Ah, Pappy Drewitt. If you were born in the 90s, maybe you can still hear the song: Pappy, Pappy Drewitt, he drew Pappyland. And you too can do it, if you’re in Pappyland!
But I wouldn’t know, because I was born in the 80s. Young enough to watch children’s TV in the 90s, but old enough to watch it mockingly, I remember singing something more like “Crappy, Crappy Drewitt, he blew Crappyland. And you too can do it, if urine Crappyland!”
If you wonder why millennials like things ironically, I direct you to the (relative) success of the T.L.C. show Pappyland. Except for children under the age of 5, none of us were watching it in earnest. We were watching it to exercise our budding comedic sensibilities, like a fawn first learning to walk. Pappy Drewitt is probably the cultural moment that confirmed that we are truly The Shittiest Generation.
Pappyland was a children’s art show about a kindly elderly man who lives in a fantasy world that he drew himself, possibly an allegory about how those with Alzheimer’s connect with the very young, possibly an attempt to teach children about the joys of self-expression. It was a tender gift from TLC to the children of the world – literally. The opening sequence actually says “Dedicated To Children Around The World.” And the shitty children around the world said “ha, it rhymes with Crappyland!” and tore it to shreds.
80s Babies, I’m back for round two.
Feel free to watch along and follow my commentary – but I’m inclined to think that this is burned so deeply in our collective memory that you don’t even need to watch it to remember.
Even though I hate-watched Pappy Drewitt, I still always secretly wished he would say my name when he greeted children through the screen. He never did, because those bitches were always named Jessica.
Pappy Drewitt is a soulless children’s show: like Barney without all of the children. Or Mr. Rogers without the gentile middle-class lifestyle (I think Pappy is Appalachian?). Or Sesame Street without virtually everything likeable about Sesame Street.
They’re obviously trying – there are puppets, which is sort of the minimum baseline effort you have to make in children’s t.v. – but there’s not a surly Oscar or a childlike Elmo in sight. Instead, the Pappy puppets are all indistinguishable idiots. There’s an idiot bear, a dumb-bitch girl flower, and this one stupid bird.
The bear, in particular, looks like a Furry. I think Dumb Bitch Girl Flower is the only female character on the show, and for once I say “thank you, that’s quite enough representation for one day!” Boys, you’re going to have to bear responsibility for this tv mess almost alone.
Pappy wears a ring, so he is either married or widowed. He also wears a 99-cent bandana and a plain t-shirt that look like they came from a Michael’s Craft Store. There is a turtle named Turtle-Loo, who has a god-awful indistinguishably “ethnic” accent. He is either French, Italian, or Spanish. Pappy whitely intones “prrrrronto!” At least Dora The Explorer teaches the children of the world how to speak annoying non-English catch-phrases correctly.
Pappy teaches us about manners in this episode, I guess, but he’s sort of dogmatic about it and he’s basically a real dick.
During the first run of Pappy Drewitt, I was at that magical age where no matter what he drew, in the beginning it always looked like a butt or some boobs. This episode is no exception. He draws a bunny, but he starts with the eyes, which look like nothing so much as lopsided cartoon tetas.
Guys, he just KEEPS DRAWING. In real time. For over six minutes, we watch a piece of paper as a grown man doodles a bunny on it. Can’t they do that cooking show thing and time-lapse it? When Pappy finishes we learn the name of this piece: “Two Bunnies In A Doorway, And There’s Carrots In The Doorway.”
In college we made my friend, who was high, watch a video of these cat marionettes. He could not deal with it. We had to turn it off. I think if we had showed him Pappy Drewitt instead, his brain would have actually exploded.
Sing-A-Song-Sam (Michael Curley), a 1920s barbershop quartet-looking guy, sings a tuneless song about manners. I’d like to remind everyone that before T.L.C. was America’s Sideshow, this is the kind of thing we watched on it.
Holy cow. He is seriously going to spell out the entire word “polite” as a mnemonic to teach the rules of politiness. Isn’t that way too complicated? Isn’t the only rule of politeness “don’t be a dick?” Maybe I shouldn’t have kids. There are not actually six rules, because some of these are clearly repeats:
P – Say Please And Thank you!
Okay. I’ll give them this.
O – Offer To Help Out Too!
Fine, yeah. But this still falls cleanly under “don’t be a dick.”
L – Listen To What Others Say
I – Is there anything that I can do?
I’m sorry. Is this an illustration of “offer to help out too”?
T – take turns in the games you play
E – Excuse me if I’m in your way!
So basically, be more Canadian.
Hold onto your hats, kids, now Pappy’s going to color the picture! We watch a grown man color for an additional 5+ minutes. I take back my indictment of our generation: Pappyland deserved our scorn.
Pappy calls himself “Pappy,” in the third person, and it truly sounds like more of a personal weird bedroom thing.
As Pappy colors the wall yellow, he surmises “It could be made of straw! Or it could be painted this color!” Then he says like seven more things about the color, which I repeat, is just yellow.
Finally, Pappy shows us drawings sent in by viewers. There’s one with the same first and last name as a girl we went to high school with and, considering Pappy was filmed an hour away in Syracuse, I think it’s probably hers. All of the kids’ drawings look better than Pappy’s stupid Rabbits With Doorway Carrots or whatever.
Speaking of high school, the quality of Pappy Drewitt’s special effects is actually lower than the greenscreen we had for Morning Update, our daily in-house student news program.
We have to leave, because it is now “quarter to orange!” I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey to Pappyland. Michael Cariglio (Pappy) is (or was?) probably a kind-hearted, imaginative man who wanted to share his love of drawing with children around the world. Instead, he helped a generation of children hone their mockery skills and probably inspired more than a few of them to take up light drug use. This, truly, was his gift to the world’s children.