Parpar Nechmad (Hebrew: פרפר נחמד, Nice Butterfly) is a long-running Israeli children's television program, aimed mainly at pre-schoolers. The show premiered in January 1982 and ran until 2004. It was produced by the Israeli Educational Television (IETV), and to this day remains successful in re-runs on IETV's home network, Channel 23.
The show was originally produced by Shoshana Tzachor. Its head writer was Datia Ben Dor, who provided scripts for most of the early shows, as well as lyrics and music to many of the featured songs. The puppets were all designed by Yehudit Greenspan. The show's title refers to a then well-known nursery rhyme by Fania Bergstein.
The show consists of interactions between humans and puppets. Each episode presents the young viewers with familiar situations from everyday life, and offers creative ways of solving various problems, as each situation is dealt with through songs and games. Aside from the basic plotline, most episodes also include a story told by one or more of the human actors, and sometimes short cartoon sketches. In the sketches about Pete and Pitagoras (different actors) professor Pitagoras tried to teach the kids but his assistant Pete always ruined everything.
The location for most shows (until 1995) is a room filled with various shapes, such as poles and arches, vaguely resembling a room in a house. This deliberately surreal design is meant to give the impression of seeing the world from an infant's point of view, which is full of imagination and creativity.
In 1995 the show's production was put on a long hiatus, following the death of Yoni Chen, one of the puppeteers. It was revived in 1998 with a renewed and very different look. It now had a realistic house and a realistic back yard as the two main locations. The puppets were re-designed and there were considerable changes in the human cast as well.
Responses for the new version were mostly negative. Original creator Datia Ben Dor said in an interview (translation from Hebrew is non-literal): "The work on the show was no longer done with the proper care and sensitivity... it was no longer "Parpar Nechmad"... the name remained but the essence was gone". The second version aired its final episode in 2004.
On July 18, 2008 it was first published that IETV is planning to revive the show once again, and that auditions for the new human cast will soon be taking place. Reportedly, all four puppet characters will appear on the new version, which will focus on teaching children about good nutrition and health. It is yet unknown whether or not this version will include any of the original human actors.
- Uza (אוזה) (performer: Irit Shilo) - a female goose. She is very clever and a fast learner. Her character traits are those of a know-it-all big sister.
- Shabi (שבי) (performer: Itzik Gier / Avi Yakir) – a male snail. He is intelligent but slightly insecure. He tends to rely on Uza for answers. He wears round glasses.
- Batz (בץ) (performer: Yoni Chen / Ami Weinberg) – a male turtle. He is a rather slow thinker, but far from being dumb.
- Nuli (נולי) (performer: Ayelet Levine / Tzlila Yanai) – a female chick. The youngest of the puppets, she is inquisitive and gets excited easily. Her name is not related to the animal she is. She is named after Nuli Omer.
- Pingi (פינגי) (performer: Galya Yishai) – a human-sized penguin. He joins the show in later episodes as an immigrant from the North Pole, and is very curious and friendly, yet tends to be obnoxious at times. His character was excluded from the new version, mostly because most viewers found him annoying. For example, he really wanted glasses but after he got a couple (actually faux glasses) he really wanted a moustache.