Okay, so, full disclosure: before becoming a parent, I thought that Barney was a great purple harbinger of the decline of western civilization. Then I became a parent, and decided that it wasn't Barney that was the harbinger of our civilization's decline, it was show's kid-performers (just a little too slick and rehearsed for comfort, always comporting themselves as though their mothers-slash-managers were standing by backstage with agents on speed-dial). I made efforts to change the channel when the show came on television.
But Wonderbaby loved it. LOVED. IT. She'd squeal the minute the big purple dinosaur lumbered onscreen. She had learned the words to the opening theme within one or two viewings. It was like twenty-odd minutes of sing-songy purple crack for her - and twenty-odd minutes of alone-time for me. So I caved. I let her watch it.
I avoided, however, buying the DVDs or seeking it out in the TV listings. If it came on during specified TV times, then fine, she could watch it. But I wasn't going to encourage the watching.
So, when the opportunity arose to review a new Barney DVD - Barney ABCs - I hemmed and hawed. No big fan of Barney myself, I thought it only reasonable and fair to not review it. On the other hand, Wonderbaby is undeniably a huge Barney fan, and it's her opinion that matters, right? Also, this one was about ABCs, and ABCs are good, so why not give it a try. And maybe watch it myself, for a change.
So I did. And yes, I still found Barney himself a bit too goofy, and the kids a bit too cloying, but you know what? It wasn't unendurable (unlike, say, Wonderpets, which make me want to rip my ears off). And, of course, Wonderbaby loved it. The revelation, though, was that as far from my personal tastes as Barney is, I really had to admit that it's really pretty good children's programming. It really encourages a certain amount of interaction from the viewer, in the form of song and dance and movement: WB and I sang every song together (one can, of course, sing along to any show with a musical component, but these songs are EASY. I like EASY) and marched and moved along with Barney and friends and there was much clapping and cheering and discussing and when it was all over? WB was sufficiently stimulated and satisfied with her TV fix that she happily turned off the TV and asked if we could go do marching outside.
(Part of PBN's Barney ABCs Campaign. See other reviews here, and learn more about the DVD here.)