With the upcoming reboot later this year and with more and more footage of the show being released (particularly the one with cameos by the original hosts, Steve and Joe) I decided it’s high time I go looking back on the Nick Jr. program known as Blues’ Clues. I consider this the greatest Nick Jr. show of all time and hands down one of my favorite kids’ shows of all time period. Even as an adult I find it holds up really well in really talking to kids at their level. The show involves the main host Steve and his dog Blue. Each episode Blue wants to do something so Steve and Blue (along with the help of a wide assortment of friends around their house) play a game of Blues’ Clues to figure it out by having Blues’ paw prints be printed on a series of three objects as clues. When all three clues are found they sit down and try to put it altogether.
The first thing about Blues’ Clues is that the world it’s set in is a very vibrant, imaginative and colorful one with the various living inanimate objects and the places they go around throughout the episode both within its own environment and exploring new ones. And the world lends its way to various problem solving and insights on interesting things such as the different holidays people celebrate in December, the prospect of getting glasses, handling anger and frustrations, and so forth. And the way it’s written and within the colorful world it has such a warm and gentle atmosphere to it that it never gets too sugary.
At the core of this all is the mild mannered host himself, Steve. Steve not only brought so much energy and life in singing the songs (which are incredibly catchy and tunes I recite even to this day) but also interacting with this colorful world when you consider it’s pretty much all a green screen. In doing so he brings so much of the world to life and keeps us invested. At the same time when it comes to being calm or having a moment it doesn’t feel like Steve is talking down to his audience. He has an upbeat and positive demeanor but very much knows how to keep it balanced in a very peaceful that really feels genuine and pleasant. Even doing something as basic as addressing the audience feels surprisingly real. A prime example of this came in his departure when towards the end of the episode he thanks the viewers for their help. Another example came in the trailer for the reboot where he talks the viewer once again to help Josh (the new host) in solving Blues’ Clues. It feels like a real passing of the torch moment that’s talking both the new generation and the adults that grew up on him. I’d say the only nitpick about Steve is that I swear sometimes the guy cannot hear for crap such as when there’s a clue and the kid audience attempts to tell him it takes at least three times to hear them. I know it’s meant for laughs but sometimes it can be frustrating.
So what happened with this series? Well sadly Steve didn’t stay on the show forever. This was partly because Steve was balding and he didn’t want to be seen visibly age on television and he wanted to start on his music career. Thus it was written in one episode for him to go to college and have his brother Joe (Donovan Patton) look after things. Joe from that point became the new host and while he did fit well into the Blues’ Clues world it felt he was trying so hard to emulate Steve’s style to the point that it got distracting cause…well it’s not Steve and it really sticks out like a sore thumb. The colorful world and imagination still remained but Joe just couldn’t always keep things invested. We also got a spin off called Blue’s Room which didn’t really have much of the Blues’ Clues spirit and couldn’t keep the Blues’ Clues momentum going.
Despite its short spots in the last two seasons, Blues’ Clues still has no shortage of a legacy well worth remembering. It’s a show that treats kids to such an endlessly colorful and imaginative world but still remaining grounded in legitimate lessons and issues. With a powerhouse host to back it up there’s no mystery as to why this is such a popular children’s TV series. And hopefully the reboot can follow through.