Karl Puschmann is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Karl Puschmann: Daddy, daughter TV bonding not a smash hit

Mouk may not be Seinfeld but it beats He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Photo / Supplied
Mouk may not be Seinfeld but it beats He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Photo / Supplied

You don't really understand disappointment until you become a parent.

Sure, you can be upset that you missed out on getting concert tickets, bummed out that it's raining when you had something planned, or get the blues upon discovering that the unopened brie in the fridge that you'd been looking forward to all day has, in fact, gone off.

Those are the sort of pre-kid disappointments that life throws at you. They're perfectly valid of course, but only parents know the cold, piercing sting of sharing a passion with their child and then having that passion roundly and soundly rejected.

And so it was last Sunday morning. My two year old daughter and I were sitting on the couch watching television. Her TV time is strictly monitored so this was something of a rare treat.

We were both sitting there content when she turned around, looked at me and said, "Don't want George. Poppy want Mouk.".

Despite my protests she was quite insistent on the matter. "Poppy want Mouk," she repeated, before really hammering the message home that it was Mouk that she wanted by saying, "Poppy want Mouk."

I countered. "But Dad wants to watch George."

"No George. MOUK!"

We had hit a stalemate. After weeks of sitting through her animated fave I couldn't face another second of bloody Mouk, while Poppy's tolerance for Seinfeld had reached its apex after approximately three minutes.

I could only take her rejection of the greatest sitcom of all time as a personal slight. How could any child of mine not like Seinfeld? Yes, she's only two but come on... Seinfeld! It was unfathomable. Where, I wondered, had I gone wrong?

I resolved to take action. To learn her the error of her ways. It was time to step up. It was time to parent.

"No Mouk" I declared. "We'll watch something else."

I encountered resistance, of course. There's a reason they're called the 'terrible two's' and not the 'tremendous two's' after all. But it was time to teach her a lesson about quality TV.

I flicked the telly over to YouTube and tried to think of an animated classic from yesteryear to watch. A proper show. Something I'd watched and loved as a kid. The hope being that this would set her on the path to Seinfeld later on.

The only problem was I couldn't think of anything... "Mouk!" she cried. "No!" I replied." Then, in a flash, it came to me. In the search box I typed 'Sesame St pinball'.

The screen swooshed into hallucinatory images of a pinball bouncing around while the room filled with the deep and funktastical grooves of the Pointer Sisters.

"1, 2, 3, 4, 5... 6, 7, 8, 9, 10... 11, 12!"

I was digging it but somewhere between the lion tamer whipping the pinball, the bull charging it and the acid freak out Poppy got scared. "Don't like."

I was prepared and ready. I typed in 'Spider-Man Electric Company'. I used to love that as a kid and Spidey also happens to be Poppy's favourite thanks to a well placed Spider-Man encylopedia I left lying around her book case when she was a baby.

This fared better with her but was absolutely painful for me. Aside from the brief lol at Morgan Freeman (of all people) starring as a 70s, jive talkin', street tough it had no redeeming value for today's audicene whatsoever.

The other problem was that these were user uploads that were obviously sourced from old, worn out VHS tapes. The quality was, how should I put it... amazingly shite.

With the request for Mouk still ringing loud and proud I went legit and opened Netflix. Imagine my delight to see that they'd just added a personal childhood favourite, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

What the hell was I thinking when I was a kid? It was terrible. I turned it off after a couple of minutes.

I saw they also had The Adventures of Super Mario. This, I assured her, was cool.

"Poppy want Moooouk," she said, but I'd already hit play. Mario was not cool. The animation was poor, the voices were irritating and the story was terrifically dumb.

The original Voltron fared a little better but she wasn't really into it. I couldn't balme her. Neither was I.

I'd wanted to share some of the great telly from my childhood but I'd discovered it mostly all sucked. As Mario and Luigi bounced unconvincingly around the Mushroom Kingdom I looked at Poppy. She clearly wanted to be watching something else with her dad.

"Mouk?" I said.

As all the disappointment of the previous 20minutes drained from her face, she jumped up onto my lap and with a huge grin on her face said, "Poppy loves... Mouk!"

- NZ Herald

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Karl Puschmann is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

A pop culture junkie, Karl has spent his career writing about the important things in life; music, film, television, comics and video games. He was editor of a popular music rag for five years and has since written regularly for every local culture/arts/lifestyle magazine worth a damn. His recent expansion into travel writing has flung him far, far from the comfort of his couch and into that bewildering place known as the ‘outdoors’. He is also currently endeavouring to make sense of the world by reviewing it over at critikarlreviewstheworld.com

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