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The Apathetic Parent’s Guide to ‘Peppa Pig’

God, the show is sooooooo boring. But it's good for kids so... fine.

Every parent who has had a child in the last 15 years is familiar with Peppa Pig. The British cartoon is beyond popular – it’s so transcendent that a strong argument could be made that Peppa Pig is the most iconic kid’s television character of this century. But while almost all parents are aware of Peppa Pig’s prominence, many are likely confused about how it became a phenomenon and how the hell a talking pig with a genital-shaped head has been able to maintain animation domination for over a decade. Here is everything a parent needs to know in order to understand why the hell their kid loves this show so goddam much.

What is Peppa Pig About?

Peppa Pig is a four-year-old anthropomorphic female pig who loves to spend time with her family and friends. Each episode of her show lasts about five minutes and features a very loose, low-stakes plot that typically revolves around Peppa doing an activity that she enjoys, such as hiking, gardening, swimming, going to the park, with those family and/or friends that she loves so much.

That’s about it. Sometimes Peppa will get sad or angry for a moment, but given the extremely short episode length, there’s not much time for any real problems to emerge. It’s basically just watching nice people have a pleasant time together with very little conflict or larger implications.

Why is Peppa Pig a Thing?

Fair question. For an adult, its appeal can be a little confounding. It’s not a particularly funny or interesting or educational show. None of the characters seem to have any real distinct personalities. Even the animation is nothing to write home about. So what gives? Why do so many young kids obsess over a show that most adults find so aggressively bland? There are plenty of theories about why Peppa connects so strongly with the psychology of children but the underlying appeal seems to be the show’s simplicity. More than any other kid’s show, Peppa Pig is only interested in its goal to entertain young children. There are no clever jokes for adults or complicated story arcs that kids will have trouble following. Every episode keeps things as light and amiable as possible, promising to offer the flimsiest conflict possible only to have it wrapped up neatly by the end of five minutes. It’s a brilliant formula that keeps kids coming back over and over again, at least until their sixth birthday.

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Is There Anything I Need to Know Before Watching?

Sadly, the show doesn’t feature an elaborate fictional backstory or rely on context of any kind. While the rise of Peppa Pig might feel recent, it actually has been on TV for almost 15 years. In that time, very little has changed or happened in the world of Peppa. Each season consists of at least 42 episodes so there are a lot of episodes. They are all, however, fairly self-contained.

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It’s British. That’s a thing. It debuted in the U.K. before coming stateside. And it has started some controversies. Parents were outraged that Peppa was shown not wearing a seatbelt in a few episodes and, later, people complained that Peppa and her friends were riding a bike without helmets. In both cases, the creators worked to remedy these issues and re-aired new versions of the episodes.

Will I Like Peppa Pig?

Absolutely not. Even by the incredibly low standards of a kid’s show, Peppa Pig is very dull. However, it’s a nice show and very young kids love it. Given that, you’ll like it for your kid. You’ll like that it exists. You just won’t want to watch it.

Am I Going to Have to Buy Something?

So. Much. Shit. Peppa Pig is pretty shameless in its product pushing, as the show makes no secret about its desire to sell kids a whole bunch of merch. After all, you don’t become a $2 billion industry by being subtle. There are dresses, coloring books, couches, Beanie Babies, playmats, mini kitchens, dolls, toothbrushes, bed sheets,  finger puppets, stickers, backpacks, sweatshirts, actions figures, of course, piggy banks. And kids are going to want it all or throw a Veruca Salt level tantrum.

Anything Else I Should Know?

-China banned all Peppa Pig imagery when the government deemed it was “too gangster.” Seriously.

Peppa Pig is one of the more popular subjects of the disturbing trend on YouTube where people take innocent children’s shows and add inappropriate content to freak kids out. So parents beware, kids watching Peppa on YouTube could get exposed to some very weird shit.

-There is a small but vocal movement of parents who believe Peppa Pig is teaching their kids terrible values. Their argument is pretty tortured, but also funny.

-The theme song is just awful.