Page 45 Review by Stephen
"I would never watch TV. Strictly a plebeian pastime!"
"Oh, we don't watch it, either."
"What do you do with it, then?"
"We bought it for a sideboard."
"Between vulgarity and snobbishness there's really little to choose."
Ha! Typically of the Jansson siblings there is much mirthful social commentary here on what was then a boom in square-eyed covetousness and obsession, but equally typically of the Moomin family they fall into it quite by accident when Moominpappa is persuaded to buy a television set as the latest thing to put ornaments on! Initially they're oblivious to its true function and wonder why there's no room inside to store crockery inside. Like so much they encounter it is an enigma to them.
Once Moominpappa does tune in, however, he's swiftly turned on and completely drops out of regular family activity and interaction, so desperate is he not to miss out on a single minute or new development. He snubs the spectacle of cranes flocking outside in favour of a TV programme on birdwatching and misses a meteorological marvel outside because there are waves on the gogglebox instead. Does any of this seem familiar, much? Snorkmaiden starts judging her beloved Moomintroll by soap opera standards, conflicting advertisements for competing washing powder brands cause chaos in the household as they try to keep up with the paid-to-praise Joneses, and Lars Jansson essentially invents TiVo decades before its time.
The biggest recognition box I ticked, however, was everyone and everything cordially inviting themselves round to watch TV and in doing so displacing the Moomins, and then when Moominmamma offers them coffee they hiss:
"Ssh! Must you talk?"
Black, white and brilliant. Also in for a skewering: Beatniks. Their dance one of the funniest things Lars has ever drawn!