Is Clone Wars Too Violent For The Younglings?

Clone Wars returns with two new episodes this Friday (woo-hoo!) but is it too rough for young viewers?

I’ve addressed it in two different posts on my LiveJournal in response to different articles about CW’s violence, which I’ve repro-ed below:

11/12/09

Yesterday I saw linked on Club Jade a couple of articles on whether Clone Wars has gone too far with violence in a show that is marketed to kids. What raised the hubbub was last week’s episode “Landing At Point Rain.” Fans loved it but were the flaming Geonosians and clonetroopers blown out of the sky a bit too much for the small fry?

It is interesting that after four broadcasts (five episode) at 8 p.m., CW is going back to its 9 p.m. slot. Sure it gets repeated at different times but I have to wonder if there were complaints sent to Cartoon Network or if the guys at the network decided that CW is a little rough for 8 p.m.. The show is mega-popular with boys 6-12 and there’s a ton of merch aimed at kids age 3 on up. But there have been concerns before about violence and even mild swearing in that episode from last season, “Rookies.” Even in the first few episodes of this season, clonetroopers are slaughtered, a Jedi is tortured to death, and there’s a knockdown fight between Cad Bane and Ahsoka. Ahsoka seems to break or dislocate Cad’s arm at one point, while the Cadster kicks Ahsoka in the gut. Babies are put in peril.

I’m not a parent, so maybe my perspective is worthless. But I don’t think CW is any more violent than any of the Star Wars films and if parents let their kids watch the movies, I don’t see why they would have a problem with the show. It might be too much for a two-year-old, but I think two is a little young for SW anyway. And if it bothers you that much, DVR the show, watch it first, and “censor” the parts that might frighten your kids. CW isn’t a patch on fare you find on network television either. “Heroes” toned down its gore somewhat now that it’s on at 8, but it was on at 9, it was one of the goriest shows on t.v.. The CSI franchise has pushed the gore envelope for years. As Richard Roeper said in his review of ROTS, chances are your kids play video games that are a lot more violent.

Some are less concerned with content than with context…is CW glorifying war and violence as a way to solve your problems? One of the articles was troubled by Anakin and Ahsoka’s score-keeping and felt there should have been a definitive message that This Is Bad. But what’s great about CW is that they’ve miraculously kept the frying pan style of delivering a message to a minimum. With the heavy-handed exceptions of “Jedi Crash” and “Trespass,” CW is more subtle, designed to make you ask questions instead of answering them for you. Clearly the war is changing the role of the Jedi and they are being made to contradict their own philosophy in order to fit into that role. Maybe that’s a little sophisticated for a very small child, but that’s why parents are supposed to watch with their kids and discuss these things.

Don’t get me wrong, I think excessive, gratuitous violence and sex on t.v. are problematic and kids are exposed to far too much of it. But I can guarantee you there won’t be anyone sitting on death row in the future because he watched CW when he was nine.

12/28/09

Once again, there’s concern over the level of violence in a show aimed at the kidlets. This time, it’s Anakin’s Jack Bauer-esque treatment of Poggle the Lesser in “Brain Invaders.” Some guy at this website wants Cartoon Network to bump up the show’s rating to TV-14 or have the show’s writers, etc. do more to display Dis Iz Bad to the chilluns.

At least the author knows what becomes of Anakin. But his point is that in the movies, you see the consequences of Anakin’s actions whereas in Clone Wars, you don’t. Therefore it teaches that torture is okay.

In AOTC, Anakin doesn’t face any consequences for killing the Sand People either. In fact, he pretty much gets away with it. Padme forgives him and apparently Palpatine keeps it a secret. Certainly, it has ramifications for him later on but that’s all in the next film. Have hordes of children gone around killing people as a result? No.

Clone Wars assumes you’re familiar with the whole SW saga one way or another and Anakin’s treatment of Poggle is supposed to expose his dark nature (long overdue if you ask me). By necessity, no one can find out and Anakin can’t fail because that would’ve meant Ahsoka’s death. Granted, an older SW fan can pick up on the subtleties that a little kid can’t; for instance, while Anakin knows what he did got the desired results, he’s not exactly proud of it either. I guess I could say that this is why parents shouldn’t just let the t.v. be the babysitter.

But slapping Clone Wars with a TV-14 is going way overboard. TV-14 puts CW on the same playing field as the gory CSI franchise, “Jerry Springer,” or the bleep-filled and sexualized reality shows on Bravo. Maybe what they can do is post some kind of parent’s guide on CartoonNetwork.com and starwars.com for people who might have trouble with this sort of thing.

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5 Responses to “Is Clone Wars Too Violent For The Younglings?”

  1. linux virus Says:

    WOW, I found your site on yahoo searching for something completely unrelated, now I’m gonna need to go through the old posts. Good bye my spare time this morning, but this was a truly great find.

  2. Ally Says:

    I’m 11 and LOVE The Clone Wars. I’m not gonna be like “That guy got away with doing this and that so I will too,” and neither will any other kid. Adults need to understand that we see A LOT more violence in video games then we ever will in TCW.

  3. mike Says:

    I have to say, (and I’m a man) appalled to a degree that wouldn’t be nice to write about the violence i saw on a clone wars episode I saw my son watching. Completely unfit for this type. Killing in cartoons when I grew up was non – existence and even when mentioned, does not have to be graphically shown (as I saw Darth Maul put a vibroblade thru a chest of a woman the other day). GONE TO FAR! Yes video games are violent as said above – but I still consider the day and age we live in and what monitors these events. WE are letting these writers add fuel to a ‘fire’ that has gotten out of hand. Email me if you feel what I’m saying.

  4. JacksonBegley Says:

    I am aware that it’s a cartoon, but the subject matter shouldn’t be watered down. I mean come on. It’s Star Wars.

  5. David K Says:

    I think the show got darker and more violent as it aged, but that worked for me since the show started when I was in elementary school and ended by the time I had grown up considerably. I think as the show progressed it became less and less of a kid show and more fit for all audiences to truly enjoy. I used to watch the show with my dad, and never once did he say and think that the show was too violent for me. There are way worse things on TV, and having this show keep kids from more gruesome things made it work out. Plus, it was rated PG, so parental guidence was encouraged. If parents were mad about their kids watching his show, it was their fault for not looking into what their kids were watching. All in all, the clone wars didn’t deserve a higher rating, but instead people just had to come to terms that this wasn’t your average cartoon.

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