POSTING BY JB MADDAWG
Steven Michael Burns wanted it all. Fame, fortune and some choice tail. You see, Steve Burns was a musician/skater punk that bailed on higher education for a small NYC apartment where he could live out his dream of being an actor. He had minor luck, but really, it’s was his audition on a groundbreaking new kid’s show called Blue’s Clues back in 1995 that put Burns at the big kids’ table.
Not familiar with Blue’s Clues? I’ll explain for those of you that don’t have kids or maybe believe children’s programming “isn’t healthy” *serious eyeroll*. Let’s be real, modern children’s programming is a far cry from old shows such as Tom and Jerry, where the blunt force trauma a frying pan can produce is the only “need to know” information. Today’s shows have much more responsibility and skill building information. I’m sure most of the children’s programming denouncers would be shocked to learn just how many of today’s pre teens learned how to draw from show such as Blue’s Clues. The show was never inappropriate, always educational and Steve Burns made viewers young and old alike forget that he was the only thing that was real on the show. Blue, Steve’s cartoon dog, along with all the talking household items were all just drawings on a green screen. It was truly a magnificent job done by a very disciplined actor. That is, until Steve Burns started to go all loopy talking to a cartoon bar of soap like it was his nephew.
To be fair, Burns left the show after six years and over one hundred episodes, claiming that he just didn’t want to do children’s shows for the rest of his life. That’s business talk that means he was going banana cakes. No matter how much money or fame was involved, Burns had hit his faux background brick wall. There have been several sources even saying the mail that Burns would get on the show was not just from the tykes. It seemed plenty of moms wanted to send special pictures to Burn’s good pal Mailbox, which is, well…creepy. Even with all the attention, Burns packed up, shaved his head and quit the show.
Burns would go on to start his own band, and throw in an acting gig now and again, but began living life out of the spotlight. Many rumors peppered the media, such as Burns’ death, and prompted the former kids’ show celebrity to go on The Today Show and actually show he in fact was not deceased, to comfort parents and children that he was in good health.
Now, we all like to think being a celebrity is an uber cool thing, with piles of money, parties and adoration. The fact of the matter is, at the lower levels, fame is a tough gig. Sure, there’s some cash there and a comfy lifestyle, but look at it from the perspective for one Paul Ruebens, aka Pee Wee Herman. Ruebens had carved his brand into one of the largest empires in children’s pop culture history. That is, until the day he went to an adult theatre and was caught pleasuring himself by authorities.
Ruebens was arrested on an extremely minor offense, and his career derailed from that one infraction. Yet, Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen can snort cocaine off a stack of Bibles in court, and the general public gives a golf clap, because shitheads with major substance and behavioral issues are now heralded as “the elite”. My ass. People like Ruebens and Burns need to be given some serious latitude. They did their jobs, our children have adored them. Let’s let them be people in the wee hours of the morning.
I’ve interviewed celebrities and although I’ve met some class acts, plenty are aloof, small-minded narcissists that care only to wring a few more bucks out of the general public. Steve Burns always struck me as a person that never took fame seriously. He went to work, tried to do his best at his job and went home. And he pulled the plug on it all before the entertainment leeches drained all the sanity out of him.
My daughter Snark Muppet cried when Steve Burns left his show as did millions of other children that adored him. Trust me, nobody, especially in Hollywood is going to shed a tear when an asshat like James Cameron steps down. That truly says something. And the something I’m saying is, thanks Steve. Whatever you search for out of the lime light, I sincerely hope you get it.