Next up, a character we all love . . . to hate.
Why have I waited so long to cover this show? For starters, it just seems too easy. Barney has been parodied by everybody. His song “I love you, you love me” has had its lyrics changed to “Let’s hang Barney from a tree” and the religiously inspired “I am the devil, worship me.” There is also the song sung to the tune of “Joy to the World” in which children happily barbecue Barney’s head and then flush it down the potty. Anyway, I doubt there is an adult anywhere who hasn’t at least heard of Barney, whether or not they have children. He’s just that popular.
|Scary what the mind can
do, isn’t it?
What is it about Barney that strikes such a chord with people? Is it the guy in the fat dinosaur suit? Is it that the dinosaur is a noxious shade of purple? Is it the sickly, syrupy, sweet messages of love coming from the purple dinosaur? Could it be that the song is sung in that annoying voice that sticks in your head and never, ever gets out? Or the overacting children who dance and sing with the dinosaur? It can be all of these things and more!
But there are other possible explanations. Barney is a dinosaur, and most young boys adore dinosaurs. Why do they like dinosaurs? Well that’s easy. Dinosaurs are big and fierce, they roar loudly, they eat small creatures, they stomp around, and they do not have to go to bed at 8pm. Most certainly they do not sing songs about love and safety and the ABCs. And while scientists can’t really be certain what color the dinosaurs were (or even if they have the dinosaurs all assembled correctly in certain cases,) it’s a good bet that they probably weren’t fuchsia with green bellies. So, in a way, you could say that Barney ruined the good dinosaur name. I mean, he most resembles a T- Rex, the meanest, deadliest (and thus favorite) dinosaur for crying out loud. A T-Rex would not sing nursery rhymes.
|Hi, I’m a real T-Rex. Scuse me
while I eat this guy.
But one of the biggest annoyances of the big, purple dinosaur is that song. You know the song. “I love you, you love me. / We’re a happy family. / With a great big hug, and a kiss from me to you. / Won’t you say you love me too?” Yes, I just recalled all of that from memory. Not only is it annoying and mildly disconcerting (I don’t WANT a six-foot tall dinosaur to love me, or give me hugs and kisses, thanks) it’s not even an original tune. It is sung to the tune of “This Old Man”. Granted, it does make more sense than “This Old Man” (what is knickknack, and how do you play it on your thumb?) but it is still a rip-off of a nursery rhyme, all of which are designed to never leave your brain.
It’s not just Barney on the show. He has friends, of course. There are two Triceratops (I guess that’s what they’re supposed to be) that are arguably more obnoxious than Barney, because they’ve usually got some sort of problem that nobody cares about. One is a girl named “Baby Bop” which makes Barney sound like the best name ever. Come to think of it, you have to feel sorry for men who just happen to have that name. That would have to suck. I don’t remember the name of the other Triceratops, and I’m not looking him up. Anyway Barney never takes the opportunity to eat either of them, which is what any real T-Rex would do. It certainly would have increased his popularity.
|Haha, Stick ’em up, kids!|
Another disturbing aspect of Barney is how he starts out as a stuffed animal that at random points magically transforms into a giant playmate for kids. I can imagine they sold many stuffed toys that way to children who waited several minutes (probably armed with sticks) for Barney to appear, only to be disappointed. Truth in advertising, people! It reminds me of when I was in kindergarten. My teacher told my class to wear our moon boots because we were going to the moon the next day. I was all prepared for the field trip, but there was no sign of the bus. We went NOWHERE. The teacher’s explanation was that we were supposed to “use our imaginations” which I thought was a total crock at the time. I never did totally trust her again after that. I could imagine other children feeling just that way about the lovable dinosaur. Barney’s message: adults lie, kids.
Mostly Barney has just infiltrated our culture as a representative of all that is awful in children’s programming. Yes, if you’re a baby or toddler your standards aren’t so high, so he’s probably okay then, although I wouldn’t advise taking such a small child to see Barney “live”. I’ve never understood why some adults think a very small child would enjoy an extremely large animal looming over them like that. There is a picture of me from one Halloween when I my older brother and I were small. We’re with our mom who is standing beside a guy in a giant pumpkin suit. My brother looks vaguely uncomfortable, while I am screaming at the top of my lungs. If you think of it from the kid’s point of view, you probably wouldn’t care for a nine-foot tall monstrosity either. Especially if it insisted you “love it too.”
Adult in big, stupid costume: Yes
Irritating songs that NEVER leave your brain: Yes
Overacting, obnoxious children: Yes
Didacticism: You’re soaking in it.