Archive Panic: There are a total of 1,005 episodes through the show's entire run, counting both the black-and-white 100 originals that were on EEN and the 905 that were on NET/PBS. At 30 minutes a piece, that would run 502.5 hours total, or nearly 21 days nonstop. Of course the show is contained per week and isn't meant to be watched over a long term (each episode spans a 5-episode arc to make up for the week). But still, if we want to be completely real here, there's probably no way you're going to make it through all of this. And that's not even counting if you're also considering watching the holiday specials, the parent discussion episodes, or the CBC ones!
Twitch aired a marathon of the NET/PBS episodes of the show (excluding the conflict week arc) beginning on May 15, 2017. Even without the EEN, CBC and conflict episodes, as well as the holiday specials and the parent discussion episodes, and even with several earlier color episodes missing, it ran about 20 days nonstop.note It took them almost three days just to get to the color episodes.
Most of the background music was improvised live during taping by jazz pianist Johnny Costa. Refusing to play "kiddie music," Costa filled his accompaniments with sophisticated runs and flourishes. His arrangements were often compared to the legendary pianist Art Tatum, which is about the biggest compliment a jazz pianist can get. In fact, Costa was given the nickname "the white Tatum"... by Art Tatum himself. Now that's awesome music.
Each of the operas featuring John Reardon.
Additionally, John D. Boswell's The Garden of Your Mind, essentially a composition set to numerous quotes from the show. First off, the background music is incredibly tranquil and soothing, which is perfect for the kind of show it is. The quotes for the remix though are what truly sell it — it's many of the deep words Mr. Rogers would tell the viewer during the show ("It's good to be curious about many things", "You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind"), which makes it an amazingly perfect blend of pure Sweet Dreams Fuel, as well as an Ear Worm. In fact, during the 2017 Twitch marathon, it was played after every five episodes, and unlike the widely-reviled cameos from other Twitch streamers, few complained because it was just that good, many of the chatters claiming they never got tired of hearing it.
Which song is the better closing song: "Tomorrow" or "It's Such a Good Feeling"? Apparently "Tomorrow" had to be axed from the show for copyright issues (see Suspiciously Similar Song below, though it doesn't explain why both were used for a while interchangeably, although filming-order might be the cause there), but even several seasons after Good Feeling became permanent, people in the Twitch marathon chat STILL complained about Tomorrow disappearing. However, it's a fairly light example, since most love both songs anyway and regardless of which one they like more, they're still enjoyable on a similar level especially since both are pretty catchy and make use of "snappy".
There are also seems to be some division over whether the first run or the second run of the show (1968-1976 and 1979-2001, respectively) is better. This is more or less a generation gap preference due to how only one run was typically on the air at a time (there was a brief time when both runs were on the air, but the second run became more dominant fairly quickly before the first run was knocked off the air entirely), though the two do feel quite a bit different from each other, the first run being a bit quicker in pacing and lacking the unifying themes for each week.
Common Knowledge: It's often believed that the long-pulled from the air Conflict episodes were meant to help children deal with the graphic nature of the TV film The Day After, and the reason it was dropped was because it was no longer relevant. However, as mentioned on The Other Wiki, the original airdates of the two don't coincide with this idea; the first Conflict episode premiered November 7, 1983, where the movie aired November 20; due to the length of time required for making a typical episode, the chances of this being the case are incredibly small. According to the info conveyed during the Twitch stream, it was Fred Rogers himself that requested that the episodes were never ever shown again.
Many episodes open with a shot of a flashing yellow traffic light that was in Mr Rogers' house before panning over to the door where he entered. A yellow light (generally) means "slow down" which is exactly what he did with the pacing of his show, especially compared to others at the time.
On episodes of Seasons 10-12 We see the porch and Fred Rogers walking into the house instead of the flashing yellow lights.
On episode 1721, The traffic light is flashing on green instead of yellow as it usually does. (This is the only episode where the other traffic light besides yellow are flashing in the intro. There was no episode where the traffic was flashing on red).
The show opens with a shot of a model office building (or the NET building in early episodes) as we pan to the house, and ends with the reverse, that being a pan from the house to the office. At first it just seems like an attempt to be aesthetically pleasing and show off the model neighborhood, but then you realize it's meant to simulate his walking from "work" to the house and back! This is hinted at numerous times in the show too, like how he always walks in with a formal suit on and how he explicitly states at the end of a few visits that he's returning to work.
