As with most children’s programming that bleeds into mainstream popularity, Barney was a character of pure joy and love that teens and adults were happy to mock. Portrayed by Bob West, the happy purple dinosaur was the brainchild of Sheryl Leach. Leach invented Barney out of raw necessity after noting that her son had very little entertainment aimed as his age range. When the series launched at PBS in 1992, it was an unmitigated smash hit and ultimately ran for 268 episodes over 14 seasons. Obviously, it also lodged itself into the cultural consciousness of every parent and late show host from coast to coast. Also, apparently some people turned violent over it.
That’s the story docuseries I Love You, You Hate Me seeks to tell, and the trailer is a wild, wild ride. It’s like Death to Smoochy if the audience were the bad guys, and the team behind the hit children’s show were actually pretty cool and normal. A Reverse Smoochy, if you will.
Granted, a lot of the violent imagery aimed at Barney came in the form of what amounts to pre-internet sh*t posting. It was goofy to overlay illicit and taboo ideas over an icon so wholesome. Yet as the Peacock docuseries trailer hints at, there was some real malice behind the drug rumors and threats of death and dismemberment.
I Love You, You Hate Me hits Peacock October 12th, giving us only a short time to consider this vital question: how scummy do you have to be to make Barney fear for his life?