For those of you who haven’t seen it, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom is made by the same people who make Peppa Pig. It tells the story of an elf and a fairy in a magical yadda yadda yadda whatever.
Before we start, I have a confession to make. I don’t mind Peppa Pig. It’s alright. I don’t, like, love it, but it has it’s moments. It has decent comic timing. It quietly subverts gender stereotypes. It’s pretty good. There. I said it.
Ben and Holly however. Crikey.
I understand that characters who are self absorbed and think they know more than anyone else about everything are a staple of comedy. I do. But I also believe that there is a limit to how many such characters a text can sustain. Everyone in Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom is a dick, including Ben and Holly. It wears you down, listening to them bicker, the same arguments over and over and over, because nobody ever learns anything from previous conversations or experiences. It’s like watching a handful of tiny Boris Johnson’s going to a youth hostel for the weekend, arguing about who most deserves the top bunk. It’s torture. It’s unnecessary.
Fine, everyone being a dick can be read as a satire of the norms of society or something, I guess. But in that case my question to the makers of Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom would be the same as to The Office: if I’m not rooting for anyone in the narrative, if I hate every character, why am I watching? What’s in it for me?