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What is Anti-Barney Humor? – Parody & Violence Explained

Quite a few of us had watched Barney & Friends when we were growing up. For those unfamiliar with the show, it was a children’s show for kids aged between two and seven, and it first aired all the way back in 1992. It featured a giant purple T-Rex named Barney.

Although it’s a show for kids, it generated a lot of controversies, one of which is the infamous anti-Barney humor. In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look into the origins and reasons behind anti-Barney humor and, of course, explaining what it is in the first place.

Let’s dive straight in!

What is anti-Barney humor?

What is Anti-Barney Humor?

Here is a concise explanation:

Anti-Barney humor is a type of dark humor aimed at the anthropomorphic purple T-Rex Barney from the children’s show Barney & Friends. This humor type is quite hostile and violent towards Barney, with jokes and videos often including his death, all to criticize the show for lack of educational value, as well as being boring and annoying.

Now, let’s look at how it originated and what it tries to accomplish.

The Origins & Popularity

The leading cause of anti-Barney humor and its rising popularity in the past few years has been the widespread criticism of the show. Even in its infancy, the show was well-received by very young kids, while most older children, teenagers, and adults found it annoying and problematic in many ways. Here are the most significant flaws the audience highlights in Barney & Friends:

  • The show is one-dimensional. The over-the-top cheerful attitude of Barney and unrealistic positivity (even for a kids’ show) made adults dislike it strongly. Many critics found it problematic that the show portrays the world as very one-dimensional, where everyone should be happy all the time.
  • It doesn’t help children deal with negative emotions. Continuing the previous point, the show is often criticized for its lack of touch with “unpleasant realities” (as Ted Giannoulas said). This approach may leave young kids with false expectations that happiness is permanent and all issues have to be solved immediately.
  • It is boring and repetitive. Unlike the previous two, this point is highly subjective. Although many of us liked Barney & Friends when we were kids, millions of people find the show extremely unwatchable up to this day. TV Guide even ranked the show as number 50 on their list of 50 worst shows of all time!

Apparently, when there is a lot of dislike towards a particular show or character, things start spiraling out of control. In the past few decades, parodies featuring the character of Barney appeared all across TV and the internet, in all shapes and forms.

These appearances even invited legal action from the owners of intellectual property rights to Barney & Friends. Still, it seems that most of their attempts to suppress the anti-Barney humor wave were unsuccessful.

Examples of Anti-Barney Humor

anti Barney humor explained

By now, you must be wondering what anti-Barney humor even looks like.

Most parodies that include Barney refer to a particular form of violence aimed at the character. Various instances, some of which were in very mainstream media, have included:

  • Barney being stabbed, burnt, exploded, and destroyed in all sorts of ways;
  • making fun of his voice;
  • making fun of his frozen facial expression with an omnipresent smile;
  • Barney fighting a Godzilla;
  • an Italian comic releasing a series of short stories dedicated to destroying the purple dinosaur;
  • portraying him as a demonic force;
  • slapstick comedy featuring a Barney mascot;
  • and many, many more.

As you could quickly realize, all examples of anti-Barney humor are dark, vicious, and not very forgiving towards the poor T-Rex. He has undoubtedly grown into one of the least loved characters for many reasons.

FAQs About Barney & The Show

Finally, let’s look at some of the most common questions and controversies surrounding the show:

Why is Barney canceled?

The show Barney & Friends was canceled in 2009 probably because of the public outcry and a shift in the demand on the market. It generated countless lawsuits, and the older audience gradually started expressing their animosity towards the show.

Still, Barney was incredibly popular back in the day. It aired for 14 seasons and 268 episodes, with millions of people having watched the show as they were growing up.

Was Barney a serial killer?

No, naturally, Barney was far from a serial killer. This famous rumor originated somewhere on the internet and quickly gained popularity as people became convinced (for some reason) that Barney’s character was based on a serial killer from the 1930s.

But how can we be sure?

Well, Snopes.com (the famous fact-checking website) found the rumor to be false quite some time ago. A few similar dark rumors were going around in later years, none of which were ever proven true.

How is Barney evil?

Simply put, Barney is not an evil dinosaur. On the contrary, his extremely joyful attitude and permanent smile made the older audience of the show very cynical towards the character, resulting in fiction stories explaining the evil nature of the purple T-Rex.

What age is Barney appropriate for?

Barney & Friends is a children’s TV show aimed at kids between 2 and 7 years of age, even though it was initially meant to target slightly older children as its primary audience.

What is the Barney 666 joke?

The “Barney = 666” joke is an absurd piece of humor based on a formula from the book Science Askew (2001). It shows how a phrase that describes Barney is allegedly a chronogram for 666, the so-called number of the beast.

Here is a simple rundown:

  1. Barney is described as a: cute purple dinosaur
  2. The old Latin alphabet uses V instead of U. Hence, the phrase becomes: cvte pvrple dinosavr
  3. If we leave only the letters that are also Roman numerals, we get: C V V L D I V
  4. The numbers those letters translate to are: 100, 5, 5, 50, 500, 1, and 5. Add the numbers up, and you get 666.

Crazy theories never end, do they?

Your Turn

We hope we have helped you understand the meaning of anti-Barney humor and where it originated from. Now, we would like to hear from you:

Have you ever heard of humor directed at Barney before? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

Leave your opinion in the comments down below!

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