TUTTLE TWINS Has Strong Biblical Overtones But References Other Major World Religions

Photo via Angel Studios

TUTTLE TWINS Has Strong Biblical Overtones But References Other Major World Religions

By Movieguide® Contributor

TUTTLE TWINS is an Angel Studios-produced TV series starring Natalie Madsen, Jonny Vance, Alex Hall, and William Lucas and is available on YouTube. The show was created by Daniel Harmon and is an adaptation of the book series of the same name. The show centers around Hispanic twins, Emily and Ethan, who go on adventures through time and dimensions to learn about economics, politics, civics, and principles of leading a good life with Gabby, their grandma.  

When Grandma Gabby comes to live with them, Emily and Ethan discover she has created a time machine and interdimensional portal out of her senior mobility scooter/wheelchair. In each episode, Grandma Gabby transports them to the past and sometimes another dimension. Then the twins must apply the knowledge gained in their travels in order to return home and solve a predicament. Whenever the twins have a problem, Grandma is there to take them wherever they need to go.    

Karinne, a classmate and neighbor, is there to thwart their plans or make them more difficult, but she isn’t painted as a strict villain. She switches between the roles of bully, provoker of conflicts, investigator, and the competition. Karinne constantly tries to find out why Grandma and the twins keep disappearing, but she hasn’t been able to decide yet what to do about reporting them. Karinne is thus not truly threatening, though her character still manages to be intriguing.  

Emily and Ethan encounter obstacles real-life kids might face. They sell lemonade and corn dogs, complete art projects and struggle through team rivalry at a science camp. They try to settle what dessert to make for a fundraiser, and they earn prizes at a carnival. This show is different from many TV shows marketed to children and fresh in that the lessons are about being inventive and entrepreneurial, responsible with money, a good citizen, reforming the government, and accomplishing personal goals.  

This show has a mixed worldview with strong Biblical overtones. There are a few references to Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and other religions. In one episode, the kids learn from Mother Teresa, and her Christian virtues are upheld. Forgiveness and generosity are big in this show, as Ethan and Emily forgive Karinne and try to befriend her even though she is difficult. One of the historical figures the twins meet is Mahatma Gandhi, who promotes the Christian value of forgiveness.  

However, when he tells them about the Golden Rule, he spontaneously does yoga poses, and with no hesitation, the kids do poses with him. It distracts from what he is trying to say. There is another time when Ethan does yoga on the side while another activity goes on. The show promotes a just form of capitalism, as well as discussing socialism and communism and repudiating them. Family is upheld, with the twins’ parents being supportive and fairly smart rather than stupid. However, sometimes the moral content and actions taken by characters in the show undermines the effectiveness of the show’s positive worldview elements.  

While the show features fresh civics education and generally upholds virtues such as responsibility and freedom, it has a substantial dose of morally distracting humor. Few of these jokes are necessary to the story, such as a reference to nudity about a man in a kilt. Infrequent language includes at least one d-word and profanities using the word “holy” in combination with other words. There are many crude references, light sexual jokes or references, and violent thoughts in some moments of the show. Violence includes crashes and explosions but no on-screen blood or deaths. However, a burning wig flies past a window, implying off-screen deaths. 

Derek, a raccoon, is not depicted as the most morally upstanding of creatures, showcases much of the series’ miscellaneous immorality and crude humor. Derek bites through a man’s back pocket and is shown hanging on.  Derek has a big problem with gluttony and by extension habits of stealing. Additionally, Derek has an evil twist to him and at a couple of points is ready to kill with a spiked baseball bat. Actions, occurrences, or dialogue might rebuke Derek’s moral failings or implicitly show his actions to be wrong in some fashion at some point in the show. However, Derek is a very active raccoon and usually slips away from efforts to contain him or his bad behavior. In one episode, he looks at a female creature who is not a raccoon in the same way he looks at food, strongly implying he is lusting after her.  

Grandma also has some faults. Grandma receives flirtatious comments about how good-looking she is and makes comments such as saying that Benjamin Franklin was a good kisser. She gives the audience misdirection that a drink may be alcoholic, but it turns out to be ginger ale. In the show, alcohol references and use is light, with two other scenes at a bar. Alcohol is pictured and drinking happens between two scheming men. There is also some light lying by Grandma Gabby.  Other negative content includes deception and vengefulness, though resolved. The first episode has lessons about stealing, so the bad guys who steal are rebuked. 

While the content is less than savory, some aspects of the technical production shine. The show’s music is well-produced and enhances the story. The camera movement is funny and creative, with pans and reveals timed excellently for much comedic effect. The animation’s contribution to the experience of the story is funny and well-done. 

The writing is good but in some parts does not excel. In the dialogue, there are genuinely funny moments and comedic payoffs. Characters break the fourth wall a number of times and at least one character is aware they are all in a children’s TV show. The series draws humor from being tongue-in-cheek, strongly capitalist, anti-communist, and satirical. The knowledge juice which powers their escapades always runs out midway through the trip, and that is a clever way to keep the stakes high so that the twins will learn and review the lessons the show wants them to learn. The writing is also strongly expositional. Sometimes this is funny, but periodically it is overdone. Even with comedy, sometimes there is simply too much information being spoken rather than shown.  

Overall, the show is good quality children’s civics and economics education, although with some unneeded, unpleasant elements in poor taste distracting from the story and detracting its quality. As with all media for children, one should question how it is forming minds and hearts. MOVIEGUIDE advises that discernment is required for older children.  

Quality: - Content: +1
Quality: - Content: +4