by Michelle Erica Green

This review originally appeared on the now-defunct site FamilyWonder.com, which showcased children's entertainment for parents and caregivers.

Grade: C+
Network: Fox Family
Best For Ages: 2-5

Utilizing an unusual style of digital animation, ANGELA ANACONDA centers on a wisecracking girl with a wild imagination that sometimes runs away with her. Both the humor and style are better suited to preteens, but the situations are firmly rooted in the tribulations of elementary school life.

Parental Advisory:
Educational Value: Angela has a terrific imagination and brainstorms her way out of many sticky situations. However, her undisciplined behavior and frequent name-calling may displease some parents.

Entertainment Value: Although the action moves quickly, Angela's annoying voice and the jittery digital cut-and-paste graphics, some of which are black and white layered over color backgrounds, can be rather disconcerting especially for younger viewers. Adults familiar with MONTY PYTHON cartoons may enjoy them, however.

Gender/Racial Issues: The "popular" girls behave more like stereotypes than the boys.

Profanity: None, though kids talk about sucking up to teachers and frequently call one another "stupid."

Questionable Behavior: Kids evade homework, torment one another over their clothing and toy choices, form cliques, lie to adults, and show little respect for teachers and authority figures.

Sex/Nudity: Some mild flirting with a few girls taking on stereotypical bimbo roles.

Violence: Angela fantasizes about using super-human means to imprison her enemies, including dropping them from tall buildings and burying them in trash cans.

ANGELA ANACONDA revolves around an elementary-school girl with a sarcastic sense of humor and little tolerance for her goody-two-shoes classmates, especially beautiful arch-nemesis Nanette Manoir. Her friends Johnny Abatti and Gina Lash help her tolerate the popular clique, led by Nanette and favored by clueless teacher Mrs. Brinks. When her peers make life difficult for Angela, she devises elaborate ways to show them up.

This Fox Family series looks like no other cartoon on television - which some viewers will love while others may despise. Co-created by PEPPER ANN producer Sue Rose, ANGELA ANACONDA sometimes resembles Terry Gilliam's wacky animation for the old MONTY PYTHON features, with highly realistic faces stuck onto stick-figure bodies. Unlike Disney cartoons, it's impossible to tell what the characters are thinking or feeling by their expressions. Their body language looks stiff and unrealistic.

The show's lessons tend to be simple: friends are more important than superficial popularity, money can't buy a really good time. Like Disney's DOUG, Angela frequently fantasizes about being older and more powerful than she really is. These dream sequences were the favorite with one seven-year-old viewer, who had trouble relating to Angela's adult-themed wisecracks like a discussion of whether teachers experience transference when their pets move up a grade.

Nanette's gleeful nastiness had an unintentional effect on young viewers: instead of condemning her, two pre-teens expressed admiration for the clever pranks she played on Angela. Like ALLY McBEAL, this show's pleasures come largely from enjoying the forbidden nasty fantasies of embarrassing one's foes. Kids who like DOUG may enjoy ANGELA ANACONDA.

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