"Happy Bluey Day!" is how a co-worker greeted me over Slack today. That's the kind of message you get when you're the parent of a preschooler (who, as it happens, did recently attend the Bluey's Big Play stage show) and have experienced a nearly year-long drought since new episodes of the beloved Australian cartoon arrived.
"Bluey Day" means that 10 new Bluey episodes — which first aired in Australia all the way back in June 2022 — are finally available for American families to watch on Disney+; episodes will also air on Disney Junior and the Disney Channel later this year. Here's what to know about the new batch, and why it's not just kids who are pumped for the show's return.
What is Bluey?
Created by Joe Brumm, the Australian cartoon follows the titular Bluey, a 6-year-old Blue Heeler puppy who lives with her kid sister Bingo and parents Bandit and Chilli. Premiering on Australia's ABC Kids network in the fall of 2018, the show quickly established itself as a family favorite thanks to its wry sense of humor, depictions of imaginative family play and — for American kids who first got access to the show when it premiered on Disney Junior in September 2019 — infectious Australian accents and slang like "dunny."
Bluey began streaming on Disney+ in early 2020. As its popularity has grown, the show has picked up celebrity fans like Natalie Portman and Eva Mendes, both of whom made voice cameos in the first part of Season 3.
What are the new episodes?
The new 10 episodes released on July 12 comprise Part 2 of Season 3, and are the first fresh batch of episodes since Part 1 debuted stateside last August. Part 3 of Season 3 aired in Australia from April to June 2023, but there is no word yet on when they might become available in the U.S.
Part 2 features celebrity voice cameos from Lin-Manuel Miranda (who plays a talking horse in "Stories") and Rose Byrne, starring as Chilli's sister Brandy in "Onesies." Storylines will tackle family estrangement, self-confidence and unconditional love, while the episode "Turtle Boy" will be the first to feature a deaf (dog) character.
The full rundown of new episodes is:
Why parents love it
While kids' programs like Blippi and Caillou tend to drive parents up the wall, many have a soft spot for Bluey. Speaking to Yahoo Life last fall, Melanie Zanetti, the Australian voice actress who plays Heeler matriarch Chilli, shared how one friend described it as "the only show that doesn't make me want to bleed out my eyes when I have to watch it for the hundred-thousandth time." Zanetti attributes the show's "universal" appeal to both its uniquely Australian charm and its playful spirit. While mom Chilli certainly holds her own, Bandit the dad (voiced by musician Dave McCormack) has emerged as a fan favorite and fictional parenting icon thanks to his enthusiasm for playing with his kids, creating inventive games and being hands-on at home.
"Bandit did get a lot of kudos because he was a dad who was playing with his kids and using his imagination," said Zanetti. "We see less of that from men in media. And a lot of young dads I've talked to have said, 'I feel so grateful that there was a depiction of a dad just not being a bumbling fool.' In my age group, dads want to be good dads; they want to be there for their kids. It's a generation where there were a lot of fathers who weren't there or they don't have a strong emotional connection to them because they didn't have that closeness. And I think millennials and Gen Zs particularly really want be those [more involved] parents."
In an interview with Yahoo Life last August, Bluey executive producer and Ludo Studio co-founder Daley Pearson also noted that both Bandit and Chilli represent a "new generation of parents" who come across as more relatable and "human." (Case in point: One Season 3 episode in which Bluey and Chilli appear to be confronting the age-old struggle of parenting while nursing a New Year's hangover.)
"We often get messages from people saying that it’s like the makers of Bluey have put a camera in their homes as it’s so relatable to their family life," Sam Moor, a producer and production manager on the show, told USA Today.
They're also capable of apologizing to their kids when necessary, acknowledging their flaws and admitting when they don't have all the answers (or the patience to play another game of Keepy-Uppy). At the same time, their playfulness is infectious.
Alexis Ohanian, the Reddit co-founder who shares daughter Olympia with wife Serena Williams, is among the parents who "get inspired" by the Heeler family, he recently told Yahoo Life's So Mini Ways. "We’ll dress up the house, with these homemade signs, to be like a metro station [like in] an episode with trains,” he shared. “We’ll use rolling chairs to be the ‘trains,’ and I push them."
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