Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Peppa Pig

Let's be honest: if you're a parent, most children's programming is pretty annoying. At least, I think it is.

But, we've found some exceptions. In fact, Marla's favorite cartoon - pretty much the only one she asks for by name anymore - is something that Mommy and Daddy like watching too! (In moderation.) It's a British cartoon called "Peppa Pig". It airs every weekday on Nick Jr. at 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM, and at other times on weekends. Here's a sample episode:

The episodes are only five minutes long, which is a nice length, especially for a two-year old. (As if my attention span is really that much longer.)

In general, I think there's a lot to like about Peppa Pig:
- It's crudely drawn, but in a cute, clean way. (Much preferable to 3-D computer animation if you ask me!)
- The children act like children. Sometimes, they're a bit of a handful. Parents can appreciate that.
- It's not "zany" or "loud". It's pretty low key, and most of the episodes involve the characters doing normal everyday things.
- Not too much singing! Thank goodness.
- Being British, there's a good bit of dry humor that we parents can appreciate as well.

This doesn't come across so much in the above episode - after all, "Daddy Pig's job sounds very important" - but like many successful cartoons (and sitcoms), the patriarch of the family - "Daddy Pig" - is lazy, a self-proclaimed expert at everything (even though he's not, especially at reading maps) and as the Wikipedia article puts it, "round in the tummy". (Although to be fair, every adult male on the show is pretty "round".) Most episodes focus on the Pig family, but there are many support characters, most of whom have personality quirks of their own. My favorites are Pedro Pony (always late), and Miss Rabbit (who works seemingly dozens of jobs simultaneously, which is ridiculous, but it works because the writers are in on the joke).

Why does Marla like Peppa Pig? Hard to say. Maybe because she can relate to the "family unit" (except that she doesn't have a sibling)? Maybe because the animals are cute? Maybe because it's not too "zany" or "loud"? Does she just like the British accents? I don't know what it is. Seriously, Peppa Pig is the ONLY show on television that she'll sit down and watch for more than, say, 10 consecutive minutes. Any other show - even Elmo - and off she goes. Either way, she's made a fine choice, because Peppa Pig is the most entertaining children's show we've seen.

So, yeah, we don't watch it every day, but we do watch it a lot. In fact, I've been keeping track of all of the episodes that I've seen. Not counting the Christmas special, there have been four 52-episode seasons to date. (Each episode being five minutes long.) Of those 204 episodes, I've seen far. It's my goal to see every single one. That's pretty much only possible via YouTube, though, because I've noticed that Nick Jr. never airs most of the "Season 4" episodes. (There have been four 52-episode seasons to date.) But, most of them - if not all of them - are on YouTube. Even in other languages!

I guess you could say that Peppa Pig is kind of a big deal, actually. But she isn't marketed in the USA anywhere near as much as other children's programs, like Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer. Really, I think we stumbled on it by accident, only because Nick Jr. happens to air it at a convenient time. (Although it doesn't really matter when it airs anymore, because we have our DVR record every episode for us.) I wouldn't even know it existed if we didn't have a kid.

Are there other shows on Nick Jr. that I've never heard of, but that we may enjoy as much as Peppa Pig? Perhaps we'll find out some day, if Marla lets us. Until then, let's go jump up and down in muddy puddles! (Muddy puddles are a recurring theme throughout the show, first introduced in the very first episode...)

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