Wednesday, December 20, 2006

In Defense of the Big Purple Guy

My mom taught me to stand up for my friends on the playground if someone was picking on them and I feel like I am long overdue in defending Barney. Some of you have heard my Barney defense, but I now want to "publicly" stand up for my dear purple friend. I know, I know EVERYONE hates Barney. But what I can't figure out is WHY?

Now, I have to say that Aaron started out as a Barney-hater. He SWORE that his children would never watch it (he's such a dictator :)) I personally developed a soft spot for Barney when Tyler was young. He even made a guest appearance at Tyler's third birthday party!

I DVR Barney and Sesame Street -- not so I can plop Grace in front of them all day, but so there's always something on hand that's appropriate for her to watch if I need to take a shower or run a load of laundry downstairs or some other short little task. After being exposed to both Sesame Street and Barney (and listening to my heartfelt commentary), Aaron has now embraced Barney. Ok, he's not singing the theme song at the end, but he admits I have some valid points (which is HIGHLY unusual in our household...LOL)

Aaron and I grew up watching Sesame Street and it seems to be the most "socially accepted" children's show around, so it just seemed natural that we expose Grace to it. We are now re-thinking that decision. Let's analyze the characters a little:

Big Bird - Sure, he LOOKS friendly enough, but if you actually pay attention, that guy (he is a guy right?) is one whiny bird. Wah, wah, wah ALL the time.

Oscar - Need I state the obvious? Who wants their kid to think is ok to complain and be a grump all the time?

Cookie Monster -- ok, I'll admit.. I want to hug him and share cookies with him BUT "Me want a cookie" doesn't teach very good grammar. I know some health nuts also argue that Cookie Monster is responsible for childhood obesity, but I think that's taking things a little far. Carrot Monster just wouldn't be the same.

Speaking of grammar...

The Count -- I never noticed this growing up, but he cannot say the number "Seven." Instead he says "Selwin." What the heck? And when he counts higher he says "Selwinteen." If you've never noticed, pay attention next time.

Elmo - OK - I know EVERYONE loves Elmo. But how can you argue that he is any less annoying than Barney? With the squeaky voice and annoying use of the third-person ("Elmo wants to do this") this little furry guy can drive a parent insane in no time flat. And Elmo's World? You have to be kidding me. That flying computer that screams "Elmo's got mail, Elmo's got mail...over and over and over and over and over." No wonder "Elmo" is one of the first recognizable words spoken by many children. Is that a good thing? I think not. And I can't mention Elmo's World without mentioning Mr. Noodle. There are many words I could use to describe this guy, but I'm just going to settle on "creepy." I can't help but think that one day we may just see Mr. Noodle talking to Chris Hansen on Dateline.

Now, I will say that if all of the characters above were axed and Sesame Street became the Burt and Ernie show, I'd be more likely to let my children watch it. Yes, Burt is a little grumpy and eccentric and Ernie is a little goofy, but they speak correct Engligh and sing cute songs. I'll let them slide.

Having analyzed the competition, I want to explain why Barney is NOT a bad guy.

  • He always uses good grammar. Some may say his voice is annoying, but I find it sweet and comforting.

  • He is a fun guy. You NEVER, EVER hear Barney complain. Sure, he probably got stuck in traffic on the way to work and has to endure all kinds of harassment in daily life, but he leaves it all off-camera. My child sees a positive, happy, purple role model. Yeah, he's different, but he doesn't care. He sings great, upbeat song and hey, he can even dance!

  • He teaches good lessons. Barney doesn't just exist for entertainment. He always has a good message to share with chilren. He teaches children that they are special AND that they should treat others with kindness. I think if more people paid attention to what Barney has to say, the world really could be a better place.
I know the popular stance is to hate Barney, but c'mon he's a GOOD guy -- love him. He loves you (and he'll tell you every single day if you just embrace him! :)

And now, I'll close this entry with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you!