Problem children? Time to blame Peppa Pig
For a long time, parents have been blamed for their children's bad behaviour – but now the truth is out there: it's all down to Peppa Pig.
Legions of parents are apparently turning against TV character Peppa claiming that she is a 'bad influence' on their children, who have started to copy the naughty behaviour of the cartoon creature. One father spoke of his 'despair' at how his four-year-old son had taken to splashing in muddy puddles on his way to school, copying Peppa's favourite pastime.
Others reported that their children had started shouting 'chocolate cake' whenever they were asked what they'd like for breakfast, just like George Pig.
'The more I see, the more alarmed I am at the choice of behaviour put into this 'cartoon',' one mother wrote on the website for armchair harpies, Mumsnet.
'George Pig, who my son loves, says 'yuck' at vegetables and only wants to eat chocolate cake.
A day after watching that episode, my son wouldn't eat his cucumber and tomatoes.'
Dear God, the humanity of it all. We all know that refusing cucumber and tomatoes and jumping in puddles is merely the first step on the ladder leading to gun crime, drug running and sexual deviancy.
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In a reply, another mother wrote: 'My daughter keeps saying 'no' and 'yuk' in a really high and mighty way, just like Peppa does, and generally answering back when I ask her to do something.
'Shall I ban Peppa Pig, or is that being totally unreasonable?'
Toddlers refusing vegetables, jumping in muddy puddles and answering back: the world has gone to hell in a handcart and it's all the fault of an anthropomorphic pig – frankly, I'm not sure banning Peppa is enough. I say we frogmarch her to the slaughterhouse and then force her fans to eat her in delicious slices with a side serving of cucumber and tomatoes.
If you're unconvinced, there is more evidence that Peppa Pig and her minions are instruments of Lucifer on a mission from hell to create an army of tiny, chaos-obsessed disciples. 'There was an episode where they were baking Daddy Pig a cake for his birthday, they stir the mixture and George starts being very rough and flicking the mixture everywhere, not something I took notice of until we baked some cakes ourselves and Dex purposely started flicking the mixture on the cupboards,' a complainant notes.
'Before he watched that episode, he had always mixed nicely, of course getting messy, but not on purpose.'
Damn you Peppa! Damn your eyes! Dex had always mixed the cake mixture nicely and now he's come over all Jackson Pollock – I bet when he sees that cake mixture over the cupboards, he's imagining that it's blood. Because that's the direction he's headed in, and I don't think a psychologist in the land would argue that isn't the case.
It continues on Whingenet: 'My biggest worry is the abuse given to Daddy Pig about his weight. Peppa is constantly making rude remarks about 'Daddy's big fat belly'. He wasn't allowed in the treehouse because he was too fat. When these remarks are made, Mummy Pig also laughs.' (On this note, surely the best line ever in Peppa Pig is when Mummy Pig asks Peppa which vegetable she's drawn and she answers: 'My Daddy, watching television.')
I think we are all too aware of the pernicious nature of naughty characters in children's literature and television programmes – after the publication of Peter Rabbit in 1902, there was a huge rise in the number of toddler-related radish, French bean, lettuce and onion thefts and similarly in 1922, Just William's misunderstanding of a double negative led to a spate of grammar-related crimes in the under-12s who then grew up to be greengrocers in charge of writing signs.
I know at first hand how insidious children's television programmes can be. My own daughter's first words were 'eh-oh', a Teletubby catchphrase which conspiracy theorists later claimed was the name the Babylonians gave Satan (I'm not even making that bit up). So: 'eh-oh'. Not 'Mummy', not 'Daddy'. 'Satan'. It smarted a bit, frankly. Her next words were: 'Hat, hat haat, hat, hat haat', a Teletubby song about, and you will thank me for the literal translation, a hat.
It took some time before she learned to say a few words that weren't Teletubby catchphrases, but then again I was a working mother, and you know what that lot are like, Feminazi hoodie-breeders that make Peppa Pig look like Mother Teresa.
Personally, I was brought up on the Clangers and, barring my insistence on communicating only through swanee whistles and a mild addiction to glow-honey, I haven't suffered any ill effects whatsoever.
That said, I will be banning Peppa Pig at home – I expect to see a 100 per cent improvement in my children's behaviour, even though they've never watched it, preferring instead the positive messages from wholesome programmes like The Inbetweeners and South Park.