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Series / Barney & Friends

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The main cast. (From left to right): Baby Bop, Barney, and B.J. Not pictured: Riff and Barney's many friends.

"Barney is a dinosaur
From our imagination,
And when he's tall, he's what we call
A dinosaur sensation."
— The first lines of the Opening Theme

Live-action television series aimed at pre-school and younger children that started airing on PBS in 1992. Created by Texan teacher Sheryl Leach in 1987, Barney started out as a regionally successful home video series called Barney and the Backyard Gang before being picked up by the network for a regular series. The inspiration behind the show's creation was that there weren't many programs that educated young children at the time note . Starring the title character as a friendly authority figure, a surrogate for the young girls in the form of Baby Bop, two other dinosaurs named B.J. and Riff (introduced 2006), and an ever-shifting cast of young kids, its setting was once an elementary school, but switched to a local park beginning with season 7. The story (such that it is) focuses largely on the importance of imagination and delivering Aesops suitable for very young children.

The show has had a mammoth amount of merchandise in dolls, clothing, blankets, CDs, and virtually everything else a kid can use. There has also been a 1998 theatrically released film called Barney's Great Adventure, as well as countless home videos, a prime-time special, and a series of stage shows toured worldwide.

The show is infamous for not exactly being very well-liked beyond its target audience and its Periphery Demographic, to the point that anti-Barney humor became a borderline fad in The '90s (and a modern-day tell-tale sign of an Unintentional Period Piece). As for parents, well, 30 minutes of free babysitting buys you a LOT of tolerance.

In 2015, Mattel announced that it will reboot the property with 9 Story Media Group. However, 9Story acquired the global distribution rights to most of the past seasons later on.

In an effort to boost ratings, Universal Kids started airing the show on December 17, 2018.

In 2019, a second theatrical film was announced, with Daniel Kaluuya producing.

In November 2021, a documentary chronicling Barney's history was announced. The documentary - I Love You, You Hate Me - premiered on Peacock on October 12, 2022.

In 2023, Mattel announced a makeover for the Barney franchise which includes a new CG-animated series known as Barney's World, which is co-produced by Corus Entertainment's Nelvana as well as other media such as YouTube content. It's currently slated to premiere on Cartoon Network's preschool block Cartoonito and stream on Max in the US.

These examples are Stu-u-u-pendous!:

