If you’re not watching A Series of Unfortunate Events with your kids, you’re totally missing out. Jacob and I are completely addicted to this Netflix Original! We’ve been watching two episodes a night for the last three nights and are, unfortunately (ha!) getting super close to the end of the 8-episode first season. Reviewers have raved about the dark humor, the costumes, and, of course, the acting, but I think one thing they’ve missed out on is the opportunity to talk about just how darn educational this show is. Yep, educational! Check out the trailer, then read on to see why you should be watching this show with your kids!
Why You Should Watch A Series of Unfortunate Events with Your Kids
First, let’s talk about the educational aspect of the show. What can you learn from a black comedy filled with weird woes, a bleak environment, and sinister characters? Oddly, quite a bit! I cannot tell you how much I adore the sheer amount of new vocabulary words that my son is learning as we watch the show. Lemony Snicket, played by Patrick Warburton (whom my husband described as having “an amazing radio voice”) cuts into the scenes as he narrates to explain, and in some cases illustrate, what different words mean. I love that both the books and the series never talk down to kids. This was one of my favorite selling points for the Captain Underpants series (yes, different author and genre, but the same wonderful way of getting kids excited about learning new words).
Count Olaf's productions do not warrant applause but a refund, a word which here means full reimbursement for such self-indulging antics. pic.twitter.com/NZoa4hlT3W
— Unfortunate Events (@Unfortunate) January 24, 2017
Along with a ton of new vocab, kids actually learn a bit about grammar as the story progresses. Most notably, episodes 3 & 4 focus on Aunt Josephine, a once “fierce and formidable” woman now driven by fear and finding solace in the wonderful world of grammar. Her grammar lessons play a pivotal role in the episodes’ outcome. When grammar and new vocab words are presented in such a fun way, our kids are far more likely to remember them and absorb the lessons.
The show also encourages an overall love of learning. Violet, Klaus, and yes, even sharp-toothed baby Sunny, are incredibly intelligent kids who rely almost entirely on their own wits to thwart Count Olaf’s (played by the incredibly talented Neil Patrick Harris) dastardly attempts to steal their enormous family fortune. We’ve quickly learned (and not just because we were told in the first episode) then when Violet ties back her hair, she’s getting super serious about inventing a way out of their latest predicament. Libraries also play a significant role in the stories, reminding kids that sometimes the answers to the toughest questions are right at their fingertips. In a world where our kids are bombarded with shows that glorify acting like mindless dolts, any show that celebrates intelligence is a win in my book.
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) January 27, 2017
I think one thing that appeals to kids (and creates so much frustration throughout the series for the Baudelaire children) is that the kids in the show are far smarter than the adults. The scary thing is, that’s not exactly as far from fantasy as we parents would like to think. The show often explores a world in which kids just aren’t given enough credit or listened to as intently as adults. Nearly every “unfortunate event” following the “demise” of the children’s parents could have been avoided if just one adult had taken the time to really listen to the kids’ warnings about Count Olaf. Like Alice in Wonderland (the original novel, not so much the movies), it beautifully, and tragically, illustrates a world where kids’ opinions and thoughts are dismissed simply because of their age.
Of course, educational value means absolutely nothing if the show isn’t entertaining. Fortunately, A Series of Unfortunate Events has oodles of entertainment values! Along with dark humor and atmosphere up the wazoo, it also has “rewatch value” beyond anything we’ve seen lately. Considering that most Netflix Originals take a year off in between series, this goes a long way towards easing the withdrawals after a good series binge session. The show has a ton of Easter Eggs hidden throughout the eight episodes, many of which Jake and I didn’t even notice this first time around. We’ll watch it again with fresh eyes in a few months to see what we missed, then possibly one more time right before the next season begins.
A Series of Unfortunate Events isn’t exactly a “happily ever after” fairy tale. In fact, from the ominous theme song to the Snicket’s dire warning in the series opener, we’re warned way in advance that this is not going to be a happy tale. Still, it’s incredibly fun to watch for both kids and parents alike. Jake and I both highly recommend it!
Did you already watch A Series of Unfortunate Events with your kids? Tell me what you love about it!
*This post is in no way sponsored by or through affiliation with Netflix. I just wanted to share it because we’ve become such instant fans of the show!