"Oh, so just because it’s for kids means it doesn’t have to be any good? Kids are a lot smarter than you give them credit for!"— Raven, Teen Titans Roar!
"It's made for kids"
"...I don't care that you make a kid's show. I care that you're bad at it. Even under the low, low standards of a kid's show. Yep, kids will watch anything. They'll also eat anything. Should we let them eat lead paint chips? [...] Kids might not have standards, which is why we need a little bit of extra care. We do this in all other areas of children's lives. What makes entertainment the exception?"— Mr. Enter, Animated Atrocities #94
"You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway"— Walt Disney
"It's made for kids" is an excuse used to dismiss criticism of entertainment made for younger audiences.
It is well known that kids are easier to entertain by simpler things that older viewers may find stupid or boring at first. Likewise, kids are unlikely to understand and/or appreciate more highly complicated and mature shows (like South Park). Because of that, shows targeted at younger audiences tend to be simpler than shows targeted at an older audience, but that doesn't mean that shows aimed at kids should be too simplistic, realistic, and basic.
Often when people criticize kids' shows for either poor quality, cheap comedy, lacking any real substance, logic, and/or intelligence, or anything else they don't like, some people might use the fact that "It's made for kids" as an excuse for doing so. Sure, it may be made for kids, but that is not a reasonable excuse for making poor-quality, effortless, and excessively kid-friendly shows that older viewers will find stupid and/or poorly executed. This excuse also makes kids look like idiots with no real taste or standards who will like anything aimed at them, which isn't true. According to Raven's quote above, "kids are a lot smarter than they're given credit for." (Which is hypocritical because Teen Titans Go! often uses this excuse.)
On the other hand, some older people dismiss shows targeted at young audiences as "kiddie shows." Just because it's made for kids doesn't mean older viewers can't watch them or won't find the challenge and substance in them. If the show is made well enough, anyone of any age can enjoy it.
Even if a show is aimed at kids, older viewers may also be interested in it (the show would be rated either TV-G-rated or TV-PG, and the tv guidelines rating "TV-G" means "General Audiences," not just kids, but adults too). There are many shows aimed at younger audiences that can also be enjoyed by older viewers, such as Phineas and Ferb, The Amazing World of Gumball, SpongeBob SquarePants, Gravity Falls, etc; the aforementioned shows are made for kids but have enough substance and real effort put in to be entertaining for grownups and don't pander towards kids (either younger or in their pre-teen years).
There is no excuse for making poorly-made shows for everyone.
Why This Excuse Sucks
- It’s just a way for people to dismiss criticism towards bad kids' shows. By rejecting criticism, the quality of the shows may never improve.
- By pointing out the flaws in kids' shows, that can leave improvement and ensure that more kids' shows can be made to be enjoyed by grownups as well.
- This whole excuse treats kids like idiots with no discernible taste or standards, who will like anything given to them, which isn't true. Kids may be easy to entertain, but they're not as dumb as you might think.
- It should be noted that contrary to popular belief, actually even kids would very likely not enjoy these poorly-made kids' shows that are shown to them, hence highlighting this fact further.
- In fact, most niche audience shows that are considered bad enforcement with this excuse once cluttered the wiki in the past, before they were temporarily removed here and once attempted to move to the planned Terrible Niche Audience Shows Wiki, but that wiki closed due to inactivity. As of recent, the niche audience shows have since come back to the wiki.
- The only thing this excuse encourages kids to do is to stoop to any low level like ignoring their parents, not listening to them, or simply not caring one little bit about them.
- The overuse of this excuse is what tends to make cartoons and kids' shows, in general, receive a negative reputation from older audiences, even though some shows don't even deserve all the hate and backlash they receive or if the show is in question is well received or not.
- This excuse is the main reason why the American television industry treats animation like something for kids most of the time instead of an art form that can be used for older audiences.
How to Make a Good Children's Series
- At least when coming up with an art style (especially character designs) don’t make it way too cartoonish, photorealistic, or simplistic, and come up with something pleasing to the eye.
- Humanoid/anthropomorphic animals, toys, talking vehicles/trains, and fantasy creatures are usually a good pick for this. Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and PAW Patrol are among three of the best examples of this.
- Even if the art style is pretty ugly (albeit intentional), the show can still be fun to watch due to the charm. Many of the Klasky-Csupo shows are a good example of this (like Rugrats, Rocket Power, The Wild Thornberrys etc.)
- With the premise or plot, try to make it understandable and not too complicated instead of making it cliche or simplistic.
- The writing should also be either sharp, well-timed, consistent, or just paced decently for all viewers to follow and see how competent the story and everything around it is. Don’t have everything dumbed down just because the show is for children. While you’re at it too, don't write stories that make the writing so shallow or poor enough to where the episode you're writing looks as if you're playing down the audience by thinking children are mindless enough to find poorly written substance funny either.
- Children and other viewers should be able to watch the show and enjoy their time observing what's on-screen or just catch the viewers' interest with what's going on in an episode without having anything essentially annoying, tedious, grating, or boring.
- For any content outside of children’s media like profanity, sexual content, or blood, have very little to no amount of that. Mild cartoon violence is fine especially if the characters in the show are non-humans or the violence used as "slapstick". Tom and Jerry is an example of this and so is Looney Tunes. The only times that slapstick-induced content with a human character was done right were cartoons such as Ed, Edd, n Eddy, and The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy.
- Nevertheless, this can be somewhat averted if the show appeals to both children and older audiences. Examples of this are The Amazing World of Gumball, Gravity Falls, The Owl House, Rocko's Modern Life, Teen Titans, Star vs. The Forces of Evil, and so on. For that to happen, make sure you don't let your target audience be uncertain as to if your show in question can't tell if it's made for either younger or older audiences.
- If you want your show to discuss any mature topics make sure the themes are not too over the top, the topics also need to be taken seriously and addressed in a manner that kids can understand. Examples of shows that have done this include Rugrats (family loss), As Told By Ginger (breakups, appendix surgery, death, implied depression, and caffeine addictions), Sesame Street (incarceration, 9/11, and death) Mister Roger's Neighborhood (the Vietnam war), Ben 10: Ultimate Alien (Stockholm syndrome, suicide, death, fame, mortality), Static Shock (an attempted shooting), Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (racism), Hey Arnold! (parents putting one child over the other), Arthur (autism, cancer, and the Vietnam war), The Proud Family (sexism and racism), etc.
- If you want to make an edutainment type of show then use some educational value, especially for shows that are rated TV-Y and sometimes TV-G.
- Make some of your most immersive characters that serve as good role models and protagonists or real challenges as antagonists.
- Some children's shows even lack antagonists to retain pleasing mood.