An animated children's show on DR, one of the oldest and best-known broadcasters in Denmark, has garnered scrutiny shortly after its premiere on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021.
In 13 episodes, John Dillermand tells the strange tale of an adult man who gets into all sorts of trouble thanks to his bizarrely long penis. The Danish cartoon focuses on John's journey towards self-acceptance, chronicling how he learns to embrace the trait that sets him apart from the crowd.
'John Dillermand' is a Danish cartoon about a man with an extremely long penis.
John Dillermand revolves around an adult man who suffers misfortunes thanks to his extraordinarily long genitals. The unusual health condition comes with a fair few advantages — he can use his penis to play badminton without a partner, snatch some ice cream, or make do without a fishing rod — but it gets him into plenty of regrettable situations as well.
Take, for instance, the episode in which John discovers that he doesn't need to buy a dog leash — for reasons relatively obvious — until he is overwhelmed with dog-walking requests issued by his eagle-eyed neighbors. In another episode, John is stuck floating mid-air after his genitals are tied to a bunch of balloons.
The show garnered criticism from cultural commentators and parents alike, many of whom argue that children shouldn't be allowed to watch a television show about a man with a long penis.
"Is this really the message we want to send to children while we are in the middle of a huge #MeToo wave?" award-winning author Anne Lise Marstrand-Jørgensen wrote in response to the show.
Some worry that the show may instill harmful gender stereotypes.
"It's perpetuating the standard idea of a patriarchal society and normalizing 'locker room culture' … that's been used to excuse a lot of bad behavior from men. It's meant to be funny — so it's seen as harmless. But it's not. And we're teaching this to our kids," Christian Groes, a professor working at the Roskilde University, told The Guardian.
A few viewers have taken to social media to demand its immediate cancellation, alleging that John Dillermand promotes pedophilia.
However, not every viewer took offense at the show. Its aesthetic and imaginative storylines turned out to be a hit among adults and children.
Some experts argue that John Dillermand isn't as harmful as some make it out to be just because the main character's genitals are at the focal point of the narrative.
"John Dillermand talks to children and shares their way of thinking – and kids do find genitals funny," clinical psychologist Erla Heinesen Højsted told The Guardian.
"The show depicts a man who is impulsive and not always in control, who makes mistakes – like kids do, but crucially, Dillermand always makes it right. 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," she told the outlet.