Last month, four-year-old Marion Kelly and her infant brother, James, burst into their father Robert’s office while he was doing an interview with the BBC, dancing across the screen and into our cold, jaded hearts. The video immediately went viral, accumulating over 16 million views in the first days. Now, the BBC family has their own TV show. ‘The Adventures of Mina and Jack’ is an animated series inspired by Marion and James, that follows Mina and her little brother Jack around the world as they help their dad out of various jams.
In case you don’t remember the video, or you just want to think about it again because it fills you with joy and hope that there is still goodness in this chaotic world, here’s a refresher: Robert Kelly, a Political Science professor and expert on East Asian affairs, was being interviewed by the BBC’s James Menendez about the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye when Marion enters the room. The toddler hesitates for a moment and then, because she’s a confident, modern woman who doesn’t need your permission to exist, she saunters into the room and starts dancing, followed closely by her little brother, James, and her mother, Jung-a Kim, who clearly can’t get five minutes to catch a breath.
In the new animated series, the kids go on adventures far beyond their dad’s office and the wilds of viral fame. In the first episode, Mina, who has Marion’s signature pink glasses, and Jack, who rolls around in a baby walker just like James, accompany their dad on a work trip to North Africa. Young Mina narrates the story, and explains that her mother’s favorite thing is “yoghurt” (she means yoga) and that her dad works for “the Un” (the U.N.). Mina and Jack overhear their dad talking about a gold thief and set out to find him using, in my opinion, the single best espionage tactic ever devised: standing on each other’s shoulders in a trench coat so they look like a single adult instead of two small children. They take an elephant to the market, where they trip over the thief and save the day, chased, as always, by their beleaguered mother.
The series was developed by Lauren Martin and Jarryd Mandy, a Brooklyn couple who originally conceived it as a children’s book after watching the viral video over 100 times. After storyboarding for a couple of days, Martin, who’s a writer and producer at Complex, and Mandy, who is an app developer, decided that animation was the only way to bring Mina and Jack’s story to life.
And how does the BBC family feel about all of this? They love it. “I thought it was so cute. My wife and I both laughed. They made me look suitably dorky,” said Robert Kelly.
No word yet on when the next episodes will come out, but whenever they do, our souls are ready.