When my parenting style became more of a survival style at the start of quarantine five months ago, TV time became a bigger part of my preschooler’s life than I would have hoped in The Before Times. What I didn’t expect was for one of the shows on the heaven-sent Disney+ to be as much as a therapist to me as Mom Tiger.
In a world full of Paw Patrol’s Skyes, Bluey is a breath of fresh air.
No, really, watching this show is literally like feeling a fresh mountain breeze caress your face. It’s so refreshing, in every sense.
The title character is an Australian puppy (yes, with the cute accent!), a particular breed called a Blue Heeler. The episodes are seven-minute vignettes peeking into the life of Bluey’s family: her mom, dad, little sister, and herself.
Now right off the bat I love that this is a blue girl character, defying the pink stereotype. This show is extremely gender-neutral, with her parents splitting household work and childcare responsibilities equally, if not the dad doing more of both. Gender is a non-issue for Bluey and her sister, Bingo, who get to be just puppies instead of girl puppies.
This show is wholesome AF. I dare you to find a more wholesome show. (You won’t.) Unlike so many preschooler shows that teach the alphabet, dinosaur facts, or something else school-y, Bluey is a meditation on imaginative play.
The sisters, most often with their dad, make up creative games that you’ll want to play in your own home. They run a pretend hospital, they run a pretend hotel, they pretend to be pianos, they pretend to be taxi drivers, they pretend to be pirates, and the list goes on. One episode is all about keeping a balloon in the air, another is about exploring a creek. They are shockingly simple moments of play, but they keep you deeply engaged. The life lessons are more subtle than other preschooler shows, but the positivity radiates.
It is a heart-warming reminder about why we became parents—that innocence and unspoiled joy of childhood. The dad may grumble “oh not that game again,” but the viewer is on the kids’ side, rooting for fun. My three-year-old is enthralled, but I could honestly see myself watching this without her as a way to smile and relax.
Bluey first took Australia by storm when it premiered in October 2018. After the Walt Disney Company bought the rights, the first season of Bluey came to Disney+ in January 2020. I’m now awaiting Season Two to arrive to the Plus any day now like I’m twenty years younger sleeping out for concert tickets.
The fact that the episodes are seven minutes long means that they are perfect for “one more show before bedtime” and the fact that there are 52 of them in the first season alone means that you won’t get sick of any of them.
I fell in love with Bluey pre-COVID, but the appreciation for play between parents and kids, often without peers for the sisters, has shown me how to keep going while being forced into being one of my three-year-old’s only playmates. Bluey’s parents are great at dropping boring grown-up stuff to just act silly with their little ones at a moment’s notice, and they were my inspiration when I ran outside in the pouring rain with my three-year-old yesterday to splash in puddles and build a sand dam to try to stop a river barreling down our driveway.
We have to keep clinging to play through this punishing pandemic and some blue dogs are coaching me to do just that.