Will Type For Food
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Thursday, June 02, 2022
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Sunday, May 08, 2022
There comes a time in everybody's life when they publish a poem about Oedipus for Mother's Day. So here you go, and there you go.
The Ballad of Oedipus Rex
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Once again returning to my basic themes of beards, tweed, and liking the rain, I present to you the following, er, Drip Hop.
Friday, April 08, 2022
Friday, March 18, 2022
Monday, March 07, 2022
Monday, February 14, 2022
I was sitting on the toilet, attending to earthy matters and thinking earthy thoughts, the other day, when a plane flew overhead, and I turned my thought to heavenly matters instead. Aren't plane flights strange? There I was, and there they were, a whole bunch of people in the air, over my head, somewhere, idly going from A to B, singing:
No-one knows why they are singing this song. But obviously they can't stop now or the whole plane would crash. That's physics for you, it's a very mysterious affair, all things considered.
Oh, it's a majestic thing, flight, and we could spend hours talking about the noble early days of flight - the Wright Brothers experiments with numerous songs, including El Condor Pasa and even The Ibis Song, though the words 'A bin juice drinking gronk' just didn't seem to be particularly elevating, though in the spirit of scientific experiment and adventure you've got to give everything a go, before they hit on the Up in the air song, and even then it was touch and go because Orville didn't have a good voice anyway and Wilbur had been drinking too much the night before. And that's even before we get to the wonders of international flight, the daring feats of endurance singers Amy Earhart and the World War II flying aces, who somehow managed to cheerfully keep singing all those Zooma Zooma Zooms while fighting thrilling pitched battles in the sky. Not to mention the commercial flights of today! I mean, they may be able to afford relay teams of choirs in the Business Class section of some flights, and sit back and relax while they enjoy the smooth polyphonic harmonies, but in the Economy Class, it's every man for himself and it ends up pretty exhausting for all concerned:
It's a wonder anyone can concentrate on the in-flight movies.
So the next time a plane flies overhead, think of that, why don't you. I'm still thinking of it now. In fact, I've been on the toilet for days now, just thinking about it. So I suppose you can think about that too, if you like.
Sunday, January 30, 2022
Friday, December 24, 2021
When Christmas forgot it was Christmas
When Christmas forgot it was Christmas,
She never could answer why;
Perhaps she was tired and distracted,
Or maybe just feeling too shy;
Perhaps she had mislaid the address,
For who could have forgotten the date?
But Christmas forgot it was Christmas,
And arrived one day too late.
When Christmas forgot it was Christmas,
She was reeling and feeling confused;
Perhaps she was still hungover
From that end-of-year party with Suz.
Was it due to the leap year or lockdowns?
She was getting herself into state -
But Christmas was Christmas for all that,
And decided to overcompensate.
She filled every bowl to the brimful,
And poured foaming pintfuls of beer;
For when Christmas forgot it was Christmas,
It was Christmas each day for a year;
Each day a new friend and new party,
Each day a steaming-rich plate;
For when Christmas forgot it was Christmas,
They all said it was well worth the wait -
Let's hold Christmas again next Christmas,
But let's hold it a day too late.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Facebook parent Meta on Thursday launched Horizon Worlds, the first public iteration of its landmark virtual reality social platform, bringing the project out of private beta for millions of adults in the U.S. and Canada. The platform, which can only be accessed via an Oculus Quest device, marks Meta’s biggest step to date toward fulfilling CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for a VR world that, in many ways, replaces our in-person reality.
Another Meta Entirely
The other day, I met a man,
A meta Meta man.
I met a man, on Meta, man,
I met a Meta man.
I'm not sure who I am,
Meta Joe or Meta Sam,
Meta Tim or Meta Tam,
Meta Sally, Meta Pam,
Meta Krish, or Meta Cam.
One time I was a Meta Dan,
But was that just a meta sham?
One time I knew, but then forgot -
I've been on Meta such a lot.
Meta Pop? Or Meta Nan?
Or Does It Really Meta Man?
Meta Who, or Meta What -
I think, therefore I'm not.
He was a funny man to meet,
That meta Meta man.
I hoped his day got better, man,
And beat my way - tout suite.