Heartwarming in Hindsight: The last episode Johnny Costa was alive during the time of its production (1710) also happens to feature a visit to him and his crew. At first it was likely just intended to be one of the many neighborhood visits, but it works as a perfect sendoff and farewell to him in retrospect.
Hilarious in Hindsight: David Newell, Mr. McFeely, is the head of Public Relations at the Fred Rogers Company. It works on so many levels.
There is also a genuine Spee-Dee Delivery company, though it only operates in the north-central US.
Less Disturbing in Context: The infamous picture that appears to show Mr. Rogers Flipping the Bird at the camera. While the picture itself is indeed real, the context makes it quite innocent, as it simply appears in the middle of a familiar children's finger-play that involves raising your fingers one at a time ("Where is tall-man?). Of course, some viewers speculate from his knowing grin at that moment that he knew perfectly well what the gesture would have meant out of context.
The 2017 Twitch marathon spawned several memes in the chat, such as...
Jokes about Sears (mostly praise though), due to being the main funding source and getting credited in every episode up until the early-1990s.
Mr. Rogers being referred to as everyone's "TV dad". As a result, the chat would say "Hi Dad/Bye Dad" whenever he began or ended an episode.
NET vs. PBS jokes, and how PBS "killed" NET (not helped by the fact that most of the early color NET-era episodes were replastered with the 1971 PBS logo, despite still having the model NET building in the opening and closing)
Chat spamming the word "SNAPPY" during the corresponding line in both ending songs: "'Til then, I hope your day is snappy" in "Tomorrow", and "I think I'll make a snappy new day" in "It's Such a Good Feeling".
During the later episodes, saying "D O I N K" while either of the two PBS Kids bumpers from 1999 would play.
General appreciation for music director Johnny Costa's piano skills. During the ending credits of each episode, chatters would comment things like "Take us home, Johnny!" or "TICKLE THEM IVORIES COSTA". Betty Aberlin, when she would show up in chat, participated in this as well, often saying a simple "COSTA!".
"Feels(something)Man" (most often FeelsGoodMan, simply just because of how feel-good the show is)
Memes from the "Garden of your Mind" remix:
The slide whistle solo segment, accompanied by comments such as "S O L O" and "RAP GOD" note the latter likely inspired by the "Epic Rap Battles of History" Web Video series, of which one episode pitted Mr. Rogers against Mr. T).
"I didn't order any X!" based on the line that precedes the solo ("I didn't order any whistles!")
"CAT'S EEEEEYES" and many cat emotes during the line "Did you ever see a cat's eyes in the dark and wonder what they were?"
"18+" or "lewd" (mentioned any time something was referred to as a "grown-up thing" in the show)
Everyone saying "Don't go!" whenever an episode ended
Everytime King Friday XIII mentions the "R" Room or "M" room, twitch chat would flare up and joke about them. R and M, being of course, the rating for adult content for movies and video games respectively.
People would also complain if Mr. Rogers forgot to feed the fishes at any point of the episode. This escalated as the marathon went on, with dozens of users spamming fish emotes and sending desperate messages such as "WE'RE STARVING" and "FATHER WE HAVEN'T BEEN FED IN DAYS".
"R O Y A L W O R D", "G R E E T I N G S" or some variation of the two every time the Twitch Greetings bumper plays (which is after every episode).
Also occurred during the actual episode that the "greetings" scene was in, prompting chat to go absolutely nuts.
"4K quality" whenever Picture Picture shows a film. Seemed to die out once they moved to VHS tapes, since VHS is decidedly not 4K.
Darude - Sandstorm coming up in chat every time a musical instrument appears in the show, likely stemming from the Ask a Stupid Question... meme. Equally frequent is the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic Freebird coming up.
"Get in the Ram, kids" or a variant of it every time Mr. Rogers travels to a different location in the neighborhood.
"T H I S", a Who's on First? type joke from the funding credits ("The people who give the money to make Mister Rogers' Neighborhood are the people of...this, and other public television stations...") where people pretend to thank a person/corporation literally called "This".
