If you haven't heard about "Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh" yet, you're in for a ride. This underrated show currently streaming on Netflix is a hilarious TV adaptation of the Dreamworks film, "Home," and has all the qualities of a great and valuable TV show for kids and adults.
Not only is the show entertaining, it also unexpectedly teaches us things in ways we hadn’t considered. Because TV plays a strong role in reflecting and advancing culture, a key measure of a quality show is the work it does to normalize diversity—and "Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh" doesn't shy away from this.
One of the first things you notice about the show is their non-traditional family: a single mother, her daughter and their adopted alien. The Afro-Caribbean female lead, Tip, can be seen throughout the show with the smushed afro us natural-haired girls know all too well.
Unlike many children's shows, "Adventures with Tip & Oh" brings the day-to-day experiences of black women of color to the screen. As a black woman myself, I cannot recall having ever seeing a show perfectly illustrate the frustration that goes with “Afro-bedhead,” complete with lint and feathers. Along with being a woman of color, Tip provides a strong female character that sees no shame in her assertiveness or individuality. She is the fearless role model to inspire us all.
In case you're wondering where to start, I've compiled some of the biggest takeaways and best episodes in the series for each age group. Here's why "Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh" is the perfect show for kids and adults:
Ages 6 to 12
Takeaways: The show sets a foundation for holistic self-worth. This age group will learn messages that personality is equally, if not more, important than physical appearance.
What will attract them: Humorous/ awkward situations, culture of the Boovs (a friendly intergalatic species)
Best character: Tip's character offers an introduction to a strong confident female role model. She believes in herself beyond all else and is not afraid to take risks to chase her dreams.
Season 1, Episode 10
Oh (a Boov) wants to fit in with the other girls who are Tip's age. After reading a teen magazine, he hosts a sleepover and invites a few of Tip's classmates. Pom Pom comes along and uses the other girls to ridicule Tip for not having a real boyfriend. After being locked out of the house, Oh realizes Pom Pom is not the type of friend he wanted. When it comes to friends it's quality over quantity.
This episode teaches children the importance of building healthy and respectful friendships. Oh perfectly illustrates the challenges young kids face on both ends of finding new friendships and imparts a great lesson: Don't get new friends at the cost of hurting your old friends.
Season 2, Episode 2
For the first time, Tip finds requited affection in the form of her crush Keanu, but she loses her voice while practicing how she will ask him to the dance. In this episode, the viewer learns the importance of finding someone who “likes you for you.” When Tip gets her voice back she comes clean. She informs Keanu that the girl he fell for was Oh, not her. Parents can rejoice knowing this episode teaches children to avoid having relationships that are skin deep. When Tip finds out how superficial of a crush Keanu is, she learns an important lesson on the value of hard work in addition to beauty and tells him off in the best way: “You like me because I’m cute?! Cute is an accident, personality is hard! I work hard to be me and if you can't appreciate that then forget it!” What an awesome message for our kids!
Takeaways: "Adventures of Tip & Oh" offers teens and adults motivation during “tough times” along with a reminder to be open to diversity. I was reminded that anger is a healthy reaction, businesses will have hard times, and identity assumptions should be left at the door.
What will attract them: Inside jokes, current diversity topics, friendship struggles, body acceptance, gender fluidity
Best Character: Lucy, who is Tip's mom and Oh's adopted "MyMom," is a wonderful example of an adult who keeps a positive life outlook despite challenges. She’s always ready for a party and refuses to linger on bad times!
Season 1, Episode 4
When Oh gets a crush on a Boov named Krunkle, Tip fears that she will lose her best friend forever. Tip convinces her mom to follow Oh to Boovsland to sabotage Oh’s chances with Krunkle so they can be close forever. In the end, Tip misunderstood Boov dating culture and Krunkle surprises us all.
This episode is a wonderful introduction to gender fluidity and reminds us to be open to those who don’t fit the binary. When Tip refers to Krunkle as “she” because she presents as pink, Oh quickly corrects her and tells her the importance of not misgendering Krunkle. While humans have a gender binary, the Boov have seven genders, including some that have characteristics of both. This episode also shows the viewer that Krunkle's pink “delicate” presentation does not signify weakness. When Oh, Tip and Lucy find themselves in a bind, it is Krunkle who takes the lead and defeats the large monster.
Season 1, Episode 13
When Lucy's craft shop is going under, Oh and Tip do their best to increase sales by adding Boov to their clientele. But they run into a problem when the Boovs love Lucy’s art so much it is literally “good enough to eat.” Instead of coming clean with Lucy, Tip and Oh struggle to keep it a secret to preserve her happiness.
This episode gives the viewer several important messages. One of the clearest messages is the age old adage, “One man's trash is another man's treasure." Humans saw no value in Lucy's creations but to the Boov it was gourmet cuisine. The episode also shows the ups and downs of a female business owner who finds herself making significant adjustments to her target market, and it aught me the importance of hard work AND flexibility when chasing your passion. The most important messages? Don't give up. You can be successful.
"Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh" is no doubt a staple in my household. Other hot topics addressed include but are certainly not limited to: species-based discrimination, the gender spectrum, and a host of messages on independent female characters and self-acceptance.
But don't take my word for it. Check it out yourself!