Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Get Down with the Backyardigans!

Over the years of watching and caring for my granddaughters, we have gone through many stages.  At the beginning in the early days of toddler-hood, we marched around the living room with Barney the Purple Dinosaur ™.  Whatever you may think of the annoying dino, the show had some good children music—tunes to march around, dance and wiggle.  At the end of each show, ‘Bright Eyes’ and ‘Sunshine’ and I held hands and swayed back and forth, affirming our love for Barney and each other. 
I love you.

You love me.

Our imaginations are all we need.
We evolved into other shows.  "Little Einsteins" was fun and we patted our hands to make the rocket ship fly.

Then there were "The Wonder Pets", which still has appeal.  These amazing Kindergarten pets rescue animals from all over the world, while singing a disturbing form of opera.
They can do anything!

But one has remained a constant favorite, more or less because I find the show so darn funny and creative:  The Backyardigans ™.  The premise of this show is there are 5 children (a girl hippo, boy moose, boy penguin, boy kangaroo, and some girl creature with pink spots and strange head appendages) who share a large backyard.  After lunch, these children come bursting out into the play area, and a make-believe game begins.  The characters take on the personas of the day’s theme, while the yard morphs magically into the desired habitat.  Sometimes they are pirates, or surfers, or ancient Egyptians—there are seemingly no limits. 

There is no end of the creativity involved in this show.  The dialogue is cutting, the humor is rapid, and most of all, the music is unexpected.  Try pairing Knights of the Round Table guarding a dragon egg, dancing to Bali-wood music.  Picture the Old West town of Ping Pong Plateau, getting down with hip-hop.  The characters have intricate dances that can only be done by experienced dancers.  I know.  I am not one, but I recognize it when I see it.
Over the past few years, Sunshine and Bright Eyes have opened a new world of entertainment for me, and they have welcomed into their circle of child play.  But I have learned there is a line that they have drawn, beyond which I will not be allowed.

Recently Sunshine and I watched a DVD of three new shows, and I was trying the dances.  One was hip-hop, another Bali-wood, and the third I think some R & B.  In the past, there has been polka, Irish dancing, and Cajun, among other music & dance types.  Let me tell you:  these are cardio-challenging.  Forget all those workout programs advertised!  Watch this show, and try to keep up with that hippo!  She is sassy and bossy, and knows how to move.  The penguin might look slow, with the awkward feet and all, but he will surprise you.   

After watching the DVD, I decided to see if I could take it home to show Grandpa.
I asked Sunshine, “Can I borrow this DVD?  Please?  I will bring it back on Friday!”

She looked at me, and then at the DVD I held in my hands.  Carefully she took it away from me.  “No, I don’t think I should let you take it.  Bright Eyes likes this one.”

“Aw, come on, Sunshine!  I let you guys borrow my ‘Night at the Museum’ and ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth!’ I always let you take my good movies.”  I hate begging, but it was clearly coming to that.  “I’ll bring it back tomorrow.”

Wordlessly, Sunshine put the DVD back in the drawer and closed it.  ‘That’s it, then.’ I thought. ‘I’m gonna tell her mom.’  Or maybe I’ll get my DVDs and take them home.  That’ll teach Sunshine a lesson or two.
Should you want to listen to the music, check this link.


  1. I love Backyardigans! I don't have children or grandchildren but I work in children's media and had the privilege of working on some projects related to Backyardigans. The music and the story lines are so awesome. So much better than those preschool shows where the characters stare at the screen and blink and expect you to answer ;-) I love it that Sunshine refused to give you the dvd. haha.

  2. Oh how I love this post! I LOVE Backyardigans. I don't have children but my neice used to watch it nonstop at my mom's house and she and I would sing the songs and dance. I still catch myself humming "Movers of Arabia", just to annoy my husband :D

    Thanks for the comment on my "bad guys" post. I've always loved that quote about Strider. Another Snape fan, too! Excellent :D


  3. Hey, the knights and dragon egg is coupled with an epic rock opera. Get it right.
    Fun post. :)

  4. Erin Kane Spock is right--the knights with dragon egg has music that is suspiciously like the great 'Queen' Bohemian Rhapsody. Amazing stuff, and clever lyrics. Thanks, Erin, for keeping me correct.


Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!