Bing: Swing and Other Episodes (U) Home Ents Review
Dir. Various, UK, 2014, 75 mins
Cast (voice): Elliot Kerley, Mark Rylance, Eve Bentle, Akiya Henry
Together they survive situations including making a smoothie, playing musical statues and finding a frog. Sometimes Bing is accompanied by other animal friends and sometimes he and Flop are alone in their oddly large and apparently deserted house. At the end of each story, Bing recalls the event and his feelings about it. Then Flop will invariably chime in with ‘it’s a Bing thing!’ no matter what happened and the fact that it invariably isn’t a ‘Bing thing’.
For example, in Musical Statues Bing suggests he and his friends play musical statues, loses gracelessly at playing musical statues, has a sulk about losing at musical statues then is persuaded back to try again by his friends. Bing then honestly recounts this only for Flop to conclude ‘musical statues – it’s a Bing thing!’, when stropping and sulking was the Bing thing and playing musical statues nicely was an Everyone Else thing.
This collection kicks off with the frankly traumatising Balloon, (in which Bing’s short-lived friendship results in the rubber remains of Mr Balloon being put in the chillingly-named and worryingly-full ‘Bye Bye Box’ with other toys that met their ends at Bing’s hands) which might cause some nightmares. Then we have the eponymous Swing where Bing and his panda friend Pando (who inexplicably removes his shorts whenever he appears) fail to successfully share their swing nearly resulting in black eyes for Bing who tries to wrestle swing-hog Pando who has failed to adhere to their count-to-ten-then-swap system from said swing.
But everyone learns their lesson and is swiftly very sorry.
Physical danger is less present in the other episodes and Bing is a jolly bunny even if he is sometimes silly, short-tempered, selfish or, well childish. He is also very cute, as are all his mismatched animal friends (Coco and Charlie the other bunnies, Sula the elephant and Pando the panda), though they do all have disconcertingly human hands for animals who should have paws or feet.
Bing’s stories and honest recaps will teach pre-schoolers and parents about commonplace consequences and complications and potential small drama of simple situations. He is a very unintimidating hero as his flaws and subsequent acknowledgement are clear to him and his small audience. That’s the Bing thing.
Review by Esther Sadler
Bing: Swing and Other Episodes is out on DVD on 30 March. Buy from Amazon