Call off the dogs ABC, there’s nothing wrong with Bluey

 

Call off your dogs on Bluey, Auntie.

In a friendly-fire incident, the global hit ABC kids' show has been blasted by an ABC commentator lamenting its lack of diversity, but as a dad of a three-year-old, I've watched every episode at least a dozen times and can report there are a LOT of diverse breeds in there.

If all the dogs in Bluey were homogenised blue heelers, then yes, something weird and supremacist would be going on. But as well as the central heeler family, there's Indy, the hippie Afghan hound, Jean-Luc the French-Canadian labrador, Coco the pink poodle, and many more. We don't know the ethnicities of the child actors who voice these dogs, or the dogs themselves - and nor should we care. These are cartoon dogs!

Mapping race onto them would be deeply weird, like asking Scooby-Doo to do a 23andMe test.

As for disabled representation, there's an enthralling episode revolving around the character Jack Russell's struggle with ADHD, and one about Pom-Pom, the diminutive pomeranian, whose strength is revealed to be her smallness and hardiness.

The heeler family in Bluey live among a diverse community of dog breeds.
The heeler family in Bluey live among a diverse community of dog breeds.

There appear to be quite a few single-parent dog families (we never see Lucky's Mum).

However I admit I'm disappointed that Bluey's roustabout Uncle Rad, with his magnificent '80s hair-metal coiffure, didn't turn out to be the show's first officially queer character, but there's still time.

You can still learn lessons about life, love and parenting without nosediving headlong into the morass of flashpoint conflicts raging in the real world.

Would I be in favour of a character who gets about on one of those amazing dog wheelchairs? Absolutely, but only if it serves the story, and it has something significant to add to the world of Bluey, not mere tokenism.

Bluey and her family head to the creek with her New Zealand border collie friend Mackenzie in this episode.
Bluey and her family head to the creek with her New Zealand border collie friend Mackenzie in this episode.

This show is written and created by masters of the craft and they shouldn't be second-guessed or handed quotas. They know what they're doing.

If you really want to look for a problem, it's this: considering the actual human demographics of Queensland, the show Bluey displays considerably more diversity than any show set in Brisbane has any right to.

It's only a matter of time until the creators introduce the hordes of previously unseen cats who've presumably been forced out into the fringe suburbs, living in fear of these middle-class inner-city canines and steering well clear of dog parks after dark.

 

Originally published as Call off the dogs ABC, there's nothing wrong with Bluey



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