The Great North

  • TV Show
  • TV-PG
  • Created by Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin, Wendy Molyneux, and Minty Lewis
  • Reviewed by Kit

The following are out of 5

Racial Representation: 5

LGBTQ+ Representation: 5

Disability Representation: 0

Body Size Representation: 5

Gender Representation: 5

Socioeconomic Representation: 2

Mental Health Representation: 0

Religious Representation: 0

Own Voice: No

The Great North is an absolute gem of adult animation, especially considering how trashy and bigoted the genre can be. It’s a sitcom set in the eccentric Alaskan town of Lone Moose, focused on the incredibly quirky and tightly knit Tobin Clan and their various odd and sometimes fantastical adventures. This show has one of the best depictions of a loving family dynamic that refreshingly turns the typical cartoon/sitcom cliches about bitter dysfunctional family members and infantile incompetent patriarchs on their heads. The Tobins are deeply in tune with each other’s weirdness and are always supportive of each other’s goals. The oddness of the family stops their dynamic from turning overly sweet. While Beef, the father of the family, is humorously asocial and kicks off various conflicts with his odd beliefs and terrible social skills he’s an incredibly intuitive and devoted single father to his four kids, snapping into action whenever anything threatens them and stops at nothing to resolve their problems. Ham, the second oldest of the family is an out gay teen and is completely accepted by his family and community which is amusingly pointed out in the first episode where he dramatically comes out for the nth time. He soon develops a cute, down-to-earth, and largely conflict-free relationship with Crispin, a classmate of his. After Crispin’s introduction they simply become an item without a lot of fanfare, same as a lot of straight sitcom couples and they both have a bunch of plot-lines outside of their identities. The coming out episode cliches are mocked in the episode “Say It Again, Ham Adventure” where Ham is determined to have his “dramatic, mildly upsetting” coming out story and the rest of the family decide to arrange a coming out event with a more distant relation to make it happen. The marriage between oldest son Wolf and Honeybee is one of the most solid and fun to watch in any modern bit of animation. Their unconventional relationship is deeply rooted in their mutual love of cinema and unorthodox way of thinking. Later episodes would introduce the rest of Honeybee’s family, the Shaws who have a whole raft of eccentricities of their own, a welcome subversion of the restrictive nature of “good representation” of black families in sitcoms. There are also several Native Alaskan, more specifically Yupik, secondary characters, all voiced by Yupik actors. These include the mayor of the town, who lacks a lot of the quirks the other townsfolk have but he’s a highly competent civil servant who manages to keep his community out of too much trouble (another rarity in adult animation) and Delmar, a father figure to Beef and beloved grandfather to the Tobin children.

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