Recently, my son and I went to visit his grandparents, and I downloaded a few cartoons on my phone to entertain him on the flight. We picked out a few episodes of “Paw Patrol,” a few of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” your usual fare. And he also picked a couple of episodes of “Peppa Pig,” a show we had watched occasionally before.
“Peppa Pig” is a British cartoon aimed at preschoolers. It’s about a family of pigs and their adventures, and as far as I can tell there’s no real educational component or moral lessons involved. But it seems innocent enough.
It wasn’t until my 5-year-old had the sound blasting in our hotel room that I first overheard Peppa talking about Daddy Pig’s “big belly.”
“I don’t really like that,” I told my son. “We don’t make fun of people for having big bellies.”
And then I heard it again. And again. Apparently, it’s a running gag in this show just how fat Daddy Pig is.
Like on this episode, where Peppa makes the password to her treehouse “Daddy’s big tummy” and everyone laughs at him. Daddy tries (and fails) to enter the treehouse, and Peppa tells him that’s because “his tummy is too big.” Peppa, girl, you already burnt him with the password, now let the man live!
Of course Daddy pig goes on to get wedged in the door, although Mama Pig got in just fine and is roughly the same size as Daddy Pig. Poor Daddy Pig.
So I knew we were really in trouble when Daddy Pig showed up in his trunks at the pool (starting at about 2:40 in this clip below).
Sure enough, he’s no sooner then said he’s going to use the diving board than Peppa comes back with “Silly Daddy, your tummy is too big.”
Or the episode, “Daddy Gets Fit,” which starts with the family watching an exercise show.
“I’m naturally fit,” Daddy Pig says.
“You don’t look very fit, Daddy. Your tummy is a bit big,” says Peppa. Seriously, Daddy Pig takes this kind of abuse on every episode!
Not only is it not cool to go around making fun of people for being fat, but part of the recurring gag is Daddy Pig insisting he is fit and strong while Peppa undermines him by focusing on his fat belly.
While sometimes it turns out that Daddy Pig isn’t very “fit,” and doesn’t like to exercise, in the pool episode he turns out to be a great diver who slips seamlessly into the water.
As we’ve seen with Olympians and other athletes with larger frames, you can’t tell how “healthy” someone is by looking at them. In fact, research shows that moderately obese people often live longer. The idea that you can tell how fit someone is by looking at them is definitely not one I want to pass on to my kids.
And when I tweeted about my reaction the show, I found some other parents who had noticed the same thing.
A cursory search on Twitter found even more parents who have felt the same way.
And then, there’s this sad tweet from one dad:
That’s it, Peppa must be stopped!