We just got a letter. On Tuesday evening we were all just minding our own business when out of nowhere Nick Jr. decided to drop a video on their social media platforms that left many of us 90’s kids (and even some of you Gen Z’ers, don’t lie) in a puddle of tears or at the very least with a slight lump in our throats and heat behind our eyes. Steve from Blue’s Clues made his return in a 2-minute video that hit us right in our feels. Nothing hits as hard as nostalgia. Before we go any further, watch the video again. You know you want to.
Believe it or not, it’s been 25 years since the premiere of Blue’s Clues. To celebrate the occasion Nick Jr dropped a few videos with the Blue’s Clues cast, but none resonated quite like this one. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a video go so viral so quickly. Currently, on Facebook alone, this video has over 2 million “likes” and 2 million shares. The reason this video hit home is because this mysterious figure from our childhood who has managed to stay out of the news and keep his image clean delivered the exact message that we needed to hear at the time when we all needed to hear it.
Ok seriously, can we just talk about that video? I was 8 or 9 when Blue’s Clues came on the air so I was on the older side of its target demo, but I had 2 younger sisters at the time. They loved it so it was on the TV a lot and you know what? I liked it too. (This is a judgment-free zone). Honest, what’s not to like about Blue’s Clues? It has a cute puppy, sweet dance moves, salt & pepper, shovel & pail, & a mailbox that brings the mail inside to you.
At the end of Season 4 of the show in the appropriately titled “Steve Goes to College”… Steve goes off to college. He hands his cool house and his awesome dog Blue over to his brother “Joe”. (Who sounds suspiciously like Bot from Team Umizoomi, for those of you with young kids who have been forced to watch that show.) As far as I know, that’s the last time we saw Steve until Nick Jr. dropped the video. In 2 minutes Steve delivered a knockout punch to our jaded, adult hearts and gave us an injection of warmth. Boy did we need it. But why did this simple video from a guy we hadn’t heard from in 20 years resonate so much? Like Steve says, let’s talk about it.
During the pandemic, I introduced my kids to the original Blue’s Clues on Amazon Prime. I desperately needed a break from Peppa Pig and Cocomelon (Al Gore, please remove this show from the internet). I turned on Blue’s Clues and they were skeptical at first, but eventually, they really started to dig it and request it. Blue’s Clues was also one of the first shows I remember that had participation from kids at home. When Steve would absentmindedly walk past a clue and not see it, my 5-year-old would yell “a clue! a clue!”
When they got to the episode where Steve leaves for college I forgot how abrupt his departure is. Having survived both Games of Thrones and The Walking Dead where beloved characters are gruesomely killed in front of you on-screen every week I didn’t really think much of it, but to kids, it can be pretty shocking to have a character from a show you like just up and leave. “What happened to Steve?” They ask. Well, perhaps that’s a question that’s been residing in the deepest recesses of our brains where we keep song lyrics to Barney sing-a-long and concern for what’s become of our Neopets.
The past year and a half have been very challenging for everyone, especially parents. We’re navigating unprecedented waters here. We’re just trying to survive and make sure our kids don’t grow up to need more psychiatric help than we do. An old friend from our childhood coming on screen and telling us he knows things have been hard was really uplifting. We’re not in this alone. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of that. Steve thanked us for our help and I couldn’t help thinking about my daughter yelling “a clue!” Because in her mind she absolutely helped Steve solve Blue’s Clues. We all did.
In a time and place with so much negativity and division, it’s always great when something comes along to give us some joy and bring us together. The part where Steve tells us he never forgot us and that he’s glad we’re his friends was about as close to a virtual hug as we can get. Who couldn’t use a hug lately? And the ending? Priceless.
This tweet from @Jaronmyers summed it up pretty well.
I’m ok if we let Steve go back into his normal life now. I like the idea of protecting his private life and just letting him be our “break glass in case of emergency” person for uniting the nation. But if you also wanted to let him co-host Jeopardy with LaVar Burton I’d be ok with that too.
While you’re here you have to check out this video from the Stephen Colbert show a couple of nights ago.