When they began the show on YouTube many years ago, brothers and Ask the StoryBots creators Gregg and Evan Spiridellis wanted to make a show that parents would actually enjoy watching with their kids. "We would sit on the couch and watch with our kids, because we loved our kids," Gregg says in an interview with Romper, "but there’s very little out there that was designed to entertain both us as well as the kids, the way Disney and Pixar have done in movie theaters." Let's be honest, if your kid enjoys something you're probably going to be seeing a lot of it — it might as well be something you can get a kick out of.
If you've never seen Ask the StoryBots, the show follows four cartoon robots who respond to a preschooler's question like "How Do Ears Hear?" or "How Do Computers Work?" Every episode features a celebrity guest to help illustrate the lesson — Snoop Dogg has the honor of explaining computers. The impressive roster of celebrity guests, lively animation, and catchy hip hop music (as well as one or two jokes that might go over your little one's head) keep the show fun for adults. Considering small children's penchant for repetition, this feature might just be a sanity-saver.
Now in its third season, Gregg and Evan say the show has simply gotten better. They better understand the world and the characters, and the lessons have gotten more complex as well.
One of Gregg's favorite episodes from Season 3 explains DNA and is titled, "Why Do People Look Different?" Reggie Watts guest stars as a nurse caring for several puppet babies. They all look different because of a little thing called DNA, he explains. The episode then dives into an elaborate factory metaphor in which chromosomes, nucleotides, ribosomes, and proteins all have a job to do in creating a person's particular traits.
I can honestly say that it is the first time biology has ever made any sort of sense to me. "I couldn’t have told you the answer before we started researching and producing these," Evan, who is on the same page as me, says. "But then trying to boil it down and figure out how to explain it to a 5-year-old so that they understand it — it’s a big challenge, but also really rewarding when you can pull it off."
But, of course, what fun is science if it doesn't also make you laugh? (I have Bill Nye the Science Guy to thank for that little lesson.) A third season standout — at least from a comedy perspective — is Jason Sudeikis who guest stars as Roger the Plumber in "What Happens When You Flush The Toilet?"
"He had us laughing the entire shoot," Evan says. And in a Season 2 episode, "What Is Electricity?" Evan says Edward Norton (who was nominated for an Emmy for his performance) was so hilarious on set he "ruined a handful of takes laughing out loud while [Norton] was working."
Your kids may not be able to appreciate the comedic genius of Norton's discount electronic store owner, Gary (and his local access commercial), but you definitely will.
But perhaps the last thing that everyone of all ages can appreciate about Ask the StoryBots is the show's essential optimism. "The characters, like the real world, it's not always easy for them," Evan says. "And they never lose their spirit or their optimism or their sense of fun."
And the show really is fun. So yes, you should sit on the couch and watch StoryBots with your kids, because you love your kids, but also because you actually enjoy it.
Ask the Storybots Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.
Editor's note: an earlier version of this article inaccurately identified Gregg and Evan Spiridellis. The error has been corrected.