  • Adaptation Name Change: BJ is known as "Billy" in Barney's World according to this Deadline article. This name change was most likely done because of the innuendo surrounding BJ's name ('BJ' often stands for "blowjob"). Since the character was named after Sheryl Leach's father Billy Joe "BJ" Stamps, the name change to Billy is still a tribute to him.
  • All Part of the Show: In the episode "Oh, What a Day", Tina continues to attempt to cheer herself up during a bad day by having her friends play a game where they try to dance as she does. When she stubs her toe during the game and hops around on one foot, the others do so until she tells them that she hurt herself for real.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: Barney, B.J., and Baby Bop. Riff broke the trend.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Italian theme song is sung by Cristina D'Avena and is more of a Europop song.
  • Always with You: The song "No Matter Where They Are" is about this trope. The lyrics are about how grandparents (or friends in the second version of the song) won't stop loving you no matter how much physical distance there is between you and them.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: In addition to recapping the events of the episode, "Barney Says" reinforces the lessons that were taught in said episode, and often offer suggestions for building on it further.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Baby Bop, though BJ is often an Annoying Older Sibling from season 3 onwards.
    • Carlos occasionally gave this report of his little brother Juan.
    • Averted when it comes to Linda's attitude towards her older brother Chip.
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: In the special Barney's Night Before Christmas BJ attempts to stop Baby Bop from sneezing after she tickles her nose with Santa's feather pen. Obviously she still sneezes and wakes a sleeping Santa.
  • Are We There Yet?: Baby Bop asks this in both Barney's Adventure Bus and the live show Barney's Big Surprise. The trope name is also the title of a season 3 episode.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: In Imagination Island, Barney's response when Professor Tinkerputt asks why Tosha shared with him when he would not share with anyone else:
    Barney: Because Tosha remembered something that you forgot. When you share, you make someone else happy, and that's the most important thing anyone can make.
  • Art Evolution: In the first few shows Barney looked way different, most notably having a darker purple shade and an overall more unnerving appearance. His mouth was also operated via a lever operated with the actor's left hand (not unlike Big Bird). Beginning with the later Backyard Gang videos, said method changes to one where the performer bites down on a rod attached to the inside of Barney's jaw and bobs his head to move it, leaving both arms free to use.
    • Baby Bop towered over the kids and was almost as tall as Barney in both the last two Backyard Gang videos and season 1 of the TV series, but she "grew down" in subsequent seasons, and didn't gain a moving mouth until the 3rd. Sheryl Leach has mentioned that Baby Bop's size, in context, is caused by the kids imagining that she's shorter.
    • BJ, in his earliest appearances, was taller than Barney before becoming much shorter in his next season.
  • Aside Glance: The song "Icky, Squishy, Gooey, Ooey" has a pause at the end of the second verse where the kids all pause from their artwork, look at a camera overhead, and cry "EW!"
  • Bag of Holding: Also counts as Hammerspace. The Barney Bag always has whatever arts and crafts supplies are needed for the kids to make something.
  • Baths Are Fun: The song "Splashing In the Bath" is all about how Baby Bop thinks this is true (with the kids and Barney reminding her to not forget to actually wash herself off while having fun).
  • Be Yourself: This Aesop is used several times, most notably in the song "Everyone Is Special".
  • Big Blackout: A storm knocks out the classroom's power in "What's That Shadow'' and the kids are left to deal with a fear of the dark, and other things like shadows.
  • Big Brother Worship: Linda really looks up to Chip, and is eager to share with him what she's up to.
  • Birthday Episode: Birthdays are a plot point in several Barney & Friends episodes and stage shows:
    • The plot of the first Barney and the Backyard Gang video "The Backyard Show" has the kids putting on a show for Michael and Amy's dad at his birthday party.
    • The episode "Happy Birthday Barney" from season 1.
    • "Look at Me! I'm Three!" from season 2 takes place on Baby Bop's 3rd birthday (and also marks the first appearance of BJ, her older brother).
    • Barney's Big Surprise takes place on BJ's 7th birthday.
    • The season 6 episode "Birthday Ole" focuses on the other kids throwing a surprise party for Robert's birthday.
    • "It's Your Birthday, Barney" from Season 8 and the Season 10 episode "Caring" also take place on Barney's birthday.
    • Barney Live in Concert: Birthday Bash revolves around the cast celebrating Barney's birthday.
    • Yet another example is the video "Dino-Mite Birthday", once again taking place on Barney's birthday.
  • Blank Book: In "Let's Help Mother Goose," Barney and the kids help Mother Goose rewrite all her nursery rhymes after a book worm eats away the pages of her book.
    • Played for Drama in "The Land of Make Believe." Once Princess Zuleeka makes it to Barney's world, the rest of her book is blank. The book goes back to normal once Barney and friends return Zulie home.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Barney did this regularly starting in Season 7. The format of the show changed so that the child audience is treated as though they're physically present with Barney and the rest of the cast.
    • Barney also did this in the 1999 video Sing and Dance With Barney. He said to the viewers, "Thanks for being a very special friend." Then he waved to them.
    • Also in another home video "What a World We Share", at the end of the song "It's Good to Be Home", when Barney sings, "You are so special to me", he looks into the camera and waves gently to the viewers watching at home.
  • Call-Back: Chip is on a baseball team. This is brought up a couple of times.
    • Tina's broken arm and Tosha's parents having a baby were referred to numerous times in Season 2. The latter was the plot point in the season finale when it was revealed Tosha's mom had twin boys.
    • Sing and Dance with Barney, being an anniversary special, throws a number of shout outs to previous episodes and videos. One notable example is when Min, Jason, and Kim are looking at a castle book; Min notes that Barney once took her and her friends to see a castle, referencing Barney's Magical Musical Adventure.
  • Camping Episode: Season 1's "A Camping We Will Go" has the group go on a (pretend) camping trip on their school playground.
