Comparing Blue’s Clues With Steve vs. Josh

If you were a parent of a toddler in the 90’s or are a parent of one now, it’s probably safe to say you came across Blue’s Clues on Nick Jr.  While they kind of pretend that the show has been on since 1996, it took a little hiatus after the original guy, Steve, went to “college”.  Then it briefly came back in 2006 with a new guy named Joe and then went on another hiatus after he moved away.  Currently, it’s lighting kids’ television on fire in it’s newest form Blue’s Clues and You with Josh.

Josh taking over as Blue’s new owner…or housemate…or whatever the politically correct term is now made me think about how the show used to be when it first started, and if it’s currently better with him than it was with Steve.  No offense to Joe but I’m not looping him in the comparison because Blue’s Clues in 2006 was like Michael Jordan leaving the Bulls to play baseball and then coming back to the Bulls wearing the number 45 jersey.  It just didn’t work.  It’s a long way of saying, I’m comparing Josh’s current version of Blue’s Clues and You to Steve’s world in 1996 (a huge year for me with the Yankees winning their first World Series of the 90’s…and getting a second sibling.  Oh, and Space Jam coming out.  1996 was a good year.)

Anyway, the premise of Blue’s Clues is kind of strange, so if you forgot what the show is about, here’s the scoop before we get into the comparison.  It’s basically about a guy living with his dog Blue.  There are no other humans on the show, and every episode, Blue wants to tell the main guy something, but rather than just telling him, he makes a big game out of it and leaves 3 clues around the house.  Steve in the 90’s and now Josh, go around looking for clues and talking to people like a talking Salt shaker and a talking bar of soap.  They get help from the audience (aka the voices of children yelling at the screen) and in the end always (thankfully) figure out the clue Pretty exciting if you’re a child, kind of strange if you’re an adult.

Anyway, that basically sums up the show.  The more important question though is, who does it better?  I’ve spent many hours breaking down footage and polling children to find out who is better and broke it out into a few different categories.

  1. Likeability

After spending way too much time thinking about this, I realized it’s a very, very close call.  I’ll be 100% honest, I watched Blue’s Clues in the 1990’s through the lens of an older brother and not as a parent, which I found out after becoming a parent are two completely different things. 

The first thing I asked myself when going back to rewatch some old clips of Steve was, “Is this guy creepy?”.  Which is a fair question when you are dealing with guys and kids.  The answer, after much back and forth, is no.  On the surface, is it a little weird that Steve is a grown man on a world where he only talks to animals and inanimate objects…yes…BUT…the actual actor does a solid job of not being extremely weird or creepy?  He comes off as friendly, patient with all of Blue’s shenanigans and overall, a guy that you would feel okay with your child hanging out with.

In looking at Josh, he may have just a slight edge over Steve in the likeability department.  He’s also not creepy.  Actually, he doesn’t give off a creepy vibe at all.  If Steve is a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10, Josh is a 0.  He’s friendly, happy, can be funny at times to a kid, and appears to be caring.

Winner: As someone who loved many things in the 90’s, it pains me to say this, that Josh gets the very slight edge.  Nothing against Steve at all, but just based on the TV performances, if I had to leave my son with one of these gentlemen, Josh would be the guy.  He just gives off a tiny bit more warmth than Steve. 

  • Artistic Ability

An essential part to being the main guy of Blue’s Clues is being able to draw in the handy, dandy, NOTEBOOK.  Now, as someone who got very low B’s in Art Class throughout my school years, I should not be the person casting judgement.  But, as someone writing a blog about it, and as a consumer, I will judge artwork just this one time.

When watching Steve draw some of Blue’s clues, he made it look so easy.  Some of the clues were tough to draw too.  Being a decent artist also gives the writing team more options on what to do with the episodes.  If it was me, they basically would have to do episodes where the clues were a smiley face a sad face, and a heart.  Now, I don’t know how many takes it took for Steve to draw the clues, but to me as a viewer, the guy was an A plus clue drawer.

Josh on the other hand…well…I’d like to check his report cards in Art.  Josh has a lot of talents, but I don’t think drawing is at the top of that list.  Now, he’s not awful, but if you’re going to be the main guy, you need to be at Steve’s level or at least close.  Many of the episodes with Josh have him drawing basic clues, things that I feel like I can even draw.  Balls (a circle) red (literally a red crayon squiggled on the page, and other pretty basic things make this category a tough one for Josh to win.

Verdict: This one really wasn’t even close.  Steve wins this by a landslide.  The proof is in the pudding too for those of you that disagree.  Just look at all the drawings and decide for yourself.  You don’t have to be an Art teacher at the Julliard School to see what I’m talking about.

  • Musical Ability

The third and final area when it comes to comparing the guys of Blue’s Clues.  Now, I wasn’t going into this with the expectation that either one of these guys was going to have the voice of Michael Jackson or Jon Bon Jovi, but there is a decent amount of singing that goes into the show.  Again, after listening to many hours of these two guys, I realized it was a lot closer than I thought.

Based on looks, Steve doesn’t really come off as a guy who can sing to well.  But then again, neither does Axel Rose or Hugh Jackman.  Now to be clear, Steve is no where close to either of those guys so don’t get all excited thinking, I’m trying to make that comparison.  Steve was solid at singing the mail song and the “”You Can Do Anything That You Wanna Do Song” and would always get that stuck in my head in the 90’s.  When relistening to it now, I appreciate his voice.

Josh though, has a slight bit of an edge.  He does have some roots on Broadway, which always helps when it comes to singing.  He also jazzed up the old songs a bit with his own little spin on them which at first, I didn’t like, but they’ve come to grow on me.

Verdict: I’m shocked that once again, I’m going with Josh.

Final Thoughts:

With Josh getting the very slight edge in 2 out of 3 categories, to my surprise, it seems like he may be the better man for the job.  Though, my heart will always be with Steve as he really put the show on the map when it first debuted.

Funny enough though, he does make appearances on the new Blue’s Clues and You show in multiple episodes.  And if you were a Joe fan, Joe also makes some appearances too.  You’ll have to wait for my whole blog dedicated to Joe (but don’t hold your breath because it might be a while…or never…sorry Joe).

Anyway, when it comes down to it, I know I’m not going to convince anyone to go for one guy or the other, their minds are probably already made up if they made it this far.  Though, if you are a Steve guy, give Josh a chance, the kid has some talent.

So, who’s your guy?  Leave a comment in the comments section.  Steve, Josh…and I’ll even allow votes for Joe.

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