Sunday, September 05, 2021
In this installment, we get Brisbane nighttime psychedelia, a cartoon-based Theory of Evolution, a Daddy Robot and a Mummy Robot, a visit from The Fwamingo Queen, and THE TOP TEN!
18. The Creek
Sometimes the best episodes of Bluey are the ones in which nothing really happens at all. So confident are the show’s creators in their commitment to nothing really happening, that they actually have one scene in which Bluey and her friends do the same thing twice – on the play equipment, once with a happy and excited look on their face, once with a bored look on their face. Responding to repeated imprecations – ‘Will you play with us, Dad?’ ‘Yeah, will you play with us, Bluey’s Dad?’ – Bandit takes them all on a walk to the creek. A lovely score and the usual excellent illustration give this episode some magical moments.
An unusual episode, which starts off with a typical minimalistic Bluey plot – Bluey is struggling to get to sleep – and which ends with an extended surreal fantasy, in which Bluey dreams she is a fruitbat. What’s the point of it, I don’t know, but I still kinda like it. This episode is notable for the amazing artwork and animation – the dream sequence is one thing, but check out the art of Bingo sleeping, completely out of it, just after the 3 minutes 30 seconds mark. The accompanying 70s-style psychedelic music is spot on.
This extremely strange episode starts with a short chat between Bingo and Chilli and then goes straight into Bingo dreaming. There’s almost no real plot, or even dialogue, from then on. The dream looks and feels totally bizarro – a big outerspace scape, basically; Bingo is floating around between the planets and the sun with her cuddle toy, Fluffy – (a pink bunny) – who, nicely, gets a character of her own in this episode. I really appreciate the commitment of the Bluey makers to occasional shows like this that are so out there that you just wonder, whoa, where did that come from? At any rate, it’s effective; while this dreaming is going on, the characters of the house are wandering around, and even end up in all sorts of different beds (there’s a plot there, of sorts). So two basic childhood questions end up being answered: what am I going to dream about? And what happens to everyone when I go to sleep? Typically, and excellently, the soundtrack composers know exactly what music to borrow – okay, steal – from, segueing into a reference to Holst’s The Planets for the sublime ending.
15. Flat Pack
Bandit and Chilli have just brought the family back from IKEA, or whatever it is they call it in the Bluey universe. Chilli is enthused – ‘I could live in that place!’ but Bandit, not so much: ‘I’m not taking advice from a cartoon dog!’ he exclaims, tossing away the instructions, setting the scene for what’s to follow. Plenty of comedy routines have been built around people unsuccessfully putting together kit models and badly following instructions, but part of the genius of the Bluey writers is the way they combine this with that special focus of the program, kids’ games: as each piece of equipment or wrapping is discarded on the lawn, Bluey and Bingo start a new make-believe game – ‘Let’s be fish!’ ‘Let’s be frog dogs!’ (The games get so elaborate that by the end of them they seem to be on the verge of inventing their own language, culture and religion). Two different kinds of chaos take place, and that special blend of humour and family sentiment that you get in a few of the best episodes takes place.
14. Daddy Robot
Very much one of the ‘Dad plays the game so hard he makes trouble for everyone’ episodes, showing off Bandit-voice David McCormack’s talents quite well in the weird Daddy Robot ‘beep boop’ sounds and the rap the Daddy Robot has to do. In one pleasing twist, Bandit readily agrees to the Daddy Robot game (rather than his usual dramatic ‘oh no’ sighs when a game is suggested to him) because he seems to be gobbling up something he’s not supposed to from the fridge. There’s a continuation of the Bandit-Chilli romance when the malfunctioning Daddy Robot meets Mummy Robot – ‘you’re the most beautiful robot I’ve ever seen in my life’. We even get to see the world from the Daddy Robot’s eyes, as they open first thing after an operation. There’s quite a lot going on here!
