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Edutainment Show
aka: Edu Tainment

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"Well, Itchy & Scratchy are gone, but here's a cartoon that tries to make learning fun! ...Sorry about this, kids, but stay tuned; we've got some real good toy commercials coming right up, I swear".
Krusty the Clown, The Simpsons

As the trope's title implies, the Edutainment Show combines educational content with entertainment. As such, most shows in this genre are aimed at children; of course, some more mature fare may fit this definition, such as MythBusters. Cooking Shows, Science Shows, Nature Shows, and other TV Documentary formats (especially Docudrama programs) may also count, if they are entertaining enough. Additionally, the definition has become somewhat blurred - these days networks often pass children's programs in particular as "edutainment," when their only actual educational content is pro-social themes, such as "work together as a team", "Reading Is Cool", or "be a good friend to others" (as seen in the "Moral/Life Lessons" folder below).

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Many Edutainment Shows appear on PBS, the most famous examples being Sesame Street and Barney & Friends. Nickelodeon also has had quite a few in their Nick Jr. block, such as Blue's Clues and Dora the Explorer, as do specialized fact-oriented cable networks such as the many Discovery channels, the History Channel, and Animal Planet. At least until Network Decay sets in.

In the United States, since 1990, networks are required to air at least 3 hours of educational material a week; the tag "E/I" (for "Educational/Informative") was created to denote such shows (though in the case of stations carrying Saved by the Bell, the rules are susceptible to Loophole Abuse if An Aesop is fit into the show in just the right way, and they can count as E/I). Now you know what the And Knowing Is Half the Battle is referring to.

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Religious Edutainment is a subgenre designed to teach and promote the values of a certain faith as well as every Magazine Show which mixes subjects. For the Video Game counterpart, see Edutainment Game. For the Music counterpart, see Educational Song. See also Propaganda Piece.


Examples by subjects:

    open/close all folders 

    Morals/Life Lessons 

    English/Reading 
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    Mathematics 

    Science 
See Science Show General

Biology - Animals (Zoology) See Nature Show

Biology - Human Physiology

Paleontology

Physics

  • In a way, Death Battle. Not only does it educate the viewers on the combatants in question, but they also frequently discuss real world scientific calculations and feats to help determine the fighters' maximum performance.
  • Dr. Stone has aspects of this, with episodes devoted to everything from how electricity works to the process of making glass. Also deals with the importance of technology (and what technology is in the grand scheme of things)

Chemistry

Astronomy

Engineering/Technology

  • The 8-Bit Guy: Demonstrates how vintage technologies work and goes in depth on their history.
  • Argo's World
  • The Ben Heck Show
  • Blaze and the Monster Machines, along with overlap with mathematics
  • Chico Bon Bon: Monkey with a Tool Belt
  • Cro
  • The Fixies
  • Futurescape with James Woods: Speculation on future technologies, and how they might actually be achieved.
  • Happy Heroes averts this for the most part, but it does have a mini-season called Happy Heroes and the Magical Lab where exposition of how certain components in pieces of technology work is given a focus, specifically through Doctor H. giving these explanations in the Once per Episode "Explain This!" segments.
  • The Head First books manage to do this in a book form. And they're both entertaining and educational. This being a series that deals with subjects like math and computer programming.
  • How It's Made tours factories and details the process of how everyday items or foods are produced.
  • I Love Toy Trains
  • James May's Man Lab
  • Lazy Game Reviews: The "Oddware" series discusses obsolete and obscure computer peripherals and software, while "Tech Tales" goes in depth about the history of once influential technology companies.
  • Modern Marvels: A closer look at the history of technology, including its failures.

    Social Studies 
Geography
  • ARIA talks a great deal about aspects of Venetian history and architecture, thanks to the story being set in a near perfect replica of Venice.
  • Carmen Sandiego:
  • The Country Mouse and City Mouse Adventures
  • Dirty Jobs: Mike Rowe travels around the country (and occasionally planet) finding jobs many would find too repulsive, physically strenuous, or both to work.
  • Elena of Avalor : Incorporates elements of Spanish culture
  • Fancy Nancy : Teaches kids about French culture, with a dash of fashion.
  • Fin, Fur, and Feather Bureau of Investigation
  • Franny's Feet
  • The long-running Honeymoon series of Drama CDs is half a situation CD about various newlyweds enjoying their time together and half a piece talking about trivia from each country the honeymoons are set in.
  • Geography Now
  • Go Jetters: Teaches about geography, particularly the signature landmarks of various countries.
  • Let's Go Luna!
  • Maya & Miguel
  • Molly of Denali
  • Mouk: Two kids travel around the world to learn about different world cultures
  • Postcards from Buster is a Spin-Off of Arthur with a focus on geography instead of life lessons; Buster travels around the world and shows off the culture, people, and hobbies of a certain place.
  • Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat
  • Super Wings does shift into teaching morals once in a while, but its premise keeps this topic on-stage
  • The early seasons of Upin & Ipin were supposed to teach children about Ramadan.

