Skip To Content

    19 Times Kids TV Shows Did A Really Good Job Of Handling A Serious Subject

    Because some things are important to know about from a young age!

    We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about a time they thought a kids TV show handled a serious subject really well. Here are some of their responses!

    1. The "True Colours" episode of That's So Raven where Raven exposes a racist recruiter at a clothing shop who won't hire her because she's Black.

    Disney Channel

    2. When Sesame Street directly addressed the death of one of the shows actors, Mr. Hooper, and Big Bird learns about coming to terms with it.


    "The actor had passed away and instead of writing him out somehow (moved away etc) they dealt with it head-on in a way that was thoughtful and sensitive to the way children think and perceive."


    3. When Blue Peter did a segment explaining racism and the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.


    "Our media has been pretty poor at conveying why this is so important in the UK and Blue Peter succeeded in a kids show where adult programming and news has failed!"


    4. In As Told by Ginger, when Ginger invites her dad to a recital in the hopes he will show up and has to face being let down by him.


    "Ginger’s mother sends her flowers, knowing the dad won’t follow through, and signs them from him. Ginger knows what she did and thanks her mother."


    5. How The Story of Tracy Beaker showed throughout its run that there's no one "type" of child who experiences the care system.


    "You had everyone from temporary foster kids, aged-out kids, poor income, and wealthy families – and a great diverse cast for something that started in 2002!"


    6. In Doc McStuffins, when she helps someone who is feeling self-conscious about their stutter and reminds them that it's nothing to be ashamed of.

    Disney Junior

    "She explains how even though it's hard for the words to come out it doesn't mean you're broken. My husband grew up stuttering and still stutters so when he watched this with our kids he was ready to cry. He was bullied growing up for his stutter (and has been fired because of it), but that episode is such a great explainer to kids and adults about the basics of what stutterers deal with."


    7. How Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood explains how people can be different from us in a way that's super-accessible for small kids, for example when Chrissy tells everyone why she uses crutches.

    PBS Kids

    "My daughter watches Daniel Tiger a lot and I appreciate the way they discuss some serious subjects. It's definitely a less advanced approach because it's geared toward preschoolers, but they talk about death and loss, handling anger and frustration, how to work through jealousy of a new sibling, and differences between individuals (Prince Wednesday's cousin, Chrissy, uses crutches and braces to walk and the other kids are curious about it. Prince Wednesday gets defensive about his cousin, but Chrissy lets the other kids ask her questions without making them feel bad)."


    8. The body-positive moment in That's So Raven, when Raven finds out the magazine she posed for edited her to look thinner, and so decides to call them out on their narrow beauty standards.

    Disney Channel

    "She gets angry (rightfully so) and at the end of the episode, shows up to model her dress at a fashion show, where she was supposed to let someone thinner walk on the runway. And she totally rocks it. As someone who struggled with body image and an eating disorder at the airing of the episode, it was really nice and showed that all types of bodies are beautiful."


    9. The depiction of anxiety and suffering from panic attacks in Alexa & Katie.


    "At the end of season three, Katie has a panic attack on her way to take the SAT, and is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. The scene where Katie has the attack is heartbreaking; it’s really realistic and well done. They don’t just sweep this issue under the rug after this one episode, throughout season four anxiety is something that is openly discussed between Alexa and Katie and Katie and her mom."

    "She has another panic attack in season four, in which a friend helps her through it with realistic methods for doing so. I’ve never seen a kids show that openly talked about mental health issues or therapy, and they did it so, so well. As someone with anxiety, I felt incredibly seen by this show. I wish I’d had it around when I was younger."


    10. The "Alone at Sea" episode of Steven Universe where Lapis tells Jasper that she doesn't want to be a part of their unhealthy relationship anymore – showing the importance of asserting boundaries and leaving when someone is abusive towards you.

    Cartoon Network

    "The episode ends with Lapis telling Jasper that what they had was unhealthy, which was a good way to teach kids they have the power to say 'no' when someone is abusive toward them. Steven himself is great in the episode and works as a support system for Lapis to get over her trauma."


    11. When Hey Arnold! showed Helga getting therapy and talking about the difficulties she faces at home with her neglectful parents.


    "The way that they explained Helga's anger from her mother's alcoholism, her father's disinterest, and having to live in the shadow of a 'perfect' older sister. Seeing the reason Helga was angry and a bit of a bully really helped me to see some of my classmates differently. Plus, it normalised therapy for me as a kid – something that has helped as an adult."


    12. And the "Parent's Day" episode where Arnold feels upset about not having his 'real' parents there, before realising his grandparents are just as good as his peers' parents.


    "I found that episode so comforting because I was also raised by a grandparent."


    13. The "When Carl Met George" episode of Arthur where George makes friends with Carl – who has Asperger's Syndrome – and learns about the way he sees the world.


    "I use Brain’s explanation to show people what it’s like in my own head sometimes. It helps as a general guide and I like the way they emphasise the idea that things are different for everyone. I also love seeing the characters treat their autistic friend, Carl, like he’s just one of the gang. It’s how I wish things had been for me."


    14. The entirety of Steven Universe Future – which is an epilogue to Steven Universe –and shows Steven processing all the traumatic things he went through and witnessed when he was younger.

    Cartoon Network

    "The 20-episode conclusion/epilogue to the series tackles what happens when you’ve gone through or witnessed traumatic events as a child, and the lasting mental consequences that can have."


    15. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody episode where London and Maddie both are affected by hurtful comments about their bodies before coming to accept themselves as they are.

    Disney Channel

    "They have a fashion show and London’s friend insults everyone telling London she’s too curvy and Maddie she’s too thin. Considering how similar the girls’ body types were, it really reinforced how much someone’s mean comments can change a person’s point of view."


    16. When Sesame Street discussed opoid addiction and Karli talks about the support group her mum goes to for it.


    "I’m older now, but I grew up with that and my sister deals with addiction. I watched it and cried because I thought it was beautiful and explained the child’s feelings. Showed it to my brother in law and my nieces so the girls could see that it’s normal to feel what they are feeling and they can talk about it."


    17. And the one where Rosita feels upset by the stereotyped Mexican character in the book she's reading, so decides to make her own book.


    "One episode showed Rosita so excited to get a book about a girl who was Mexican like her, and all it showed was a girl in a sombrero sleeping on a cactus. Her friends encouraged her to write her own book about what she likes to do, not stereotyping. It was on a kid level, but still got the point across about stereotypes and representation."


    18. Jessie becoming addicted to caffeine pills on Saved By The Bell showed just how quickly someone can spiral into addiction (FYI, it was initially meant to be speed she was addicted to but that was deemed as too "serious" for the time of day the show aired.)


    "Does Saved By The Bell count as a kids show? Because if so – Jessie Spano’s legendary addiction to caffeine pills takes the cake on Very Special Episodes on drugs! 'I’m so excited' jokes aside, it was actually pretty well done"


    19. When Stephanie learns one of her classmates is being physically abused by his dad in Full House and decides to tell an adult what's happening.


    "At the end of the episode they did a PSA to tell viewers that child abuse is a very real thing and what you can do about it. In fact most shows in the '90s had PSAs at the end of the episode and I don't understand why they discontinued doing that. Even Sonic the Hedgehog did one about what to do if an adult touched you inappropriately."


    Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Want to be featured in future posts like this? Make sure to follow the BuzzFeed Community on Facebook and Twitter!