SchoolHouse Rock / YouTube

‘Schoolhouse Rock’ Faces Troubled History With Upcoming Special


People of a certain age likely have fond memories of the classic kids’ series Schoolhouse Rock. However, the series has a troubled history. That history is coming front and center as the 50th anniversary special closes in.

Here is a look at the troubled kids show and the upcoming special honoring it.

Schoolhouse Rock’s 50th Anniversary special coming

There is a huge special coming for fans of the classic kids’ TV series Schoolhouse Rock. On Wednesday night, February 1, the Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong will air on ABC. It will stream starting Thursday on Hulu and will arrive on Disney+ in the near future.

SchoolHouse Rock / YouTube

This is a huge moment for kids who grew up when the show was delivering musical educational moments during the breaks on Saturday morning cartoons. Additionally, this special will see some big names show up to sing all the popular songs from the show. This will bring back memories for people who watched the episodes when they happened and for those who saw them later.

Ryan Seacrest will host the special and he has some big stars coming to sing the show’s popular songs.

  • Black Eyed Peas – “Three Is A Magic Number”
  • Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert – “Figure 8”
  • Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen – “I’m Just a Bill”
  • Julianne Hough – “Interplanet Janet”
  • The Muppets & Fortune Feimster – “Unpack Your Adjectives”
  • Ne-Yo – “Verb: That’s What’s Happening”
  • Raven Symoné and Kal Penn – “Interjections”
  • Retta – “Ready or Not, Here I Come”
  • Shaquille O’Neal and Boys & Girls Club of Atlanta – “Conjunction Junction”
  • Stars from Disney’s Broadway and touring productions – “A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing”

What makes Schoolhouse Rock controversial?

While most people just remember Schoolhouse Rock for its catchy songs, there was more to it than that. Yes, most people of a certain age can sing “I’m Just a Bill” and “Conjunction Junction,” the show was more than just singing songs. It was a show about helping educate kids through songs. Teachers currently still use clips from the show in class lessons in school.

The problem is that the education delivered here was a little off, and there were many things that remain problematic when it comes to what Schoolhouse Rock chose to ignore and leave out of its lessons. The show touched on everything from how a bill becomes the law to grammar and more.

SchoolHouse Rock / YouTube

However, it is the lessons on American history that left a lot to be desired. The show’s archives are on Disney+, but they come with a disclaimer that it includes some outdated cultural depictions.

The episode “No More Kings” is about the American revolution, but it ignored slavery completely and only focused on the pilgrims. In “Elbow Room,” the episode dealt with Western development and Manifest Destiny, but it completely ignored the plight of the Native Americans. Finally, the one that really received the most complaints was an episode about Eli Whitney’s cotton gin. This included what appeared to be two slaves smiling while a man in a white suit stood supervising them.

Are you old enough to remember watching Schoolhouse Rock on TV? Or did you discover it on YouTube years later? What is your opinion of the kids’ series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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