The Plot at a Glance
Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh is both a sequel to and a reimagining of 2015's Home. Plot-wise, it picks up immediately after the movie with Oh moving into Tip's apartment so they can keep hanging out and get into more shenanigans.
And... that's about it, really. It's a girl and an alien who have adventures. You can't get a more basic premise than that.
This is an unexpectedly great show. It's way, way better than you'd ever expect a direct-to-streaming property based on a less-than-stellar kids' movie to be. Far, far better than such a premise needs or, frankly, deserves. This is the kind of show that might actually suffer from being linked to its property; I can see casual viewers ignoring it, but if it was a totally original show, it would make a bigger splash.
Shortly after the show started, I noticed something familiar about the character designs and the way it kept cutting to extreme close-ups of the characters making silly faces. And then I noticed Thurop Van Orman's name in the credits. Well, duh, apparently.
Thurop was the creator and showrunner behind the Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, as well as a writer for Adventure Time. If you've seen either of those, you have a pretty good idea of the tone and energy in Home. It's spastic, sometimes gross, and often way more clever than it needs to be. In other words, it's fantastic.
For better or worse, the showrunners have squished Tip and Oh into the standard Cartoon Network character mold. Oh didn't have far to go - he was already a nervous crazy-pants character, so you'll probably notice very little different about him. Tip, on the other hand, has noticeably transformed. She was sort of a fun-loving, carefree protagonist in the movie, but now she is out-and-out zany and slapsticky. Fans of the movie could be disappointed, but I feel like it was a good move - she and Oh are a lot of fun to watch together.
(Tip's mom, by the way, is completely unrecognizable now. It's kind of like the Boov killed her when Tip wasn't looking and replace her with a ditzy pod person, but Tip's been so busy adjusting to life with the new alien race to really notice. Again, not a complaint - I think she works, but hardcore Home fans who hate change could find fuel for their nerd rage.)
I don't want to give all the credit to Van Orman. Everybody involved with the show has done terrific work. The animation is great, the voice actors are terrific all across the board, the writing is sharp and funny, and the music is catchy. It's a good package the whole way around.
I also really appreciate the overall progressive feel of the show. Rarely does the show dwell on Tip being a girl, and it never has any moments where you feel like, "Say, they could've done a really cool thing here, but they didn't because girls don't do that." If the show has a funny line for her, Tip says it. If there's a good gag, Tip joins in. I like to think the best way to promote gender and racial equality in media is simply to give women and minority characters cool shit to do - and Tip does a lot of cool shit.
It's the sort of thing that I'd give praise to regardless, but it's doubly meaningful to me now that I have two daughters. I'm excited that they have something fun like this they can grow up with. Thanks for making a great show, guys.
My Score: 5 / 5
How Did Lulabelle (20 months old) React?
She loved it. Didn't watch with 100% focus, but she laughed like a maniac any time Tip or Oh acted goofy, who was often. We had a couple of good 15-minute stretches where she was invested. And she's asked to watch it again, which is really the most important test. I'll go with a 4 / 5.
How Did Sonja (2 months old) React?
She was surprisingly attentive. The bright colors kept her drawn to the screen, and she smiled whenever Lu laughed. Good enough. 4 / 5.
How Did Stephanie (My Wife) React?
She thought it was funny.
Any Useful Ethical, Educational, or Thematic Content?
Minimal. The show has a heavy focus on family and friendship, so I guess you could argue that Tip and Oh learn a lot of good lessons about forgiveness and teamwork. But that's kind of like justifying pie for breakfast since it technically contains fruit.
On the plus side, Tip is a great female comic character, and there aren't very many of those for kids. Rarely does a TV show or movie allow a girl to just be out-and-out goofy like this. If you have daughters and you'd like them to have a good sense of humor, this is an excellent show to let them watch.
Trigger Warnings / Egregious Offenses?
There's like a 5:1 minute-to-gross out joke ratio. Most of those are harmless little fart jokes or sound effects, but a few are much worse. At least one involves Oh getting a cold and leaking alien mucus everywhere while other characters slip in it. (To be fair, it's actually pretty funny.)
How Likely Are You to Be Annoyed?
20%. It depends on whether you're into the spastic antics or not. If you grew up watching / occasionally still watch Ren & Stimpy, you'll be fine. If off-the-wall goofballs tire you, steer clear.
How Likely Are You to Cry In Front of Your Kids?
Not very likely, for the most part. A few episodes tried to go for something sentimental, but most of it was just plain goofy. I'll go with 20%, but maybe closer to 40% if you're feeling on edge and you get to one of the unexpectedly heartfelt episodes.
Final Weighted Score: 5 / 5
There's nothing brain-building about this, but on the other hand, there's nothing brain-numbing, either. It's a fun show that animation nerds would probably want to watch, anyway, so feel free to share it with your kids. Even better: this is the kind of show that grows with your kids. My daughters are tiny and mostly just like the silly voices and colors, but there's jokes in here to appeal to all age ranges.