With the Holidays Coming, This ‘Bluey’ Episode is Hitting Too Close to Home
My six-year-old cycles through Bluey the way a synagogue cycles through the Torah: she steadily makes her way through the show’s entire catalog, and when she reaches the end, she immediately starts over. Layer upon layer of new meaning unfolds with each viewing. Every episode is informed and contextualized by the events occurring around it, and it informs and contextualizes those events in turn. It’s truly a living tradition, a vibrant conversation with each successive generation that approaches it. Yesterday’s Torah portion … uh, Bluey episode was “Mr. Monkeyjocks”—and with the holidays coming, it hit different.
“Mr. Monkeyjocks” starts off with Bluey eagerly circling items in a toy catalog. As she circles, surrounded by the toys she already has, Bandit walks in. He yelps as he steps on a toy, and then gets buried under a pile of plushies that fall out of the closet. Bingo says she’s bored, even though she’s surrounded by playthings. Bluey asks Bandit for all the items she’s circled. Bandit decides that the kids have too much crap, and it’s time to clear it out.
The moment Bandit gets out the “chuck” and “keep” baskets, every parent watching the show knows what’s going to happen. Sure enough, the “keep” basket ends up towering with almost every single toy, while the “chuck” basket has one lonely monkey wearing underwear—and soon, that monkey is scooped back into the “keep” pile, too.
This is what it’s like, raising kids in a late-capitalist hellscape. Whether you’re buying the fanciest toys on the market or gems from thrift shop bins, your home gets so cluttered with stuffed animals and action figures that it’s barely livable. Bluey understands what we’re going through, my fellow parents!
And of course your kids never play with anything they own, but can’t bring themselves to part with it, either. When you sneak something from the bottom of the closet into a charity pile, your kids find it and suddenly declare it their favorite toy again. How dare you try to give away their best friend in the whole world, which they forgot existed for three years?
My husband and I have had plenty of desperate negotiations with our kids, and we’ve also made some major mistakes—the worst being when we went behind their backs and gave away a bunch of toys without telling them. Oh, that experience was the stuff of nightmares. If you do that, then your kids won’t notice 99% of the things you’ve tossed, but eventually they’ll wander into the living room and ask, “Have you seen my Bonnie Bopsy doll? You know, the one with the light-up eyeballs and the clippable toenails? I can’t find her.” And then, blood running cold, you and your partner will exchange a panicked look over the kid’s head. Bonnie Bopsy is either with a new family or deep in a landfill by now, depending on whether the thrift store could sell her. Your kid’s never seeing Bonnie Bopsy again. Oh, god, what have you done?
“Mr. Monkeyjocks” is resolved the way only Bluey can do it: Bandit pretends to be Mr. Monkeyjocks’ butler, and Monkeyjocks kicks everyone out of the house. After that, the kids feel fine giving away their toys.
Would that such a solution worked in real life. In the meantime, my husband and I will celebrate our annual holiday tradition of begging our kids to clear some space before the December onslaught of gifts from relatives, and watch our two-bedroom condo fill to the ceiling with squishmallows.
(featured image: Disney+)
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