Monday, February 9, 2009

Gidgits and Gadgets and Odds and Ends...

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

...and even some old string!

That's what you get when you look into your Barney Bag, a staple on the PBS show Barney & Friends, which has been on constantly, since 1992 and does not show signs of stopping, as far as I can tell. I only watched the first season or so (I had an eighteen-month-old sister, so it was the perfect excuse), but the show has long been prey to criticism.

It's actually taped in Texas for the most part, and I have a friend whose older sibling appeared on the show. I'm not sure how PBS decides to keep the show going year after year, but I guess that's why I'm not in television production. While it does not have the concentration on reading and counting like Sesame Street, there is a heavy emphasis on the imagination and creativity. There are many episodes where you learn new songs and dances, and other life skills - taught at a preschool level, of course. Kids move away, become big siblings, and visit grandparents whom they've never met before. There aren't really any negative emotions though... stealing and cheating are ignored, as are death and illness. The most serious thing the show tackles might just be "should I pick my best friend to play on my team even though he sucks at sports?" But usually they just played musical instruments, played pretend, and dressed up, with a spinkling of crafts.

Besides Barney (the purple one, obviously), there's Baby Bop (a green triceratops) and her brother BJ (yellow... I've never seen him in an episode, just in promos), and their cousin Riff (who I just found out about this morning and have never seen, but apparently he is orange). There have been a ton of different kids on the show, some staying only one episode (like Kyla Pratt) and others who stayed on for years (like Tina and Kathy).

You may be very familiar with the "Barney Song" that starts out "I Love You, You Love Me," which I disturbingly found out is used by US operatives to break the will of Iraqi POWs.

In doing a little bit of research, I didn't find much that was interesting enough to share with readers, so we'll go ahead and jump right to the clip for the week... you get to see the stuffed animal "come alive" for the kids, Baby Bop as well as a couple of the many random Barney songs (including the snack song they sing often):
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