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Get out of my life, Barney

kids showsWe are pretty selective about what we let our girls watch on TV. Most PBS shows get a big thumbs up, and we’re OK with one or two specific shows on Nik Junior and Disney Junior.  Thanks to the wonders of DVR and DVD technology, we can largely control what the girls do and don’t see.

But occasionally they watch one of “their” shows on real TV, and we have to leap for the remote if something objectionable comes on afterward, lest they beg to watch it. I am speaking, specifically, of The Fresh Beat Band. The other day, it happened to be on when we turned on the TV to put something else on for them, and they begged to watch it.

Alastair said no, and when they protested he said, “Sorry guys, the Fresh Beat Band sucks.”

“No it doesn’t!” they said.

Alastair called to me in the kitchen, where I was making dinner. “Hey Jane, does the Fresh Beat Band suck?”

“Totally sucks!” I replied. (I should note that we don’t normally talk to our kids like this. But it was the end of a long day. And it was the Fresh Beat Band.)

“It’s our job to help you guys develop good taste,” he told them. And put on Word World or Sid The Science Kid or some other parentally sanctioned show.

But then, the other day, I came home and found the girls watching Barney. BARNEY!!

“What the hell is this?” I asked Alastair, sotto voce.

“I told them if they could choose one DVD from the library, and this was the one they wanted,” he said. “I tried.”

Not hard enough, I thought.

Because here’s the thing (and I’m sure many — most? — of you would agree): Barney blows. Maybe not quite a hard as The Fresh Beat Band. But, actually, no; at least Fresh Beat has some good choreography, even if it’s extremely annoyingly executed. (I can just imagine the director: Smile more! No, EVEN MORE!!) Barney is just treacly, watered down, useless yuck. The TV equivalent of marshmallow fluff. It makes me angry even just looking at the guy, with his small hands and big, stupid head.

I feel very fortunate to have been largely able to avoid Barney in my lifetime. It (obviously) wasn’t on when I was a kid. And it didn’t start airing until 1992, when I was all but done with babysitting, and off to college. Apparently it kept running until 2009, but I don’t think our local PBS stations carried it, because I never encountered it when the girls were younger. (And, obviously, I never sought it out.)

So I thank my lucky stars that both my children and I have had a largely Barney-free existence. And I just hope, HOPE there isn’t any sort of Gen-Y (or Z?) nostalgia retro thing where people start wearing Barney T-shirts or carrying Barney handbags or iPhone cases or whatever. If there is, please, knock me over the head with a dinosaur bone and wake me when it’s over.

What’s your most dreaded kids’ show, past or present?

DOUBLE TIME, my memoir of parenting twins and battling depression (among other things) is now available for pre-order!

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