Cocomelon—an extremely popular children's program on YouTube and Netflix—left some parents slack-jawed over the show's reference to another Netflix series that is not as kid-friendly.
The kid show held impressive records after being considered the most viewed YouTube channel in July 2020 and remaining in Netflix's top 10 most-watched shows list the longest.
Cocomelon is rendered in 3D animation and entertains viewers through both traditional nursery rhymes and original children's music.
But while geared towards pre-school-aged viewers, adults who happened to catch one episode were shocked after recognizing the names in one of the songs which allegedly referred to the tragic Watt's family—who are featured in the Netflix documentary series, American Murder: The Family Next Door.
The names of the schoolchildren featured in the song were Cece, Bella, and Nico, which happened to be the names of the children who—along with their mother, Shannan, who was pregnant with Nico at the time—were killed by their father, Chris Watts.
Watts famously portrayed himself as a distraught father and husband who claimed his family was missing but later admitted to police he killed his pregnant wife by strangulation and their two daughters, four-year-old Bella and three-year-old Celeste, by smothering them with a blanket on August 13, 2018.
While speculation over whether or not Cocomelon's song was based on the Watts family murders, a Redditor did comment on one of the many threads around the discussion:
"That episode was dedicated to Bella, Celeste and Baby Nico (Shanann's children). The creator confirmed that already."
Cocomelon's connection to the Watts family was also mentioned in the trivia section of the show's IMDB page, which read:
"Cocomelon is honoring the memory of CeCe, Bella, and Nico Watts—whose lives were stolen in 2018 by their father, Chris Watts."
However, there was no link available to verify that information.
Regardless, Cocomelon's tribute to the Watts family resonated with many viewers.
Cocomelon was created on YouTube on September 1, 2006, as a way to provide viewers with free educational programming.
With 92 million subscribers, Cocomelon - Nursery Rhymes is one of the most subscribed channels in the U.S. behind the YouTube channels T-Series, and PewDiePie.
There were some viewers who found the kids' show honoring the deceased children to be very depressing.
According to The Independent, Cocomelon started as a hobby fifteen years ago by a couple in Orange County, California, who made short animated videos to entertain their sons.
Jay Jeon, the founder of Treasure Studio, Inc. that creates Cocomelon, had experience as a filmmaker and storyteller, while his wife—who wished to remain anonymous—worked as a children's book illustrator.
Jeon said of the show's characters:
"We've tried to create characters that are adorable, likeable and universally relatable. We began to think of JJ, YoYo, and TomTom as our imaginary kids, and over time, we built a family around them—parents, grandparents, animal friends, school classmates."
"And we think a lot about our audience and what they're going through: growing up, daily challenges, learning new things. Life! We hope they share experiences similar to those of our characters."