Kutty Pattalam is a Malayalam television show whose name roughly translates to “Kiddie Army”. It’s a fairly straightforward lifting of the “Kids Say the Darndest Things” concept, where kids are seated on elevated mini-thrones in front of studio audiences and prodded with leading questions until unintentional humor ensues. Consider the following a live blog of the show, only without the “live” part (and also a tenuous connection at best to “blog”.)
Five minutes in: I have a passing familiarity with Malayalam, and I am understanding approximately zero percent of what is being said right now.
The prodigious use of sound effects makes it seem like someone is playing a degraded version of Super Mario Brothers on a circa-1986 Nintendo connected to high-end Danish speakers. The overall sensation is one of disorientation, as if the sensory overload is designed to induce shock and/or seizures.
Much of the humor appears to be at the expense of parents and/or family members, who from their expressions appear to be taking it all in stride. They knew what they were signing up for.
Side note: the jump cuts are staggering. I think I have vertigo.
Further side note: there is a wonderful feature of Malayalee culture of spontaneous singing, which is encouraged in contexts that would be considered unusual in the West. This is on full display in this episode. Almost anyone seems to be willing to sing on command and there are few hangups about it. A preacher in the Kerala context is wont to break out into song at any point in his message, at which point those who were dozing might be jolted into the mistaken belief that it’s communal song time. That belief would be mistaken; these are solo performances.
One parent explains that her child’s name was a simple combination of a syllable from her husband’s name and one from her own, as if that were the most plainly logical approach one could take. In this regard Kerala parents are entirely unconcerned with the effects that such a name may have on their child, either melodically or on his social experience.
Here’s a randomly-selected episode for those who want a firsthand experience: