Oh and Charlie and Lola! So good.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:17 PM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Kids soak up everything, and not always in the way you want. Adventure Time is a face-paced show with very adult themes and visuals that can be scary and overwhelming to young children. Everything seems fine and good until your kid wakes up with screaming nightmares for God knows what reason, they just saw something that didn't sit right and now it's twisted itself up into something disturbing. When thinking about kids, ask yourself: how much is this like Mr. Rogers? If the answer is "not much", then it doesn't mean it's automatically bad, just keep in mind his show and his demeanor were constructed specifically in a way that worked for young kids as how they are, not as miniature adults.

There was an AskMefi question posted recently about adult-friendly shows that were appropriate for a kid your kid's age--maybe check it out?
posted by schroedinger at 4:42 PM on September 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Adventure Time is not for 2-year-olds (omg).

I am parent to a 4-year-old. Watch Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly, Daniel Tiger, Busytown, etc.

There’s really nothing good about Paw Patrol, but kids love it. Give that a couple years, if just for your own sanity.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:39 PM on September 6, 2018

Everyone up thread has covered a lot of my objections to why this is not great viewing for a two year old, but think of this as well - by the time they're old enough to really enjoy it, AT will be relegated to the status of "baby shows" and will probably be shunned. Save it for when he's older and you can both really get the most from it.
posted by Jilder at 5:44 PM on September 6, 2018


My 2yo kids loved Peppa Pig, Daniel Tiger, Sid the Science Kid, and Curious George. They are age appropriate shows and I don't hate watching them, either.
posted by gatorae at 6:38 PM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

By the way, Steven Universe does have one or two episodes with surreal body horror. I’m not a kid expert but I feel like it’s more for 8-12(?) year olds- not inappropriate for a 5 year old but a lot of the stories are about more complex emotional and social lessons, things like grief and mourning, blended families, co-parenting, abusive exes, relationship conflict and reconciliation. Maybe I’m overestimating but I think of SU as middle grade/YA more than picture book or chapter book.
posted by cricketcello at 10:08 PM on September 6, 2018

My parents took my brothers and me to a drive-in, double feature - the first one was probably something like 'Return to Witch Mountain,' kid like but parents could get into it too - the second was a horror film. All us kids fell asleep during the first movie, so my parents decided, screw it, we have 3 kids under 5 and they're all asleep lets make out and watch this movie at the drive in! Well, my 2yr old brother woke up, saw just enough of the horror film and then couldn't go to the bathroom by himself for nearly a year (which led to me thinking the bathroom was scary and so during and after potty training I also tried to force adults to be in there with me).

Sometimes people think young kids aren't picking up on stuff just because they do not have memories of when they were that young, but things can get in there and stick in ways you'd never guess. Save tense weird scary surreal monsters and scenarios for later.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:40 AM on September 7, 2018

In the first episode of Adventure Time, the castle of the Candy Kingdom is stormed by candy people zombies. Finn tricks the emotionally delicate living candy people into wearing blindfolds and playing ‘piñata’. They beat the zombie candy people to death and feast on their guts, thinking it’s the candy stuffing of the piñatas.

AT is not for toddlers.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:25 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I love watching Mister Rodgers with my two year old and four year old. Like love it. Nothing comes close to that amount of wholesome. It’s like being in the womb. Crayon factory tours, feeding fish, putting on cardigans.

I only a little less love watching yo Gabba gabba. The Shins, the Roots, Erykah Badu, funny plots, celebrity guest stars. Of Montreal. Mark from devo. Also very wholesome.

Classic Sesame Street is likewise pleasant. Magic schoolbus is tolerable, it’s actually not as wholesome as I’d like. Pixar movies are great. Hayao Miyazaki is better than great.

Everything else is pretty much banned.
posted by joaofava at 7:49 PM on September 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

There's a new animated series called Hilda that feels a lot like Adventure Time, but more suitable for a younger audience. It has fantastic creatures, but no gruesome violence. My 2-year-old likes it.
posted by Phssthpok at 6:53 PM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hilda is also a great comic book!
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 9:04 PM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

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