Move over Peppa Pig.
An adorable Blue Heeler puppy from Brisbane is winning hearts and ratings across the country.
For the uninitiated, Bluey is an utterly delightful animated Australian TV series that you are genuinely going to love as much (if not more) than your kids.
The series follows a six-year-old cattle dog called Bluey who lives with her dad Bandit (an archaeologist), mum Chilli (who works at the airport) and four-year-old sister, Bingo.
Bluey has been written, created and produced entirely in Brisbane. It is quintessentially Australian, right down to the broad Aussie accents and references, nuanced humour and Brissy landmarks.
The family live in an old Queenslander with a big deck and a leaf blower and wheelie bin in the backyard. Their neighbourhood is dotted with jacaranda trees and frequented by cockatoos and magpies.
In each seven-minute episode, Bluey and Bingo channel their boundless energy into a variety of imaginative games in a range of very relatable settings and storylines - like waiting for takeaway outside a Chinese restaurant, escaping to Uncle Stripe's swimming pool on a blisteringly hot day while he's in Bali, learning to ride bikes at the local park and enjoying horsey rides and a backyard bbq with friends.
They dance, sing into fans, call each other 'mate', make fart jokes and love water play.
It is all so familiar and oh so refreshing!
And boy, is it hilarious.
It's unsurprising that Bluey is already a huge success since it launched on October 1.
The program is currently the number one Australian produced kids program for 0-4s on the ABC KIDS channel, according to Libbie Doherty, ABC Acting Head of Children's TV.
"To date, Bluey has a total of over 11 million program plays on ABC KIDS iView," she told Essential Kids.
"But the success isn't all about numbers – it's about the overwhelming response we've had from parents and children about how much they love the show, and how much it has affected their families in incredibly positive ways."
Comments on social media all reflect this positive sentiment -
- "Funny, clever and heart warming - our new favourite show!"
- "My daughter is obsessed and loves dancing with Bluey at the start of every show!"
- "It's a family ritual now. Only cartoon I look forward to and the only one that's got my 4yo laughing out loud. It's fabulous."
- "I love it and i don't even have kids. Caught it while waiting for Doctor Who. So funny and cute and sweet."
So, what's the secret?
While the series is targeted at preschoolers, believe me, everyone can and will enjoy it. There are plenty of adult-directed jokes and references - my husband and I giggle the whole way through!
In the first scene of the 'Hospital' episode, dad Bandit asks the kids: "Is there some game where I just lie really still on a comfy bed or something?" We've all been there!
It is just such a hilarious and authentic take on everyday life in Australia with two little kids.
"Parents love Bluey because it exhibits many aspects of a modern Australian family," explains Doherty. "This includes the shared parenting, the family play and the encouragement of Bluey and Bingo's enormous imaginations!"
"We also know they find it inspiring – it reminds them to engage with their children in playful ways to connect with them, teach them, and help them find solutions to their big life questions."
Feedback that has been shared by very grateful parents on the ABC Kids facebook page:
- "Man, you guys. I watched the pool episode with my 4 year old on a tough parenting day. I didn't realise how much I needed that boost, and reminder that I can still be a playful, gentle, kind and patient parent on the hard days. Thank you."
The creative team behind Bluey is the Emmy award-winning Ludo Studio in Brisbane, who are no strangers to producing successful children's television.
"Bluey is based on the experience of raising two daughters," said creator Joe Brumm, of Charlie and Lola fame.
"It's fascinating seeing how much they learn from devising and playing their own games, especially the more elaborate and social ones. So Bluey is a celebration of the role imaginative play has in shaping healthy kids."
The other wonderful thing about the show is that while Bluey happens to be a girl, there isn't a single pink bow or princess dress in sight.
Bluey, Bingo and their mates are simply out and about having adventures, laughing and getting messy together - without any reliance on gender stereotypes we see all too often in kid's cartoons. And dad Bandit can be seen parenting as much as mum. Brilliant.
And although it is unmistakably Australian, Bluey has universal appeal and plenty of feel-good life lessons and parenting tips contained within.
Like the beautiful moment at the end of the 'Takeaway' episode when Bandit decides to jump into the water with his kids and declares - "Flowers may bloom again, but a person never has a chance to be young again."
I could go on and on.
Parents, grandparents, friends - if you haven't already tuned in, I implore you to sit down and watch an episode as soon as possible - with or without your kids.
Bluey airs every weekday at 8am on ABC KIDS or you can watch it on iView.