Peppa Pig has been accused of giving dads a bad rep. Not true, says Giles Coren – it’s the porcine mum who’s the real problem
According to a recent survey by Netmums, 93% of parents feel the portrayal of fathers on television – especially in shows aimed at children, such as Peppa Pig and The Simpsons – is unrealistic, negative and sets a bad example.
Lead by example
What tosh. I am 43 years old. I am not going to model my fathering style on a cartoon pig. I am not going to get fat, fail to shave and be drunk all the time just because Homer Simpson does. I’m not about to… Oh, wait. They’re not saying the nation’s fathers are in danger of copying television dads. Silly me. They’re saying these shows give children a negative image of fathers, which may lead them to disrespect their own.
And I suppose they may have a point. My two-year-old daughter Kitty did go through a brief phase of saying, ‘Silly Daddy!’ when I was playing with her. That baffled me a bit because I hadn’t taught her the phrase, nor had my wife. But, hey, I was being silly, so well done Kitty for noticing and articulating it.
Then I realised she’d got it from Peppa Pig. Like, let’s be honest, pretty much everything else she says. And, of course, the problem there is not that there’s anything wrong with Daddy Pig, it’s that Peppa is such a spoilt, moody, precious little cow.
Naughty little pig
Generally, Peppa shows off, refuses to share something or is mean to baby George, but then gets her comeuppance later in the story arc and learns to be better. Alas, Kitty is a bit young for story arcs. She loses interest at minute three, never sees Peppa learn the error of her ways, and just thinks that is how you should talk to people.
Peppa shows off, refuses to share something and is mean to baby George
Daddy Pig, for his part, is a wonderful father. Loving, kind and vulnerable, he is mostly there for his kids. Never angry, he never hits or threatens them – he’s the kind of dad most children dream of.
It’s Mummy Pig who always claims to need peace and quiet so she can ‘work on her computer’ when, in truth, she is probably looking at pictures of naked firemen, buying dresses she can’t afford from Net A Porter and bitching her husband up on Facebook.
Daddy Pig is the true and abiding hero of 21st-century children’s television. It is martyrish Mummy Pig and precious Peppa who have simply got to go.