History

  • Eighteen Sixty Five The attention to historical detail, plus the bonus episodes exploring the history behind the fiction, mean that is is possible to learn quite a bit about the history of the Johnson Administration and the politics of late 1860s America. Likewise, the bonus episodes also provide quite a bit of information about what goes into the making of an audio drama podcast.
  • The Archers was originally conceived as a way to make British farms more productive by teaching good practice; it's long since outgrown this and become a straight Soap Opera, but still takes pride in the accuracy of its farming-related storylines, retaining an "Agricultural Story Editor" for this purpose.
  • BBC Historical Farm Series
  • Conquest
  • Deadliest Warrior gets into the nitty-gritty of history: wars, different warriors, how they fought, and their weapons. Controversy or no, they dig up the most brutal aspects of humanity and pit them together in all their bloody glory.
  • Doctor Who: As odd as it seems in retrospect, this show started out as edutainment. The show was originally meant to alternate between stories set in the past that would teach kids history, and those set in the future, or on other planets, that would teach science (hence the first two companions being a history teacher and a science teacher). Then the Daleks showed up, became massively popular, and changed the emphasis of the show to pure sci-fi and scary monsters rather than education.
    • Some of the stories from the first two seasons of the original series illustrate what Doctor Who was intended to be — chiefly most of the historical stories (e.g. "Marco Polo," in which our heroes meet Marco Polo in the Pamirs and travel all the way to Peking with him).
    • Verity Lambert fought to get the Dalek story on TV by playing the edutainment card. According to modern accounts, she told her boss, Sydney Newman, that the story could teach us that we must curb our more belligerent tendencies, with the barren, radioactive wasteland of Skaro as their logical conclusion.
    • Edutainment still shows up as late as Troughton, although sporadically - "The Moonbase", written by an actual scientist, contains a scene where Ben lectures Polly (and the audience) in how the design of spray bottles works, and a scene where Polly explains some basic organic chemistry to Ben concerning solvents, plastic and nail varnish.
  • Drunk History
  • Fat, French and Fabulous
  • The Gaming Historian: Overlaps with Engineering/Technology and Arts for coverage of video game history.
  • The Great War: Week by week coverage of the events of World War One in real time on their centennial anniversary.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers teaches history (questionably) and a little bit about culture between (often with) all the Ho Yay and gags. (Although the manga's depiction of Korea has sparked controversy in South Korea.)
  • Histeria!
  • History Buffs
  • History Matters
  • Horrible Histories
  • Liberty's Kids: A surprisingly sophisticated show that teaches about The American Revolution.
  • Mentors
  • Puppet History is a comedy webseries where a blue muppet called The Professor teaches his frenemy Ryan and a special guest about a bizarre event in world history, quizzing them so they can earn points and win the title of History Master.
  • The Rose of Versailles and Riyoko Ikeda's other historical-themed mangas somewhat qualify, as the author was extremely accurate to the historical events (and The Rose of Versailles even earned her the Légion d'honneur for it).
  • Rurouni Kenshin qualifies in the same vein as The Rose of Versailles, as the show provides plenty of information on the Meiji Era, and the Bakumatsu War that took place during the final years of the Edo period.
  • Sabaton History: A documentary series produced by the team behind The Great War and World War II channels, covering the Horrible History Metal songs of Sabaton.
  • Ten Minute History is essentially a compressed history lecture with very snarky delivery.
  • Time Bokan teaches the viewer about important historical figures and their contributions to society.
  • Truth Or Scare is a kids' program hosted by Michelle Trachtenberg that discussed supernatural-related historical events or pop culture characters. It had a gothic horror tone to it. Most of the show's content was actually taken from previously produced documentaries.
  • Unfinished London
  • Unnatural History occasionally bases its episodes on history like Sputnik, the Pony Express, and the history of Vikings in America. Unfortunately, the line between fact and fiction gets a bit murky (most likely to encourage kids and teens to do some research themselves).
  • The Victorian Way is an edutainment cooking show about cooking in Victorian England, featuring a snarky cook named Mrs. Crocombe.
  • World War II: Week by week history of World War 2, a pseudo-sequel to The Great War.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum
  • Yo Soy Taíno: A short predominantly exposition about Puerto Rican history and Taíno Mythology.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Taught kids about history and people who changed the world through the young eyes of everyone's favorite whip-wielding hero.
  • Zinnia Jones

Arts

Economics

  • The Centsables
  • Looney Tunes: Three shorts, By Word of Mouse, Heir Conditioned and Yankee Dood It, were financed by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and provided lessons on how the American economy works (mass production/consumption, investing, etc.), with bits of comedy in between.
  • Parking Wars: A show about people with traffic enforcement jobs. It partially teaches about parking regulations.
  • Secret Millionaires Club

    Mixed Subjects 

News Magzine See Magazine Show


Statler: Say, Waldorf, do you think this show counts as edutainment?
Waldorf: Don't see why not. After all, it encourages people to quit watching and read books!
Both: Doh-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho!

Alternative Title(s): Edu Tainment

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