I Love You, You Hate Me Review: A Fascinating Exploration of Barney’s Dark History

Barney… for most, hearing the mere utterance of that name immediately conjures up images of a happy purple dinosaur with a bright smile. For years Barney and his friends was a permanent resident, living on the screens of any household with a child five or younger. The slow lull of “I love you, you love me” sung by the nasal voice of its titular dinosaur was a double-edged sword.

For the children, it was a soothing melody with words of affirmation and acceptance. To the parents, a simplistic and mind-numbing melody that played on an endless cyclical loop. At least “Baby Shark” is upbeat and catchy! I love you you love me explores the polar ends of Barney’s fandom while shedding light on the character’s darker history in a riveting two-part docuseries, streaming on Peacock.

I Love You, You Hate Me explores the dark side of Barney

Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies and Barney: the holy trinity of pop culture phenomena that have rocked the world of children (and adults). While grown men and women fought each other To get their hands on the incredibly popular bean-filled stuffed animals, others turned their aggression on the purple dinosaur itself. “Barney Bashing”, as he was called, was the act of attacking the childhood icon, both verbally and physically.

Toys, drawings and pinatas depicting Barney’s likeness were punched, stabbed and shot as crowds exchanged high fives through roars of cheers and laughter. Filmmaker Tommy Avallone (The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons from a Mythical Man) uses real footage, shot on grainy VHS, to contrast the over-enthusiastic messages of love from the children’s show. The hatred of the dinosaur was contagious. Growing up, I pretended to hate the show, while secretly watching it from the hallway while my younger brother sat cross-legged in the living room glued to the screen.

I had the chance to speak with Tommy Avallone and told him about my experiences and memories of fake hate. Tommy was quick to tell me how often he heard this while doing his research for the docuseries. It seems I wasn’t alone in my desperate attempts to look cool by “hating” TV’s happiest character. Although my hate may have been a spectacle, the hate was real to millions of people. But why? Why was there so much hatred for this character that clubs and rallies were orchestrated in an effort to organize Barney Bashing?

Bob West, the original voice of Barney

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To explore this question, Tommy goes to the roots, calling on the very actors who wore the costume and voiced the dinosaur to give their first-hand accounts of how it all started. I love you, you hate me is a must-have watch for 90s kids. Those of us who grew up attending Barney’s birthday parties. Those of us who had to pretend to hate the show to fit in. Whether you’re a Barney Basher or a hardcore fan, I love you, you hate me is a fun and fascinating look at a character whose popularity rivaled that of Elvis Presley, and whose name will forever be remembered for his messages of love and acceptance. 8.5/10

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