    • The video "Camp WannaRunnaRound" features Barney and friends having an imaginary day at a summer camp run by the purple guy himself.
    • The Backyard Gang video "Barney's Campfire Sing Along".
  • Captain Colorbeard: An early episode had Barney and co. find the treasure of "Rainbow Beard the Pirate," by using a Treasure Map filled with color and shape related clues. The treasure turns out to be a rainbow.
  • Captain Superhero: BJ's alter ego, Captain Pickles.
  • Cast Herd: In Sing and Dance with Barney, everyone arrives in groups which are periodically rearranged throughout the rest of the show.
  • Central Theme: To quote Barney, "anything is possible when you use your imagination." Season specific themes are noted below:
    • Seasons 10 and 11 have 12-minute episodes, focus more on the dinos than the kids, and have more sitcom-esque, conflict-driven plots.
    • Season 12 returns to the half-hour format and all the episodes focus on an "adventure" of some sort. For example, "The Misbegotten Moon: A Space Adventure" is about space travel.
    • Season 13 focuses on world travel. The season premiere "Bienvenido, Barney: Mexico" is edited from a DTV movie called Let's Go on Vacation.
    • It's debatable as to if Season 14 even counts as a season, as all the episodes are recycled from older ones.
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • "Super Dee Duper" - Barney
    • "Stu-u-u-pendous!" - Barney
    • "Ay-yie-yie" - B.J.
    • "Toodles!" - Stella the Storyteller
    • "Tippity top!" - Riff
    • "Wowzer!" - Riff
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Barney & Friends.
  • Characterization Marches On: In the initial Barney & The Backyard Gang videos, Barney was more sluggish in his movements akin to a real dinosaur, in addition to his deeper voice as noted in Vocal Evolution below. Beginning with "Waiting for Santa," he went from a lumbering T. rex to a jolly and energetic playmate. His kind demeanor was the only consistent trait between the original Backyard Gang Barney and his portrayal in the TV series.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: In the Backyard Gang video "Barney's Campfire Sing Along", Barney's advice to the kids of what to do if they get lost (staying where they are, blowing their whistle, and hugging a tree) is remembered and used by Tina when she gets lost later on, allowing the others to find her.
  • Christmas Episode: A few of the videos are this, the first being the 4th Backyard Gang video "Waiting for Santa". The other videos that fit this category are "Barney's Night Before Christmas", "Barney's Christmas Star", and "A Very Merry Christmas". The TV series had the 19th episode of season 11 "Gift of the Dinos"/"A Visit to Santa".
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Michael's little sister Amy. Unlike her brother, she was never carried over from the Backyard Gang videos to the TV show due to an unspecified illness from her actress, and is never mentioned by the former again. Likewise, Jason only appeared in the first 3 videos (replaced by Derek) and is never heard from by anyone else.
    • Adam didn't make the jump to the TV series, as his actor had moved out of state by then. He was flown in for the last three Backyard Gang videos.
  • Circus Episode:
    • BJ and Baby Bop's bus trip in the home video special "Barney's Adventure Bus" has them going to the circus.
    • Home video special "Barney's Super Singing Circus" has Barney and the kids doing a make-believe circus for Emily as she couldn't attend the one on Saturday due to her family being on vacation.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: In the beginning of the show Barney Live in New York City, it is suggested by the announcer that all the audience members use their imagination to make Barney appear on stage.
  • Class Pet: Zippity the hamster.
  • Clip Show: A number of Direct-To-Video episodes, "Barney Songs" and "More Barney Songs" being just two examples.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Professor Tinkerputt, who is known for his bizarre mannerisms and ways of doing things.
  • Colorful Song: "The Rainbow Song", "Colors All Around", and "Colors Make Me Happy".
  • Companion Cube: Baby Bop's yellow blankey, to the point where her theme song "My Yellow Blankey" is sung about it.
    • Kathy has her teddy bear and like the above example, the song "Me and my Teddy" is sung about it numerous times.
  • Competence Zone: Regardless of how well-known Barney is to certain adults (including his alumni), only a child's presence and imagination can bring him to life.
  • Compilation Movie: The 1997 home video special "Barney's Musical Scrapbook" has Barney looking at his scrapbook and remembering events from "Shawn & The Beanstalk", "Up We Go!", "Hats Off To BJ!", "It's Raining, It's Pouring...", "Ship, Ahoy!" and "Shopping For A Surprise!"
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: In "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy," Shawn claims he doesn't like carrots, despite bringing them to school in his lunch (he tries to give them to Zippity the hamster). The other kids convince him that they're good for your body. By the end of the episode, he tries one and he ends up liking it.
  • Confetti Drop: Used in a number of parties. Very common in the stage shows.
  • Cool Old Guy: Mr. Boyd, the school janitor. He can play the piano quite well along with the sousaphone and French horn, and when Barney moved his meeting place to a park, Mr. Boyd took up a job there.
  • Couch Gag: Each episode of the TV show ends with a shot of toy Barney involving something relevant. For instance, one episode about weather ends with Barney being peppered with flurries.
  • Cover Version: Various occasions:
    • Hi Neighbor (in the title episode).
    • I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream (also in Hi Neighbor).
    • Throw Your Hands Up, Move it Like This, and What I Like About You in Barney Live in Concert - Birthday Bash
    • We are Family for a 2005 music video where Barney sings with Sesame Street characters, along with many other characters and celebrities.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits for "Best of Barney" fall neatly into Barney's memory box.
  • Credits Gag: The credits during the first season featured children's paintings relating to the episode's topic (i.e. "When I Grow Up" had paintings related to careers). The following two seasons, while keeping the motif, stop the gag by keeping the paintings consistent regardless of the episode, using select ones from the first season.
  • Crossdressing Voices: BJ and Riff were voiced by female actresses. BJ was voiced by Patty Wirtz, and Riff was voiced by Michaela Dietz.
    • Miss Etta Kette was voiced and puppeteered by male voice actor Brice Armstrong.
  • Crossover: Not on the TV show per se, but in addition to the We Are Family cover noted above, Barney and other popular children's characters (popular as of 1996, when the video was released) team up to teach kids about the importance of having good character in Kids for Character.
