What was the first programme that sucked your child in, and kept them entertained? It was probably something garish and vividly coloured, with a nonsensical plot and lots of farting noises. There were probably fluffy creatures and lots of marketable looking characters in it too. The whole thing more than likely came across as something that was cooked up while under the influence, of drugs or alcohol.
But probably drugs.
What these programmes will generally not feature however, will be middle aged bald men. They don’t lend themselves to children’s entertainment, as a rule. So most normal kids aren’t that drawn to them.
Note the use of the word ‘normal’.
My daughter is fighting against this stereotypical form of children’s entertainment. Not for her the gaudy cheeriness of cartoons no, she actively shuns them. Put on Peppa Pig and she walks off, turn on a Ben 10 and she ignores you. God forbid you should pander to conformity and put on something specifically targeted at girls – possibly involving ponies – then you will have black eyes full of disdain cast upon you.
No, she is most entertained, riveted even by the most unusual – for her age – form of entertainment that I’ve ever come across. Put the following two programmes on, which have striking similarities, and she, literally, pulls up a chair and gets comfy.
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
This HBO series features the adventures of Larry David, the man behind Seinfeld, as he sets the world to rights in a disgruntled manner. It’s filmed in a faux-documentary style, presenting itself as fairly close to reality when in fact, in reality, David would have been strangled, maimed or shot (or all three) a long time ago due to his ‘forthright’ ways.
My daughter loves it. As soon as that memorable theme tune kicks in, and his bald bonce hoves into view, she settles down and doesn’t move till the end of the episode. I’m not sure if it’s the way he moves that attracts her, or maybe it’s the never-ending series of cringe-inducing scenarios that he gets himself into. I don’t know.
But, if I’m being honest, I quite like it. It shows she’s different, has got taste, and doesn’t ‘go with the flow’. She certainly has a ‘type’ though, because she also loves…
Another faux-real comedy series, with a similarly follically-challenged protagonist, this time brought to you by the good people at FX. The main character here is also bald. But he doesn’t wear glasses.
He is however red haired/ginger, so this may tantalise my daughter’s viewing habits. Or maybe she just likes variety in her bald men.
The show runs in a very similar way to Curb, visually at least. I doubt that some of the more surreal aspects of the show, where it differs most from the David vehicle, will get through to my 21-month-old daughter’s brain. So that just leaves the one common denominator between the two shows: The baldness.
And also, possibly, the American accents.
I’m going to test her as she gets older, try her out with different varieties of television. See if she likes any programmes featuring bald men, or if it has to be a specific nationality. Maybe it’s not just American bald men that will attract her, maybe she’ll like Norwegian crime dramas, featuring balding philandering cops. Or possibly British comedies, featuring balding chefs who over cook the spotted dick, will ring her bell.
As her mother is French I’m sure she’ll be able to immerse herself in many arthouse films, featuring bald men contemplating life, whilst smoking Gitanes, and looking out of a window. In black and white.
There’s a whole world of entertainment featuring bald men waiting for her out there, and I’m not going to stand in her way. After all it’s a glimpse of the future, her life will, more than likely, heavily feature the humorous antics of a bald man one day.
And eventually, possibly, her husband too.
*Not to come across as a complete barbarian of a dad I’d just like to add that, due to the ‘colourful’ nature of the language used on Curb she generally watches it with my hand hovering over the Mute button. Louie isn’t as bad but there does tend to be more ‘disturbing’ imagery used on that so she only gets to watch ‘pre-approved’ episodes eg: not the one where the tramp gets hit by a truck and his head goes bouncing down the road.