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Template:Infobox television Barney and Friends is an American children's television series aimed at children from ages 1 to 8, created by Sheryl Leach and produced by HIT Entertainment. It premiered on PBS on April 6, 1992. The series features the title character Barney, a purple anthropomorphic tyrannosaurus rex who conveys educational messages through songs and small dance routines with a friendly, optimistic attitude.[1][2][3][4] Production of new episodes originally ceased on September 18, 2009, although reruns of the series were still shown on several PBS stations in following years. From 2005 until 2015, reruns aired on Sprout. A revival of the series is set for a 2017 launch.[5]

Origin and developmentEdit

Barney was created in 1987 by Sheryl Leach of Dallas, Texas.[6] She came up with the idea for the program while considering TV shows that she felt would be educational and appeal to her son. Leach then brought together a team who created a series of home videos, Barney and the Backyard Gang, which also starred actress Sandy Duncan in the first three videos.[7] Later, Barney was joined by the characters Baby Bop, B.J., and Riff.

One day in 1991, the daughter of Connecticut Public Television executive Larry Rifkin rented one of the videos and was mesmerized by it. Rifkin thought the concept could potentially be developed for PBS. Rifkin thought Barney had appeal because he wasn't nearly as neurotic as Big Bird. He pitched it to CPTV president Jerry Franklin, whose preschool son also fell in love with it. Franklin and Rifkin pitched the idea to all of their colleagues with preschoolers, and they all agreed that kids would love a potential Barney show. Franklin and Rifkin convinced Leach to let CPTV revamp the concept for television.[8] The show debuted as Barney & Friends in 1992.[9] The series was produced by CPTV and Lyrick Studios (bought by HIT Entertainment).[10]

Although the show was a runaway hit, PBS initially opted not to provide funding beyond the initial 30-episode run. When CPTV executives learned this, they wrote letters to their fellow PBS member stations urging them to get PBS to reconsider. The Lyons Group, meanwhile, sent out notices through the Barney Fan Club, telling parents to write letters and make phone calls to their local PBS stations to show their support for Barney & Friends. By the time of the yearly member stations' meeting, station executives across the country were up in arms over the prospect of one of their most popular shows being cancelled. Faced with an atmosphere that Rifkin later described as "like an insurrection," PBS ultimately relented.[8]

For several years, the show was taped at the Color Dynamics Studios facility at Greenville Avenue & Bethany Drive in Allen, Texas, after which it moved to The Studios at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, and then Carrollton, a suburb of Dallas. The TV series and videos are currently distributed by HIT Entertainment and Universal Studios, while the TV series was produced by WNET from 2006 to 2009. Sheryl Leach left the show in 1998, five years prior to HIT Entertainment buying Lyrick Studios.

Episode formatEdit

Opening sequenceEdit

The series opens with the theme song (over clips from various episodes) and the title card before it dissolves into the school. The children are seen doing an activity, occasionally relating to the episode's topic. The children imagine something and Barney comes to life from a plush doll, transforming into the "real" Barney, how he appears to the children while they're imagining.

Main sequenceEdit

Here, the main plot of the episode takes place. Barney and the children learn about the main topic of the episode, with Baby Bop, B.J., or Riff appearing during the episode and numerous songs themed relating to the subject featured in the series. The roles of Baby Bop, B.J., and Riff have grown larger in later seasons and later episodes venture outside of the school to other places within the neighborhood and to other countries around the world in Season 13.

Closing sequenceEdit

Barney concludes with "I Love You" before he dissolves back into his original stuffed form and winks to the audience. After the children discuss a bit about what they had learned, the sequence cuts to Barney Says where Barney, who is off-screen, narrates what he and his friends had done that day, along with still snapshots from the episode. Then Barney, himself, signs off before the credits roll. In Seasons 3-8, and 12, he later appeared on-screen by saying, "And remember, I love you," and waves goodbye.

CriticismEdit

Although several people, including Yale University researchers Dorothy and Jerome Singer, have concluded that episodes contain a great deal of age-appropriate educational material, calling the program a "model of what preschool television should be",[11] the program has been criticized for a lack of educational value, as well as being repetitive in nature.[12]

The show and its content is often cited as a contributing factor to the perceived sense of "entitlement" seen in the Millennial generation who grew up watching the show as children.[13][14] One specific criticism is:

"His shows do not assist children in learning to deal with negative feelings and emotions. As one commentator puts it, the real danger from Barney is 'denial: the refusal to recognize the existence of unpleasant realities. For along with his steady diet of giggles and unconditional love, Barney offers our children a one-dimensional world where everyone must be happy and everything must be resolved right away.'"

Barney and Friends ranked #50 on TV Guide's 2002 list of the 50 worst TV shows of all time.[15] The show has also been parodied in many forms. (see Anti-Barney humor)

ReferencesEdit

  1. Gorman, James. "TELEVISION VIEW; Of Dinosaurs Why Must This One Thrive?", The New York Times, April 11, 1993. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 
  2. "Stuuuupendous!", Time, December 21, 1992. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 
  3. Cerone, Daniel. "Dinosaur Is a Star, Spreading Love With Hugs, Kisses, Songs", The Los Angeles Times, April 3, 1993. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 
  4. "Barney the launching pad", The Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2009. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 
  5. "MIPCOM: 'Barney & Friends' Set for Relaunch by Mattel, 9 Story", The Hollywood Reporter, October 6, 2015. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 
  6. Lev, Michael A. "Barney! Barney! He's Kid Dinomite", Chicago Tribune, December 10, 1992. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 
  7. Lawson, Carol. "Why Young Children Scream", The New York Times, December 3, 1992. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Grandjean, Pat. "CPTV Celebrates 50 Years: Present at the Creation", Connecticut Magazine, April 2013. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 
  9. Heffley, Lynne. "Dinosaur 'Barney' to Join PBS Gang", The Los Angeles Times, April 6, 1992. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 
  10. Heffley, Lynne. "Barney is far from extinct", Los Angeles TImes, March 28, 2008. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 
  11. Template:Cite web
  12. "Advertising; Barney's Image Gets Makeover For New Crop Of Toddlers", The New York Times, August 12, 2002. Retrieved on August 14, 2010. 
  13. Template:Cite book
  14. Template:Cite web
  15. "The Worst TV Shows Ever", CBS News (Entertainment), February 11, 2009. Retrieved on December 27, 2016. 

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