It’s one of the best-loved kids shows on the planet – but a new article has caused a storm by slamming one of Bluey’s most popular characters.
Bluey has taken the world by storm, with the loveable Aussie cartoon attracting legions of fans over the years.
Launched in 2018 on the ABC, the show follows Blue Heeler pup Bluey, her younger sister Bingo and their dad Bandit and mum Chilli, and has won over millions of viewers over three seasons, including A-listers Natalie Portman and Ryan Gosling.
Purpose writing for The Conversation recently, the University of Southern Queensland’s David Burton and Kate Cantrell took aim at the beloved character Bandit – who was awarded a Father of the Year award in 2019 – and sparked backlash in the process.
In the piece, the readers claim there is a “darker side to this loveable character”, and hit out at his stereotypical “larrikin” personality, implying he was a bad dad.
“In one episode, Bandit holds Bluey back from the finish line so he can win an obstacle course. In another, he lauds victory over his younger brother, Stripe, taunting that ‘big brothers always beat little brothers’ – a gibe Bluey imitates when she teases Bingo: ‘Big sisters always beat little sisters. That’s just the way it goes’,” the article states.
“Even Bandit’s name conjures up the small-time crimes of bushrangers, Australia’s revered outlaws who also achieved a type of perverse folk hero status.
“Occasionally, however, we catch a glimpse of Bandit’s darker side, with his playful teasing of his young daughters sometimes devolving into bullying.”
The writers also criticize the fact that Bandit is praised for his parenting prowess, while mum Chilli is “figuratively and literally in the background”.
Unsurprisingly, the hot take has angered fans of Australia’s best-loved canine dad, with scores of social media users lashing the article.
“We’re doomed as a species and we’re psychoanalyzing Bandit …” one Twitter user posted, while another wrote: “This essay is critical of Bandit from Bluey (a cartoon dad/dog) for being a ‘reductive stereotype of the Australian larrikin’. If so, is it a problem? I doubt many men are getting their cues on how to man from Bluey”.
“Why are we analyzing a kids cartoon show? There are bigger issues in this day & age to analyze. Btw I love Bluey, as an adult it is very relatable in terms of how both bandit & chilli deal with daily life and how bluey and bingo try to navigate it as kids. Lots of lessons in it,” another wrote.
“It’s that time of year again. That’s right, it’s time to cancel Bandit from Bluey,” another tweeted.
It was a similar story on Facebook, attracting hundreds of comments criticizing the article.
“Rubbish. The writer clearly hasn’t watched enough episodes of Bluey. There’s considerable nuance to his character, and in general he’s pretty self-deprecating about his ‘larrikin’ character,” one Facebook user posted, while another added: “If you go after Bandit, you go after all of us”.
However, there were some who agreed with the essay’s argument, including reporter Ginger Gorman, who agreed the program “plays into the trope Dads can’t be trusted to ‘babysit’ their own kids”.
The show won a Kids Emmy in 2019 for its ‘Sleepytime’ episode and later picked up the Best Animated Series award at the 2021 Critics Choice Awards.
It has become so internationally popular that some American parents have even claimed their children were developing an Australian accent after regularly watching the show.