Barney was my favorite show when I was a young child. I liked the atmosphere, the dialogue, and pretty much everything about it. That was before the episode aired. I had been about six, and I was sitting on my couch playing with a piece of Play-Doh, waiting for Barney to come on.
I turned on my T.V., and clicked to the channel they normally play Barney and Friends on. Sesame Street was just ending, and it was showing what the episode of Barney that was about to come on was about. It was an episode I had never seen before, with two new children, named Myra and Billy.
The credits to Sesame Street ended, and the episode of Barney began. The thing that should have struck me as odd but didn't was that there was no music in the opening credits, just the sound of howling winds. The clips that usually play during the credits weren't there; instead, there was what looked like transparent plastic over it.
I could see the silhouettes of two people, presumably adults. They were pushing each other around. The sound was muffled, but I could hear the faint sound of one of them screaming. He was screaming, "STOP IT! YOU'RE HURTING ME!" And then I heard the sound of a chainsaw.
Blood splattered the transparent sheet of plastic that covered the camera, and within a moment the whole screen was crimson. I could still see the siloughettes of the two strange people that were fighting, except one had the other impaled on what looked like a chainsaw. Then the actual episode began. I don't really think you could call it an episode; I could see Barney, but half the screen was covered by green pixels and a video of a guy staring at a camera. I can't really remember the details of the next few minutes of the episode that well, but I can vaguely remember the guy coming closer to the camera only to reveal that he wasn't actually coming toward the camera, a man had cut a hole in his back and had his arm stuck in it, like a fucking ventriloquist's puppet.
The next scene in the episode was Barney and the two children described in the promo before the episode standing hand in hand, dressed in black. The camera kept zooming in on them, and they were saying "Come closer... Come closer... We'd like to take you along on our adventures..." Over and over again in monotone voices. I came a little bit closer to the screen... and was met with something terrible.
My own mother's face, half the skin hanging off, stared back at me through the screen of her Magnavox television. Spiders crawled in and out of her mouth, and her eyes were dripping blood with every second the damned episode stayed on the screen. After three minutes and about three gallons of liquid shit in my bright red play-pants, I finally turned the television off. It went up in flames, cutting off my air supply, and making me choke on the harsh fumes the fire made as it grew and grew, until it engulfed pretty much everything around me. After seven years of intense therapy, I still have not been able to get the content of that episode of the show that had shaped my childhood and formed my innocence out of my head.