5. Baby Jake

Baby Jake opens with a shot of a windmill and introduces the ten children and parents in Baby Jakes family, almost none of whom are in any of the episodes. Jake and Isaac, that’s all you get in the actual episodes. The rest only exist to pad out the eleven minute run time. One minute down, ten to go.

Instead of a family drama you get this:

“Wamma babba wib wob,
That’s our song
Chubba hibble lib lob
Sing along
Rubba Rudda Runna
Flip flop chip
Jabba jibboo ribble
Wug wug wug…

On and on. The premise being that five year old Isaac can understand Baby Jakes gibbering. Apparently, the idea for the programme came when Maddy Darrall watched her seven year old nephew understanding what her one year old son was saying. Yes, that’s right, you heard me, Maddy Darrall’s seven year old nephew understands the noises children make before they learn words. Uhuh. Nope. In no way is that massive bullshit. No way at all. It is a happened. For realz.

Could I tell you my daughter’s first word? No. Because language doesn’t work like that. Unless you decide that one of the sounds they make is a word, there is no first word. There is a gradual movement from nonsense to sense, various words taking form at once. People make out that children say something like ga goo wa goo lawnmower ga woo when in reality they are more likely to just garble dabi dabo daddoo daddy dabi before we, optimistically, claim our seven month old baby just said daddy. They all learn to read in the end. It’s not a race. What’s the rush?

Which is a roundabout way of saying that the whole premise of Baby Jake is a nonsense. A kind, warm, loving nonsense, sure, but a nonsense all the same.

And oh sweet baby Jesus the visuals are horrifying. A photo of a babies head on a dancing animated body, somehow even creepier than that dancing baby in Ally McBeal. A baby surrounded by cruel mockeries of monkeys and rabbits blabbering nonwords while his, possibly evil, older brother translates what he is ‘saying’. Baby Jake is angry. Baby Jake says there must be a sacrifice to appease the gods. Baby Jake says the cities can only be cleansed by a flame so pure and bright that it matches his own radiance. Baby Jake wants you to undress now and prepare for the coming of the sky beast. Baby Jake promises salvation to the chosen and the loyal.