At the start of each episode the Twitch chat would often bet on what color of cardigan sweater Mister Rogers would wear.
KING FRIDAY IS A DESPOT/TYRANT/FASCIST whenever strange edicts are issued (such as everyone must wear mittens).
2 GENDERS and BINARY whenever he would mention that girls are women and boys are men. This would inevitably lead to TRIGGERED appearing in the chat along with mention that Tumblr is pissed/wrong/going to riot.
Ms. Fanservice: Perhaps unsurprisingly, Betty Aberlin became one to the show's Periphery Demographic during the Twitch marathon stream. They've even managed to get her to watch the stream and get on chat with them. She was made a moderator in the channel and showed up every now and then to talk with the chat and reminisce about her time on the show.
The original puppet for Prince Tuesday used before the character was aged up in the post-79 shows.
Full-body costumed characters like Bob Dog and Purple Panda were known to scare some viewers.
Some viewers also had a childhood fear of the music that played when the Episode Code Number was shown at the end of older episodesnote It was mainly used to show updated funding credits for organizations which had not provided funding at the time of production.. It didn't help that the oft-feared 1971 PBSVanity Plate used to directly follow this.
Overshadowed by Controversy: The "Conflict" episodes probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere near as much attention had they not been pulled from reruns and sent into Keep Circulating the Tapes territory. It doesn't help that it also led to speculation on why they were pulled, with no real straight answer ever given by the company (one source mentioned during the Twitch stream that Fred Rogers himself asked that the episodes be never shown again, but the reason was never disclosed). Matters only got worse when YouTube preservations were copyright-claimed and taken down by the company, which happened after everyone already knew the episodes weren't going to be shown on the Twitch marathon. To say people were upset is a huge understatement, many believing it was an attempt to bury history.
Periphery Demographic: Because of the show being such a Long Runner, nearly three generations grew up watching this show, and many of those who did will still fully admit it's just as joyful to watch today as it was when they were little. It also wasn't terribly uncommon to hear of parents who would watch the show with their kids. Rogers himself caught onto this, and made several weekend specials aimed at parents about the week's up-and-coming topic ("Mister Rogers Talks with Parents About [Topic]"). Some of his other media was also aimed at people who grew up on his show, such as his last goodbye and his 9/11 advice video, and many of the books he wrote as well. The 2017 Twitch marathon is the most shining example though, with the chat being almost entirely populated with people who were kids during the show's late years.
Retroactive Recognition: A 1975 episode had a troupe of acrobats perform for King Friday's birthday. One of the acrobats in question? A young Michael Keaton, who actually worked as part of the show's floor crew before he left to pursue an acting career.
Seasonal Rot: Probably one of the most impressive aversions on record. Despite running for 33 years and producing shy of 900 episodes, the show remained consistently high in quality through all of its life. Helped, no doubt, by production of the show slowing down significantly after the first eight seasons so to prevent every idea from getting exhausted too quickly.
Suspiciously Similar Song: Some songs used in the early days were co-written with Josie Carey, dating back to their time working together on The Children's Corner. Rogers and Carey sold the copyrights to these songs (foolishly, by Rogers' own admission), and mostly stopped using them in order to avoid paying royalties, as Rogers said that he could come up with new ones that were just as good. Indeed, some of the newer songs have very similar lyrics - for example, "I Like You As You Are" gave way to "It's You I Like".
Sweet Dreams Fuel: If you are in a bad mood, just watch any episode at all of this show and feel the blues melt right away.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: While the show was never overtly preachy, author Michael Long has observed that Mr. Rogers often quietly advocated social values that were well ahead of their time, including supporting racial and gender equality in the 60s, criticizing the Cold War arms race, and advocating nonviolence during the Gulf War. As one example, the character "Mayor Maggie of Southwood," played by African American actress Maggie Stewart, debuted in 1974, 14 years before the first African American woman became mayor of a major U.S. city in real life.
Values Resonance: While the values taught in the show are always considered timeless and are arguably just as important now as they were years ago, the show's slow-moving nature only seems to get more important as time goes on. It feels more true than ever now, in the age of the Internet and cell phones where it seems everyone has to have everything and have it right now. The show's roots certainly go back to a simpler time, but the show remained the same through the years for the better, even after the 80s and 90s brought about more fast-paced entertainment.
