Some time ago, quietly and unnoticed, Peppa Pig slipped out of our lounge room. She might have waved a cheery wave, given a farewell snort, or even fallen down laughing as the credits rolled, but I’m not certain. All I know is that she has not visited us for quite some time and I miss her.
We have mainlined Peppa Pig in this household for over five years. We’d dabbled in Bill and Corky, flirted with Postman Pat and held hands with Thomas, but it was Peppa who stole my children’s hearts. The earnest lessons of Peppa and George, and the endlessly patient and kind Daddy and Mummy Pig (who I so often wanted to yell at through the screen, “Can’t you just say no to your little piggies, just once?”) filled the house.
I have seen 157 Peppa Pig episodes at least 20 times each, which makes 3140 viewings, which looks scary now that I’ve written it down… sheesh, how much TV are my kids watching? But after many episodes, I sort of wished they’d all grow up, alongside my own kids, so that they could stay in our lives. Like the Simpsons – why can’t they just grow older and do other things?
Speaking of growing older, The Wiggles were also big at our place back in 2007. We took Max, then three, his cousin and his electric Wiggles guitar to a Wiggles concert at the local RSL, and the pair of them were practically in the mosh pit. It was magic. I tried to repeat the excitement of a Wiggles gig with my daughter, Cappers, then four, in 2009. Her eyes shone with glee as the band started tuning up and the crowd grew quieter, but as soon as those Wiggles came on stage and Greg said: “Hellooooo Sydney” (as they do, like the rock stars they are), she ran from the room screaming, “I don’t like it when they’re real!”
So, unlike Peppa, there was an abrupt and non-negotiable end to The Wiggles at our place. I loved those multi-coloured, flappy-armed dudes. I loved that they couldn’t dance, couldn’t sing, certainly weren’t style icons and yet they captured the hearts of millions. Now that’s talent.
These days we’re doing Mister Maker, Charlie and Lola and Pokémon. There are so many characters in Pokémon that it makes my head spin, particularly when Max insists on reeling off the names of all the ‘evolves’ and the very complicated rules that evolving involves. I just nod and smile and make an occasional “yep” kind of sound, wondering all the while what Peppa is up to. Easy, delightful, uncomplicated Peppa. Why oh why didn’t you just grow up?