Jordyn Johnson, Graphic editor

Created and written by Joe Brumm, this Australian series is centered not just on young sisters Bluey and Bingo, but also on their hilarious parents, Bandit and Chilli who are always there to support them and help them learn about life. Bluey is full of magic and mystery, but it is also very realistic. Parents can relate to the Heeler pack, and children will love the funny canine hijinks. Bluey is a great show for the whole family to enjoy.

The majority of the time, it is a lighthearted program that does a terrific job of illustrating how kids play and learn, with a few somber moments tossed in for good measure. In a fascinating turn of events, though, it isn’t just children that enjoy this show aimed at preschoolers. Adults with and without children have created a pretty dedicated fan base for the series. There are a few reasons why it tends to captivate an adult audience almost as well as it does its target audience, and these moments can help to explain why this is the case. 

First, and perhaps most important for the parents and other caregivers in the audience, is Bluey’s portrayal of modern parenthood. Many children’s programs develop a frustrating pattern with the parents: it’s nearly always a diligent but underappreciated mother and a slack or incompetent father. It’s a dynamic that’s incredibly tiring, especially in this day and age, and Bluey doesn’t go this route. Instead, we frequently witness Bandit caring for the children and taking care of the house while Chilli is out at work. When Chilli returns home, we witness her carrying out identical tasks while Bandit lends a helping hand. They are portrayed on equal footing, though Bandit is often more silly and susceptible to the games of Bluey and Bingo than Chilli.

In addition, there are many moments where Chilli and Bandit learn lessons in their parenting. Bandit is working from home in the episode “Yoga Ball,” and when he plays with Bingo, he ends up being a little too rough. Bingo enlists Chilli’s assistance to tell him that he has hurt her feelings. Bandit listens carefully, apologizes, and modifies his behavior. He never ignores her emotions or pushes her to be tougher; instead, he owns up to his errors and gets better. This can be a hard lesson for parents to learn, and Bluey handles it really well by showing that Bandit’s apology led to a positive resolution. 

There’s also the episode, “Baby Race,” which shows Chilli struggling with feeling inadequate compared to other parents. Chilli worries that Bluey isn’t progressing as quickly as the other children, particularly a pup named Judo, and tries to push Bluey to progress until another parent sits down with her.  They have a heart-to-heart, and the mother assures Chilli that she’s doing a fine job and that all kids take things at their own pace. It’s a genuine problem that many new parents have, and the show demonstrates that these emotions are common and that discussing them with others can be incredibly beneficial as opposed to allowing them to fester. There are also many points in the series where the parents admit to needing breaks and are shown taking time to be alone and practice self-care and plenty of points where they are less than perfect but work hard to improve and become better parents. However, these things are always handled with compassion and care, and serve to give an example of what good parenting can look like. The show is a learning experience for the adults that watch it just as much as it is for the children.

Second, the series has a variety of adult characters. These adult characters provide a lot of the humor that appeals to older viewers; they are frequently a touch sarcastic, have some amazing one-liners, and watching them try to keep up with the imaginations and games of the kids never fails to be both hilarious and heartwarming. Having these characters add a bit of dialogue is a huge part of what makes the show appealing to adults.

However, Bluey does have its moments of seriousness, not just heartwarming and silly moments. The program isn’t condescending as some other kids’ shows. The series strikes a pretty impressive balance between learning for kids and adults, and in doing that, it steers away from talking down to any part of its audience. This notion is nicely shown in a few episodes, one of which is “Copycat.” The episode discusses the topic of death in a way that’s gentle and honest as Bluey finds an injured budgie and takes it to the vet. While it is geared at children, the explanation doesn’t feel dumbed down or tiptoed around as Bandit explains that death is a part of life.

Another is the episode, “Onesies.” The episode deals with the topic of infertility in a way that many found very empathetic and real by introducing us to Brandy, Chilli’s sister who doesn’t visit often. Due to her infertility, she can never have the children she wanted, and seeing Bluey and Bingo often brings up that pain. The topic is approached in a very honest way that is digestible for children but incredibly relatable for adults who have experienced the same thing. Bluey doesn’t avoid these difficult subjects. It embraces them in an open way that doesn’t make kids scared or upset but also doesn’t trivialize these things that many adults have experienced.

The series is also fairly progressive. While many shows for young children will shy away from things like showing LGBTQ+ couples, neurodivergent children, or deaf children, Bluey has shown all of these things, in a natural way. A big issue with representation in media is the feeling that it’s performative or an afterthought, but Bluey doesn’t feel this way. It’s just the way the characters are; they are displayed as normal people, leading normal lives, and no unnecessary attention is drawn to how they’re “different.” Instead, it focuses on how they’re the same.


Thank you for reading, Over and out.