Didn't contain, but was still related to examples of:
Even Evil Has Standards: 4chan is, without question, a blazing inferno of soulless evil. And insulting Mister Rogers is an instantly bannable offense. That's right — Fred Rogers is too sacred for 4chan.
Obviously, the Westboro Baptist Church did the exact same thing, albeit in the most Evil Cannot Comprehend Good way possible; they protested his funeral because he was a tolerant person and didn't speak against homosexuality. No seriously, that is verbatim what their beef with him was.
People who disliked Bill Nye's latest show are another case of special (although this one also overlaps with the Fox and Friends entry, as the very same people are bashing Bill) - hating Mr. Rogers just because he's a good friend of Bill's. It's one thing to accuse him of corrupting youth, but calling Mr. Rogers a glue-sniffernote implying that he's a drug addict over a controversy his friend got into is a new kind of low.
A specific example of Memetic Badass Pacifist was when he spent six minutes talking down congress from cutting PBS funding with 10 mill. dollars. It resulted with them increasing the same amount instead, as if he rolled 20 for diplomacy check.
Fred Rogers liked Eddie Murphy's parody of his own show, "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood." To be fair, it was an Affectionate Parody, not deliberate and malicious mockery. Apparently, Eddie Murphy caught up with Mr. Rogers and told him, "You understand, we only do it because we love you."
Johnny Carson also did a parody sketch where Mr. Rogers explained where babies come from, but it was also an Affectionate Parody and unlikely any kids were up late enough to watch it.
On the other hand, in the late eighties when Burger King made an ad with a fake Mister Rogers explaining why BK burgers were better than McDonald's burgers, Fred Rogers said "You will stop that immediately!"... and they did. This was mainly because he looked too much like the real him, and did not want kids to get confused. By comparison, obviously no kid is going to confuse Murphy for Rogers, and Murphy's sketch was broadcast safely out of the way of any typical child's viewing time.
An infamous opening gag in Family Guy featured Stewie terrorizing the Neighborhood of Make Believe and trying to kill Mister Rogers; even series creator Seth MacFarlane thought it wasn't funny. Even so, Stewie's rampage turns out to be a Dream Within a Dream, and it's Mister Rogers who gets the last laugh.
One reason why the Westboro Baptist Church is considered to be such an acceptable target by the Internet is because they are willing to attack Mister Rogers.
There's also the story about a pair of guys who stole his car, and when they realized who it belonged to they immediately returned it and left an apology note.
Fox News got a rather large chunk bitten out of it when one of their pieces suggested that Mister Rogers and his message was somehow a bad influence on children because he instilled concepts like self worth beyond material possessions and encouraged deeper thought and curiosity rather than blind obedience to more capitalistic pursuits. To say that people's response to this broadcast was overwhelmingly negative and critical of Fox is like saying that the sun is sort of warm. Unfortunately, Some people did drink Fox's kool aid and think that it's now okay to bad-mouth Mr. Rogers.note If you encounter such people, do what Mr. Rogers would do and ignore them, do not feed the trolls and fuel the flame. The moderators will deal with them.
Science Marches On and Society Marches On: Watching the older episodes, especially the first seasons from 1968, can be quite a head trip. Gender is still considered binary in those episodes (one of the songs go "Only girls can be the mommy/And only boys can be the daddy"), among many other things. Thankfully, Mr. Rogers marched along with them and this is why the old episodes are never normally aired in rotation anymore, and the newer episodes are updated to be current with the norms as times went by.
The Scrappy: Not on the show (come on, it's impossible to dislike any of the characters on the show), but during the Twitch marathon, the streamers that made guest appearances between episodes were near-universally disliked. Every time they appeared, words in the chat like "muted" and "go away" would typically spring up. It wasn't very hard to see why, either — they usually didn't add anything to the stream and just seemed to be a way to get people to donate more money. While it had good intentions in theory, many of them stayed in-character for their breaks, which held true even if they were loud and obnoxious during their usual fare... which completely goes against the entire nature of the show they were invited to discuss! This caused annoying cases of Mood Whiplash that almost everyone felt was unneeded. The ads for other PBS shows had mixed reception to begin with but felt at least justified, but nobody defended the Twitch streamer cameos.