Depending on how old the children in your life are, you may not have heard of the sensational kids show, Bluey. It is an Australian show that Disney has picked up and it is, in a word, phenomenal.
Bluey is approximately 6 years old and is, coincidentally, a blue dog. She has a little sister named Bingo, age 4, and parents, mom Chile and dad Bandit. The foursome make up the core cast of the shows which run only 7-10 minutes.
I love this show for many reasons. The music is great, the messages of each episode are excellent, and the show is intentional about speaking to both its young and adult audience.
For example, a favorite episode in our house is called, “Grannies.” Bingo and Bluey are pretending to be grannies (little kid Australian accents while pretending to be old ladies is hysterical!). Bingo keeps doing the floss dance and Bluey insists grannies can’t floss. Eventually, Bingo becomes tired of being told she is wrong and stops playing. Bluey can’t understand why. She’s right after all. They even FaceTimed with their real Granny and she couldn’t do the dance.
Bluey asks her mom what to do and Chile asks a fantastic question back, “Do you want to be right, or do you want Bingo to play with you?” Such a deep question! Which is more important, harmony or winning the argument? Bluey decides on a 3rd option. She calls her granny back and teaches her how to do the dance. She shows Bingo that grannies actually CAN floss and Bingo decides to play again. Bluey sacrificed her original rightness and created a new situation where Bingo was right. Then they celebrated the change together.
Amazing! All in a 10 minute episode!
I could go on. What prompted this post, however, was a specific episode I watched with our little boys one day when I had a stomach bug and couldn’t do much that morning except sit and watch Bluey. The episode is called, “Neighbors.” Chile, the mom, comes into the living room looking for the couch cushions. Bluey has a number of them set up as a pretend house and asks if Chile want to play a game called Neighbors. In most kids tv shows, the mom would either immediately say Yes or No. “Yes, I am a perfect mom who can drop whatever I’m doing to play with you for hours on end.” Or “No, sorry kid, I’m doing whatever is more important and the lesson of this episode is to learn about imaginative or solo play.” Both overgeneralized statements but both things I’ve seen and felt as a viewing adult.
But not Chile. Chile says, “Umm.” Then she looks back to where she came from in a distinct moment of choice. Ultimately, she says yes. That pause is what caught me. The show provided all the adults in the room to watch another “adult” consider the choice in front of them and choose play. Each time my kids ask me to play, there’s a choice there. I can choose to continue what I was doing, or I can choose to join in their game. There are, of course, legitimate times when I do have to say no. But realistically, there are many times I could have said yes and didn’t.
Bluey has been challenging for me as a mom but in such a good way. It takes a light hearted approach to life while instilling good choices and behavior. It makes you stop and think, like the “Ice Cream” episode that causes everyone to wonder what fair actually is and what lengths are worth going to in order to ensure “fairness.” Or in “Take Away” when Bandit, the dad, doesn’t want the girls to get wet in an outdoor faucet while they wait for their take away (in the US we say take out). They have to wait longer than expected (so you can imagine there are antics and spills with the girls) and the owner brings out fortune cookies to apologize for the delay. Bandit’s fortune says, “A flower may bloom again but a person never has the chance to be young again.” Bandit then let’s the girls play as much as they want in the faucet because it’s just water, they will dry, and they will never have the chance to be young again.
Bluey fully embraces the little things in life and the little happinesses of children. The sheer joy a blanket tucked over your head as you make believe you’re a granny. The silliness of your dad-patient while you pretend to be a doctor. It’s not just about kids imagining but also about how their parents join in the play and fully embrace the game.
I could go on and on. From what we’ve watched, I highly recommend you take the time to watch a couple episodes, even if you don’t have kids. It’s that good. I didn’t even talk about “Camping” here but it might be my all-time favorite.
Lots of Bluey love in this house and lots of appreciation for the writers and creators who have made a show so thoughtful for its full range of viewers.