And the Cure for Millennial Burnout Is...This Giant Penguin
Pengsoo was created for children’s television, yet it became such a surprise sensation with adults that it was named South Korea’s person of the year. Now it's ready to take over the globe.
Edited by Brendan Spiegel
Growing up in the South Pole, Pengsoo was to his penguin peers what Rudolph was to Santa’s reindeers: an outcast shunned for being different. Bullies latched onto Pengsoo’s toweringly tall frame — at nearly 7 feet tall, Pengsoo is almost twice the height of the average emperor penguin — and its large, unblinking eyes, which, when you stare into them for too long, can come across as somewhat eerie. (Pengsoo is referred to as “it” for reasons that will be explained a bit later.)
“The other penguins didn’t play with me because I was too big,” 10-year-old Pengsoo, donning a pair of red-and-yellow headphones, told producers at a studio in the Korea Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, in April 2019. Sitting in a gray room, empty save for a too-small chair positioned beside a childish self-portrait, Pengsoo stared at the producers as it spoke. Pengsoo had swum to South Korea from the Antarctic “not too long ago,” it said, in the h…