PBS <3 the Internet: Reading Rainbow Remixed

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A book lets you zoom through time and space.

PBS is doing the Internet so nicely. Remixing Bob Ross, Julia Child, and Mister Rogers earlier this year -- and, today, national treasure LeVar Burton -- they're hitting right in the sweet spot of hyperactive Millennial nostalgia and our (not mutually exclusive) love of irony. We'll also take any excuse to embrace power-ballad/show-tune melodic constructs we say we hate -- if we can feel like they're hip, maybe because they're Auto-Tuned or half rap.

These videos do feel like they're playing us, a bit. "You can't not like us," they whisper. And they're right. But they're also perfectly true to the original 1980s sensibilities of the shows and their messages, if with more transparent sexual overtones (see Bob Ross, "Caress it very gently"). Still, if Fred Rogers got to see these remixes, he would say they were top notch, and he would mean it.

Mister Rogers - "Garden of Your Mind"

Julia Child - "Keep on Cooking"

Bob Ross - "Happy Little Cloud"

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James Hamblin, MD, is a senior editor at The Atlantic.

 
 

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