I have been raving about Bluey to my fellow GeekMoms for over a month and with its premiere in the US this Monday, they will finally know what I am talking about!! Bluey is easily the best kids show on Australian TV!! Believe me, you are going to LOVE Bluey and her family. And I have 12 Reasons Why.
But First: What is Bluey?
Quick introduction. Bluey, meet GeekMom. GeekMom, Bluey.
Bluey is a kids’ TV show based around the everyday life of a six-year-old Blue Heeler pup; the equivalent of a preschooler in human years. She lives with her Mum (Chilli), Dad (Bandit), and younger sister, Bingo. Bluey was originally a play on the breed of dog she is based on; Blue Heelers are considered to be one of the most “Australian” dogs you will ever meet, due to their down-to-earth nature and their use as hard-working farm dogs in the Outback.
12 Reasons Why You Will Love Bluey
1. Bluey is just like any other kid. Except, she has a tail.
Watching Bluey on television is a lot like watching my 6-year-old Zaltu in real life. Bluey laughs, talks, dances, and asks questions all the time. She plays with her sister and creates games based on her imagination and everyday roleplaying. She explores, she cries, she is distracted, she is distracting. Sometimes she runs around like mad; other times she sits reading a book. I see all of this same behavior in my own spawnlings. And while Bluey is not exactly like my kids, there is enough relatable material there for every kid to either see themselves or someone they know. Minus the tail, of course.
2. It looks like most modern Australian families (and a few international ones too)
Yes, this is exactly what your modern average Australian family looks like.
Okay, not exactly but almost all of us can associate with it. So many times, I have watched this show (yes, *I* have watched this show) and I think, “Yep. That’s us.” For example, when Bluey finds her “Chattermax” noisy toy hidden under the kitchen sink, every parent around the world will groan and know exactly why that toy was hidden under the kitchen sink.
3. Totally relatable storylines. Totally.
Which brings me to the storylines. If it hasn’t happened to me, then I can totally see it happening to me. And you will too. Waiting at the shops for your pick-up and that’s when your kid needs to go to the toilet? Been there. Creating the “sleeping game” so you can finally have a moment to stop? Done that.
However, just like real life, there are some somber moments too. There’s an episode where Bluey finds a hurt bird; another episode where the younger pup Bingo learns how to tell her dad when he plays a little too rough. These are issues all parents will face at some point, and the relatable stories give us fantastic examples of how we can deal with them as a family.
4. It’s Funny and Adorable!
The animation IS adorable! The artwork is just bright and colorful enough to not induce a migraine (as a parent, that is SUCH a relief). The characters are so entertaining and relatable. And yes, Australia really is that lovely. But seriously, it is a beautiful visual to watch with episodes that engage the whole family.
5. Kids love it. That’s half the job done.
It is The Most Talked About Kids Show at our local school. Bluey even knocked Teen Titans Go! off the ‘Pedestal of Popularity’. It is also being considered as the centre-piece of the Year 6 play at a neighboring school. If you are a statistics-person, then these stats will blow you away.
And if you don’t need stats, then you will understand when I say, “It’s the type of show my kids beg to watch and I want to watch with them, without plucking my eyeballs out and sticking them in my ears to block out the noise.”
6. It promotes healthy improv and imagination games
The BIGGEST key feature of this show is the focus on imagination and play. Bluey is described as an “inexhaustible” pup who fills her life with imaginative play. Kids love to play; even the quietest of kids. It is the most expressive way for them to learn and reinforce behavior they see elsewhere (good and bad). It is also the opportunity for them to see how certain behaviors fit into the world around them. As Bandit says to his daughter, “making up games is more important than you think.” Every episode shows how beautiful and magical play can be for kids. And how important it is for us to encourage that. If you need more discussion about the benefits of improv and imagination, check out my earlier article here.
7. Real parents parenting
Finally, we see real parents parenting. I’m talking about the fun parts–like chilling out on the couch or playing at the park–AND the “have to do” parts. One of my favorite episodes is “Grannies” where Bluey and Bingo are asking their parents if grannies know how to floss (dance, not dental hygiene). When they first ask Chilli, she’s cleaning the oven. When they then ask Bandit, he is cleaning the toilet. And when the parents mutter thoughts about their chores, we know the feels. All of them.
