B is for Body

Help! I Think Blippi Is Kinda Hot

My husband can’t complain. He’s got a thing for Ms. Rachel.

Emma Chao/Scary Mommy; Getty Images, Courtesy of Blippi

Of all the shows my nearly 4-year-old son watches (and let’s be real, there are many), Blippi is by far my least favorite.

The production values (at least on his very early YouTube episodes) are nonexistent. In one episode, Blippi casually wipes his nose on his shoulder and continues his monologue as if nothing happened. As a former producer, it floors me that no one watched the cut (including Blippi himself) and said: “Hey, maybe you should do another take, and this time don’t wipe snot on your shirt.”

But have you noticed the way his pectoral muscles push out from behind those orange suspenders?

The songs are catchy, if completely predictable in structure: “INSERT VEHICLE NAME! INSERT VEHICLE NAME! I want to ride on AN INSERT VEHICLE NAME.” Blippi himself is tone deaf and handed over the songwriting and singing to the slightly more dulcet tones of “Nicky Notes.” But since the two fell out (nobody knows exactly why, but there’s a lot of speculation online), the songs have become even more one-note and lost what little charm they had.

But have you noted how his stubble defines his strong jaw line?

Blippi’s lines are delivered in a high-pitched tone that doesn’t so much as tickle the eardrum as assault it. His clearly extemporaneous diatribes covering diverse subject matters such as what colors are in an indoor playground in Seattle; what colors are at an indoor playground in Las Vegas; and what colors are at an indoor playground in Los Angeles, are punctuated by a hiccup-like chuckle that would make the dearly departed Paul Reubens roll over in his grave. The editing is overproduced with stock audio sounds and clip art graphics bursting onto the screen in moments of misplaced emphasis.

But have you observed the way his hips move in those snug jeans?

The first letter my son ever recognized was not F for his name or M for Mama or D for Daddy. Nope, it was B. Because every video ends with Blippi spelling out his name and telling kids, “If you want to watch more of my videos, all you have to do is search for my name. How do you spell my name?” With ten years of content, multiple licensing deals, and tens of millions of dollars, his incessant promotion has worked. (Just don’t look up Blippi’s creator’s real name with your kids: Stevin John. That might lead you to discover his former gross-out comedy alter ego “Steezy Grossman,” who once infamously defecated on his friend in his version of the Harlem Shake. Ah, 2013. What a year.)

But also, have you seen how bright and straight his teeth are?

I know what you’re thinking: What about second Blippi, Clayton Grimm, who is actually a trained professional performer? He stars in newer episodes, often alongside Meekah, who is also an experienced thespian, and they seem to have been filmed by an actual competent crew. To that I say: My son does not care for theater — he much prefers the episode where OG Blippi pulverizes a car with an excavator and writes “CRUSH” in different spray paint colors in an attempt to give it some educational value.

And also Clayton doesn’t have those dreamy green eyes that sometimes make me forget my own name as they spin on the screen during scene transitions.

When it comes down to it, children’s TV provides parents with a much-needed break from the non-stop grind of parenting, but every study on screen time says that co-viewing helps enrich the experience. So if I’m going to be forced to watch Blippi use a leafblower in an abandoned parking lot over and over again, then I’m going to allow myself the small pleasure of thinking he’s kind of cute. My husband can’t complain. He’s got a thing for Ms. Rachel.

Hanna LoPatin wrote on some TV shows you’ve never heard of and some publications you have. After giving birth in the prime of the pandemic, she left entertainment and moved home to Michigan with her son, husband and stepcat, Stitch. You can find more of her work at hannalopatin.com