Made for the Millennial Generation: Barney and High School Musical

This post is potentially more embarrassing than my commentary on the American Girl Dolls. Last week we watched the first “High School Musical” and I was struck by how similar the themes in the film were to the old Barney and Friends shows. Then I realized that they are made for the same generation: the Millennials, born 1982-200?.

Check out these lyrics from Barney:

You’re remarkable – you really are
You’re the only one like you
There isn’t another in the whole wide world
Who can do the things you do
Because you are special- special
Everyone is special
Everyone in his or her own way
Yes you re special -special
Everyone is special
Everyone in his or her own way!

And from “We’re All in this together” lyrics from High School Musical:

Everyone is special in their own way
We make each other strong (each other strong)
Were not the same
Were different in a good way
Together’s where we belong

The message from both is consistently about specialness and teamwork, both characteristics often ascribed to Millennials. This is definitely what the Boomer Generation (born 1943-1960) wants their kids (the Millennials) to be about, and these shows are like a pop culture love letter between generations. Of course, most of us Gen X’ers (born 1961-1981) almost puked when we saw Barney for the first time (even if our kids loved it). And, believe me, High School Musical is no different in that regard. If you were born from 1961-1981, I dare you to make it through this entire clip without rolling your eyes:


(in case you’re counting: that video has 38 Million views on Youtube)

Or how about this one:

12 thoughts on “Made for the Millennial Generation: Barney and High School Musical”

  1. Me, and most of the GenX folks I know, are children of Boomers. Most of the Millenials I know are children of my peers, GenXers. It's interesting to note that "latch key children" is a term invented for the children of Boomers, while Barney is invented for the grandchildren.

    BTW — I prefer 13th Generation rather than Generation X; though I recognize it never stuck.

    1. @Parker – good to hear from you. Yeah, lots of Boomers (older ones) had Gen X'ers, but most Boomer kids are Millennials. But Boomers NEVER had a love affair with GenX'ers – they never did (and never will) understand our cynical, pragmatic attitude. And yes, we are the original Latch Key Kids. But not the Millennials – they are special. Of course, my kids are Millennials as well, so I should not complain about them…

      1. I guess it depends on location. I live in Tampa, Fl, and it seems that the vast majority of the Millie parents are Gen Xers and the Gen Xers parents are Baby Boomer.

        The new generation being born are children of people my age. I am currently living with a women my age, born in 1985, and she has two kids of her own from a 1979 born Gen Xer.

        Again, Florida is known to be very backwards in many regards, so I guess in a more modern city, things are a bit different.

  2. Spot on, Dave. And, I'm nervously laughing about the embarassment. You are the only man I know brave enough to blog about American Girl, Barney and High School Musical in the same millennium. hahahaha. Of course, this makes you very secure in your manhood, and be careful, your branding my change from Gen X to hot daddy blogger.

    Those Barney lyrics are unbelievable. I never caught that. I love the original commentary on your blog, and will stumble this post.

  3. This isn't right. I know for a fact that the earliest Millies born 1981-1986 didn't watch Barney as a child. I think the ones you are referring to are those are in the core of the generation.

    1. @joe – I agree that some Millies did not watch Barney, but it is certain that Gen X'ers (born 1961-1981) did not AT ALL. Most Gen X'ers think Barney is idiotic, an attitude I heard often from my peers. So, yes, some Millies did not watch Barney (either too early or too late), but many did.

  4. I was born in 1981 and I remember when Barney was popular with the younger kids we used to mock it by changing the words of the theme song. It was something very "un-PC" like "I love you, you love me, homo-sex-u-al-ity…. Anyway, I never could take that show seriously, but I was like 11 or so when it came out and I think it was made for younger kids.

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