They want the old, plump-faced Barney back. They are rejecting the glow up.
Toy company Mattel confirmed earlier this week that it would be relaunching the Barney franchise as an animated series in 2024, giving the musical show — which was launched in 1992 and ran until 2010 — a “modern take.”
While Barney still has the large green belly and bright yellow toenails as in the original series, the dinosaur’s face is now noticeably thinner. His nose is slimmer. His cheekbones are much more defined. His eyes have changed color, from dark brown to glowing green.
On social media, many are accusing those behind the dinosaur’s new look of giving Barney an unnecessary makeover. Some say the dinosaur is now wearing colored contact lenses. Some are accusing creators of subjecting Barney to buccal fat removal — a trendy cosmetic procedure that eliminates fat from cheeks, leading to a more sculpted and contoured look.
“Why would they give a dinosaur a nose job and Botox,” one person tweeted. “Give barney his chubby cheeks and nose back!”
Others are concerned that Barney may have crumbled under the pressures celebrities face to look perfect. “Even barney did plastic surgery,” one person tweeted. “They gave Barney contacts, a nose job and bigger veneers. Sad,” read another tweet.
Where has all the buccal fat gone?
On Twitter, the hashtag #NotMyBarney is being used by fans and critics.
Creators, meanwhile, have expressed hope for the new series. They say that the relaunch “will introduce the iconic purple dinosaur to a new generation of kids and families around the world.”
“Barney’s message of love and kindness has stood the test of time,” Josh Silverman, chief franchise officer and global head of consumer products at Mattel, said in a statement.
This is not the first time that Barney — and his creators — have been exposed to criticism. In the 90s, as “Barney and Friends” soared in popularity among kids, some parents became increasingly annoyed by the influential reptile. Some seemed annoyed by his happiness. Those working on the show received death threats.
“I got dismemberment-of-my-family e-mails because of my music,” the show’s music director, Bob Singleton, said in a documentary released last year called “I Love You, You Hate Me” — a play on the popular song that was featured in the show — that explored Barney’s rise and fall. The documentary addressed allegations ranging that the dinosaur was too happy and hid drugs in his tail.
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Jaded parents said that their Barney-obsessed children would not “brush their teeth until Barney showed them how, wouldn’t cross the street at the corner, wouldn’t eat their carrots,” The Washington Post reported in 1993.
The new series will be available on television, film, and YouTube — along with dinosaur-themed music and merchandise.