When the news broke that Nickelodeon is planning a Blues Clues reboot, I was so excited I worried I was possibly overreacting. But when my 10-year-old texted me a link to a news story about the revamped show — saying we HAVE to watch it when it comes out — I decided that geeking out over the return of a light-blue cartoon puppy might be OK after all.
To those of you unfamiliar with Blue, she’s a light-blue cartoon dog who lives with the show’s narrator (Steve, and in later episodes, Joe). Each episode follows a similar narrative arc in which viewers help Blue and her human play a game to solve the “mystery” of what Blue wants to do that day. (She’s a dog, after all — she can supply clues but she can’t actually talk.)
In short, Blues Clues, which aired 1996 to 2006, was the OG Daniel Tiger. (C’mon haters. Let’s do this!) I confess, as a mom to kids now 10 and 13, I’ve never actually watched Daniel Tiger, Paw Patrol, or any of the other more recent kiddie shows of their ilk. But back in the day, Blues Clues was king. Here’s why:
It was interactive.
The show’s host spoke directly to the kids. He asked them questions and my children, bless their little toddler hearts, answered right back. That convinced this rookie mom that TV was most definitely not turning them into mindless zombies.
Mail was awesome.
“Here’s the mail! It never fails! It makes me want to wag my tail!” Getting the mail was always a super exciting moment on Blues Clues. It made my kids so excited, they would run to the door as soon as they heard the dulcet flapping tones of our mail slot. This provided me with my first sweet, sweet taste of child labor!
It encouraged kids to “Think, think, think!”
Every episode of Blues Clues had some sort of problem that needed to be solved. (OK, not so original, I know.) You sat down in the thinking chair and had to “think, think, think” about a solution. Not a bad way to go about things — whether you’re two or 42.
The Hanukkah episode with Orange Kitten was EVERYTHING
The big reveal that Blue’s friend, Orange Kitten, was Jewish occurred during the show’s Hanukkah episode (and in the epic book A Blues Clues Hanukkah). It was huge. I mean, to have a character on TV that lit a menorah — just like us! — was so exciting! This is second only to A Rugrats Hanukkah.
It introduced the idea of going away to college.
The departure of the original narrator, Steve, was explained by the storyline of Steve going away to college. (Never mind that, until that moment, Steve apparently spent all his pleated-front khaki-wearing days hanging with a cartoon dog. Guess he got his GED?) This introduced my kids to the concept that one day they, too, would go to college — the idea of an empty nest being a bit of a dream during a period when I never got to pee alone. (It also helped them understand when a beloved babysitter went off to college.)
Misty-eyed yet? Because I am. Whether you’re a seasoned mom like me, or a ’90s kid who watched the show, or have younger kids who neatly fit within the preschool demographic, let me tell you something: This Blues Clues reboot — to quote the same 10-year-old — is gonna be totally lit!
(Top image courtesy of Nick Jr.)