8. It promotes healthy gender identity and breaks the stereotypes
First up, we have a girl called “Bluey”, and not a single pink bow to be seen. It’s refreshing. She identifies as a girl but there is no interpretation on that; she’s not a “tomboy” or drawn with accentuated eyelashes. She’s simply Bluey. And her sister is simply Bingo. And they have the freedom to explore their own identity.
This extends to the rest of the family, and even the friends at preschool. Despite being dogs who talk and walk upright, Chilli and Bandit have been described as brilliant role models for every parent. Their relationship happens to be a heterosexual partnership that shares the co-parenting. Individually, they both perform the roles and tasks required to parent their kids. Both parents are seen going out to work, working from home, and doing chores around the house. Even better, both parents are seen balancing between performing these tasks and spending time connecting with the kids. It’s great to have a show presenting a family in a modern context; we’re all in this together. Over time, I’m hoping to see more diversity in the extended family and friends, preferably as a natural extension on the family environment and not in some big announcement.
9. Bluey’s Dad is Father of the Year
Each year, The Shepherd Centre announces its ‘Father of the Year’ Award, together with the Australian Father’s Day Council. (NB. Barnados Australia celebrates the ‘Mother of the Year’ Awards) The recipient is taken from nominations around the country, looking for a father who has demonstrated support, guidance, and love to his children or other children, either through his working or family role. Due to an overwhelming number of nominations, the Shepherd Centre created a special ‘canine’ category to recognize the amazing example set by Bandit, as Bluey’s dad.
I absolutely agree with this nomination. It is so refreshing to see a TV Dad who is not a bumbling clueless idiot. Trust me: Evil Genius Mum is not the saving grace in our family. However, I don’t want my kids growing up thinking ‘all dads are clueless idiots’ because of what they have seen on TV (I’m looking at you, Peppa Pig). I especially don’t want them thinking only Mum can save the day. For Bluey, Bandit is a hands-on dad with the emotional maturity to learn with his kids while also being able to teach his kids. He is a parent like any of us, and he is relatable for every parent.
10. Bluey can bring out the best parent in all of us.
The psychologists have said it, so it must be true. Okay, essentially I have found an article written by psychologists to back me up. The truth is, there are benefits to being just like Chilli and Bandit, and they inspire us to find the best parent in all of us. There are plenty of moments where Chilli and Bandit sigh before resigning to yet another game of … anything with Bluey and Bingo. In “Grannies”, Bluey and Bingo take their ‘pretend grannies’ to the kitchen/store and Chilli’s first response is: “Oh no.”
C’mon. We’ve all done that.
It isn’t always easy for Chilli and Bandit. Nor is it convenient. However, these parents support the need for play. For me, this has created gradual changes in my parenting. More often than before, I stop and see the opportunity to play with my kids. I don’t drop everything every time my kids ask me to play but I am at least stopping to think it through before I say “No”. That “easy” option doesn’t seem so easy now when I consider the benefits from a deeper engagement with the kids. And when I admit my mistakes to my kids, I see the lesson we are learning together–in emotional maturity, responsibility, and forgiveness.
Wow. I’ve learned so much in the last year from a talking Blue Heeler. My mother would be so proud.
11. 7-minute Bites of Joy.
Bluey is not a long show. It is just the right bite-size of entertainment so as not to tempt your kids into a long session of screen time. However, in saying that, I will not be held responsible for the inordinate amount of time you may lose in binging multiple episodes. Often on repeat. Because that would be bad. Apparently.
12. It made the New York Times parenting section as ‘Most Popular’ BEFORE airing in the US
The New York Times ‘Parenting Section’ called for readers to recommend their favorite kids’ TV shows. We’re talking shows you can actually enjoy watching with your kids without being too tempting with the screen time. Bluey came second (after The Octonauts). An Australian show, less than a year old. And this was BEFORE airing in the US. Now, I’m not saying that Bluey is hit material… well, actually I am. This is just another resource to back me up.
Bluey premieres in the US on Monday, September 9 at 4:30pm ET/PT on Disney Junior and Disney Now. The series will then regularly air weekdays at 7:30am ET/PT on Disney Channel and 4:30pm ET/PT on Disney Junior.
And if there are any Australian readers who have yet to know what I’m talking about: what is wrong with you?!? Get over to ABC iView right now and watch it!! I don’t care how old your kids are. Watch Bluey!!