Danish public television just introduced a new animated show about a man called John Dillermand and his unfeasibly long penis.
The premise of the program, which is aimed at children between the ages of four and eight, is to show how Mr. Dillermand—which translates as Mr. Penis Man—has overcome the obvious challenges that come with an incredibly long schlong.
Instead of being hindered by his oversized package, he uses it in creative ways, including conducting rescue operations, hoisting flags, barbecuing, and even a whimsical episode when Mr. Dillermand’s phallus somehow steals ice cream from an unexpected child.
The show, naturally, has its critics. Danish author Anne Lise Marstrand-Jørgensen wondered about the timing since Denmark has recently come down hard on sexual harassment in the workplace. “Is this really the message we want to send to children while we are in the middle of a huge #MeToo wave?” she wrote on Twitter.
But the makers of the program, of which 13 episodes have been watched more than 140,000 times since its debut on Jan. 2, defended the unusual choice in children‘s programming. “We think it’s important to be able to tell stories about bodies,” public broadcaster DR posted on Facebook Tuesday. “In the series, we recognize young children’s growing curiosity about their bodies and genitals, as well as embarrassment and pleasure in the body.”
Some episodes show a less-than-satisfied and somewhat dowdy Mrs. Dillermand trying to keep her husband in line, including one scene in which she shoots down a bunch of balloons from which her husband is dangling by his member. Spoiler alert: he survives.
“It’s a very Danish show,” education expert Sophie Munster told AFP. “We have a tradition to push the limits and use humor and we think it’s totally normal.”
Erla Heinesen Højsted, a clinical psychologist, told AFP that the show is not harmful to little kids. “John Dillermand talks to children and shares their way of thinking—and kids do find genitals funny,” she said. “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.”
Others argue that a whole show about an oversized organ is bad for men. “It’s perpetuating the standard idea of a patriarchal society and normalizing ‘locker room culture’,” Christian Groes, an associate professor and gender researcher at Roskilde University, told local Danish media. "It’s meant to be funny—so it’s seen as harmless. But it’s not. And we’re teaching this to our kids.”
The public broadcaster responded to criticism on its Facebook page saying it very well could have made a show “about a woman with no control over her vagina” and what really counts is that the kids love Mr. Dillermand.