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You’re Probably Not Watching This Hit Disney+ Show—But You Should

Bluey, Bandit, and Bingo gather around a table. Bandit is wearing a chef's hat and a fake mustache.

You miss out on a lot when you become a parent: sleep, free evenings, and a sizable chunk of each month’s paycheck. There is one thing you gain, though (besides the immeasurable gift of your children, I guess)—and that’s access to some great TV that you might never have discovered otherwise.

Case in point: Bluey, the Australian animated children’s show about an adventurous young blue heeler. Thanks to the recent release of its third season, Bluey is currently the number one most popular show on Disney+. Bluey is the oldest child in a family of dogs that live a suburban lifestyle, just like people. Bluey lives with her dad, Bandit (David McCormack, who also fronts the rock band Custard); her mom, Chilli (Melanie Zanetti); and her little sister, Bingo. Yes, they live in a house and drive cars to jobs and school, but they still all have names you would give a pet dog. Such is the subtle genius of Bluey.

The quality of Bluey‘s writing, animation, and acting is astonishingly good for a kids’ show. I mean this show is really good. The stories are interesting, the characters are hilarious, and so much love has been poured into the art that you can watch the same episode multiple times and still notice new details. (And believe me, I have a five-year-old, so I have watched some of these episodes many times.) McCormack is absolutely magnetic as the sly, playful Bandit. The child actors voicing Bluey and Bingo, who are uncredited to protect their privacy, are adorable as hell. Chilli, like so many TV moms, is the least developed character, but she still gets some great moments. Like Steven Universe and Infinity Train, Bluey manages to pack a lot of plot and character development into 11 minutes.

When Season 3 hit Disney+, my husband and I started putting it on for the kids while we figured out dinner, or haggardly nursed glasses of wine in the closet. Soon, though, we found ourselves lingering in the room whenever it was on. Then we started showing each other particularly good episodes after the kids had gone to bed, and before long, we were just straight-up watching it on our own. It’s especially good as a unicorn chaser if you’re making your way through some of Disney+’s more mature content—like, for instance, the sadism-fest that is Jessica Jones.

So if you want to get into Bluey, where should you start? I wouldn’t recommend just any episode, since it’s still a kid’s show, and you don’t want to accidentally watch one that focuses on a life lesson aimed at preschoolers. Instead, start with these episodes:

Taxi (Season 1, Episode 25). Bluey and her family play taxi in their living room. But then things start to get really weird. Why is Bandit still playing taxi by himself, with no kids in the room? It’s positively surreal. Chilli is the GPS navigator.

Pass the Parcel (Season 3, Episode 14). The kids love playing “pass the parcel” at their birthday parties, but then a neighboring dad gets puritanical about the rules. The kids all end up crying while he frantically tries to buy them off with five-dollar bills. Dad of the year over here!

Pavlova (Season 3, Episode 17). Bluey and Bingo only want to eat a kind of cake called pavlova. But you can’t just eat pavlova instead of real food, even if you’re in a pretend café! Bandit decides to use a chef’s hat and a fake French accent to make them eat edamame instead. Will his desperate gambit work!?

Of course, Bluey can be moving, too. Here are a couple of episodes if you’re looking for a richer emotional experience:

Camping (Season 1, Episode 43). While camping, Bluey makes a new friend, Jean-Luc. Jean-Luc only speaks French, but they learn to communicate through art and play. It’s really, really sweet, and I teared up at the end.

Rain (Season 3, Episode 18). It’s raining, and Bluey tries to dam up the water flowing from the drainpipe to the gutter. This episode doesn’t have any dialogue, and it includes some lovely attention to detail as the rain falls all around Bluey’s front yard.

If you’re reading this article, you probably aren’t six years old (although maybe you are! I don’t make assumptions!), so you might feel like you’re too cool and mature to relax with a kid’s show every now and then. But I’m here to tell you it’s okay. Watch a lil’ Bluey before bedtime. You’ll be glad you did.

(featured image: BBC Studios)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and watches Marvel movies. You can check out more of her writing at linktr.ee/juliaglassman, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.