Much of what my girls watch on TV is mindless nonsense. Or, worse than mindless nonsense, it’s sassy kids (or ponies) acting like the teenagers they are not. The days my daughter quotes Ryan, Adley, or Annia and Elsia are the days I wish YouTube ceased to exist. But alas, these “shows” pull my 5-year-old in like a magnet, and I don’t have much hope of my 2.5-year-old escaping unscathed. And yes, I let my kids watch YouTube. I’m that mom.
But, it’s not just YouTube. There’s the hypnotizing, and admittedly soothing, Little Baby Bum and Cocomelon, the bizarre Booba, the dramatic My Little Ponies, and the multiple variations of the educational world of Mickey Mouse (Clubhouse, Roadster Racers, and now, Funhouse). Amidst the flurry of children’s programming, one show stands out:
When it first began airing on Disney, I didn’t quite get it, but it was something new and different. And I like new and different, especially when the alternative is something I’ve watched or listened to 50+ times over the course of the past week. Plus, it was a family of dogs with Australian accents — it had to be better than some of the other shows my girls insisted on watching. So I put it on in hopes that it would hook them. And guess what, ladies. It did. But it also hooked me.
For those who have never seen Bluey before, it’s a show about a family of blue heeler dogs living in Australia. There’s a dad, a mum, and two sisters. I mean, right there it had me — it was basically my family, but with better accents. And the kids were better behaved. And the parents had a little more patience. But pretty much the same thing as my family, in cartoon form.
But the best part about Bluey is how real it is. Yes, they are dogs. Yes, it is a cartoon. Yes, it is on the Disney Channel. But the things they do and the ways the puppies react and respond are so unbelievably similar to real-world experiences that the show actually elicits real belly laughs and head nods. From first visits to the movie theater, to playing fairly with a sibling, to persisting when faced with difficulty, Bluey touches upon all the major milestones and difficulties of childhood, and with a lovable reality that just hits the right way.
My favorite part about Bluey is the ways Bluey’s mum and dad parent their puppies. They are patient, loving, kind, and playful, but they’re not perfect.
One of my favorite episodes, titled “Mum School,” is all about Bluey learning how to be a mom to a set of balloons. Of course, there is one balloon that insists on floating higher than the others, never staying with the bunch, but Bluey is determined to keep her “children” together. Instead of succeeding, she learns from her mum and realizes that not all balloons will behave in the same way, and some (aka little Greeny) need to float higher than the others — it’s just in their nature. There are missteps, accidents, and lessons learned throughout the episode, and it’s genuinely sweet to see her figure things out for her balloon family, with the help of her mum, of course.
Of all the shows my girls watch, Bluey is definitely my favorite. It’s the one I actively watch with them, laughing along the way — and, perhaps, gaining inspiration for my own parenting.