19 Feb 5 Reasons Why Parents Will Love Bluey
Have you been watching Bluey? Janine Kelly and her four-year old daughter daughter are the biggest fans of Ludo Studio’s delightful animated preschool series Bluey which premiered on ABC Kids in October 2018
This Queensland-produced series nails the representation of life with young children. It follows an endearing family of cattle dogs living in Brisbane: six-year old Bluey, her four-year old sister Bingo, their mum Chilli, and dad Bandit. In each episode, Bluey and Bingo channel their boundless energy into playing game after game, drawing family and friends into their rich imaginary world.
Here are five reasons why you will genuinely enjoy Bluey as much as your children will.
- Relatable storylines.
The stories in Bluey are the stuff of everyday family life, which is exactly what makes them so great. Chaperoning the kinder teddy around town, exploring the back yard, setting screen time limits. And lots and lots of games.
Commenting on the series, creator Joe Brumm explained, “Bluey is based on the experience of raising two daughters. Playing seems as natural to them as breathing. It’s fascinating seeing how much they learn from devising and playing their own games, especially the more elaborate and social ones.”
Sisters Bingo and Bluey spend most of their time in unstructured, self-directed play at home. When their dad dares to lie down, a game of ‘hospital’ ensues. The whole family plays ‘keepy uppy’ when Bluey finds a balloon, and a visit from Uncle Stripe and the cousins inevitably leads to horsey rides. Through their play, the pups learn to take turns, co-operate, solve problems, and bounce back from disappointments – but these lessons never feel heavy-handed.
Bluey gives us insight into how other families play, and new ideas for games to play together. It’s also affirming for kids to see stories that are relevant to their own experience of the world.
- Relatable kids.
In another animated series for this impressionable age group, Princess Holly lists ‘looking pretty’ as an athletic strength. I have never forgiven her.
Bluey, on the other hand, builds a rare representation of young children as the complex people they already are. Thankfully unconcerned with looking pretty, Bingo and Bluey are firmly focussed on the real work of childhood: play. They dance, dress up, and give their dad makeovers, but they also enjoy water play, getting messy, and closely examining bird poo. These playful adventures unfold to a lifelike soundtrack – that enthusiastic stream-of-consciousness chatter that young children excel at.
These age-appropriate conflicts are approached with the lightest of touch, and give parents a springboard for discussion and learning with their kids.
- Relatable parents.
Bluey has an authentic and funny take on the ups and downs of family life with young children. Chilli and Bandit work hard wrangling the kids, playing with them, encouraging them, comforting them… and then they collapse at the end of the day.
Unfortunately, most children’s television isn’t immune to the bumbling dad trope that is so common in adult’s comedy. In series after series, we see fathers portrayed as well-meaning but ultimately clueless. They fall in pools, become stuck in cement, and don’t know their own names. (Daddy Pig, King Thistle: I’m looking at you.) This negative stereotype is overplayed, and not representative of the involved parenting I see from many contemporary fathers.
In a welcome change, Bluey’s dad Bandit is present, competent, and as enthusiastic about silliness as his kids are. Bandit is portrayed as an equal partner to Bluey’s mum, Chilli. A similarly fleshed-out character for a children’s show, we see Chilli juggling work, kids, and finding time for the occasional run or game of hockey.
- It’s unmistakably Australian.
Inspired by the warm palette of semi-tropical Queensland, the series also looks unmistakably Australian. The characters in Bluey speak in broad Australian accents about familiar events, using familiar colloquialisms. And it is so refreshing. Along with unexpectedly good music, the soundtrack includes the squawking of rosellas, droning cricket commentary, and other recognisable sounds. Our kids deserve access to great content like this which genuinely reflects their language, community and culture.
- It’s also Australian-made.
While it’s not usually front of mind when watching TV, parents can feel good about supporting the Australian children’s television industry as they laugh along to Bluey. The series was created and produced wholly in Australia. Creative house Ludo Studio produced the series in South Brisbane, with local graduate students from QUT and Griffith University making up more than half of the project’s workforce.
Janine Kelly, Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) Curriculum Officer
An experienced primary teacher with a passion for children’s programs and their educational potential, Janine produces teaching and learning resources which complement ACTF content and are aligned to the Australian Curriculum. She provides support for teachers using ACTF materials through workshops, seminars and outreach to schools. Janine has worked in a range of educational settings, including both primary and secondary schools in Australia and overseas.