Commentary

Cute Colony Of Cheeky Chimps Swings In To Save 2020

Just when we need them most, a community of big-eyed baby chimps is swinging to our rescue for the next three Saturdays.

Ironically, this three-part docuseries originally seen in the U.K. and now coming to American TV via BBC America is about an American couple in Liberia who have made it their life’s work to rescue, nurture, rear and return to the wild almost two dozen baby chimpanzees that have been orphaned in the jungle.

The show is called “Baby Chimp Rescue.” But it is they -- the chimps themselves -- that have turned up just in time to rescue all of us.

Watching the first episode of this series this week was one of the most pleasurable hours I have spent all year preparing for one of these TV Blogs.

The show does have an ostensible storyline designed to draw attention to the plight of these playful orphaned primates. According to the show, untold numbers of young chimpanzees are orphaned in the wild after their parents are killed by hunters, primarily for their meat, which is still eaten by humans in the bush country of Africa.

Often, the baby chimps have borne witness to their parents’ murders. Yes, according to this show, chimpanzees are developed enough to have feelings. Indeed, the baby chimps are not only too helpless to care for themselves in the wild. They have also been traumatized by what they have seen and experienced.

Moreover, some of the motherless baby chimps that end up at this Liberian baby chimp refuge have themselves been wounded in the attacks.

The show is designed also to promote this show’s chimp champions, Jim and Jenny Desmond, who are seeking funds to greatly expand their refuge’s real estate and provide even more intensive services to the baby apes in their charge.

And how could anyone watching resist? While the story of these chimps is certainly a serious one, we viewers get to see these chimp children mostly at play. They climb, run in circles, tease the pet dogs who populate the compound, cavort inside cars, jump from windows and, basically, behave like adorable, active children.

In short, this show is surefire: It consists mainly of adorable chimpanzees doing what adorable chimpanzees do. Anyone who doesn’t love this show probably doesn’t think too highly of puppies or kittens either.

“Baby Chimp Rescue” premieres Saturday (December 5) at 8 p.m. Eastern on BBC America.

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