We love Peppa Pig.
For the uninitiated Peppa is an animated cartoon pig who lives with her Mum and Dad (Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig) and her little brother George. Her best friend is Suzy Sheep. I'm not sure when we first became acquainted with her... like many of these things it happens by osmosis without really trying. We don't watch it really frequently but it does provide a good uninterrupted 5 minutes every now and again.
I accept that (as with all TV children's characters) she's a merchandising phenomenon with her image on everything from back-packs to duvet covers and even now a theme park in Hampshire. It's success is displayed in the fact that gross revenue for Peppa merchandise in the UK in 2010 was over £200 million. Doubling the £100 million it achieved in 2009. Who knows how much it must be if you add in Australia and other parts of the world?!
Despite this we do love the simplicity of the shows and the fact that there's often as much for the parents as the kids. Apparently all of the frames are hand drawn rather than computer generated.
We're lucky too that Grandma posts regular comics from the UK (the kids love receiving them). I sat with Audrey for 20 minutes this morning (at 6am!!) completing the puzzles in one of the Peppa Pig magazines and sticking in the stickers. Was it educational, I don't know. Was it fun (for both of us) definitely.
I've had conversations with another dad as to whether the show is 'classist' - the professionals who feature on the TV show (Dr Brown Bear the GP for example) tend to have 'posh' accents whereas the blue-collar workers (Mr Bull, Mr Fox etc) tend to speak with regional dialects (Dr Hamster the vet being the exception) . The same dad also suspected there was a degree of sexism with Daddy Pig often made to be the fall-guy in some of the jokes whereas Miss Rabbit possesses plenty of 'girl power'
Personally I haven't got the same hang-ups about it (perhaps because I'm often the butt of the jokes in our family anyway). I came upon this tosh though from the Daily Mail yesterday (I followed a link there)
Click on the image if you want to read the whole gumph written.
I'm certainly not 'despairing' - sure our kids sometimes answer us back and both Audrey and Eli possibly have a greater penchant for jumping in muddy puddles than they perhaps would have done if they hadn't watched Peppa, but I think there's far more potentially damaging things on TV than Peppa.
We were in a public children's play area last week where they started showing a cartoon with devils, demons and evil figures on it (we left) and we've been puzzled by the amount of Disney cartoons which have an obligatory 'baddie' which can frighten the bejeesus out of our two (pre-school) kids.
Of course there's lots of nasty things in the world so it's not great to wrap your children in cotton wool (I don't think we do this) but 'despairing' about the bad influence of Peppa Pig, really?
Snort. I'm falling over laughing.