  • Cultural Translation: In the Israel co-production of the show, "London Bridge" was sung as "Yarkon Bridge". In addition, in an episode about music (titled "Practice Makes Music" on the US show), the guest pianist plays traditional Israeli songs in place of kids' songs.
  • Dance Sensation: The song "The Dino Dance", which first appeared in the video "Come On Over to Barney's House".
  • "Days of the Week" Song: "There are Seven Days," sung to "Oh My Darling Clementine".
  • Demoted to Extra: The kids got this treatment during Season 10, with their roles being reduced to secondary and/or background characters as the episodes focused more on the dinos.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Played with in the video "The Land of Make Believe." Several characters in the aforementioned land (including Princess Zuleeka) initially think that Barney, Baby Bop, and BJ are dragons.
    Guard: We can't allow any happy people or happy dragons into the kingdom!
    Barney, BJ, and Baby Bop: [annoyed, in unison] Dinosaurs!
  • Disease-Prevention Aesop: The song "Keep Your Sneeze to Yourself" is about covering your mouth when you sneeze. It also tells you to wash your hands after sneezing.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The point of both "The Sister Song" and "I'm Glad I Have a Brother" is that even though siblings may sometimes get on each other's nerves, they should be appreciated.
  • Documentary: I Love You, You Hate Me, a two-part documentary chronicling the backlash to Barney, premiered on Peacock on the 12th of October, 2022.
  • Don't Try This at Home: Why Barney magically lights his own birthday candles.
    • Baby Bop says this in "Live in New York City" just before "Three Little Monkeys".
  • Driving Song: "Riding in the Car".
  • Dutch Angle: Used to simulate things such as takeoffs during airplane flights.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Carlos and Kathy were introduced on media besides TV. Other cast members have been introduced as guest characters, before becoming part of the show's main cast.
    • Riff first appeared in the video "Let's Make Music," but wasn't introduced on the show proper until the season 10 premiere, "Welcome, Cousin Riff".
    • The hearing-impaired boy Jason first appeared in the season 2 episode "The Alphabet Zoo" as a guest character, but was promoted to main character the following season. Same goes for twins Ashley and Alissa in Season 3's "Twice is Nice!" who later become regular characters throughout season 4.
    • The song "Friends Are Forever" was first heard as an underscore near the end of the Backyard Gang video: "The Backyard Show". It was later fully sung in "Three Wishes".
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The Barney & the Backyard Gang video series has quite a few differences compared to the television series. "I Love You" was sung towards the beginning of most videos (and with the lyrics being slightly different). Barney was owned by Michael and Amy (later Tina) rather than the school, and his imaginary abilities (i.e. becoming a full-sized dinosaur) were the kids' secret that they hid from their parents in the first three videos. In those three videos, the series had a bit of star power behind it with the presence of Sandy Duncan.
    • In the earlier videos, Barney was a deep shade of violet rather than the magenta he eventually became, with a much deeper voice and more authoritarian manner. In fact, the reason why Barney changed colour was because he kept showing up as bluish or even dark grey on screen.
  • Especially Zoidberg: In "A Perfectly Purple Day," Gianna gives Barney this response when he asks her if he will feature in a "purple party" that they and the other kids are planning for Colleen.
  • Everything is Big in Texas: Barney is certainly big and, while not brought up in-universe often, the series was filmed in various parts of Dallas throughout its run, ranging from Allen to Carrollton. "Barney in Concert" was performed at Dallas's Majestic Theatre.
  • Exact Words: In Barney's Magical Musical Adventure, Twynkle the Elf's initial riddle involves "standing on one finger." While most of the cast are baffled by the task, Derek solves said riddle by putting his pointer finger under his foot and stepping on it (literally standing on one finger).
    • The second to last clue in "Treasure of Rainbow Beard" notes that "eggs mark the spot." Michael ponders "X marks the spot" before Barney corrects him. The treasure chest (and the last clue) is next to a tree with a bird's nest.
  • Expository Theme Tune:
  • Fake Interactivity: From Season 7 onward, the viewer is treated like a character, and is addressed directly. From Season 9 to Season 12 (save for select episodes), we are assumed to have left Barney behind after "I Love You", and he turns back into a doll as the song wraps up. Averted in the first six seasons, save for the "Barney Says" segment.
  • Feud Episode: The season 4 episode "Oh Brother, She's My Sister" has BJ and Baby Bop not speaking to each other after an argument. The reason for this is not revealed in the original show but in the South Korean co-production, the feud started when Baby Bop was dancing to the song "A Silly Hat" while B.J. was trying to read and he turned off the music when he could not concentrate, resulting in the argument.
  • Filthy Fun: The song "Icky, Squishy, Gooey, Ooey!" fits this trope to a tee.
  • Firehouse Dalmatian: In "I Can Be a Firefighter!", Firefighter Frank visits the school with his pet Dalmatian, Chief. However, Chief doesn't do much to the plot and spends most of his time lying on the floor.
  • First-Name Ultimatum: Always done mildly.
  • Five-Token Band: The child cast usually consists of children of different ethnicities.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: Because the show's setup is contingent upon the presence of a child cast, said cast goes through wholesale changes about once every five years, creating an opportunity for plots to be reused.
  • Food Coma: In one episode, B.J. notes that while he usually doesn't take naps anymore, he may take one today as his "square meal" he had after the square dance (the episode was all about squares and they added the meal and the dance as sort of a joke) has made him sleepy.
  • Food Songs Are Funny: Quite a few original songs on the show are about food and are meant to be funny and educational, one example being the song "Pumpernickel" which lists 5 different types of bread including the title one.
    • "Mish Mash Soup" is a notable example of this trope. Barney and the kids sing about making an unconventional soup with various kinds of food (bread, milk, fish, fruits, and veggies are all mentioned). Though they think it looks odd at first, it turns out to be "the best soup [they've] ever had."
  • Foreshadowing: In "Rock with Barney," "Barney & Friends" can be seen on Barney's clapboard. It's noteworthy because "Rock with Barney" was the last Backyard Gang video, released outside Neiman Marcus stores about seven months before "Barney & Friends" began airing on PBSnote . The fact that the gang are on the set of a film wanting to make their own TV series just makes this trope more salient.
