Most shows on Noggin or Sprout strongly resemble that ‘morning person’ we all love to hate. Overly cheerful, much too loud, and vapid. These are shows which cause my lip to curl and shoulders to hunch. Shows like Dora the Explorer and its inbred cousin, Go, Diego, Go!. Need I mention Max and Ruby?
Ian is not allowed to watch these shows in our presence.
There are shows I don’t mind, and sometimes quite enjoy, like Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, or Pingu. And then there’s Kipper.
Kipper is a series of British children books, and also a show on Sprout. It features Kipper (a dog) and his friends Tiger (a schnauzer), Pig (a pig), Arnold (Pig’s bestrollered cousin), and Jake (a sheepdog). The episodes are very short and to the point, as Kipper and his friends simply play and laugh, with only minor misunderstandings to add a little conflict.
I don’t know if it’s the world of rounded corners or the soft British accents, but Kipper is entrancing. It’s like a hot bubble bath or warm cup of tea. Like slipping between newly-washed sheets or those foot massage chairs in amusement parks. It’s…soothing.
Last night Ian was taking his bath, and we’d left Kipper playing in the background. I walked into the den, to lay out Ian’s pajamas, and saw Kipper from the corner of my eye. The pajamas fell from my hands, and I stood there, trapped. Kipper had been painting, and the red spots on his face made Tiger think that he was sick. It wasn’t exactly hilarity which ensued, but rather a slow smile of gentle delight.
I suspect a large part of Kipper’s appeal is its simplicity. Kipper and his friends are much like Ian when he pretends to be an adult. They have a toddler’s-eye view of responsibility, when all you need is a sandwich, some friends, and to play by the rules.
I suppose my liking the show isn’t so strange, after all.