The Most Hated Children’s Television Character Is Getting A Docuseries

Barney the Dinosaur is getting a docuseries on Peacock.

By Douglas Helm | Published

Kids may love the giant purple dino Barney, but adults and teens — not so much. Well, now we can delve into why Barney gets so much hate with the upcoming Peacock docuseries I Love You, You Hate Me. The docuseries is set to hit the streaming platform on October 12.


Whether you hate Barney the Dinosaur or not, this certainly seems like an interesting premise. The docuseries will look into the human need to hate and why it may have been directed, out of all things, at a kid’s TV character. Who doesn’t remember those playground chants about Barney being dead?

Well, now we might actually get some insight into why Barney became the target of so much vitriol. There’s certainly no shortage of goofy kids characters out there, so it is a bit strange that Barney was specifically singled out. Perhaps I Love You, You Hate Me will have the answers for us.

Though Barney isn’t quite as popular as he used to be, he was huge in the 1990s and even the 2000s. The series Barney & Friends eventually ended in 2010. There have been a few attempts to revive the dinosaur since then, with the latest being a planned movie with Mattell Films that also has Daniel Kaluuya’s production company involved.

Barney & Friends was a relatively innocuous kids’ show that featured the purple and green T-Rex Barney teaching kids educational lessons and singing songs. Occasionally, other characters like Baby Bop, BJ, and Riff would join in to interact with the kids. Every episode would end with the dinosaur talking about the lessons with the kids and then singing the song “I Love You” with them.

There were tons of children who appeared in Barney & Friends over the years, with several of the child actors going on to have full careers in the industry. Some of the most notable are Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Danielle Vega, Debby Ryan, Jaren Lewison, and Madison Pettis. Various movies and specials would also be released throughout the show’s tenure.

While other children’s show characters certainly aren’t free from hatred and negative humor, Barney is perhaps the most prominent example. And the I Love You, You Hate Me docuseries is far from the first to note the trend. University of Chicago professor W.J.T. Mitchell’s book The Last Dinosaur Book: The Life and Times of a Cultural Icon specifically notes the strange trend of hostile anti-Barney humor.

While Barney-mockery was once primarily the domain of older kids and teens, adults eventually got in on the anti-Barney campaign as the show ramped up in popularity. One very notable example in popular media was the 2002 film Death to Smoochy, which parodies the anti-Barney phenomenon. In the film, Robin Williams plays a former children’s entertainment star called Rainbow Randolph who attempts to sabotage the character that replaces him, Smoochy (Edward Norton).

Death to Smoochy is obviously a fictional story that ramps up Barney hatred to over-the-top levels. Still, the hate for the actual dinosaur is all too real. If you’re wanting to learn more about the hatred, make sure to check out I Love You, You Hate Me when it hits Peacock.