‘Barney & Friends’ documentary tries to tie bashing the children’ present to bigger cultural tides

USA Prime Time

Aside from planting that tune in everybody’s head (once more), “I Love You, You Hate Me” is an amusing look again on the “Barney & Friends” phenomenon, and the over-the-top torrents of hostility the PBS youngsters’s present elicited. Yet the two-part documentary can be the soapy story of the creator and her household, which finally ends up eclipsing the overreaching impulse to attach the purple dinosaur to one thing extra culturally profound.

Conceived by Sheryl Leach, a resident of Allen, Texas, in 1988, “Barney” grew to become an on the spot favourite amongst toddlers, partially due to its easy repetition and cheerfully cut-rate manufacturing values. The present additionally “hit a nerve on the daybreak of the social-media period,” as Bob West, the unique voice of Barney, observes, with music director Bob Singleton noting that materials tailor-made to a 3 yr outdated “will drive a grownup loopy.”

By tapping into an under-served, fresh-out-of-diapers demographic, Leach grew to become fabulously rich, ultimately promoting the corporate for $275 million. But the recognition of Barney exacted an virtually Shakespearean toll on her household, together with her son, Patrick, who, it’s urged, suffered for rising up within the shadow of a felt-covered “sibling” whose fame eclipsed him.

“All that success got here at a worth,” says Andrew Olsen, a devotee of “Barney” historical past and its memorabilia.

There are different unusual particulars in director Tommy Avallone’s movie, like how the unique actor contained in the Barney swimsuit, David Joyner, discovered a too-good-to-be-true (for media functions, anyway) second profession as a tantric therapeutic massage therapist and healer, a observe that included, by his admission, sleeping with no less than a few of his shoppers.

Still, “I Love You” actually needs to emphasise the vitriol flung at Barney – the “You Hate Me” half – as proof of a nasty flip within the tradition throughout these years, from the snarky angle embodied by David Letterman to the every day fistfights on Jerry Springer’s speak present.

It’s an affordable level at first, however one the documentary overplays, particularly when there’s a lot odd, particular stuff in regards to the present to mine right here. Sure, the Barney bashing (akin to an incident with the well-known San Diego Chicken) sailed into the ridiculous, however what that claims America throughout these years doesn’t essentially signify any type of a straight line.

There are additionally somewhat arbitrary voices introduced into the combination, akin to NBC’s Al Roker, which merely underscores that the record of individuals with one thing profound to share about Barney, which was canceled in 2010, is comparatively quick.

“I Love You, You Hate Me” has already generated media consideration for Peacock, so rating it as a win by that measure. But whereas the mission captures a really particular second in time, it runs out of perception earlier than its time is up.

“I Love You, You Hate Me” premieres October 12 on Peacock.

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