Barney & Friends was a staple of the 90s. The “I Love You, You Love Me,” theme song was sung on repeat daily then, much like “Baby Shark” is today. With popular television show, merchandise, and more, who knew that there was another side to the purple dinosaur and friends’ story. The I Love You. You Hate Me documentary shows a darker side of Barney & Friends.
In this Peacock two-part original series, according to People Magazine, the show will take a closer look at the anti-Barney sentiment that swept the country following the character’s debut in 1992. Cast members allegedly received death threats; Barney was often the subject of derision, becoming a national punchline. The series will explore how the wave of Barney animosity may have helped pave the way to the grumbling, cynical internet culture that we all enjoy today.
“As [creator Sheryl Leach’s] beloved character was heading into the stratosphere, people couldn’t accept that this was just a show. And so, let the bashing begin,” former Barney David Joyner said in the teaser trailer.
Another former Barney, Bob West, details the death threats against his entire family for being a part of the show.
“They were violent and explicit, death and dismemberment of my family,” he recounted in the upcoming series trailer. “They were gonna come and find me, and they were going to kill me.”
For director Tommy Avallone, the story is indeed a truly personal one.
In a statement to People Magazine about the documentary, the former director said:
Barney came out on television when I was just 10 years old, and I admittedly didn’t understand him. As a teenager, for one of my birthdays I asked my aunt to make me a Barney costume, so my friends and I could beat him up on camera.
His statement continued,
Several years later, creating this docuseries, it feels good to be on the other side and no longer a Barney hater. Now having children of my own, I understand all the love that went into making the purple dinosaur.
The I Love You. You Hate Me documentary is slated to air on Peacock October 12.