steve burns

Steve Burns at Galaxy Con in 2023

In the wake of the docuseries "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV," kids who grew up watching Nickelodeon are reeling a bit. The documentary unveiled a toxic culture of abuse and exploitation at the network, tainting 90s kids' childhood memories with disturbing behind-the-scenes details of their favorite shows.

But a beacon of light from Nickelodeon still shines in Steve from "Blue's Clues." Steve Burns may have broken children's hearts when he left the show to go to college, but the beloved host has remained a wholesome icon for millennials and Gen Zers who watched him growing up.

In fact, Steve is still bringing comfort to millions, and his latest video on TikTok is a perfect example of how. In a one-minute TikTok, he says only a handful of words, but people are finding themselves tearing up if not outright bawling by the end of it.

What he does is actually very simple, yet the effect is profound. "Hey, just checking in," he says. "Tell me, what's goin' on?" And then he just looks and listens almost entirely in silence, occasionally nodding along. And if you actually go through the exercise of sharing what's going on with you, even just in your own mind, the compassionate listening he demonstrates feels surprisingly powerful.

If you didn't watch Blue's Clues, this may have felt weird or awkward, but Steve asking questions and then pausing for kids to answer was a hallmark of the show. The kids who grew up watching it are now in the Big Adult Things stage of life, navigating relationships, careers, finances, mental health challenges and more, and it can sometimes feel like too much. So similarly to Elmo's viral check-in on X, having a familiar and compassionate listening ear opened the floodgates.

"Not me crying the instant he asked," wrote one person.

"Not me sitting in bed at almost 3 a.m. in tears because Steve from Blue's Clues shows up on my fyp asking what's going on? The one thing we have left that is pure from our childhood," wrote another.

"I just cried for over 5 minutes straight," shared another. "I just realized no one has asked me how I'm doing in such a long time. I can't stop crying."

"I couldn't even get out a word all I did was cry, lol" shared another.

Many people shared that the Nickelodeon documentary had rocked their world and found comfort in Steve being Steve.

"After the Nickelodeon documentary, Steve, all I need is Blue's Clues to save whatever is left of this childhood I once had," wrote one commenter.

"Thank you for being one of the GOOD parts of Nickelodeon, Steve," wrote another.

"Steve checking up on the grown-up kids he left behind is another level of full circle moment," shared another.

"After the Nickelodeon thing we need our Steve now more than ever," agreed another.

And some commenters actually shared the things they are going through, showing why so many people need this kind of check-in:

"Life keeps handing me lemons and I'm not sure how many more I can turn into lemonade. I'm tired, Steve."

"Too much is happening all at once Steve, and idk if I'm getting through it but it's always good to hear from you."

"I lost my mom in January and I'm pregnant with my son…I'm lonely, Steve. I just miss my mom."

"I want to get sober but it's so hard. :("

"I could use a hug, honestly."

Hopefully, Steve's video helped some people realize they really do need someone to talk to so they can seek a therapeutic channel. Thank you, Steve, for giving so many grown-ups the cathartic childhood cry they desperately needed.