Since the early 80s, the television (or screen) to room ratio in the average household seems to be closing in on the saturation point. With so many individuals having access to entertainment, the obvious aim of studios and networks would be to ensure that every genre and demographic is adequately represented. In essence offering everyone a chance to see something similar to themselves on the screen, a familiar face entertaining perhaps even enlightening everyone else to this.
And yet, according to some critics, it is this area where writers’ rooms often struggle. After all, comedy’s gotta make ’em laugh. And though no one wants to admit to being frightened, if they don’t jump then you the writers didn’t do their job.
Accurately capturing a specific demographic while captivating what could be a varying audience is a task. Demographics matter; that includes sales demographics, and they need them today – not in dog years.
But what about when the demographic can’t write; or even walk?
Children’s entertainment may be for the kids that doesn’t mean it is completely childish. Perhaps that is because over the years networks have dug into the data, discovering what some parents have always feared. Television and the media are sending a message; it’s playing out in the news everyday. So to change the channel on the conversation, organizations like Sesame Workshop continue to work with psychologists and educators to develop programming that fosters childhood development in the areas of intelligence, independence and establishing positive interpersonal relationships.
That doesn’t mean that every kids program lives up to that expectation – not all children’s programming is the same. Some are animation, there’s live action, even a hybrid with humans and (m)puppets and doodles, but it doesn’t matter since their DNA is immaterial to innocent minds. Trips to neighborhoods or streets, a blue house maybe, are means to make the material the matter. Another shot in the arm is to create a clever connection with what children encounter in their actual world. So with so many streams, which net(work) will catch your children. Seems deciding isn’t as simple, or irrelevant, as picking your favorite color in the rainbow.
Since children’s programming can take on many tones, a title like Bluey may make you anticipate a pup that is calm, maybe a bit tranquil.
Instead, this animated preschool program follows the exploration of an energetic and explorative young puppy by the name of Bluey. The television show made its debut on the ABC Kids channel in 2018. Those living in America may wonder how they missed this show but that particular part time programming block, which also ran early Saturday mornings, stopped broadcasting in 2011. This ABC Kids is the Australian Broadcasting Corporations version. However, much like a day in the life of Bluey, things always have a habit of working out for everyone – in a wonderfully unexpected way; fate would bring that network’s ABC Kids show to stay with the other network’s parent (company) – Disney.
Now, since children are considered precious (and to be protected) as well as prone to persuasion, parents and guardians should always properly consider who is watching their children. And what their children are watching. Throughout its existence, Walt Disney has been known as a provider of entertainment that the entire family can share. Recently, however, Disney has made headlines regarding the direction some individuals see the company heading.
And anyway, these are the types of people who were heading down south, so best just let them keep singing your song and having a zippity day.
Besides, most of that seems to deal with the Disney theme parks, not the feature films or series and shows, right? Okay, yes Disney does own Deadpool now, but come on it isn’t like Wade is one of the Amazing Friends; despite the similarities the two mutates share.
If you don’t know anything else about Australia before watching an episode of Bluey you have at least heard that the toilets flush in reverse. With the way a day for Bluey can flow, you may suspect these dogs have been drinking from the bowl. The parents and teachers in Bluey, these handlers, have an unorthodox approach to preparing Bluey and friends for the world that awaits, it’s kind of like they learned to walk backwards. In an effort to prevent the backwards thinking that is cluttering “children’s” minds today.
Those in charge of handling the creation of Bluey clearly have young minds, establishing social and problem solving skills, on a short leash. While also giving them room to roam; Bluey knows few bounds. Their ability to maintain control of both strategies, essential to the learning experience, keeps the message in Bluey episodes on the right trail.
As a heeler, which is a type of Australian Cattle Dog, Bluey’s behavior is basically consistent with the rest of the breed. Since these dogs are known for herding other animals Bluey has no problem taking the lead and gathering others together for a game. Heeler’s are also said to be a good fit for families with kids. As babysitters go, so far Bluey isn’t looking so bad.
Now, maybe you don’t want to think of a television show, or better yet a dog as a babysitter. Bluey believes anything is possible, there are no fences here.
Bluey’s last name is Heeler. If ever you find yourself forgetting, just remember Bluey is a blue heeler. Keep it simple scamp.
