Look, there is no easy way to say this so I’m just going to come out and admit it: I hate Giggle and Hoot.
And a big part of the reason is down to the host, Jimmy Giggle. Yes, that Jimmy Giggle, the one all you other mums (and maybe a few dads) have thought was hot since he began the torturous fill-in show in 2009 on ABC Kids.
I don’t hate Jimmy Rees. I know he can be funny. Obviously, I’m not alone in that because his Instagram account has over 286,000 followers.
Jimmy is a sweetheart … and yet
Jimmy Rees is perceptive and hilarious. He and his lovely wife, Tori and his three angelic sons, all seem wonderful.
I remember a genuinely moving interview when he was forced to withdraw from Dancing with the Stars in which he talked about almost losing his baby son during a routine operation. I can remember thinking, “That guy is a sweetheart – I wish him the best”.
But when Jimmy announced in November 2019 that he was leaving the Giggle and Hoot show, thereby ending it, I honestly could not have been more pleased. My delight was short-lived, however, when I found out it would continue running on ABC iview, with repeats on ABC Kids.
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Maybe I could cope better if the show did not first lull me into a false sense of serenity with its theme song, “Giggle and Hoot, Giggle and Hoot -hoot-hoot hoot-hoot”, only to whack me over the head with the screech of a puppet owl, yelling in the worst falsetto imaginable, “JIMMY!”
And then, Jimmy Giggle has the audacity to match that demonic creature’s pitch with his own falsetto yell, “G’day HOOT!”
And on and on it goes, this high-pitched screeching, back and forth, piercing my soul. I thought owls were supposed to hoot softly? Why are they shrieking like two crows on helium?
Why call it ‘Giggle and Hoot’ anyway? Dear Reader, there is no hooting!
A family divided
I hate it so much that my children, who adore Jimmy and have watched his show since they were babies, turn to me every time he comes on to tell me what I already know: “Mummy, you hate Giggle and Hoot, don’t you?”
And I, their mother, smiling proudly at my sweet, perceptive babes, bend down to touch their cherubic cheeks and reply, “I do. I really do.”
It’s worse when they sing Hoot’s Lullaby at the end of each day. That song is beautiful; melodious. An aural massage. “What a day it’s been, what a magic day”. Yes, you find yourself nodding in agreement, what a day it has been. The soft lull continues, “Shh can you hear the moon is on its way.” Yes, I think with relief, the moon is on its way! And with it: freedom!
I hear those lilting lyrics and dopamine floods my brain. Soon, my children really will lie down. My husband will appear, and, not unlike the moon itself, the soft light of my phone will illuminate my tired face, and I’ll scroll Instagram while pretending to watch TV.
Alas! I’m violently disabused of such hopes because I hear Jimmy’s voice crashing into my eardrums, quickly followed by those idiotic birds.
Listen, as parents our nerves are already frayed. We are often very low on sleep and we hear our own children scream 20 times a day. Why, Jimmy? Why did you pick that voice?
Yes, I get why it works. It’s so our little sprogs will immediately watch. And it does the job well, because my kids have been hypnotised by Jimmy for almost five years now. They hear his voice and they snap to attention. But dogs’ whistles are designed for the same thing and nobody can say those make a happy sound.
Not the target audience
I know as parents we are not the target audience for kids shows. Peppa Pig and Bluey provide plenty of wry side jokes for adults and I appreciate that those sorts of winks are rare. I don’t expect to fall in love with Chase from Paw Patrol, or swoon over Dinosaur Andy, (he needs a haircut anyway).
In other words, I don’t expect a nuanced, six-part Netflix documentary from free-to-air TV aimed at toddlers to be equally appealing to me.
Educating kids is hard, making it fun is harder. Why do you think I’m so familiar with these shows? That’s right – the TV is on a lot at my house.
The ABC do an incredible job and honestly, no other kid’s content else comes close.
So Jimmy Rees, I really do wish you the best in whatever field you decide to explore. I am so happy for you to continue your content on Instagram. But I am just thrilled it won’t be at the same screeching torture house known as Giggle and Hoot.
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