My turn to play "Name That Cultural Thing"
January 22, 2020 6:58 AM   Subscribe

AskMe has proven good at identifying random things in the past - can you help me track down this half-remembered cartoon I saw? I believe I saw it on TV in the 90s as part of an animation festival, and I think it was....Scandinavian, and dealt with a family with a little girl who was either mentally challenged or on the spectrum.

Here are the details I remember:

* The animation was in black-and-white, with the four characters drawn as line drawings on a very simple plain white background.

* The characters were a school-age boy, his little sister, and his parents, and that's it.

* The whole thing ran about a half hour, and seemed to be in three sections - the whole thing began with the little girl's birth, and the family's gradual discovery that she was not neurotypical. This sends them all into some distress (I remember the parents covering their faces and crying). But after a few moments of distress, the little boy points out that hey, Little Sister doesn't seem sad about her fate, and seems to be feeling happy all the time. Maybe it's okay. ....The second section deals with the family celebrating Little Sister's birthday, and the brother has noticed that she always likes playing with ripped-up paper - and indeed the animation shows that the little girl plays with the ripped-up wrapping paper as she unwraps each gift, throwing the pieces up in the air and letting them fall on her head. So the boy has given her a box full of ripped-up paper as a gift. The final section is one I remember most dimly; I remember something about the boy trying to play with blocks and his sister just coming along and knocking them over, and he gets frustrated but the mother reminds him that Little Sister doesn't really understand and we have to forgive her.

* The version I saw had an English-language narration over it all; no one in the cartoon really "spoke" to each other, it was mostly a constant narration over the proceedings, in verse. When the brother "spoke" to people, it just showed the brother looking like he had an idea as the narration spoke what he said. Or he would point at things. The only exceptions are some occasional gaps or giggles from the little sister, and - and this is the reason why I think this was Scandinavian - is in the "Birthday" section, when the rest of the family has come to wake up the little girl on her birthday holding presents and a cake, and they all sing a song that I hadn't heard, and was in a language that sounded Scandinavian to my ears.

* The one bit of narration I remember is from the birthday scene: "And as for brother - he wasn't caught napping! He gave little sister a parcel of wrapping!"

I don't know why or how I saw this, but I can definitely state that I saw it on my own television, at home, sometime before 2006 (at the VERY latest; it most likely was the late 90s). So that's why I'm guessing it was on some cable animation block of some kind.

Any ideas?
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Media & Arts
« Older What was this non-fiction book I read about dating...   |   Me, part 2: crafty business? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.