Each episode of Bluey begins with an introduction of the Heeler family during a game of musical moves. It’s kind of like musical chairs, except there are no chairs. Instead Bluey, parents Bandit (dad) and Chilli (mom) as well as little sister Bingo dance like no one is looking until the song stops. You may find yourself catching the itch. No need to call a vet, there are much worse doghouses to lay in than the Heeler’s.
Though they are typically a medium size dog breed, this Heeler keeps things short; developing minds need time to digest new material. With runtimes of roughly 7 minutes, an episode of Bluey is just long enough to finish a Scooby snack.
Better make it fast because based on the show’s setup, Joe Brumm envisions that Bluey, and audiences, live in a dog meet dog world. Just like this reality, every other character (of significance(?), “hello walking leaf”) also just so happens to be a dog. If it sounds strange you’re forgetting about the concept of the multiverse. There’s even a wordworld.
You want a look at something truly maddening. Take any day, or activity in Bluey’s life. The best way to describe it would be out of control. While holding the leash very firmly. And a look at season one, episode 30 may explain who is teaching Bluey – with aims at teaching children – some new tricks.
Admittedly, to an adult ear, sometimes children lost in play can be as loud as dogs barking. And after the dizzying effects of chasing your own tail, the sound can hit a whistling pitch that is unbearable. Though you may prefer this dog was sleeping, the bark – like a cry, or cough – should be cause for concern. Ignoring a situation and ignorance of it both add up to the same sum.
Maybe that is what led Bluey’s parents to adopt such an unorthodox approach to parenting. You could best describe it as ‘No Questions Asked’. Admittedly, half the time there aren’t even any negotiations. That is not a page in the handbook, the art of play. And it will be of no help if you need to get your cell phone out of a fairy ring. Take one step in there and you will dance without end. Especially if it helps Bandit and Chilli show Bingo they know they were wrong to ignore her. Honestly, what are you gonna do?
In fact, Bandit doesn’t mind doing just about anything to keep his tykes from throwing tantrums. Archaeology allows the opportunity to work from home at times, spending time with the kids during the day. This also means at any moment dad may be called upon to morph into a claw machine or even Daddy Robot. This wise and wise cracking dad knows it’s not worth it to waste the fossil fuel fighting lost battles. The characters that Bandit’s children ask dad to play isn’t nearly as important as the character the games are building.
While Bandit is home with both Bluey and baby sister Bingo, mom has recently returned to work. This new reality that Chilli faces reverberates throughout the rest of the Heeler’s house. And it may resonate with many other households around the world which require two sources of income. After having Bingo, mom has returned to the workforce as an airport security guard. This means that in addition to Bandit, at times Bluey is in charge of keeping little sister Bingo safe. The lack of kid time isn’t lost on Chilli who is ready to re-engage upon her return. Able to add a little spice at any moment, mom typically kicks things into another level with an added ounce of sarcasm; often at Bandit’s expense. It’s what their children see – the sacrifices through silliness – that means the most to Chilli and Bandit. They understand something about being the difference you want to see.
Bluey’s supporting cast leads to young viewers being able to spot the differences and maybe some similarities to themselves. These dogs vary in every manner from size and breed to type of household. Even personality. There is bound to be one dog that speaks their language. One with which they can relate. Even Bluey’s friend experiences this, as Chloe feels more comfortable playing the octopus game at the Heeler home since Bandit plays the game right. Maybe this is a chance for Chloe’s dad to even follow Bluey’s example.
While copycat is the title of the thirty eighth (38) of season 1, it is also one way to describe the daily games Bluey designs. Copying, or modeling, is the most often used method of learning. Imitation is to the highest form of flattery, as irritation from having it done is the greatest gift of daddery – sorry Bandit.
And accidents are bound to happen. Just don’t repeat them. That’s the case in Family Meeting, which teaches Bandit that it isn’t just actions but words that matter. Caregivers must be mindful of what they are doing.
And that even goes for the creators of the show who have been caught making a few mistakes; the Family Matters episode has another title. Given the shows international viewership, just like the games Bluey’s designs, not everyone will think it’s fun – or funny. What Bluey would do is find a way to fix the problem. You simply can’t let everything ruin your day.
