I am not an aficionado of children's television, but alas, I do know every episode of Peppa Pig word for sodding word.
If there is a two year old in the world that does not love Peppa, I have not met them.
It seems to have hit upon the magical combination of keeping kids amused and, at least at first, not being absolutely unwatchable for parents (I'm talking Bing or Mr Maker here. Shudder).
Despite my distaste for the show, it's obviously doing something right as it's been running for twelve years and is shown in 180 countries. That's a lot of countries. It could well be Britain's most successful televisual export. A quick google shows me that Sherlock is actually the top rated British TV program but I bet they don't make much money from Sherlock pyjamas.
There is a three step process when a new parent and their small child first discover Peppa.
1) Elation. Finally, something that captures their attention that is cute, inoffensive and even an occasional chuckle for mum or dad. They stay STILL. You get a hot cup of tea. What's not to love?
3) Regret. A year on, your toddler will ONLY wear Peppa Pig branded clothes and whines 'Pehpaaaa, Pehpaaa' whilst holding the TV remote, and you begin to curse the day you brought this 'cute', 'cheery' little series into you life. If you're not at this point yet but have already reached step 1 or 2, it's too late, you're already screwed.
We recently made a pilgrimage to Peppa Pig World.
|How is this anything but terrifying?|
Actually, I want to say awful things because of my loathing for the Pig but actually, a lovely time was had. It's the perfect size to keep a toddler entertained for a day. It was a bit wet and miserable but that wasn't really their fault... And this just meant the park was pretty much empty of other people's children. Thumbs up.
I couldn't have hoped for a better response from the toddler; we got there and as soon as she saw the rides and the Peppa paraphernalia she started screaming 'LOOK MUMMY IT'S DADDY PIG! HELLO DADDY PIIIIIIG' and waving maniacally at the fibreglass pigs. If she was potty trained she would have weed herself with excitement. She went on every ride and enjoyed herself enormously, as did my parents and sister who each paid £25 to witness this.
As if this wasn't enough fun for one month, I also decided to subject myself to Peppa Pig's Surprise.
That is Peppa Pig (well, not the real one, obviously. She was turned into sausages a long time ago) at the theatre. For obvious reasons, I'd never taken the toddler to the theatre before. At £15 a ticket I ummed and ahhhed until only the 'cheap seats' were left. Except they weren't cheap.
Roll forward to the day, the baby had woken up from his nap far before either of us wanted him to and the toddler was grumpy and taking ages to eat her lunch. I had, thankfully, pulled Nanny and Grandad into service to babysit in order to have some lovely bonding time with my firstborn however despite just being the two of us, we still didn't manage to leave the house on time.
I was really pleased when we arrived with 10 minutes to spare... to an absolutely full car park. After circumnavigating the entire place I realised we were a) out of luck and b) late. A flash of inspiration came to me; I could park in the valet section. After all, what is money? And the car hadn't been cleaned in the 9 months we'd had it, even though we have a dog who likes to make nose print art on the rear window.
So, for the cost of £20 we were only 5 minutes late (almost ten after they initially directed us to the wrong seats) as opposed to missing the whole show.
The toddler was very excited by it all.
Initially, anyway. She shouted a big hello to Peppa and Daddy Pig and got a little annoyed when they didn't respond.
She sat still, and paid attention throughout the whole thing - she's good like that - but I didn't see the joy spread over her that perhaps I was hoping for. It was very serious business and she was very upset in the interval that they'd gone away.
I was a bit annoyed that they couldn't be bothered to come up with a new storyline (SPOILER ALERT - they almost leave Daddy Pig buried at the beach!). The kids might not care but they could throw a bone to the hundreds of parents there; they know we suffer this crap day in, day out.
It did make me wonder briefly how fully grown adults get into this type of thing.
I expect that very few people probably dream of growing up and singing the Bing Bong song to a theatre full of screeching toddlers. I've certainly had nightmares similar. The Bing Bong song features in all of my nightmares.
As we went to to leave, you had to pass stands selling dine-saw balloons and Peppa toys. Canny. At this point I realised I had no money at all; cue a very upset toddler. Aware that I had a valeting bill to pay, we traipsed to the cash point.
All in all, a great day out.
Sadly, we are on holiday when Mr Maker is coming to town...