13. Blue Mountains
For sheer originality and immersion in a striking concept this episode has to be one of the very best. It’s pretty simple; the hands/paws of Chilli and Bluey and Bingo have googley-eyes stuck on and go walking in the Blue Mountains – that’s Bandit’s chest – where they meet a ‘kindly-looking fox’. So you get two stories at once here – the story of the family out for the day and having a game together, and the story of the story they tell one another. This is excellent lighthhearted entertainment, and all the more impressive that it was one of the very first episodes of the show – the producers are fearless! If I hold back from placing it as one of the very top episodes, it is only because it lacks the emotional depth some others bring.
Is an episode called ‘Favourite Thing’ my favourite thing about this series? It’s a strong contender! This is all deceptively simple, just banter around the dinner table. It’s given emotional weight when Bingo becomes depressed, thinking a joke is making fun of her – Bluey repeatedly tries to cheer Bingo up, but nothing seems to be working. This is a fundamental dynamic between the two Heeler sisters that comes out in this episode. Bandit, meanwhile, just wants to eat his steaks – ‘Woo hoo! T-Bone!’, but is repeatedly interrupted by his kids. The beautiful simplicity of the plot, some very funny lines and a killer ending make this one of the best Bluey episodes.
11. The Sleepover
This episode is quintessential Muffin. Bluey and Bingo are excited when their cousin Muffin comes over for the night, because Chilli has said they get to stay up late. ‘A little later’, specifies Chilli. Only Muffin is completely out of it when they come round, she hasn’t had her ‘day sleep’ (she’s in the process of learning to only sleep at night). Uncle Stripe quickly scarpers, leaving an unimpressed Chilli to explain to Bluey and Bingo that there’s been a change of plans. Zonked out Muffin is completely hilarious (‘I am the fwamingo qween!’), alternately running into things and falling asleep in inappropriate locations; Bluey and Bingo want to keep the game going (mostly) so they can stay up late; and the ‘sleepover’ soon devolves into something like a late night bender at Fortitude Valley, in an excellent parody sequence starting with a game of ‘restaurants’. There’s something with this show and the restaurant/café game – many of the best episodes (Café, Fancy Restaurant) seem to be built around it. It’s a classic setting for comedy, I guess. Combining the excitement of ‘staying up late’ with the ‘toddler who just needs to go to sleep’ dilemma, this one earns an Episode of Excellence badge in my book. :)
THE TOP TEN
The episode that introduced the word ‘Dunny’ to generations of Americans. Is ‘dunny’ really an Australian-specific word? Turns out (from my extensive research on those most authoritative places, internet forums) Americans don’t even know how to spell it (‘Duny’!) Anyway, it’s a word that Chilli doesn’t want her kids to say, as she doesn’t think it’s nice. Trouble is Bandit didn’t hear that rule - when he comes back from the toilet and announces that the ‘Dunny’s free’ Bluey and Bingo giggle uncontrollably. ‘Dad said it, dad said it!’ This is an episode of considerable charm, a personal favourite, and again one of the ones in which nothing really happens. It’s just four dogs having a banter in bed.
Part of the recipe that makes Bluey such a special show is the way each episode is structured around a small, believable emotional crisis that all kids have. In this episode, Bluey – and all of her friends – are struggling with something at the play park and just want to give up. The structure here is the height of simplicity – Bluey falls off her bike, curls up at her dad’s feet, and they watch her friends struggle with their games. Maybe it is a bit cheaty, because the episode would be nothing without the soundtrack – starting off with some subtle pizzicato, then building to a glorious climax as the pups overcome their challenges to the tune of Ode an die Freude (that’s Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’). Shut up! I’m not crying, you’re crying!
This one is full of role reversals. It starts off with mum Chilli playing the whacky game – ‘whoa, it’s raining! Better get under the Mumbrella!’ and Bluey is hardly there at all, so the show named after her gets renamed – ‘This episode of Bingo is called Bingo’. An affectionate tribute to Bluey’s younger sister Bingo, who finds herself at a loose end when Bluey goes away with her dad for the day, and who has to find out how to play on her own. She even has troubles with the fridge – ‘I just miss my sister.’ ‘I know.’ ‘And the fridge doesn’t like me.’ ‘I…. know?’
