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7 Best Things About That BBC Interview With The Interrupting Kids

The topic of the interview — the impeachment of Korean President Park Geun-hye — was interesting. But Robert Kelly’s children stole the show.


This morning the BBC interviewed Dr. Robert Kelly, an associate professor of international relations in the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at Pusan National University in South Korea. The topic of the interview — the impeachment of Korean President Park Geun-hye — was interesting. But Kelly’s children stole the show. Watch:

Here are the seven (UPDATE!) eight best things about this part of the interview.

That Toddler

The best part of the video was when the toddler comes marching in and wreaks far more havoc than her pint-size would indicate possible. She’s happy to march in, she knocks some books around, she doesn’t take offense when her dad tries to brush her back. And she’s already been turned into a meme:

Even from Bon Appétit:

The Rolling Baby

My favorite was the Marching Toddler, but the Rolling Baby also delighted crowds.

It’s the nonchalant manner in which the baby rolls in, and how the toddler therefore decides to stay, too, that takes things up a notch.

The Quick-Acting Mom

By the time the mom rushes into the room, realizing the kids have gone rogue during their dad’s very important interview, the comedic value is unquestioned. She goes low — and speaking as someone who does these types of interviews and who is married to someone who does Skype interviews, I can assure you this is a natural instinct. But, of course, ducking down doesn’t remove her or the kids from view. She enters the room like a deft Kramer, and exits quickly, saving the day.

The Realness of the Dad

Again, having been interrupted by the chaos of life while on air, I know how stressful it is for children to enter the scene. I have never handled it as well as this guy, who keeps his composure as he tries to signal to his toddler to get out of the room. But he’s also totally laughing it off. Some people thought he appeared abusive toward the toddler, but that’s silly.

The Interviewer

Television is so well-produced that we rarely see real life interrupt our broadcasts. When the toddler walks in, the interviewer is forced to acknowledge this, breaking down the wall we normally preserve between work and home life.

The Feminist Response

The New Statesman ran what I’m almost positive is not a piece of satire, although the wise and perceptive John Podhoretz is suspicious, about how the video is all about the patriarchy:

Basically, the message this video delivers to me is: being a man is playing life on the easy setting. Once again, the yawning awareness of the patriarchy shits on my ability to enjoy something. I can see why so few female Moles are feminists.

Here’s the worst/best bit of the video. When Mr Pundit doesn’t even turn round to acknowledge his child, but instead gives the little tyke a gentle shove to get out of the way.


Also – ALSO – Mr Pundit shoves the kid back with the easy reassurance of someone who knows that another person is going to swoop in and deal with the kids. This, you feel, is the kind of guy who refers to looking after his own children as “babysitting”.

It also exposes one reason why there are more men delivering their opinions all over our televisions most days – because women are doing the behind the scenes work needed to make that feasible. True equality will not have been achieved until we see a father desperately clawing at a baby wheeler while a woman talks about the rising threat of nuclear war.

That’s not just a feminist critique, it’s comedy gold, satire or not.

Pretty sure this one — Why Today’s Viral Video Was Bad For Fathers And Mothers — isn’t satire, but who can tell these days?

The Conversation

Still, the responses to the video did produce some excellent commentary about the challenges of working from home when living with and caring for others. Technology has enabled more flexible work schedules than we’ve seen in a long time, and that’s great for parents and children. But even something as relatively simple as a short radio or TV interview, or call with clients, can be a logistical minefield.

It’s also a reminder to consider how colleagues and associates, clients and partners, might have more significant concerns than the ones we talk about at work. Whether that’s caring for a relative, volunteering in the community, raising children, or even dealing with the challenges of personal and private issues, it’s good to remember that the world doesn’t revolve around you or your needs:

Some of my friends also discussed their worst work-from-home moments, such as when a conservative Christian friend let her four young kids watch TV while she did an interview, only to find they somehow found their way to, shall we say, adult viewing. That friend also once locked herself in the car to do a radio interview but had her children find her and bang on the windows.

BONUS: The Grandmother

We have a late-breaking addition of Grandma Kelly. Like all good grandmothers, she has taken the blame for the grandkids’ unruly behavior:

Mrs Kelly, the professor’s mother, said she and her husband Joseph usually Skype with Robert, his wife Jung-a Kim and the two children from the same place as he was carrying out the BBC interview.

‘Robert usually Skypes with us from his home office, which is where he did the interview.

‘The kids probably heard voices coming from the computer and assumed it was us,’ she said laughing. ‘It was just hilarious’.

We see through you, Grandma, but we respect your efforts to protect the grandchildren!

I’m a work-from-home mother, and have been since my oldest was born. Those first years when the kids were toddlers and babies were unbelievably difficult. But while children always deserve much love and attention no matter their age, it does get easier in many ways (and more challenging in others!) to work from home as they age. Either way, it’s worth the effort. The time goes quickly, and spending time in the home is something more mothers and fathers should do, if able.

And read Robert Kelly’s work. He’s a great analyst of a region we’ll all be paying more attention to soon.