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OPINION | GARY SMITH: A thrill or just too much? Two YouTubers for youngsters are teaming up

Ms. Rachel, Blippi combine their powers by Gary Smith | May 26, 2023 at 1:00 a.m.

I read something the other day that is either the best news imaginable or promises to be the end of life as we know it. I suppose there is a third way, I'm just not sure what it is.

Blippi and Ms. Rachel are teaming up.

All right, I'm going to allow that this news might not be as exciting or as ominous to a lot of you. But if you're responsible, even occasionally for the care and feeding of small people who can't handle either of those tasks on their own, you know what it means.

And you have thoughts. So many thoughts. Potentially nightmares. But definitely thoughts.

A little context here: Blippi and Ms. Rachel are not a circus act or a new situation comedy or the most unfortunately named law firm ever. They are, in fact, YouTube stars who both have channels designed to entertain and enlighten the pre-school crowd (I have to admit I didn't know until recent that "YouTube star" or "influencer" were even things and now I find out they're actually industries).

Apparently, in the case of Blippi, that "who" is a plural, since there seems to be more than one of him. Heavy is the head that wears the Blippi trademark bright orange and blue beanie cap, and as a result the original Blippi has brought on help. Not exactly body doubles, but, sort of like that.

I'm not sure if this is one of those "Dr. Who" deals where there is an elaborate story explaining why someone else is playing the title character, or if it's like "Rosanne," where they just changed out the oldest daughter and didn't tell anyone.

I could have gone a really long time not knowing who either Blippi or Ms. Rachel are. If I didn't have grandchildren, a fact I may have mentioned a time or 300, I likely wouldn't, since I only get on YouTube when I need to know how to program a garage door opener or what to do about carpenter bees (another thing I didn't know existed).

But, since I'm often called on to look after people too young to fully appreciate 12 consecutive hours of ESPN or the Golf Channel, and since distracting while educating seems almost too good to be true (or too much to ask), I've found myself watching a lot more of both Blippi and Ms. Rachel than I would have thought possible.

As it turns out, Ms. Rachel actually does do a lot of educational things in between trips to the farm and dancing in the park. Or while doing both. She is certainly multi-talented if, after a certain age and a certain amount of time, a little mind-numbing. Not her fault. The shows aren't for people who can tie their shoes.

Blippi, on the other hand, I'm not sure what all that's about. Unless there is some educational value in a grown man playing in a ball cage. Which seems like the sort of thing that gets people arrested. Perhaps I'm being too harsh.

Anyway, back to the original potential catastrophe/best thing ever. It seems Blippi and Ms. Rachel have decided to join forces to be on each other's shows and sell us stuff. And to teach us how to say our letters and, oh, I don't know, pretend to be pirates.

So instead of there being a Rolling Stones-Beatles rivalry for the "Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round" set, we're going to get a collaboration that will produce hours of educational fun, lots of merchandise and perhaps an ice show.

Now this is sort of cool in an "Oh, Lord, why me?" way. I mean, snark aside, both Blippi and Ms. Rachel have compelling stories that boil down to them seeing a need and filling it with shows that do teach kids to do things. Or are at least not cartoons about crime-fighting kittens.

And, bless them, they do seem to be working extra hard to generate enough "content" (which I think is "shows" to those of us without YouTube channels) that we don't have to actually watch the same episodes over and over again. A statement that cannot be made about "Encanto," for instance.

So the upcoming Blippi-Ms. Rachel collaboration likely doesn't fall as far in the catastrophe category as I originally thought. And I'm going to stick with that story, at least as long as it takes to get "Hop Little Bunny Hop Hop Hop" out of my head.

That one's on you, Rachel. All on you.

Print Headline: An ‘influencer’ tag team


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