There is no eloquent way to put this:
‘In The Night Garden’ is some messed up shit.
I recently watched an episode of this horrifying spectacle of nightmares and it left me profoundly disturbed.
That this is one of the most popular children’s shows on television is shocking. Shocking. What kind of sickos are you people? WHO FORCES THEIR CHILDREN TO WATCH THIS SHIT?
‘In The Night Garden’ is supposed to be a sweet, quiet show that toddlers can watch before they go to bed. It’s actually a David Lynch-style nightmare starring the characters rejected by Monty Python for being too horrifying.
I watched an episode called “Where is Pinky Ponk going?” Take a look, then read on at your own risk:
First things first, the theme song is terrifying. It sounds like the ghost of a little Victorian-era girl in a bonnet whose nanny drowned her in the bath.
Once she’s done singing about her innocent soul being trapped in torturous purgatory, it becomes all too clear that ‘In The Night Garden’ is a show entirely dreamed up by a drug-addled, omnipresent male narrator. We never see his face, and he never gives his name, so I’m just going to call him Barry.
The whole show basically consists of Barry hanging out in the ‘Night Garden’, talking about everything he sees in said garden. Barry is quite clearly on meth, and the Night Garden is quite clearly some kind of underground ghetto filled with desperation and broken dreams.
We only ever see Baz’s colourful, meth-veiled version of events, but you just know that he’s actually walking through the CBD scaring the shit out of people who he insists are his garden friends.
“Iggle. Piggle. Iggle. Onk?” Barry asks, in a question that I’m sure made perfect sense in his mind.
“We’re going to catch the Pinky Ponk.”
Okay, well ‘Pinky Ponk’ is quite obviously drugs.
In the Night Garden, the Pinky Ponk is a psychedelic airship that operates using farts as fuel. It looks like this:
In real life, I’m sure Pinky Ponk actually looks like this:
On his way to try and catch the Pinky Ponk, Barry comes across a small house under a tree. It’s filled with a family called the Pontipines. Mr and Mrs Ponitpine have 8 kids, and they are also desperately looking for Pinky Ponk. They perform some kind of ritual in the front yard that involves synchronised dance, which I think is them practicing for the busking routine they force the kids to perform to make extra coin.
And just when you’re debating whether or not this warrants a call to child services, you’re distracted by the first appearance of Barry’s Nightmare Birds of Death. Observe:
They just sit there, in a tree. Looking horrifying.
Now, I haven’t partaken in meth myself, but I’ve watched enough TV to know that sometimes you see bad things instead of good things. I think the Nightmare Birds of Death are Barry’s bad things. They appear periodically throughout the episode, their menacing gaze and scary beaks sending Barry into a silent stupor. You can just picture Barry in a park, pointing at a bunch of pigeons while screaming like a maniac:
NO GOD NO.
Once the birds are gone and the busking Ponitpine family is out of the way, Barry comes across his friends Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy. Iggle Piggle is naked and carrying a blanket, most likely his only possession, and Upsy Daisy is dressed in what is quite clearly the cheapest items the local op shop had on offer last week:
“Got a dollar?”
I assume these are Barry’s homeless friends. They keep kissing and dancing and seem really out of it. Should we call an ambulance? Do they need help? Should I offer them money? Barry doesn’t give them anything, so they leave. They’re not going to beg. They’ve got their dignity.
Baz then wonders aimlessly around the garden for a few minutes, and eventually, he catches the Pinky Ponk. So does the Pontipine family and Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy. Looks like everyone needed a fix.
Inside the Pinky Ponk are what I assume are the drug dealers. There’s three of them, and Barry calls them Tombliboos, probably because real names could lead to arrests.
“We promise it’ll make you feel good.”
Life has not been good to the Tombliboos. They’re completely bald except for coloured tumour-like growths on their heads. They don’t seem to have eyelids. They’re incoherent and dance on command when Barry sings. It’s a very sad state of affairs.
Then we just watch for a while, as the whole sorry lot of them ‘float through the colourful garden’, sucking some kind of very suspicious substance out of clear spheres. Even the Pontipine kids are taking it. It’s fairly graphic drug-use, and it’s disturbing:
Finally, in what I assume is the best part of the high, they all look on in wonder as they see a beautiful flower bloom. Barry is euphoric. He calls it the ‘Olly Bolly Dob Dob’ flower. Others would call it ‘peaking’:
What a Pinky Ponk high feels like.
Soon they each get enveloped by giant cuddly chunks of love called ‘Haahoos’, which mellows all of them out considerably.
But the warm tingles don’t last long. Once the high is over, everyone seems a little sad. After riding the notorious Pinky Ponk wave, they all just want to go to bed.
The Tumbliboos sleep on a couple of blankets on the floor of what looks like a sewer overrun by the elements. They seem antsy, so Barry tells them story to help them sleep.But the only thing he can think to talk about is Pinky Ponk. They fall asleep, dreaming about the Olly Bolly Dob Dob high.
This is you on drugs.
Maybe tomorrow is the day they’ll get clean. Maybe it’s the day they’ll find their parents. Or maybe they’ll just keep doing meth, unable to escape the clutches of their shared evil mistress.
Barry leaves the sewer and stops by the Pontipine house, where the entire family sleeps on mattresses on the floor of a single bedroom. An old family portrait on the wall offers a painful reminder of what life was once like in the Pontipine house. Those times are now a distant memory, lost to the dark shadows of drugs and illegal busking.
Crime doesn’t pay.
Upsy Daisy manages to pull together some kind of bed, and she’s so exhausted she doesn’t even care that it’s completely in the open, right in the middle of a footpath.
She’ll get a few hours before the cops move her along.
Everybody’s knackered. Barry is about to go to sleep himself when he realises that Iggle Piggle is still up. Looks like someone is having an extended high. Baz’s come-down is making him kind of paranoid and he gets really annoyed that Iggle Piggle is refusing to go to bed.
Um, maybe it’s because he doesn’t have a bed. HE’S HOMELESS YOU ARESHOLE.
“DO I LOOK LIKE I HAVE A BED TO GO WITH THIS BLANKET, YOU DICK?”
Iggle Piggle turns around and waves, but you never see him find a bed. He’s probably going to trawl the streets for more meth.
No word on what happens to Barry.
And that’s it. That’s the sad and disturbing universe of ‘In The Night Garden’.
How this show is considered suitable for children is completely beyond me.
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