  • Fourth Wall Greeting: Happens in several home videos and the "Barney's Favorite Memories" featurette.
    • Also happens occasionally, starting with season 7, when Barney is not interacting with the kids.
  • Friendless Background: Derek, Tosha, and Kenneth, at first.
  • Friendship Song: In addition to the song that shares this trope's name, there's "Best of Friends", "Someone to Love You Forever", and more (in)famously, "I Love You".
  • Friend to All Children: Barney is friends with all the kids who play with him.
  • Gift of the Magi Plot: "Gift of the Dinos", the first half of episode 19 of season 11. In it, Riff and BJ draw each other's names in Secret Santa. Riff trades his drum to buy a baseball glove for BJ and BJ trades his baseball to buy drumsticks for Riff.
  • Golden Moment: Sometimes, just before leaving, a child will take a moment alone with Barney to thank him for his help, or to just be affectionate with him.
  • The Golden Rule: In the video Kids for Character, Barney and friends teach Baby Bop about respect through a song with skits in between.
  • Green Aesop: The main point of "Rock With Barney", where the kids make a TV series about taking care of our planet.
  • Green Around the Gills: Throughout "BJ's Snack Attack", BJ's face turns green after getting sick from eating too many sweets.
  • Hailfire Peaks: In the episode "It's Hot! It's Cold!" a Magic Misfire causes the park to be evenly split between tropical heat and freezing cold.
  • Halloween Episode: The video Barney's Halloween Party, as well as "Guess Who?/Sweet Treats" in Season 11.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: The song "Kookaburra" might be the second most conspicuous example of this trope after the Trope Namer.
    Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree.
    Merry, merry king of the bush is he.
    Laugh, kookaburra, laugh. Kookaburra,
    gay your life must be.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: Subverted in the episode "Happy Birthday, Barney!"; while Min initially sings the titular song in Tagalog, "Maligayang Bati", as a cultural lesson, the song is eventually sung in English after the cake is wheeled out.
    • The episodes "Look at Me, I'm 3" and "It's Your Birthday, Barney", along with live shows "Barney's Big Surprise" and "Barney Live in Concert - Birthday Bash" all use the song with no problems. The episode "Caring" and the video "Dino-Mite Birthday" avert the trope, by using an original birthday song in its place.
    • In the Barney and the Backyard Gang episode "The Backyard Show", "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" was used as a birthday song.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: In an early episode, Barney gets stuck on the school's playset and the kids pull him out.
    Barney: [after being pulled out] Thanks kids! I'm not fat, I just have big bones.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: More like "friendly dinosaurs are herbivores", but it still fits the trope.
  • Huddle Power: Barney and the children sometimes confer in this manner.
  • "I Am" Song: Each of the dinosaurs has one. Just to give you an idea, here's Riff's.
    • Barney's "I Am" song is the show's theme song.
    • Professor Tinkerputt also has one to showcase his profession and attitude.
  • "I Know What We Can Do" Cut: This happens in "Rock With Barney" at least three times.
  • "I Want" Song: "What I Want to Be", which first appeared in the Backyard Gang video "Barney Goes to School", is a song the kids sing about the different jobs they want to do when they grow up. A variation of the song in the video Barney's Halloween Party had the kids instead sing about what they want to dress up as when they go trick-or-treating.
    • Also from "Barney Goes to School" is the song "I Wish There Was School Everyday" (a song about Exactly What It Says on the Tin) which is sung at the beginning of the video by Tina and also lists the things she likes besides school and what she does when there.
    • The song "Mac & Cheese" has some lyrics in the refrain asking for the titular food. ("Three times daily pretty please")
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • In Season 12, every episode's name has "A [x] Adventure" as the second half of its title (examples: "Riff to the Rescue: A Wild West Adventure" and "The Reluctant Dragon: A Fairy Tale Adventure").
    • Season 13 does something similar, with the name of a country forming the second half of each of the episode's titles (example: "Venice, Anyone?: Italy"; the episode "Home Sweet Earth: The Rainforest" might be an exception since it doesn't name a country).
  • Imaginary Friend: The premise of the show. Barney is a doll that the kids imagine coming to life, getting bigger, and having adventures with them.
  • In Another Man's Shoes: The season 5 episode "Trading Places" has Baby Bop and BJ temporarily pretending to be each other when jealous of each other's lives. They soon learn to appreciate their own lives and go back to being themselves in the end.
  • Jump Rope Blunders: In "You Can Do It!", Baby Bop attempts skipping rope for the first time, but she keeps hitting her legs with the rope and not jumping over it in time. She wonders if she's too young for this until Barney and the kids convince her that she'll improve with practice.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Everyone could have saved themselves a lot of grief in "Live in New York City" if Barney and the kids had simply retrieved the Barney Bag during the Winkster's introduction song.
  • The Kiddie Ride: One car, one tractor, one train, among others. The train and tractor are common worldwide.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Reportedly, some members of the Barney production crew had this reaction when they crossed paths with the Sesame Street crew since they were Muppet fans. Bob West even got to visit the Sesame Street set after meeting some Muppeteers during the production of Kids for Character, and while visiting the set he got to sit in Big Bird's nest.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, and Dinosaur(s)...
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "Barney's Sense-Sational Day" features an extended instance of this, which even encapsulates the concept of the video itself.
  • Least Rhymable Word: In "The Treasure of Rainbow Beard" Barney and the kids play a game where they rhyme actions with the names of colors. Barney gets stuck trying to find a rhyme for "purple".
    • The lack of "purple" rhyme is mentioned once more in "Be My Valentine, Love Barney"
  • Leaving Food for Santa: Michael and Amy leave milk and cookies for Santa in the Backyard Gang video "Waiting for Santa". It's how they know that they beat him to their house after their North Pole visit.