Just how long can the show keep one gag going? This deceptively simple episode manages to keep everything running on the force of one joke, a perennially-delayed game of Shops. Mackenzie just wants to start the game, Bluey keeps on telling everyone to wait until she works out another detail. There’s so much good about this episode, not least the experience of seeing a cartoon dog (Mackenzie) roll their eyes in impatient incredulity. A special mention must go to the show’s composer, who chooses the perfect piece of music to create the sense of delayed expectation (a version of the Can-Can, written to hold off on the famous theme music until just the right time).
6. Sticky Gecko
It’s another episode in which nothing really happens, but that nothing happens at a very very frenetic pace. Chilli just wants to get the kids out the door, the kids keep on getting distracted by, well, stuff, the sticky gecko toy just doesn’t want to drop down from the roof, and anyway, Bluey seems weirdly reluctant to go. ‘Mum, what was that thing that granddad said again?’ ‘Hurry up and wait.’ We’re getting a glimpse into Chilli’s family history here – her Dad was in the army; she works in airport security – there’s a history of family service. As the normally-patient Chilli’s frustration at this most impossible of tasks builds – ‘The door is right there!’ – the comedy builds as well. There’s even an extended dialogue built around that most successful debate gambit of kids – ‘But why?’ Nothing happens, but this show really is everything.
5. The Weekend
This one originally appeared as the pilot episode of Bluey, and you can tell the show knew what it was doing from the get go. Bandit just wants to watch the cricket, the kids just want to play games with him, and Bingo gets upset when Bandit doesn’t notice her. It’s difficult to explain the magic that happens in this episode, but do take time to appreciate the gorgeous illustration/animation of a Brisbane night (also happens in episodes like Daddy Putdown) and the pitch perfect soundtrack (well, you’d hope it would be).
4. Daddy Putdown
As we have all learned from that stirring modern classic Go the fuck to sleep, a story about the kids going to bed is mostly not about the kids going to bed. Bluey doesn’t want her dad to put her to bed, but it’s really about her anxiety about her mum being away from home. There’s a kind of beautiful suburban blissfulness about this episode; look at how gorgeously Bluey’s backyard is depicted, with the long evening light and the dreamlike soundtrack, halfway between a lullaby and a meditation. There’s a very funny joke towards the end, but it’s just a very sweet episode, really.
Aw, isn’t that sweet, the whole family is bonding by being violent to Bandit. (Consensually. Sort of.) When Bluey and Bingo decide to play hairdressers, Bandit gives himself some dodge name and joins in the fun – only to be told he has nits. Oh no, bring out the cold showers, bring out the bats! All of which makes the concluding line ‘Hi. I don’t have nits. Would you like to have coffee with me?’ very funny indeed. It shouldn’t be funny, but it so is. To quote Homer Simpson – ‘It’s funny because it isn’t happening to me.’
2. Rug Island
‘Hey kids, I got you some new pens. ’’Yay, Rug Island!’ ‘Huh?’ Chilli is not the only that ends up confused about this concept; by the end of this episode I have lost track of reason, time, and even reality itself. The idea is simple enough – the island is a rug in the middle of the backyard covered with pot plants, the pens become fish and spears and vegetables and animals, all is going well when a grown-up (Bandit) becomes washed up on Rug Island. Bingo wants to make him welcome, but Bluey doesn’t even bother holding back on her inner cannibal – ‘It’s a grown-up! Eat him!’ There’s a montage of scenes with Bandit finding out how to live on the island, and here’s where reality really starts to warp – the episode starts with Bandit saying, ‘I’ve got to get to work’, and the rest of the episode is basically him not getting to work. Was it all just an elaborate ruse? Doesn’t he normally work at home? It’s hard to believe that all the material in this episode happens in the five odd minutes or so before he leaves home for work. And then Lucky’s Dad appears, apparently fully immersed in the game as well. The emotional movement of this episode is sweetly paralleled by a lyrical score, making it one of the high points of the whole series. While most episodes are about children’s games, this one is really more about Bandit, looking nostalgically back at childhood and a life without all his adult cares.
