Every year, they arrive in their fancy black and white tuxedos, generating traffic congestion and putting a premium on prime real estate. Endangered African penguins have long been a source of joy to tourists to Simon’s Town, South Africa, interacting with humans while they go about their penguin chores, which include finding a nest and reproducing. Penguin Town, an eight-part Netflix series that premieres on Wednesday, June 16th, follows various of the birds and unveils their characteristics, from a middle-aged couple nicknamed “the poster penguins for monogamy” to a young bachelor hunting for his first spouse.
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Net flix has recently gone all-in on documentaries, despite the fact that they might be an acquired taste. Whether you enjoy documentaries or not, every Netflix customer should see Penguin Town, which was released only last week. Penguin Town isn’t your usual wildlife documentary series hosted by David Attenborough. It’s more like a reality TV programme, although one with lovely black and white birds instead of the Kardashian knock-offs that are now popular.
Penguin Town is located in Simon’s Town on South Africa’s southwestern coast, and it has been home to a colony of African penguins since the mid-1980s. Apparently, the birds stay in Simon’s Town throughout the summer months, when they nest and reproduce.
What is Penguin Town All About?
The show follows a variety of penguin families as they go about their summer antics and anthropomorphizes them to hell and back. These aren’t simply animals; they’re bird-like humans with backstories and personalities of their own. Rather than the terrible unvarnished imagery shown on shows like the BBC’s Blue Planet, it’s a more glamorised glimpse into the life of these feathered creatures. It goes without saying that this is not a David Attenborough-narrated event. Instead, Netflix enlisted the help of comedian Patton Oswalt, who is best known for his roles as Remy the Rat in Ratatouille and MODOK in Hulu’s MODOK series.
Nature films aren’t afraid to show the ugly side of life on Earth. They’ll use cameras to capture the consequences of human activity, pollution, or predators hunting and eating other animals. Penguin Town has a more benign approach, yet it’s all about the drama, just like any good reality show.
The penguins are always waddling into exciting pandemonium, whether they’re being hunted by predators, saved from impending death by human environmentalists, or getting into scraps with the penguin incels known merely as the ‘Car Park Gang.’
Penguin Town, on the other hand, isn’t afraid to show how cruel nature can be to animals. It just delivers those facts in a way that is unlikely to frighten even the most fearful of individuals.
And it is here that the show’s allure rests. Penguin Town draws you in with a blend of drama, anthropomorphized protagonists, and plenty of tension (particularly towards the conclusion of each episode). To prevent ruining the programme for others, we won’t disclose too much about those protagonists, but suffice it to say that a lot can happen in those eight episodes.
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Cast Consist Penguins or Humans Too?
The penguin cast could compete with any of the more mainstream reality shows. The Bougainvilleas are a steady couple that have been mating for years, waddling straight to their house under an African bush. There’s The Culverts, a new couple who is having trouble finding an egg-friendly home.
The Courtyards are affluent penguins that live in a lovely garden on a lavish estate. Most crucial, the couples alternate between foraging for fish and returning to the nest to incubate the eggs. Perhaps we “giants” should learn from these tuxedo birds about progressive parenting.
The show’s star is penguin Junior, a youngster who has faced his fair share of challenges. When he fails to moult, he is rescued and sent to a rehabilitation centre, where it is revealed that he has seal bites that are trying to heal. Junior is the show’s svelte young protagonist, and his heroic path will melt anyone’s heart.
Patton Oswalt narrates Penguin Town. He’s the ideal narrator for this series, mixing the drama and wit of the array of characters. When the Bougainvilleas lay two eggs, he is overjoyed. He mocks the Car Park Penguins, a gang of lone “jackass” penguins who assault other penguins in a parking lot.
When speaking emotionally about Junior, Oswalt understands when to back off: “It’s hard to mend and sprout new feathers at the same time.” In Penguin Town, Oswalt understands how to land jokes while still tugging at the heartstrings during poignant times.
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There’s a word in psychology for repressing underlying anguish through comic acting. The dilemma is known as the sad clown paradox. Yet, unwittingly, a new Netflix wildlife documentary has proven that we may now need a new phrase to express the weird cognitive dissonance we feel about our annihilation of the natural world — the sad penguin paradox.