In 2009, Pancake Mountain, the alternative children’s television show that became a cult hit among adults for its performances by musicians such as Arcade Fire, the White Stripes and Metric, premiered on a local cable access show in Washington, D.C. Starting today, the show will return online with a new episode every Monday for 10 weeks, and we’ve got the premiere episode and performance by Garbarge frontwoman Shirley Manson to see now. (This and all other episodes can be seen on the show’s PBS Digital Studios YouTube channel.)
In the clip above, Manson sing-raps a lesson about Germany over Sixties-styled farfisa organ and fuzz guitar. Starting with the country’s most popular foods and basic vocabulary, Manson schools viewers on the Autobahn and lederhosen before showcasing Krautrock stars such as Can and Neu! and classical composers.
The full episode below features a goat puppet named Rufus Leaking (voiced by producer J.R. Soldano) learning the origins of the bass line from “Walk on the Wild Side” and teaching co-host Captain Perfect not to talk on a cell phone while driving.
This season of Pancake Mountain will feature appearances by Reggie Watts, a regular cooking segment by the Jesus Lizard’s David Yow, a new intro song by the Distillers’ Brody Dalle and performances by numerous other rockers. As the program’s mission statement shows, the goal is bridge children with their parents who have tired of pandering children’s programming.
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“How do you get adults to sit down and watch television with their young kids? Simple,” says the show. “Stuff it full of the best musicians, artists and actors around, dip it in a little mayhem and cleverly disguise the whole thing as children’s programming.”