1. Fancy restaurant
Oh, this episode has got the goods. The set up: Bluey and Bingo want Mum and Dad to ‘smoochy kiss’ because ‘it’s so romance’. (‘Where did you learn that word?’ ’TV.’) But Chilli is reluctant without a romantic occasion. So they all play Restaurants; Bluey becomes the waiter, Bingo the chef, and Bandit gives himself the name ‘Romeo McFlourish’ before promptly forgetting it. He tries to urge Bluey and Bingo to make it a more romantic setting for the date (baked beans aren’t very conducive to smoochy kisses). Everyone gets great lines here; we find ourselves more in sit-com territory rather than the suburban realism-with-a-hint-of-childhood-whimsy territory more familiar to the series. Bluey urges Bandit ‘Well, toughen up, Romeo! We want to see a smoochy kiss!’, but the magic doesn’t seem to be happening – ‘I guess I have forgotten how to be romance’ Bandit, AKA Romeo McFlourish, tells his date. Simultaneously sending up the romantic love genre while reaffirming the love affair between Bandit and Chilli, this is a great example of the two-way appeal of the show – amusing the kids and the adults, all at once.
In this instalment, we have talking garbage bins, a wholesome capsicum salad, a visit from Evil Claw, and a Giant Peanut. It's basically a normal morning at home. Let's get into it!
46. Bin Night
Bin Night really does raise deep philosophical questions, doesn’t it. ‘Hey, is it yellow bin night tonight or not?’ ‘I don’t know, I just copy what you do!’ Each week as Bingo, Bluey and Bandit take the bins out, we learn a bit more about what’s going on in Bingo’s class at school, and the problems she’s having with fellow classmate Banjo. The concept is so simple, even minimalistic, but there’s so many characters who get a part here: from the Heeler family, to Doreen across the road and her friends, ‘the ladies from Mah Jong’, to Bingo’s class, to the neighbourhood crow. Even the bins have personalities! Great fun.
45. Dad Baby
Does what it says on the cover. When Bandit finds an old baby carrier, Bingo climbs in so he can be pregnant with a Dad Baby. ‘Wait until you feel the first kick,’ suggests Chilli helpfully. And so the episode moves gradually but inevitably towards the birth scene – you knew there was going to be one. No more from me on this one, you’ll have to find out for yourself.
44. Swim School
Starting off with a discussion about dobbing, this episode segues into a series of lessons from Bluey, who becomes ‘Karen’ – the kindly teacher of ‘Little Fish’ swim school – and ‘Margaret’ – a much meaner old biddy who teaches ‘Big Fish’. As Margaret, Bluey engages a time-honoured tactic of teachers and plays her students off one another, encouraging them all to dob. You won’t find an obvious moral in this. Should you dob or not? It really depends on the circumstance. Maybe the moral is more like, it doesn’t really matter so long as your family is loving and supportive. But then, this episode at least is basically The Simpsons principle in action: there’s nothing like a dysfunctional family unit to entertain us all. There’s comedy, there’s slapstick, it’s quite a tight little episode!
43. Dance Mode
It’s hard to tell if this is a game or an elaborate form of revenge: Bingo – who is sad because dad Bandit snaffled her last chip – gets three chances at Dance Mode, where she can make her parents dance whenever and wherever she chooses. Inconvenient for some – Bandit gets sprung into Dance Mode at the front of a long queue. ‘Hey, Wiggletime, get a move on!’ Only everyone else keeps on persuading Bingo to use the Dance Mode when she doesn’t want to: her ‘outside voice’ sometimes says ‘yes’ when her ‘inside voice’ says ‘no’. Of course the dance mode is infectious and of course this episode ends with a techno beat and mega dance off. This is a classic for both Bingo, the less confident of the Heeler sisters, and for Bandit, who gets a few chances here to bust a move.
There’s a lot of fun in this episode with Bingo, who announces ‘this is my relaxing chair. This is where I get to do my relaxing’, and then is sent on a quest to make salad for her play BBQ by her ever-hypo cousin Muffin. As is often the case, Bandit is the butt of most of the jokes, though Uncle Stripe is in for it as well. Ahhhh, nothing like sharing the pain around.
A bit of a stand-out, this, it contains both one of those complicated ‘plot within a plot’ tricks, and a whole new style of animation, developed for this episode and this episode only. This in spite of the fact that, basically, it’s just Bluey and Bingo in the car with their parents. How does the show do this! It all hinges on the concept; when Bandit and Chilli tell the kids that they’re going to Nannas and that they’ll get some time off in the meantime they all invent elaborate fantasies about what they’ll be doing and how one pair will escape from the other. Good fun.
