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.]
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