A loyal heeler, Bluey corrects the situation, making everything right and getting the activity and the pack sprinting again. That’s what Heeler’s do, they lead. And leaders know that means giving that opportunity to others. So, if Bluey can be the star then so can everyone else – especially little sister Bingo. The show swaps the usual blue title card for brown, possibly confusing younger viewers while reminding older ones that every dog has their day. Another episode features preschooler Jack – Army gets the normal blue title screen, so you may not notice – whose particular problem was better addressed without Bluey’s help. Just goes to show some situations are better suited for other schnauzers – or actually in Rusty’s case that would be red kelpies.
This diversity helps development by opening the mind. Seeing how people (or dogs) live in other parts of the world – or in other situations – is a way of teaching a child how to deal with the billions of other Earthlings with whom they share a planet.
Identity, including gender, have become a red hot topic, especially when dealing with school age children. Bluey digs into this discussion. As you might imagine, since Bluey’s days are always in a state of play, these tend to be some of the most uncomfortable moments for the children’s parents. And parents watching. And while playtime is in part preparation, it should also open the mind to endless possibilities. So, gender and identity roles don’t need to be so rigid during recess times. This means Doctor Bluey must decide what to do in the series second episode when Bandit ends up with a (hot dog) bun in the oven. You think that’s bad, dad once had to pretend to be a sheep dog. Now that’s humiliating. At least Uncle Stripe only needed to locate something old, borrowed and new since the minister was none other than Bluey.
At this age, for Bluey, nothing is set in stone. It’s doubtful with the speed at which Bluey chews through a day even that sidewalk cement would stick to this pup’s paws.
That doesn’t mean Bluey is a pup, and a show, without an agenda. Hearing that phrase is reason enough to change the channel these days. But, for Bluey this means something must be happening – though it takes a moment to figure out exactly what. Sometimes this overlaps the activities that either Bandit and Chilli have planned for the day.
What is extraordinary – and at times seemingly beyond human capability – is that the adults accept these imaginative games and worlds with ‘no questions asked’. And this goes beyond the parents as often a maildog or neighbor will find themselves inadvertently incorporated into the game.
The adults in Bluey are old enough to know that when someone says that something as ordinary as a feather can instantly make everything heavy, you gotta go with the flow. The importance of frolicking and not getting lost in the clouds so much during your own daily dog fight. You have to be mindful of every magickal moment that you get with your children. Not only are they gone too soon – too severely – there is no guarantee you get another trip in that taxi.
Life may be like a stream but it isn’t a service like Disney+. And sadly both life and an episode of Bluey can go by way too fast; faster when you’re not paying attention. You’d be surprised what you can miss when you’re not watching. The medley playing throughout any particular Bluey episode continues playing during the end credits. You have no way of knowing that round of fun and games is over until you hear magical moves starting up again. Unless you were paying attention.
This may be a stretch, even for dogs, but by using this particular animal, it feels Ludo Studio is calling our attention to a possible connection between the behaviors of children and canines. Don’t think so – if a group of kids is making a lot of noise, how do you react? You might make the mistake of yelling at them to knock off all that noise, that they sound like a pack of wild dogs. Which is how they can sound when a group of them come bounding into or out of a room or the front door. Ever try to feed a group of them? Especially as they get older. And don’t even start on their personal hygiene. Man’s best friend, how about man’s reflection. Where (and what) can your shadow be?
Which is true of children as well.
Still not sure about this show. It’s understandable, everybody knows that having a puppy is a big responsibility; the training, the registrations and making sure it doesn’t hurt anyone else – wait, we are talking about dogs, right? So if you’re not ready for a full 7 minutes of Bluey you can always rush over to the official YouTube channel. There you can find some Bluey shorts – episodes about 2 minutes in length that not only feature Bluey but more importantly give the supporting cast more screen time. And since screens aren’t just in our homes but also our pockets, these shorts can also come in handy if you find yourself outside on a walk – or drive.
Timmy doesn’t have to fall into a well to not be well. If dogs are being praised for their ability to sniff out and save you from danger, it may not be such a bad idea to have a friend like Bluey.
Go ahead, she won’t bite.
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