  • Leitmotif: Each dino's "I Am" Song is often their leitmotif. Baby Bop had a unique one in the first three seasons.
  • List Song: "Have A Snack" lists several types of fruits and vegetables. "Snacking On Healthy Food" also lists several different types of food.
  • Literal Bookworm: There are two cases, one an instance in Season 1 and the other a recurring character starting Season 5.
    • In "Let's Help Mother Goose!", unseen bookworms are heard eating all the pages in Mother Goose's book. She asks Barney and the children to help her remember the rhymes which were in the book so she can write them all down (again).
    • Booker T. Bookworm, who debuts in "It's Time for Counting", is an orange worm with blue glasses and a green plaid bowtie that works as an imaginary librarian at the school library.
  • Loose Tooth Episode: In "The Dentist Makes Me Smile", Shawn has a baby tooth and is afraid that it'll fall out. This leads Barney and the kids to learn about keeping your teeth clean and going to the dentist.
  • Magical Incantation: In the Backyard Gang videos and the first season of "Barney & Friends," Barney and the kids often used a magical incantation to travel places and imagine things into being: "Shimbaree, Shimbarah! Shimbaree, Shimbarah!"
  • Make a Wish: It's probably going to come true.
  • Meaningful Name: Baby Bop is introduced during the “Mr Knickerbocker” number in “Barney in Concert”. She doesn’t have a name at first, until Barney and the kids decide to name her after the repeating lyric “boppity-bop”.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Subverted. While "Barney & Friends" is based on a video series, selling merchandise wasn't the main focus of the franchise's creators, rather a genuine interest in providing a show for very young children.
  • Mickey Mousing: Very common for things such as turning off the lights.
  • Missing Child: In the video "The Land of Make Believe", the king and queen of the titular land get worried when their daughter Princess Zuleka suddenly disappears. They are relieved and happy when Barney and his friends bring said daughter home.
  • Musicalis Interruptus:
    Kids: *singing* Sunday, Monday/Tuesday, Wednesday/Barney's birthday... [music stops] Barney's birthday?!?
  • My Nayme Is: Luci, Tosha, Alissa, and Keesha.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Booker T. Bookworm in Season 5.
    • Miss Kepler, the school's science teacher, in a few of the Barney videos (named after Johannes Kepler).
  • Nightmare Sequence: In "BJ's Snack Attack", BJ has a dream where he ends up in a room filled with sweets. At first he's delighted, but he gets covered in candy and pastries, to the point where he's unable to move his feet, and he keeps getting fed sweets against his will by his friends, who repeat his exact words from before at him: "You can never have too many sweets".
  • No Antagonist: Generally, though Barney Live in New York City had a Harmless Villain Antagonist (The Winkster) who did a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Several songs written for the show, such as "Animals in Motion".
  • The Nose Knows: In "I Can Be a Firefighter", Jason refers to his nose as a smoke detector. It's useful if you don't have a smoke detector around you, or you can't hear one.
  • No Indoor Voice: Played with. The song "Indoor-Outdoor Voices" is about where and when it is appropriate to use an indoor or outdoor voice depending on location.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Baby Bop turned 3 in Season 2, while BJ turned 7 in the "Barney's Big Surprise" stage show. Since then, neither of them have increased in age.
  • Ode to Family:
    • "My Family's Just Right for Me" is about how families can be different (including ones with divorced parents and children Raised by Grandparents), but they're still loving families.
    • "The Sister Song" and "I'm Glad I Have a Brother" are about siblings who may fight sometimes but still care for each other immensely.
  • Ode to Food: Several examples.
    • "Pumpernickel" discusses Barney's favorite bread, while also discussing four other kinds as well. note 
    • "Peanut Butter" is about making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich step by step.
    • "Mac and Cheese" is sung by Baby Bop about her favorite food. Ditto with "Apples and Bananas" in the first two seasons.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The bottle containing the map in "The Treasure of Rainbow Beard" was actually a leather-wrapped chianti bottle that writer Stephen White purchased from a garage sale.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted; there were 3 different kid characters named Jason: one in the first 3 Backyard Gang videos, and 2 who were in different seasons of the TV series.
    • Also averted in the video "Come On Over to Barney's House" with Jill from the "Jack and Jill" nursery rhyme and a Jill who is one of the kids who are friends with Barney.
  • Or My Name Isn't...: Parodied in Imagination Island
    Professor Tinkerputt: And I'll help you get it down, or my name isn't... George Washington!
    Derek: Your name isn't George Washington.
    Professor Tinkerputt: That's right! And I can't help you.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: It is implied in "Barney's Campfire Sing-Along" that the Backyard Gang is transported to and from the campground in their sleep.
    • In the end of Let's Make Music, Barney affirms Melanie's thoughts that the whole trip to the fair ended up being a dream. However, the picture of Barney and Melanie taken at the fair is displayed on her dresser at the end of the video, leaving a hint.
  • Painful Rhyme: Played for Laughs in the episode "Going Places." One segment features the kids checking their bags for their make believe hiking trip, completely in rhyme. Michael ends it with a rather painful rhyme:
    Kathy: A bandage, if I get an owie.
    Michael: Hawaiian shirt, if we swim to Maui.
    [Derek and Tina boo him]
  • Pantomime Animal: Nellie the Elephant shown in "Barney's Adventure Bus" is Kristen and Robert in a costume.
    • Sally the Camel is portrayed this way in "Barney in Concert," as well as the Season 1 episodes "Going Places" and "Carnival of Numbers".
  • Parental Bonus: Averted for the most part. That said, it hasn't stopped writers from occasionally sneaking in some jokes.
    • In "Barney's Colorful World," Baby Bop finds a starfish, claiming it's her favorite animal. That starfish turns out to be a parody of Elvis Presley, singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" as The King himself. The song is capped off with the following
    BJ: Ladies and gentlemen, the starfish has left the building!
  • Podcast: Purple Tales Podcast and, to a lesser extent, Purple Roads Podcastnote  - both hosted by former Barney suit actor Carey Stinson.
  • The Power of Friendship: Despite what the title says, the message of the ending song "I Love You" is more about friendship than love. In the Backyard Gang videos, it was sung towards the beginning and (in the very early videos) brought Barney to life.
