Bluey, Muffin, Socks, Bingo, and Chilli all smile and hold their arms up. The kids are wearing flower crowns.

How Bluey’s “The Sign” Uses an Ancient Parable to Tell a Wonderfully Complex Story

The plot of the 28 minute Bluey special, “The Sign,” was kept tightly under wraps before its premiere in April. Now, though, the special is streaming, and audiences can finally see what all the fuss is about—and learn a little about ancient Chinese philosophy while they’re at it.

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What is “The Sign” about? (The non-spoilery version)

To explain the plot of “The Sign,” you have to go back to the previous episode, “Ghostbasket.” At the end of “Ghostbasket,” we see that the Heelers have put their house up for sale.

“The Sign,” with a whopping 28 minutes to work with (about four times the length of a normal Bluey episode), has two main plots: the Heelers dealing with their difficult feelings about selling their home and moving away, and the upcoming wedding for Bluey’s godmother Frisky and her uncle Rad. As Frisky and Rad get ready for the wedding, some drama about their own living situation intertwines with the Heelers’ plans, and the two families influence each other in unexpected ways.

What is “The Sign” about? (The super spoilery version)

Warning: the rest of this post contains massive spoilers for the Bluey special “The Sign.”

Near the beginning of “The Sign,” Bluey’s teacher Calypso reads the class a story about a farmer. The story, which is an actual parable from an ancient Chinese text called the Huainanzi, relates how a farmer goes through a series of fortunate and unfortunate events. His horse runs away, but brings back several wild horses. One of those horses injures his son, who is then spared from joining the army. There are lots of interpretations of the story, but Calypso’s version is about not going attached to what you want the outcome of a situation to be. “Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to,” she tells Bluey.

We see that same principle play out throughout the special. Events that seem like bad luck end up being good luck, and vice versa. Chilli keeps getting sidetracked during her search for Frisky, who has called off the wedding, but in the end, those distractions end up leading her to the right place. The Heelers find a buyer for their house, but realize that they don’t want to move. Bluey finds a coin on the ground, but gets it stuck in the coin slot of a telescope—which, in the end, helps the buyers find another house they like better than the Heelers’ home. It’s a long and twisty road, but eventually, Frisky and Rad get married, and the Heelers decide to stay in their home.

Is it a happy ending for Bluey and her family? It definitely seems like it! But with its use of the parable about the farmer, the show is cautioning us against making easy judgments about happy versus sad endings.

So what’s in store for Bluey when the show eventually returns?

We’ll see.

(featured image: Disney+)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>