One of the most popular contemporary kids’ television characters exists in a state of permanent wardrobe malfunction. In the grand tradition of Winnie-the-Pooh before him, Daniel Tiger of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood wears a slick red hoodie on top and nothing on the bottom. Obviously, this is fine, because Daniel Tiger is tiger, and tigers in the wild are permanently dressed in their excellent fur. But, because Daniel’s mom wears pants on the show, it’s a little confusing as to why Daniel himself, does not.
Luckily the showrunner and one of the producers of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood — Christopher Loggins — has an answer to the question of why Daniel goes pantsless in the hood. And it turns out, we’re all a little spoiled.
“The legacy is that Daniel Tiger from the original Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood is Daniel’s dad, and technically he [Daniel Sr.] didn’t even have legs,” Loggins tells Fatherly. “So it’s not like we had a reference point.”
When I asked Loggins if that means we’re all a little spoiled, he laughs amiably.
“Right, you’re getting legs.”
In the original Fred Rogers show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the senior Daniel Tiger was, of course, a hand-puppet, which is why he didn’t have legs. His status as a hand puppet, of course, does not explain Daniel Sr.’s slick wristwatch, but then again, breaking down the logic of talking animals is fool’s errand that only leads to madness.
“It ultimately comes down to a design choice; when we were designing characters for the show, we went through several iterations of the characters before the ones you see today,” Loggins elaborates. “I think he’s such an adorable cute little tiger that and the red sweater is his iconic thing. His sweater and sneakers are where we landed for his look.”
Look for more of our interview with Christopher Loggins about all things Fred Rogers and Daniel Tiger later this week.