I firmly believe that there are two kinds of people: those who love Bluey, and those who haven’t watched it yet. This show just might have saved my family’s sanity over the past year. It has brought us together as a show we can all agree on because we all sincerely adore it, even our 10-year-old. It has given my family a “secret” language of sorts, and it has given us games and inspiration for play that we would have never thought of on our own. This show is relatable for each and every member of my family, and I honestly can’t get enough of it!
If you haven’t seen Bluey yet, let me give you a brief introduction. The show takes place in Australia, and all the characters are dogs. The main characters are Blue Heelers, for example. Mom and Dad are Chili and Bandit, respectively. They have two daughters; Bluey is six, and Bingo is four. Since all the characters are dogs, the show offers a lot of diversity and reminders that each family does their own thing and looks a little differently, too.
But what makes this show so darn good? you are probably wondering. Well, I can’t wait to tell you! Seriously. I tell everyone about this show, from friends and family, to the principal at school, to the lady behind me at the local liquor store. For one thing, the episodes are short, but packed. Each episode is only about seven minutes long, but in those seven minutes, there are important lessons for parents and children. For example, in the episode, “Takeaway,” I was reminded to slow down and have fun with my kiddos when Bandit read fortune cookie’s fortune, “Flowers may bloom again but a person never has a chance to be young again.” Those seven minutes also offer some pretty catchy music, like in “Fairies” and “Sleepytime.” Did you know Bluey has its own soundtrack?
Not only does Bluey teach lessons, but it’s FUN! The show focuses on imaginative play, rather than getting stuck on screens. Sure, there are episodes where Bandit sneaks a peek at a sports score on TV, but most of the shows are without screens connected to characters. In one episode, “Bob Bilby,” Chili puts all the family’s screens away after realizing how much time was being wasted on them. Our family has adopted so many of the role-playing games from Bluey, too, including “grannies,” “heavy,” “keep uppy,” “claw machine,” and “dance mode.” The show stresses the importance of getting outside and exploring the natural world. In “The Creek,” “The Beach,” and “Camping,” children learn the magic of exploring nature. It also teaches community relationships in episodes like “Market” and “Calypso.”
Like I mentioned before, this show is relatable. I love that it shows parents doing parent things, like cleaning toilets and trying to have a conversation with kiddos present. There is no stereotypical division of labor, either. I’ve seen Bandit and Chili clean the toilet in different episodes, for example. This can be seen too where Bluey goes to school, and there are questions about parents’ roles in “Mums and Dads” and “Early Baby.” There are days that Chili brings the children to school, and there are days that Bandit does (“Daddy Drop Off”). There’s also those relatable moments where a parent just wants to get out the door, but the kids aren’t interested, like in “Sticky Gecko” or when parents are awkwardly thrown together for the sake of their kids, “Cafe.” You see parents grilling and conversing while children play nearby. You know both parents work, Bandit from home. The best, though, is how honesty and realistically the parents interact with each other and their playful teasing and banter. My husband likes to point this out in “Fancy Restaurant” and “The Show” and “Escape.” In “Fancy Restaurant,” Bingo and Bluey want to teach Bandit to be romantic; Bandit eats the horrible food (meant for Chili) that the girls prepared, and he ends up sick. Although not traditional romance, there is chivalry, and humor. In “The Show,” Bingo and Bluey are trying to recreate the moment when Bandit and Chili met, in a theatrical performance on the veranda. While watching, Chili whispers to Bandit, “I don’t remember that part,” and Bandit responds, “Yeah, you wouldn’t,” with a smirk. It’s perfect! Bandit and Chili represent a real couple who communicates believably, unlike the putdowns you see between parents on other shows (poor Daddy Pig). There are trips to Hammerbarn (home improvement store) and the grocery stores that show the ups and downs of shopping with kids in tow. They might be dogs, but these parents are living life the same as us.
My family has completely embraced this show and brought its language to our family’s vernacular. I don’t mean just the Aussie slang, like ‘breaky’ for breakfast, but the words that are associated with the lessons taught in the show. For example, whenever our children are tattling, we just remind them to not ‘be a dobber,’ as was taught in “Swim School.” If we are running late, we call it ‘sticky-geckoing,’ and that’s code that we need to leave right now. When one of the kids needs to go to the bathroom, but we are riding in the car, we ask if they’d rather have a “bush wee,” which causes us all to giggle. One of my favorites, though, is from the episode “Sleepover.” In it, Muffin “misses a sleep,” and acts really crazy. We say the same for our daughter and say she’s “muffin-ing” or say “Muffin skipped a sleep.” When a task that needs to be done is less than pleasant, my husband and I shrug it off with an, “It’s gotta be done” (which is also the name of the Bluey-themed podcast). Because of this show, we break out in games of heavy or dance mode when things are slow. But some of my favorite take-aways were lessons the parents teach Bluey or Bingo. In “The Show,” Bingo learns to: have a little cry, dust herself off, and pick herself up. This is something we’ve reminded our kiddos about as well as ourselves. In “Yoga Ball,” Bingo needs to find her “big girl bark” to be heard, which is a hard lesson for kids to grasp, but when they see Bingo learn, it’s easier for them to understand.
Hopefully, you’ve made it through my gushing and see why I love the show Bluey so darn much! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a better children’s show demonstrate life as it is and relate to my family so well. It came out at just the right time to bring my family together and teach the tough stuff. The next time your kiddo is in a television show rut, or you need a few minutes to escape, check out Bluey (streaming on Disney+). You won’t regret it.