Name your favorite balding character in children’s television.
Did you pick Gordon from Sesame Street? Excellent choice. Popeye? That’s a good one too — way to go retro! Caillou? Um, no comment.
Anyway, here’s one character who might have joined that illustrious, shiny-scalped pantheon but didn’t … Steve from the ’90s and early ’00s Nickelodeon hit show Blues Clues.
The Huffington Post recently unearthed a 2006 TV special that revealed why the beloved, charmingly goofy host — full name: Steve Burns — mysteriously left the show in 2002. One of the reasons was that he didn’t want to spend his whole career as a children’s performer and instead pursued a passion for music, which resulted in a debut CD that garnered some critical acclaim … but the main reason, supposedly, was much ado about a ‘do — or rather, Burns’ declining one.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be doing children’s television all my life. Mostly because I refused to lose my hair on a kids’ TV show and it was happening fast,” he said in the special.
The Huffington Post is reporting Burns’ quote as gospel, but if you watch the Nickelodeon special, you’ll see that Burns’ tone sounds fairly tongue-in-cheek. Besides, if hair loss was the main issue, couldn’t he have just smeared on some Rogaine and gone about his clue-hunting business? I’m thinking Burns’ musical aspirations really did drive his departure, though I’ll admit to experiencing some cognitive dissonance when entertaining the notion that Mr. Innocent Puppy Dog Eyes acted anything other than earnestly and sincerely in a TV appearance. (To see Steve Burns really differentiate his persona from his Nickelodeon alter ego, check out this Today Show clip … though I urge loyal Blues enthusiasts not to watch. It might be a bit traumatic.)
This not-so-new news on Burns sparked some nostalgic feelings among the show’s now-grown fan base, with some leaving messages such as “The day Steve left I stopped watching” and “Oh man I [cried] like a baby when Steve left…” on YouTube.
Given Hollywood’s love of sequels, reboots, retreads, etc., I have to wonder if anyone will think to seize on all the Steve sentimentality and offer him a chance to star in a brand new Blue Clues. Perhaps Burns has had his fill of the music industry and would be willing to give it a go? Reading Rainbow is coming back (kind of), so why not this?
If Burns remains concerned about being balding on a children’s show, a Kickstarter campaign for the show could even include a provision for funding a toupee for Steve. Or he could just go the “bald is beautiful” route well-worn by Gordon and Popeye (and, yes, sigh, Caillou).
Either way, the world wants you back, Steve. Get a clue.
More from Alice: