Meanwhile, I found Bluey made a few, quite pointed observations I could take on board. Like in the episode “Fairies” when Bluey’s dad learns he should pay more attention to Bingo and Bluey and spend less time sending work emails on his phone. Or in “Pirates”, when Bluey’s dad realises he shouldn’t be embarrassed to play in front of other dads. I’m sure Bluey’s mum faces some hard truths about herself as well.
For some reason, when it’s a cartoon dog learning how to be a more tuned in parent it hits home more than if it was one of the adults in, say, Riverdale, where the vast majority of parents could do with lifting their game. But the best cartoons have always operated on two levels – delighting little ones and offering something for grown-ups in the way of social commentary that goes over kids’ heads. And jokes – gags that kids don’t get are always welcome.
Another thing Bluey does well is depict and elicit emotions. For kids, it’s helpful to see characters navigate fear, anger and sadness, and learn ways to process those emotions themselves. As an adult, there’s something quite affecting about watching animated beings grapple with those feelings – and remembering it’s perfectly fine to tear up ourselves, even if it is over a cartoon.
Who didn’t get emotional in Toy Story 3 when the toys faced certain death in a fiery furnace? Or turn into a sobbing mess during the flashback sequence in Up? If not, my advice is to watch Bluey, stop repressing those emotions and show kids it’s fine for a grown-up to cry.