Image Source: Everett Collection
TV phenomenon “Barney & Friends” is the subject of a forthcoming docuseries that breaks down how the beloved children’s show became a target for hate. “I Love You, You Hate Me,” a two-part event from Peacock directed by Tommy Avallone, highlights the astronomical rise of Barney in the early ’90s, as well as the friendly purple dinosaur’s terrible treatment from furious public backlash.
In the trailer for “I Love You, You Hate Me,” talking heads like Bill Nye the Science Guy, NBC’s Al Roker, and others share stories about how the world turned on Barney’s positive messages of love, acceptance, and inclusion — all of which stemmed from creator Sheryl Leach — before the clip begs the question: “Why does the world love to hate?” “As her beloved character was heading into the stratosphere, people couldn’t accept that this was just a show,” Roker says.
Some topics discussed in the docuseries include accusations that Barney “hides drugs in his tail,” per the trailer. The documentary also explores how violent some people became toward the children’s figure, including threats of “death and dismemberment” toward people like Bob West — one of the performers who stepped into Barney’s purple costume. “They were violent and explicit,” he says in the trailer of threats toward his family. “. . . They were gonna come and find me, and they were going to kill me.”
“I Love You, You Hate Me” comes from Scout Productions, the producers also behind Netflix’s “Queer Eye.” Executive producers include Avallone, Rob Eric, Joel Chiodi, David Collins, Michael Williams, Raymond Esposito, Wendy Greene, and Amy Goodman Kass. The Peacock original will premiere on Oct. 12.
Watch the trailer ahead.