The best internet video of the past few years is very likely the one where a professor named Robert Kelly, a political analyst living in South Korea, tries to lend his expertise to the BBC as his kids barge into his home office to dominate the shot. The comedic timing on display is perfect: First the daughter arrives, marching up to her dad with arms swinging, then his infant son in a mobile baby walker glides through the door. Last, Kelly’s wife, Jung-a Kim, rushes in, grabbing both kids while trying to crouch out of view.
The video was so popular that Kelly and Jung-a Kim became accidental celebrities, attracting a lot of press more interested in their family situation than any of the boring knowledge Kelly might have to share about regional politics. Now, two years on, if Kelly is going to be interviewed, he’s obviously come to understand that the kids stay in the picture.
Kelly’s latest BBC appearance wisely focuses not just on his academic background, but on what the coronavirus quarantine is like for a family in South Korea. He and Jung-a Kim sit in front of the camera with their two children, the baby now a little boy, and try to discuss life in Busan. Naturally, the kids are not into it. The boy bops up and down and the girl goes over to her dad to hug him, pull faces at the camera, and then poke at his cheeks, mess up his hair, and bite his fingers.
Their mom carries on regardless and Kelly again tries to talk a bit about the politics of South Korea’s pandemic response, but the kids go rogue, wandering in and out of the room and helpfully illustrating what their parents mean when they say it’s difficult to deal with kids stuck indoors who are “climbing the walls.”
If ever there was a time for the BBC Dad to return, it’s now, when viewers across the world understand better than ever before what it’s like to try to get work done with other people hanging around. He is the hero of the home office, able to triumph over any distraction. Let his example serve as guidance to us all.
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