If you haven’t heard about Bluey, you have been “living under a rock” as Paul Keating used to say. The cartoon blue heeler that Australia has already fallen in love with is now going out to a global audience, thanks to a distribution deal between the BBC and Disney.

“The warmth and authenticity of Bluey’s family dynamic is what first captured our interest in the show,”

said Jane Gould, senior vice president of Disney Channels Worldwide.

“Bluey reminds us all of our own families, and it plays out the small but emotionally epic dramas of day-to-day life in surprising, heartfelt and very funny ways that will engage children and parents alike.”

Produced by Ludo Studios and created by Joe Brumm, Bluey was originally an ABC and BBC co-commission. The seven-minute episodes follow a six-year-old blue heeler puppy who lives in Brisbane with her parents and four-year-old sister, Bingo.

Aimed at five to seven-year-olds, the show has been praised for its offbeat and heartwarming depiction of family life. Speaking with The Guardian last year, producer Charlie Apinswall – a father himself – said he wanted to tap into one of the funniest parts of parenting: the unstructured play that takes over the house when kids are at the older end of preschool.

“It’s one of the most fun times to be a dad,” he said.

“You might be having breakfast and your youngest will be pretending to be a frog. Yet somehow you need to get the ‘frog’ out of the door in the next half hour. There’s so much comedy in how parents deal with difficult situations.”

Several years ago, series creator Joe Brumm showed Aspinwall and Pearson a two-minute clip of a dad and his kids in a playground that served as inspiration for the series. They found it so lovely and relatable, the pair decided to produce it. “Bluey” is the most-viewed children’s series in the history of Australian TV.

Brumm wanted to make a show about his own life that looks at what it is like to raise a preschooler. He took that idea, added tales from other parents and combined that with extensive research into how kids’ brains work.

“A lot of research shows that kids through the age of 6 are learning through the world of play,”Aspinwall says.

“That’s how they learn stuff. How to socialize. Through his research he wanted to tell stories through play and that’s the essential thing about the show.”

Kate Barnett, a writer for a mothers’ blog, had this to say about Bluey, calling the show a great role model for dads.

“One of my favourite episodes is ‘The Pool’, where Mr Fun (Bandit, Bluey’s Dad) forgets to take all the swimming gear. And snacks. The wheels fall off his plans and the realistic demands of preschoolers get a little… intense. He’s not above losing his patience, but he’s also not a complete idiot. He finds creative ways to recover the situation when things don’t go to plan.

He talks to his kids about feelings, rather than shying away from the topic. He accepts when his kids explain he played a little too rough. He apologises when he screws up. He’s not perfect, but he’s an all-round good Dad.”

Bluey has clocked up more than 100 million plays since premiering October 2018, making it the most-watched show on ABC iView, according to the ABC. The second season of Bluey will be released in March 2020.

The Google reviews below tell the story:

“Absolutely best toddler/kid show I’ve seen. Period. Real situations with their kids, and great ideas and fun games to play with your own children! All of the characters’ voices are done wonderfully, and make you laugh with them. My two youngest (3½ y/o) and I love to catch an episode or two before nap time. Good stuff!! Keep up the good work guys!”
~ Joseph Irwin

“Absolutely LOVE the show for my son… It teaches friendship and understanding, it teaches respect, among other things. It’s completely stand alone, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s not anywhere near Peppa Pig, the animation is so much better and content is so much more relatable…
10/10 The BEST show for my kid, I recommend this to every parent who wants their kids to learn from a healthy source.”
~ Alise Turnbull

“This is a great cartoon that our whole family love, it’s so nicely written. Being from Brisbane it makes me nostalgic for my childhood with the background scenery, yards and houses. The morals of the stories are great. The characters are funny and references to different dog breeds of those characters in their behaviour is very clever. Especially entertaining for dog lovers. I hope it continues to do well and we get to see it for a long time to come. Kids or no kids!”
~ Scott McLauchlan

“I’m going to admit I actually watch this show by myself on ABC Kids! I love this show (oh and so does my 18 month old), it reminds me of my childhood and it’s so wonderfully written, clever, quick-witted, educational, beautifully drawn and the music too is spot on and the scenarios and storyline just feels so so familiar. True warm fuzzy feelings happen when I watch this show… Congratulations ABC for making something truly perfect. I hope this is around for years to come and all my kids can grow up watching it.”
~ Mariah Midler

“Someone was complaining in the google reviews that they farted in the show, really!! Everyone farts!! My family is a Christian family with strong morals and values and Bluey is such a great family show, THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SHOW IS TO SHOW HEALTHY FAMILY PLAY AND INTERACTION, role modelling, how really good parents should interact with their kids, play and use imagination. That’s why the parents are main characters too. If you’re one of the few people who have negative complaints about this show than you need to lighten up, maybe you don’t like that it makes you feel like a bad parent because you don’t play with your kids the way a good parent should.”
~ Christopher Bray

“My whole family loves this cartoon. We all stop everything we are doing when it’s Bluey time. It is so beautifully written, drawn and produced. It brings back memories of my own childhood, as well as makes me think of all the silly things I do with my little ones that will hopefully stick with them for life.
It gives you a real appreciation that quality time with your kids is waaay more important than all the “stuff” they accumulate.”
~ Leah McPherson

Leah McPherson is right, “Quality time with your kids is waaay more important than all the “stuff” they accumulate.” Christopher Bray is also right. We as dads “need to lighten up.” My assignment for you this week is to watch Bluey with your children (no matter the age). Yes, it is a tough gig, but it will put a smile on your children’s faces and you just might lighten up in the process.

Yours for more funny fathers,
Warwick Marsh

About the Author: Warwick Marsh

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker. Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

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  1. The Joy of Children - Warwick Marsh January 22, 2022 at 6:10 am - Reply

    […] imaginary games with your children, sit down with your children and watch half a dozen episodes of Bluey with your children. The dad, Bandit, is constantly playing imaginary games with his children. He […]

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