  • The Power of Rock: "Good Manners".
    • "Colors All Around" in the video "You Can Be Anything".
  • Power Outage Plot: When a storm knocks out the classroom's power in "What's That Shadow" Barney teaches the kids how to deal with fears including shadows and monsters. They sing a song about how shadows may just look weird but are not scary, and learn that monsters are not real but making stories about them and pretending they are real can be fun.
  • The Pratfall: Choreographed into songs like "Three Little Monkeys" and "Old King Cole".
    • In "Playing it Safe" Barney winds up taking a fall after slipping on a toy truck.
  • Product Placement: Averted on the TV series and in videos (live show videos not withstanding). The Barney dolls sold in stores are very different to the ones on the TV series, due to the production company's strict "anti-product placement" measures. When the Israel Barney production was taping, it was noted a Barney umbrella was visible on set in one episode, so the scene had to be re-shot.
    • In the 1996 Home Video "Barney's Fun and Games", The Playskool Boom-Box which was release during that time was used in the video and the Playskool logo was shown. On an interesting note, the Playskool/Hasbro company had also help make the popular Talking Barney dolls which was release a few years back.
  • Protagonist and Friends: Of course.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: A number of the songs sung on the show are in the public domain (only the arrangements are copyrighted).
  • Punny Name: Get it? Miss Etta Kette? Like "etiquette"?
    • Barney's Best Manners (Your Invitation to Fun) revolves around Barney and friends being invited to a party by an author of a children's Manners book. Her name? Vera Goode.
  • Raised by Grandparents: The third verse of the song "My Family's Just Right For Me" mentions a boy who is raised by his grandmother.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Season 5 included scenes in a school library. There's also the songs "The Library", "I Love to Read", and "Books Are Fun" to reinforce the lesson.
  • Reality Warper: It's a given since the kids are sometimes transported to different places in addition to Barney making things appear.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Barney is over 200 million years old. It's justified as he's a T. rex, but how he's still light on his feet is a mystery. Averted with the other dinos, whose ages are in the single digits.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: There was a lawsuit over the lyrics to the "I Love You" song in 1994, so it was omitted from "Live in New York City" and Imagination Island.
  • Rearrange the Song: A notable example includes a lullaby version of "Everyone is Special," used to accommodate newborn twins.
    • Through the show's run, most songs sung on the show have been rearranged, notably the show's theme and "I Love You".
    • The song "Jungle Adventure" originally mentioned a few animals that don't live in jungles in real life (such as lions). The second version of the song changes some of the lyrics to only mention actual jungle animals, with only a few lines being the same as the original.
  • Refugee from TV Land: In the video "The Land of Make Believe", Princess Zuleeka note , a character in a story Barney and the kids are reading, accidentally winds up coming to their world thanks to a strange machine. The rest of the video focuses on getting her back home.
  • Revolving Door Casting: This is expected considering the show depends upon a kid cast.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Twynkle, an elf from Barney's Magical Musical Adventure, is an example of this.
  • Rule of Fun: Mr. Knickerbocker is used for the characters' own amusement, and usually in the live shows.
  • Sand In My Eyes: BJ uses this excuse in the episode "Sharing".
  • Scary Shadow Fakeout: In "What's That Shadow," the power goes out in the classroom and the gang notices a somewhat frightening shadow on the wall approaching them. It turns out to be Baby Bop, terrified of the dark. Barney uses this as a teaching moment to show how scary shadows can be made by ordinary things.
  • Scenery Porn: Some of the sets are this. The stage shows have "Barney's Big Surprise's" Treehouse and Tinkerputt's Factory sets and "Barney's Colorful World's" jungle set, while the show itself has the treehouse set used from Seasons 3-6 and the park set used from Seasons 7-14.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: Children's author Tomie dePaola appeared on three episodes.
    • The Season 2 finale A Very Special Delivery had singer Ella Jenkins stop by. The direct to video special Barney in Outer Space had astronaut Ken Reightler make an appearance and teach the kids about NASA and space exploration.
  • Shave and a Haircut: Played at the end credits of the first three seasons.
  • She Is All Grown Up: After Min (who was played by Pia Manalo-Hamilton in all her appearances) left the Barney set, she returned for two specials.
    • Danielle Vega (Erica Rhodes), who played Kim, made cameo appearances in the video "Let's Make Music" and the episode "Dancing," though not as her character. In addition, she showed up at the 2010 Dallas American Idol auditions and Hollywood tryouts as well. The Hollywood one did not go over well.
    • Other cast members have reprised their character roles (most notably in Sing and Dance with Barney).
    • No Doubt the Years Have Changed Us
  • Shout-Out: In "Live in New York City", the teddy bears that join Kathy on stage for her song were almost certainly borrowed from the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
  • Show, Don't Tell: "I could tell you, but it would be more fun to show you."
  • Signature Headgear: BJ's red baseball cap. "Hats Off to BJ" is about him losing it after the wind blows it away; he gets it back in the end.
  • Signature Laugh: Barney's (in)famous chuckle.
  • Simpleton Voice: Subverted. While Barney's voice (as portrayed by Bob West) has a jolly, friendly tone akin to this trope, the character is considered to be wise and knowledgeable in-universe (as imagined by the kids).
  • Singing Mountie: In "What a World We Share," Barney and the kids go to Canada, where they meet Monty the Mountie. Monty sings two songs with them, one about being cold and one about silly sounds.
  • Sixth Ranger: The show started off with just Barney and Baby Bop, and then added B.J. a short while afterwards. In 2006, the series introduced a fourth dinosaur, Riff.
  • Sleep Aesop: The song "Everybody Needs a Nap" is about how young children and animals all need naps.
  • Sleep-Mode Size: Barney has this in the form of a stuffed animal.
  • The Something Song: a few of the songs are titled this way such as "The Five Senses Song" and "The Milk Song".
  • Something We Forgot: From "Look at Me! I'm 3!". The kids prepare a birthday party and have everything prepared from decorations to party materials... except for one thing...
    Kids: We forgot to make a (birthday) cake!
