The Olivia vs Peppa dynamic is the main reason I’m writing this review as it best embodies the differences between most American and English kids shows. Both shows feature a family of pigs with the daughter as the main character, but they are worlds apart in terms of style, tone and sense of humour.
Olvia’s adventures are rendered in passable 3D, which is fine, but the anatomically correct character designs (stemming from the source material) are a bit creepy. The characters walk about on backwards bent, hoven pig legs with large, crinkled pig ears. I would have preferred if they looked a bit more human.
Olivia is all about optimism and narcissism. Olivia is never discouraged. Olivia never runs out of ideas. Olivia loves to fantasise about being famous. In Olvia’s world nothing bad ever happens, all adults are magnanimous and there’s not a problem in the world that can’t be solved with a little spunk [which Olivia has flowing out of every orifice]. Basically it’s as boring as batshit.
Olivia gets 2 Big Birds for being boring but inoffensive.
When I first caught a glimpse of Peppa Pig I hated it. Mostly I hated the dodgy character designs with their seemingly blatant disregard for aesthetics and the 3rd dimension. After watching for 5 minutes I didn’t care any more.
This show has charm in spades, mostly stemming from scripts which are light on plot (so the kids can follow) but heavy on characterisation. Whereas Olivia’s Mum and Dad are the usual cardboard cutout, Leave it to Beaver, imagined representation of American parents from the 50s, Peppa’s parents and supporting cast are fully fleshed out characters. Daddy Pig thinks he is an expert at everything, Grandpa Pig and Grandad Dog have an enjoyable competitive friendship and Miss Rabbit is a workaholic.
With great characters and the odd subtle joke to the parents watching, Peppa gets 5 whole Big Birds. Other people might think me sad, but I actually look forward to seeing this show.
Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks
Much like Guess How Much I Love You, JTAOPW feels like it was written and conceived by a baby boomer. In each episode two American piglets crowd eagerly around their Irish Grandfather to hear amazing stories from his childhood in Ireland. The plotlines are the usual sentimental drivel pining for ‘simpler times’, and are for some reason randomly punctuated by appearances of a sheep voiced by Mel Brooks, usually involving some parellel, sheep centric storyline.
The character designs and 3D are passable if unremarkable, but the animation is terrible. Watching Dannan the duck run makes me wince every time.
Jakers gets 1.5 Big Birds for being sentimental and unremarkable.