Bluey and Bingo take the controls as they ‘play’ their Dad Bandit and their Uncle Stripe off in a game of squash. In this episode I end up a little confused as to whether Stripe really does beat his competitive brother Bandit in squash or whether Bandit is just pretending to play badly. Is it just a game or is it just a game? The computer game conceit (complete with appropriate music) is clever though it does make me feel a bit uncomfortable – I don’t really want to believe these dogs are digital blips on the screen even if they are, um, just digital blips on the screen. To steal a line from another episode: ‘Can you please pretend that they’re pretend real?’ But it’s good to see Uncle Stripe get his victory in the end. Or is it Bingo? Or Bandit and Bluey? This has all turned out to be unexpectedly complex.
39. Early Baby
Bluey’s friend Indy and teacher Calypso both play significant roles in this episode – Indy wants to play one of those weirdly specific games with Bluey, where they’re about to have a baby, but it’s an early baby. Okay, Indy! But then Rusty causes trouble by barging in with a game of his own and taking the doll – sorry, early baby – out of its special crib. What the hell, Rusty! A well-crafted little episode, this, approaching a difficult subject in a tactful way.
38. Daddy Dropoff
‘You just like making more work for yourself, don’t you?’ says Chilli to Bandit as they lie in bed at the start of the morning, the pups dangling off his feet. ‘At least I get to lie in bed’, says Bandit, which is when you know this episode is one of those in which Bandit is going to get run off his feet. Will he get the kids to school on time? Bluey and Bingo are more interested in playing games with him than stupid old schedules. Cleverly structured so that a new character introduced briefly at the start becomes part of an emotional high point at the end, this is altogether quite worthy of your time.
In this episode, Bluey becomes the worst doctor in the world to ailing patient Bandit Heeler (BANDIT: Why did you stick a needle in me before you knew what was wrong with me? BLUEY: I’m very busy.) Bingo plays the kindly nurse – ‘leave it with me, dearie’ – which Bandit needs when he finds out he’s pregnant with a cat (we’ve all been there). Plenty of comedy in this episode.
So, we start off the show with a bit of naughtiness. (Bluey dangles Bingo’s toothbrush in front of her, chanting ‘OOooOOooOOoo!’ Honestly, I have no idea how to transcribe some of the jokes of this show.) Bandit tells her not to tease her sister, but Bluey can’t see why she shouldn’t – why, when their dad teases them all the time? ‘I never tease!’ says Bandit, which of course means the show will be a series of quickfire jokes about Bandit teasing his kids. The jokes seem unconnected at first, almost like ideas for Bluey episodes that didn’t make it, but then weird things start happening – Bandit objects that ‘As usual, you squirts only told half the story!’ And we get the other part of the teasing, where his kids tease him right back; a cascade of more jokes, riffing on the first ones, follow. So - diagram time, kids! - here we have Bluey teasing Bingo, Chilli and Bluey and Bingo teasing Bandit about his teasing Bluey and Bingo, and Bandit teasing Chilli and Bluey and Bingo about their teasing of his teasing. So sometimes teasing is…. good? Yes. Yes it is. And this episode – it’s good too!
In which Bluey and Bingo cause various kinds of chaos outside the Chinese takeaway while dad Bandit waits for the spring rolls – ‘your dad and the spring rolls!’ sighs Chilli over the phone. Chaos is always fun and this show thrives on it; relieved occasionally by Bingo’s questions of Bandit – ‘if only grown-ups have babies, where did the first baby come from?’ Haha, take THAT Bandit.
34. The Claw
The exaggerated disappointment of Bluey and Bingo at not winning at one of those crappy mechanical claw games you find in supermarkets causes Chilli, when they get home, to become a claw herself. Only she doesn’t play it very well at all – she keeps on giving the kids things, the game becomes much too disappointing. So Bandit, who shall henceforth be known as Evil Claw, takes over. ‘This is great’, Evil Claw says to Chilli while the kids are off making a bed to get money to play again, ‘The house is getting cleaned, and they’re learning a valuable life lesson.’ ’Neither of those things are happening.’ There’s a lot of bargaining happening in this episode, not all of Evil Claw’s doing. What’s it’s message? Capitalism is bad? Capitalism is good? Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit? I don’t know, I had a laugh at this one, and you will too.
