The following are my thoughts on Barney the Dinosaur, that famous purple T-Rex on television. They're also the main reason we had to stop watching that show. It was sending my mind into dark places.
If you've seen the show, you know that Barney lives in the Land of Make-Believe, a world where imaginary creatures come to life. He comes to the real world to sing and play with children. I noticed that he always shows up with two younger dinosaurs: BJ and Baby Bop. They never really mention their relationship to Barney. You just have a little dinosaur with a reverse color scheme (purple on green, instead of Barney's green on purple) who has an interesting fascination with a soft, yellow blanket. That's Baby Bop. Then there's BJ, which you would probably think stands for "Barney Jr." but his coloring is red on yellow and looks nothing like Barney. Of course, if BJ really is Barney Jr. that would imply that Barney's married. Also, they constantly remind the audience that BJ and Baby Bop are brother and sister. It's easy to assume that Barney is their father, yet, where is their mother?
I just found it odd that Barney, BJ, and Baby Bop are so happy all the time and are constantly singing songs with children. If you compare them to Sesame Street characters, who worry constantly about their friends and family, Barney and company seem a little too euphoric. It's as if they're trying to avoid some hurtful situation. This lead me to another question about Barney.
Why does Barney and his brood spend so much time in the real world as opposed to Land of Make-Believe where they should have friends of their own. Then it hit me. Barney used to have a wife, but she passed away. BJ really is his son. He just gets his red and yellow coloring from his mother. Baby Bop looks more like her father. More than likely, Barney's wife died soon after Baby Bop was born. That's why Baby Bop has an unexplainable obsession with a soft, yellow blanket. It reminds her of her dead mother.
When Barney's wife passed and left him alone with two kids, he couldn't handle the pain of it all and went to the real world to escape from his "reality". The two children weren't better off emotionally, so they followed their father into his escapist realm. Together the three of them dance and sing for children of this world to avoid the pain and heartbreak waiting for them in their own.
After a couple seasons, they're joined by their cousin, Rip. More than likely, he's not really their cousin. The denizens of the Land of Make-Believe thought that since Barney and his family were doing so well with the loss of a family member that they sent a young orphan dinosaur to live with them. Rip's fascination with music probably comes from having musical parents. Rip likes rock music. This points to his parents' untimely death in a pyrotechnics accident. Singing and dancing in Barney's escapist realm seemed like the logical therapy for him. They call him "cousin" so as not to break the continuity of Barney's fantasy. In Barney's mind, they're all family and absolutely no one is missing from the picture. BJ is BJ, not Barney Junior, because that would remind him that he had a wife. Rip is not an orphan scarred by the tragic loss of his parents. He's a cousin that's just come to visit...forever. No one asks why Barney doesn't have a wife or try to set him up with one. Barney's not ready for that. Not yet. Maybe not ever.
This is the backstory I keep in my head whenever I watch "Barney & Friends" in order to make the show bearable. I'm a little glad my daughter's grown out of it.