We don’t watch a ton of TV in our house, but we do love the Backyardigans on Nick Jr. This is a fun, lively, computer-animated musical adventure that even adults will enjoy. If you’re already a fan, check out this awesome Backyardigans episode guide that details the pertinent facts about each show.
If you haven’t seen it, here are our top five reasons why the Backyardigans is one of the best kids shows on TV. (If you asked Zoe, she would simply say “Tasha.” She loves Tasha, the yellow hippo character. Read on for more about Tasha and the other Backyardigans.)
1. The Theme song, and the music overall. The Backyardigans theme song is incredible – complete with lovely harmonies, a catchy melody and fun lyrics. It will stick with you but not in an annoying way. It’s just fun to sing! One of the great joys of my life is hearing Zoe sing the Backyardigans song – she really nails those high notes.
That song opens and closes the show, but in between the music in each episode is totally different. The shows’ songs are themed around a particular genre of music which range from familiar to way out there. Sample genres include Zydeco, big band, reggae, rockabilly, bossa nova, electric boogaloo and hip-hop. The music is composed by Evan Lurie of the jazz band the Lounge Lizards and is pretty amazing, usually including at least one re-arrangement of a well-known, traditional song.
2. Great use of imagination. In each show, the Backyardigans start out playing in their adjoining backyards and then travel through their imaginations to far-away, wonderful worlds. These vary according to each episode but can include undersea mermaid adventures, outerspace adventures, Olympic gods adventures, ancient Mayan adventures, sea dragon adventures, you get the picture. I love how these little critters are able to create imaginary worlds and do amazing things like fly, break world diving records and deliver hot pizzas through jungles and ruins. It’s amusing to see what the show creators will think of next.
3. The dancing. If the aforementioned music wasn’t enough to draw you in, the dancing should! The animators base the Backyardigans’ movements off real, choreographed children doing the moves to the music, which gives the dance steps a really fun, authentic look. Getting up and boogying to the Backyardigans is part of the fun. Zoe and I know almost all the moves to the opening song! We’ll have the closing down soon, too.
4. The character diversity. You don’t have to watch the show for long to appreciate that the Backyardigans are a diverse little group of neighbor kids. After all, Uniqua isn’t even a recognizable animal like the others are – she’s just a Uniqua! But in all seriousness, there are some crazy-stupid myths and stories out there on the Internets about this show being racist against white people. I know, ridiculous, right? That’s totally not true. What IS true is that it’s awesome to have a show that has diverse characters who each have good qualities and without harmful stereotypes. As I said at the start, Zoe loves Tasha the best – and I think I know why. Tasha is a girly-girl who always wears a little yellow dress and red Mary Jane shoes – but she also likes to be in charge and isn’t afraid to get dirty and do tough jobs. Sounds like another little girl I know.
5. The snacks. At the end of every show, the wonderful theme song is played again as the Backyardigans congratulate each other on another grand adventure and then head off to have their snack. Just prior to the song playing, someone’s tummy rumbles loudly and then one of the Backyardigans invites the others over for snack – usually stating what they’ll have. The snacks vary (I’ve never seen the same one twice) and all are awesome. Waffles, PB&J, pretzels, apples, etc. It’s something fun to watch for every episode: what will the snack be today?
So, there you have it – several of the things that we love about the Backyardigans. What’s your favorite TV show for kids, and why? I’d love to hear in the comments below.