It’s a show about overcoming life’s most intractable — albeit bizarre — obstacles, really.
Denmark’s John Dillermand is a claymation cartoon man who, like anyone else, enjoys grilling, taking walks around town and eating ice cream. But some of those activities can be difficult for a man with a comically long schlong.
The new children’s show, launching on Danish public television network DR, is aimed at entertaining 4- to 8-year-olds, who producers think will get a kick out of watching the perils of having a protracted penis.
The show’s creator, Jacob Ley, a father of two young girls and a boy, claimed the show is about removing “shame” and “embarrassment” when it came to our bodies, without sexualization. However, Denmark’s conservative crusaders have criticized the concept, the Guardian reported.
“What in the world are you up to, DR Ramasjang!” wrote one parent on Facebook, referring to DR’s kid-centric network Ramasjang. “As a parent, I am mildly shaken and shocked by the line you are currently choosing. I am deeply outraged and think it is SO perverse and inappropriate television for young children. This is the last time I let my children see Ramasjang!”
Christian Groes, gender researcher at Roskilde University, echoed the denunciation with academic insight.
“It’s perpetuating the standard idea of a patriarchal society and normalizing ‘locker room culture’ … that’s been used to excuse a lot of bad behavior from men. It’s meant to be funny — so it’s seen as harmless,” said Groes. “But it’s not. And we’re teaching this to our kids.”
Family psychologist Erla Heinesen Højsted disagreed with the outcry: “John Dillermand talks to children and shares their way of thinking — and kids do find genitals funny,” she told the Guardian.
“The show depicts a man who is impulsive and not always in control, who makes mistakes — like kids do, but crucially, Dillermand always makes it right,” Højsted continued. “He takes responsibility for his actions. When a woman in the show tells him that he should keep his penis in his pants, for instance, he listens. Which is nice. He is accountable.”
She agreed that animators would do well to consider more “difference and diversity” in terms of body types, rather than just an outsized diller — Danish slang for penis. “But this is categorically not a show about sex. To pretend it is projects adult ideas on it,” she said.
DR responded to “John Dillermand’s” detractors by arguing that a show “about a woman with no control over her vagina” could have been just as entertaining, which they said was their only goal for the show — to make kids laugh.