Was Steve Leaving "Blue's Clues" the Most Traumatic Thing to Ever Happen to Preschoolers?

When I boldly declared a few years ago that Joe was better than Steve on Blue's Clues, it ignited a comments thread of grown men and women defending Steve with the passion and fury of, say, the American Revolution. "Ugh, purists," I thought. What little I had seen of Steve confirmed that I was right and they were wrong.

Last week I decided to watch the three-episode arc in which, after nearly 100 episodes starring Steve, Joe is introduced and Steve makes his permanent exit (which, inexplicably, spawned Steve-is-dead rumors across the Internet). I have to admit that I understand what experts mean when they say Joe is more in-your-face and eager to please while Steve is cool, soothing, and perhaps a bit slyly (but not condescendingly) self-aware. They're two different approaches, and, yes, I'm man enough to admit that I like them both.

But what I really want to talk about is the aforementioned arc's final episode, titled "Steve Goes to College." THAT EPISODE IS DEVASTATING!

Yes, I started crying at the end! The way Steve says goodbye, expresses his appreciation for our friendship, encourages us to look after of Joe—it's a emotional climax, a punch to the gut. After hugging Blue, Steve turns to us and confides, "I'm gonna miss you too. I'll never forget how you helped me find all those clues. You really are so smart. Which reminds me. Will you take good care of my brother Joe while I'm at college...? Great.... 'Cuz sometimes he needs a little help.... Kind of like me." Oh, man, I teared up a little while I was typing that.

I have a question for parents. Were your kids traumatized by Steve's departure? Did they have an emotional reaction like I did? And how did they recover from a blow like that?

I really need to toughen up.... Indoor rock-climbing, here I come!

[P.S. If you're looking for the three episodes discussed in this post, they're in Season 4 and officially labelled Episode 22, 23, and 24 from that season. They're titled "Joe's First Day" (a.k.a. "Joe and Tell"), "Joe Gets a Clue," and "Steve Goes to College." I think Amazon Prime (and perhaps other streaming services) have them out of order for some reason.]

Related Items You Might Enjoy:


  1. Anonymous3/16/2011

    Perhaps I will play that episode (I have never seen it, and pending it is on Netflix streaming) and see if they freak at the end. My son started watching the ones with Joe yesterday and doesn't seem to notice. I had the pleasure of spending time with Mr. Burns when he came to Oklahoma with the Starlight Mints, so my heart belongs to him instead of Joe.

  2. I can finally see the appeal of Steve. But I must say, I suspect that it took him time to find his groove on the show as well. He seems super enthused in the early episodes, but more subdued in the later ones....

  3. Anonymous11/09/2011

    I watched that episode and it was weird seeing both of them in the same room at the same time. And how come Steve promised to call, and did once, but never called again.

  4. Obviously, Steve is a LIAR. :)

  5. I watched the final episode with my daughter and although she is too young to understand the entire situation, I did tear up at the end. The show was amazing with Steve, and Joe was amazing as well!! I appreciate the way that the producers handled the entire situation and they obviously have enough respect for their pre school viewers. Most shows would have touted a new host with no explanation of why the change occurred. Steve burns is classy! Bravo

  6. Christienne Miggas5/01/2012

    I still haven't gotten over Steve's departure from the show.

  7. Anonymous2/27/2013

    I still really like Steve. I liked his relaxed manner. I wish he hadn't left, but understand the need to pursue a passion for something you love (music).

  8. Anonymous4/20/2013

    sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ssssssssssssssssssssaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadddddddddddddddd

  9. Anonymous8/22/2013

    Your comment broke the right side of my screen.

  10. Anonymous11/23/2013

    I never got over it. I'm still upset. Leaves for college, never comes back.

  11. Anonymous6/17/2015

    I cried when I saw that episode. I was four. I still cry when I see it. Joe was ok but Steve was better. The puppets were the worst though.

  12. Anonymous7/17/2015

    Steve left because he was going bald!😢i cant get over that

  13. Anonymous11/15/2015

    My daughter LOVES Blues Clues! With all the episodes we have DVR'd, she prefers the ones with Steve and Joe the best.

  14. Steve actually does come back to visit. I think it is for a holiday episode. I miss him and totally cried at his departure,too.