Still cannot get over the dominance of The Backyardigans on TikTok? Well, thanks to the kids who were raised on this show commanding our FYPs, it was just about time before it re-emerged from its long-forgotten hours of playtime and into a pop culture phenomenon.
Over the course of the lingering pandemic, we have gone through a whole lot of nostalgia, consuming everything from sitcoms, fashion, and even Jolina Magdangal just to get us through each day. Manifesting itself in many forms across many platforms on social media, a lot of the past has been enjoying a resurgence in relevance, as it rightfully deserves. Whether be it the Y2K trend trickling down to what the kids are wearing these days, superheroes taking on television by the decade, or an inescapable timeline of retro songs, the good ‘ol what once was will always be a thing, plain and simple. Chalk it to an intense case of cabin fever or its due re-emergence in the cycle of pop culture, it was just about time until the internet unearthed the unparalleled joy and hypnotic draw of focused zeitgeists, such as children’s show like The Backyardigans.
On the massive blackhole of content that is TikTok, where despite every conscious to just pass through, we are sucked in an aimless, endless stream of rapid fire snippets. Aside from the obvious fleeting entertainment and escape that it offers, it also happens to function as a goldmine of nostalgia, where the rediscoveries are endless, turning timeless classics into trends that everyone will want in on. These days, a not-so quick scroll will lead you renewed appreciation for Fleetwood Mac or Kate Bush, and much recently, one to one too many versions of now familiar iterations of Castaways, Into The Thick Of It, and International Super Spy, seemingly nothing out the ordinary titles, but are straight out of The Backyardigans, the children’s show that practically raised the generation lording over TikTok.
About The Sound
Just as Sesame Street, Batibot, Teletubbies, Barney, and Sineskwela have likely embedded itself in a pervasive way into our psyche, The Backyardigans merits the same profound effect where its combined cornerstones of dedicated storytelling, unique characters, and prolific music made it the enduring success that it has proven to be. Beginning its adventures in 2004, running all the way to 2013, the Janice Burgess-created show for kids on Nickelodeon introduced us to a friendship of five, Uniqua, Pablo the Penguin, Tasha the Hippo, Tyrone the Kangaroo, and Austin the Moose, where we were made witness to all their shenanigans and songs from well, the backyard.
Charming and surprisingly full of depth even for the adults who would watch with their little ones, The Backyardigans taught its audience about real life struggles without being overworked or preachy. Much like its predecessors in the network made for kids such as Blue’s Clues, where it had the unique ability to blend life and lyrics into songs that essentially calm children down, the music of The Backyardigans was meant for greater things down the line. “It has all the perfect makings of a TikTok sound, which are: ubiquity, catchiness, simplicity, and the endless ability to be remixed and covered, says Rachelle Hampton in The Slate’s podcast, ICYMI. “This gives us the current moment we’re in, where every third video on my For You Page is just people doing something to Castaways. Something, anything, everything—all of it is ‘Castaways.’”
Whether it’s the aforementioned bossa nova-inspired track that ushered in the renaissance of The Backyardigans to 2021, which was first posted on TikTok by Merlysha Pierre, or the current spins of the soaring symphony of Into The Thick Of It and the jazzy belt of International Super Spy, there is an inherent joy that comes with these silly seconders online. As often as it is linked to triggers of good memories, as explained by psychologist, Dr. Ronald Riggio, it also is a case of wilfully and consciously extracting a feeling of happiness. Chris Evans (not Captain America, unfortunately), guitarist of Life Without Buildings, credits this to as the ability to “take you somewhere or to a certain somebody.” In this case, getting into the tramping through the bush, ugh.
After All This Time
“I thought it was going to be a quick trend…but this has been taken to a much bigger level,” says Sean Curley, the voice behind Pablo. Well, consider this a residual of joy and the fact that as we all know, the internet never forgets. (Thanks, TikTok). But really, it all is part and parcel of the nostalgia of childhood. Try as you might, you cannot beat or replicate that swelling sensation. “It’s a great feeling, knowing you’re a part of something that touched a lot of people,” shares Corinne Tuggles, aka Tyrone.
this trend was literally made for me. #backyardigans♬ International Super Spy – Dylan ??
“I’m still floored at how many years have gone by and people are making this a big thing, but I also understand, because I smile every time I think of The Backyardigans,” says Jamie Simone Nash (that’s Uniqua to you kids) of this TikTok appreciation. “Being a part of everyone’s childhood, that’s been the best part of my career.”
Eight years, 80 episodes, 4 seasons, an average of 300 songs, and a collaboration with Alicia Keys later, here we are, still into the thick of it, whispering our secrets to International Super Spy, because simply put, it’s fun and even for a few seconds, liberating. At some point, TikTok will troop to the next nostalgic front, but for the time being, while still stuck where we are, allow us to mellow out here in our imagination of an island as castaways, ahoy.