When you are a parent, you quickly learn that your kids will inevitably participate in shows or videos or learn songs that slowly destroy your sanity because you will hear them over and over again. Anyone who knows what “Baby Shark” is will know exactly what kind of hell scenery I’m talking about.
But every once in a while a kids’ show comes into your family’s life and you miss it when your kid gets older – like Monsieur Rogers’ neighborhood or Rue de Sesame. For our family this show was People at the back yard; my teenager, now teenager, would voraciously watch episodes of the show that aired on Nickelodeon from 2004 to 2013 (we watched the DVDs), and would get up and dance when the music started. We were looking forward to new episodes of the hijinks of Pablo, Tyrone, Uniqua, Tasha and Austin, as each episode had a different musical theme, with original songs.
Two favorites were the Motown-themed “News Flash” with a song about corn that I still hear every time someone mentions the vegetable, and “Catch That Butterfly” which was basically a Rodgers and Hammerstein themed operetta.
So the new appreciation for a Backyardigans the song in particular that took over a corner of TikTok makes me extremely happy and renewed my belief that Gen Z is the best gen.
It all started with 19-year-old Merlysha Pierre from Miami, who recounted BuzzFeed that she started posting TikTok videos on People at the back yard because she was worried that young children would not know the show or its songs. One of the songs she posted was about the bossa-nova-themed “Castaways”, which inspired many other TikTokers to make their own versions, leading to the song mapping on Spotify, becomes number one on its worldwide viral chart.
“Castaways” also caught the attention of music theory YouTuber Adam Neely, who gave a little story about everything that has been in each. Backyardigans episode, hiring musicians and dancers (honestly I had an idea that every episode on this show had to be a full-fledged major production but no idea how much) and broke down “Castaways” as a piece of music, calling it a masterpiece.
Each episode of People at the back yard Pablo had a panic (he was arguably the show’s main character), and each of the characters occasionally “starred” in an episode and resolved an issue he was struggling with in the “real” one. life through the game (and song). The predictability was calming and the show wasn’t preachy. It was also fun to watch because the writers included a lot of internal jokes for parents – we would usually watch an episode before bed when my son was little, and it was extremely enjoyable to drift into what the kids were singing at this. subject. day.
Director Barry Jenkins also recently discovered People at the back yard, giving his thoughts in this very sweet twitter thread about the show. He wished series creator Janice Burgess a Happy Mother’s Day (really, a heroine. Also a Pittsburgher!).
Happy Mother’s Day to Janice Burgess, award-winning designer of the wonderful BACKYARDIGANS.
I don’t know if Mrs Burgess has children of her own, but she has very clearly helped raise a lot of children with this most fantastic show, so… a tribute to her pic.twitter.com/96ZqvUrjX6
-Barry Jenkins (@BarryJenkins) May 9, 2021
So now a six year old song from a kids’ show is doing the rounds again, which is adorable and amazing. I can dust off the DVD player this weekend and watch a few episodes for a good Mom Cry; It looks like the show is available on Amazon and streaming on Paramount Plus if you’re not as old-school as I am and prefer a slightly more modern experience.
In any event, I hope all this renewed appreciation for People at the back yard leads to a new generation of kids discovering the depth and charm of a show about five child friends (a penguin, moose, hippo, kangaroo and Uniqua) who played in the backyard and sang along songs and danced until it was snack time. People at the back yard is a pleasant respite for children of all ages.