By Yasmin Donald.
Unless you’ve fallen down a TikTok rabbit hole, have kids, or know someone with kids, this Australian animated TV show might be off your radar. You may be questioning why you should take notice of a show aimed at young children, but for many, Bluey is a daily dose of serotonin.
In this animated programme we see an imaginative puppy called Bluey go on lots of adventures. In most episodes Bluey plays make believe, and her mum, dad and sister often join in; creating hilarity through slapstick comedy. And of course, she often discovers valuable life lessons along the way.
Whilst there is hilarity in seeing the characters perform as something they are not, none of them are fish out of water. In this world of dogs, the adults play out imaginative scenarios with their kids all the time. The plot presents a view of the world as innocent and fun: For young children viewing Bluey, this is relatable and encouraging. For adult viewers, this is at first unfamiliar, but the sense of silly fun becomes appealing because the world itself can be a dark place.
At the same time, Bluey conveys serious topics in its plot. However, these issues are touched on subtly. For example, in ‘Onesies’, the infertility of Chili’s sister, Brandi is signalled through her awkwardness around Bluey and Bingo. For child viewers, this introduces a difficult subject without digging too deep. For adult watchers, Brandi’s story is touching because we have a greater understanding of the emotional and social impact of infertility. It exemplifies an adult character who is somewhat able to come to terms with her reality by playing with kids and seeing the fun within life.
The humour, child-like innocence and the simplistic way of dealing with important topics makes this show ideal for its target audience, but also for the adult viewer. For one to dismiss Bluey as a “kids’ show” would be to reject its carefully curated dialogue, plot and messages. It features what adults perceive as issues, what an adult finds funny, and what an adult thinks kids will find funny. Its plot encourages adult/child engagement so parents can bond with their children through enjoying the show. In a world of death, pandemics and financial instability, adults need a new view of the world. They need laughs, they need comfort. And Bluey does a great job at giving us that.