Barney the Dinosaur entertained and educated children worldwide for almost 20 years, but there was also a darker side to the beloved Barney & Friends show that aired on PBS between 1992 and 2010. And a new Peacock true crime doc aims to chronicle this less-than-friendly story.
The two-part documentary is called I Love You, You Hate Me — a cheeky nod towards the dino’s iconic nursery rhyme — and it’s scheduled to hit Peacock on Wednesday, October 12. The subject matter might lead you to assume this is a spoof doc in the same vein as Netflix’s excellent American Vandal, but this docuseries definitely wasn’t made for laughs.
I Love You, You Hate Me is a starling examination of anti-Barney sentiment, which plagued the show since its inception. In fact, it’s become such a common occurrence over the years that it’s even got its own Wiki page (opens in new tab). While the beloved anthropomorphic dinosaur spread a message of love and kindness some viewers reject that message and resorted to sending the show’s cast and creative team disturbing and violent threats.
We have yet to see the full documentary, but one shocking moment from the trailer has actor Bob West, who performed as Barney for a number of years, recount the various death threats he received. “They were violent and explicit, death and dismemberment of my family,” West recalls, “they were gonna come and find me, and they were going to kill me.”
The trailer also features surprisingly uncomfortable footage of Barney plush toys being destroyed in various ways including being set on fire and aggressively cut up with sharp scissors. From the tone of the preview, it’s very clear that this docuseries isn’t one for preschoolers. Hopefully, Peacock makes it explicitly clear that this isn’t a show for younger viewers when it launches later this month.
True crime continues to be a dominant genre in the streaming world, and as this Peacock doc proves, there is a darker underbelly to even the most seemingly innocent subject matter.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something to binge to pass the time until this Barney doc begins streaming, Netflix’s new Jeffrey Dahmer show has attracted a tidal wave of subscriber interest, but it’s also courting a fair amount of controversy as well.