The thing about Bluey

Being a parent is hard. It’s also rewarding, fun, tiring, expensive, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!… but it can be really overwhelming to have so much responsibility. You spend every single day making decisions for this tiny human who has no conception of what he’s doing most of the time, he’s just having fun, or chilling out, or eating strawberries (but only the little ones!), or wrestling his Dad, or pointing at “a wee ant!”, and all the other things these tiny humans do whilst they learn how their world works. Meanwhile, if he farts and you giggle, you’ve set him up to think farts are funny. It’s a minefield!

We have been mindful of screen time with Jack as he grows up – it helps that he prefers being out and about rather than indoors most of the time – and, even when the TV is on, it’s mostly just background noise whilst he plays with his trains. He does love a Pixar movie though, which means that so far we’ve avoided CocoMelon and Peppa Pig… phew.

One day, when Jack was still a baby, able to sit up but not much more, we’d been watching TV and noticed he was starting to look at it, all the colours and movement no doubt catching his eye. Intrigued I started looking for something that might be better for him and stumbled across a show on Disney about a cartoon dog called Bluey.

And so it began.

I’d seen Bluey mentioned before in passing, no doubt on Instagram or Twitter, but hadn’t watched it. By the end of the first episode I was engrossed and as Jack has grown he’s started to enjoy it too. Interestingly his two favourites are….

Hang on, before I get into that, let me explain a little bit about Bluey for those who have yet to experience this wonderfully silly and sentimental show.

Bluey is a dog who lives with her sister, Bingo, and her Mum and Dad (Chilli and Bandit). The live in Melbourne. They have a house and a garden, and are (I’m guessing) a fairly typical middle-class family. The show centres mostly on the two girls as they play with their Mum and Dad, but frequently takes a little detour into the thoughts and moments their parents are experiencing. As a parent I can confirm that they get most of this stuff absolutely spot on.

Suffice to say that Becca and I have both shed happy, sentimental tears more than once. We have also laughed and giggled and right now it’s definitely in my top 10 TV shows EVER. It really is that good. Even if you aren’t a parent I think there is a lot to take from it, and most of the episodes are only 7 mins long so if nothing else it’s a nice way to slob through an hour or so on the sofa.

Anyway, back to my boy… there are two episodes he loves, neither of which have much in the way of dialogue or complex storyline. One is Handstand which focuses on Bingo trying to do a handstand, the other is Rain which has no dialogue at all. Both of them offer the same lessons though, to keep trying when you are doing something new, and for parents to forget about being the parent for a while when their kids are around.

They are wonderfully cleverly crafted animations, Handstand is a clever looping of events in the background, Rain is a much simpler idea beautifully sound tracked. There is a calming effect to these episodes, a simple focus that I really hope Jack is picking up on.

As for the rest of Bluey, the Dad gets things wrong and apologises, the Mum gets some much needed reassurance that she’s doing a good job, and more recently there was a 28 minute episode that makes me tear up just thinking about.

Of course the show isn’t a mirror to our own parenting approach but it’s not all that far from how we try and be for Jack. The show deals with large themes in smart and heartwarming ways, a lot of which the kids watching won’t even understand fully but you get the sense that even they will understand that there is some significance to the moment that passes between Chilli and Bandit when, during a ‘play’ the girls are doing, a balloon that is thrust up a t-shirt to act as a pregnant bump pops too soon.

I mention all of this purely because it’s a wonderful show that never fails to entertain me. I am also enjoying other TV shows – Ripley, Dark Matter, Palm Royale, The Bear – but Bluey is the one that is resonating the most as a father. There is a reason that there are so many mentions of the show on Instagram, with most of them being takes on ‘when you realise you are still watching Bluey even though your child went to bed an hour ago’.

Bluey, give it a shot, whether you have kids or not, I almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Plus, “Aaah, Biscuits!” is the best non-swear swear I’ve heard for ages!

Written By

Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

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