Recently, two The Backyardigans songs went viral on TikTok. “Castaways” (1.1M), and then “Into the Thick of It” (3.6M). Recognition and nostalgia of their favorite childhood show sent these audios skyrocketing, Into the Thick of It racking up 9.5 million plays on Youtube. How is it possible that a 2000’s children’s show could have such a huge fanbase?
Nickelodeon knew they had a hit show on their hands, and they gave the main composers, Doug Wieselman and Evan Lurie full orchestras to work with to record the perfect piece. Each episode focuses on different styles of music, sometimes cultural to go along with the places they travel to. The singers of the animated characters were cast by Janice Burgess, the creator of Little Bill and The Backyardigans, each of which she won Emmys for. She cast diverse children, and they usually switched every season, giving several kids the huge opportunity to sing for Nickelodeon. Nick even hired dancers to create choreography to the composed music, which the animators would then create digitally. The huge budget and creative effort truly made this show stand out in quality to parents, which is why so many of us grew up watching it!
All this exposed millions of children to types of music and dance from all over the globe that they may never have heard! The iconic special two-part episode, International Super Spy also wound up on Tiktok, giving Sean Curley the opportunity to connect with fans and reveal himself as the singer for Pablo. Zach Tyler Eisen is the speaking voice of Pablo, as well as Aang from Avatar; The Last Airbender. That particular episode focuses on the genre of Jazz and includes a song I personally loved, “Lady in Pink”, which also features the vocals of Cyndi Lauper. The singer for Tyrone in this episode actually went on to be cast as Andre in Victorious, Leon G. Thomas III, and he is currently still working in the music industry. This episode features totally original songs, but some episodes did incorporate famous tunes in order to teach them to children, such as “A Message, A Message” in “Knights Are Brave and Strong” which was modeled after “A Tisket A Tasket”. Another example would be a family favorite in my household; “Please and Thank you” which was written to the tune of “Shine On, Harvest Moon ”. Figuring out years after the fact why these songs were so familiar made me appreciate the show even more.
The rise of Backyardigans songs on TikTok has made me relive my childhood in the best ways, and given me a deeper appreciation for children’s media when I was growing up. I hope the creators and everyone who worked on the show know how much the Internet appreciates them and that the songs keep coming back as fun, nostalgic trends!