  • Stock Sound Effect: Baby Kate's cry, as heard in "Room For Everyone" if you listen carefully.
  • Strictly Formula: Barney is brought to life by the imagination of some children, they play around and/or address some issue, sing the infamous "I Love You" outro song, Barney goes back to being a doll, capping off the episode with a closeup of the doll and a twinkle in its eye (or in the case of the early Backyard Gang videos, a crudely drawn animated eyelid giving off a wink).
    • For the first eight seasons (along with Season 12), there was a short segment called "Barney Says" where Barney would give a quick recap of the episode while reinforcing the topic of said episode.
  • Sugar Bowl: A rather infamous example of this trope.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Baby Bop received her name because she really likes the song "Mr. Knickerbocker".
  • The End: Although being the second Backyard Gang video, the original release of Three Wishes revealed that the "The End" card was actually the third and last video of the early trilogy.
  • Theme Tune Rap: Season 14's intro has a rap segment... No, we're not joking.
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: Utilized in the Backyard Gang videos. It's understandable why this was eliminated during the move to TV, as the rotating cast would make it difficult for the lyrics to fit the rhythm.
  • Third-Person Person: Baby Bop (In the first season. Averted afterwards.)
  • Time Abyss: Barney is 200,000,000 years old (2 in dinosaur years). For reference, that's about 1/5 the time that life has existed on Earth.
  • Time Lapse: Shows up in the "Backyard Gang" videos and occasionally in Barney & Friends episodes whenever the producers want to make Barney and co. appear to do something fast or speed it up for the sake of time.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Played for Laughs with the Crocodile Song, a cheerful little tune about a lady riding a crocodile and meeting a grim fate.
    At the end of the ride,
    The lady was inside
    And the smile was on the crocodile.
  • Too Smart for Strangers: As noted in the Beam Me Up, Scotty! reference in the Trivia tab, a segment of safety episode Playing It Safe focused on how to deal with strangers.
  • Tradesnark™: Out of universe example - according to Word of God, writer Stephen White had invented Barney's "Super-dee-duper!" catchphrase, so some writers would jokingly add a trademark symbol after it in the scripts.
  • Train Song: "The Caboose Rides in the Back," along with traditional children's songs "Down by the Station" and "Little Red Caboose"
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: In addition to dubs, the show has had co-productions in Israel and South Korea, both mostly following the plots of the original episodes.
  • Trash the Set: Subverted in the Season 3 episode "Classical Cleanup", which has Baby Bop dancing in and wrecking the classroom. Thank goodness she and the kids clean it up thanks to Shawn's idea.
  • Treehouse of Fun: In Seasons 3-6, it was introduced along with the switch of production studios from ColorDynamics in Allen, Texas to the Studios at Las Colinas (now Glenn Beck's Mercury Studios) in Las Colinas, Texas. Once the show switched sets, the treehouse was abandoned.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Tosha's twin brothers, Kevin and Kyle, as well as two school-age girls named Ashley and Alissa.
  • Two Shorts: Seasons 10 and 11 were revamped to have 11-minute episodes aired together in pairs. As a result, this season has shorter episodes and focuses more on the dinos than the human kids.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: The video Be My Valentine, Love, Barney.
  • Variable Mix: Beginning in season 7, a saxophone was mixed into some existing song arrangements.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: Despite being a Tyrannosaurus rex, Barney is mostly vegetarian, with his favorite snack being peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  • Verbal Tickety Tick: That's Riff, for you.
  • Vocal Evolution: Barney's voice sounded deeper and more mature in the early Backyard Gang videos. Then, over the years, he started to sound younger.
    • B.J. also had this effect, starting out with a huskier drawl, then beginning to sound a little higher and squeakier.
    • Baby Bop too has had some vocal evolution. She sounded much more infant-like in her early appearances, but by the third season, she began to sound more like a three year old. Also by the seventh season, she began to sound less like a three year old.
    • Even new dino Riff has had some vocal evolution, though minor compared to the original trio.
  • We Need a Distraction: In the episode "Birthday Ole" Stephen, Kim, and Emily are preparing a surprise birthday party for Robert in the Treehouse when they hear him coming. They ask Barney to go down to the playground and stall Robert.
  • World of Ham: The voice acting for the dinosaurs and some of the acting of the kids in the early seasons brought the show to be close to this trope on many occasions. Doesn't help that Barney's "Stu-u-upendous!" and "Super-Dee-DUPER!" catchphrases are often shouted by him.
  • World Tour:
    • Season 13 has the gang traveling the world. They go to Mexico, China, Spain, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Kenya, Hawaii, France, and the Rainforest.
    • The season 11 episode The Magic Caboose Barney and the kids pretend to visit India, Egypt and Tahiti.
    • The last episode of season 10 focuses on China and Kenya.
    • A World of Friends from season 8 has Barney and the kids pretending to visit Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, England, Kenya, Germany, Italy and South Korea.
    • The video "What a World We Share" has Barney and the kids going to France, Canada, and Mexico in order to return Stella's suitcase.
    • In the Season 1 episode "A World of Music", Barney and the kids pretend to visit various parts of the world: Scotland, Israel, Nigeria, China, and Mexico. note 
  • Wrap-Up Song: Each episode ends with Barney singing the "I Love You" song about how much he loves his friends (both the cast and the viewers).

"Hello again to all my tropers! I'm glad you came to play! Our fun and learning never ends! Here's what we did today!
Today, we learned all about the various Barney & Friends tropes! We learned all about the various quirks of the show and its characters. We also learnt about other fun things tropers like, like very obscure book series, and why we no longer use the term "This Troper" in the main pages. But be very careful, as going on TVTropes too much may ruin your life. Be safe!
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Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Barney The Dinosaur


Barney's Pantomime Elephant

Barney has a special show starring an elephant, but it turns out to be Robert and Kristen in a costume.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / PantomimeAnimal

Media sources: