No kidding, you'll laugh

IT IS the holidays, which for many of us means long, lazy days in front of the TV, because what else are we going to do? Get some fresh air? Be serious. And for those of us who have children, these painful school-free days are spent praying that just once, our televisual tastes will align with our kids', and that urge to claw off our faces that is the only reasonable emotional response to watching an episode of The Fairies or Go Diego Go would be avoided.

That's why SpongeBob was such a wonder of the modern age: kids loved it, but it was genuinely funny even if you had an adult brain. It was a godsend for any parent with the simple wish for their child to share their exact tastes. But, sadly, this is not replicated often enough; too many children's shows neglect the needs of the grown-ups who sit behind the kids, stuffing cushions in their mouths to stop screaming.

But relief is at hand: this summer, my children and I have bonded over a show you might call the new SpongeBob: Regular Show. An unsung gem from Foxtel's Comedy Channel, this is a program that needs to be seen far and wide - it is a landmark in TV For All Ages, the very apex of Kids' Shows That Are Too Good To Be Wasted on Kids.

A good, concise way to describe Regular Show is, imagine

The Mighty Boosh had a baby with Family Guy. Hard to imagine? Yeah, it's hard to describe concisely. More accurately, it is a show about a blue jay and a raccoon who are best friends, working at a park alongside a yeti, a human lollipop, a green guy and a ghost with a hand on its head, under the supervision of a talking gumball machine with anger-management issues. That's just the basic premise: from there, it kind of gets weird.

More than anything, Regular Show proves the truth of the adage I just made up: all children's TV is insane, but there's good insane and bad insane. Big Cook, Little Cook, for example, is bad insane, as is the new Hi-5. Regular Show is very, very good insane. Heroes-getting-sucked-into-a-cellphone-and-judged-by-a-talking-answering-machine insane. Playing-video-games-against-a-giant-floating-evil-bearded-head insane. A-blue-jay,-a-robin,-a-raccoon-and-a-mole-getting-attacked-by-a-half-man-half-deer-on-a-camping-trip insane. This is the kind of insanity that restores your faith in television as an art form.

It's also a reminder that kids aren't stupid. They're entirely capable of laughing at comedy that their parents laugh at. Pixar's movies have been proving that for years; it's nice to see TV getting on board. It's not just Regular Show, but Adventure Time, The Amazing World of Gumball, Phineas and Ferb - kids' shows by people who struck upon the revolutionary idea of, ''Hey, if I think something's funny, maybe a kid will, too.'' And so we are blessed with mad, surreal japery that gives kids a bit of credit and believes funny knows no age limits.

I commend Regular Show to the great viewing public. For a minute you'll go, ''What the hell?'' And then you'll laugh like a hyena. With or without your kids.

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