‘Muffy’, Uncle Stripe says to Bluey and Bingo’s cousin Muffin in the car on the way to their house, ‘You’re the most special girl in the world.’ BIG MISTAKE, Stripe. Muffin (who is even wearing a princess tiara) toddles off to play with her cousins, but she thinks she doesn’t have to play ‘Library’ by their rules. And because she’s the guest, well… Chilli kind of lets her. It’s not just a Muffin episode, we get a glimpse of Uncle Stripe’s parenting style as well.
This one’s a little mind boggler. The premise is simple; at a family dinner Bluey gets hold of a magic asparagus – of course it’s magic, Chilli tells her so! – that can turn anyone into animals – even, er, a dog family that kinda sorta represents a human family. Righto then. There’s some visual magic from the animators here, managing to make this family of dogs look not only like, well, dogs, but dogs acting like they’ve been turned into other animals AND dogs that actually have been turned into other animals (because the acting is successful) (or the magic) (we’ll get to that). And then there’s the cleverness in the scripting and the directing because, at the end there, the script kind of just leaves you hanging – was the stalk magic after all? The end joke, which is very good, depends on you actually accepting the asparagus actually was magic. ‘Don’t worry Tim’, I hear you whisper soothingly to me, ‘it’s not really real’. I know they’re not real, they’re just animated characters – I just want to know how not real they are!
A very sweet ep, this one, that manages to capture many of the positive aspects of camping (family closeness, fun in the bush) and none of the negatives (tents are too small and are leaky when it rains). I don’t like camping much but I suspect the Bluey makers do. Anyway, while Bluey’s out in the bush with her family at a campsite, she makes a new friend, Jean-Luc, only she has to find new ways of communicating with him; he speaks French and doesn’t speak English, she speaks English and doesn’t speak French. Conveniently, there’s always an adult they can beat up on – hello, Bandit! In a recapitulation at the end, we even get to see a teen Bluey, sitting under a tree, reading a book. I can’t even understand half the dialogue here but there’s a lot packed into the episode – family, friendship, loss, growing up, and more.
When Bluey walks in on Chilli and Bandit having a minor disagreement – ‘I don’t like it when you squabble!’ – she decides her dad has to write a letter to her mum apologising and telling her he still loves her. Only problem is, not only does she end up playing postman, but she has to play ‘The Floor is Lava’ with Bingo at the same time. It’s a clever concept for an episode, and leads to several amusing altercations between her and Bingo – ‘No I don’t.’ ‘Yes you do.’ ‘No I don’t.’ ‘Yes you don’t.’ ‘No I…. AH! WE’RE SQUABBLING! We have to agree on everything!’ Both the sisters have to display their wits and agility in this episode to get round this two-games-at-once hoodoo.
29. The Quiet Game
Annoyed by his kids being shouty, Bandit dares them to play the Quiet Game, where they compete to see who can stay silent for the longest. I suppose it’s a bit like that movie A Quiet Place, only this time it’s horrifying for real life for Bandit – he ends up having to take the kids to the shops to get a present for Muffin. He has to get the right present because Muffin will chuck a tanty if he doesn’t, and, well, only Bluey and Bingo know what the right present is. The soundtrack does some excellent work here – Joff Bush, always knowing what musical cues to take, this time goes to the old silent movie serials and vaudeville mime acts, almost becoming an extra script for the show. This great concept brings just the right amount of suspense to the show; the jokes work wonderfully well, and make the joyous shouting when it happens – you KNOW it’s going to happen – all the more joyously shouty.
28. The Pool
Can any backyard pool games be sweeter than games in Backyard Pool of Relative When They’re Away on Holiday? I think not. Bandit, Bluey and Bingo all head off to Uncle Stripe’s house on a hot day to get some pool action, only they forget all the stuff they normally take along, so they can’t play any of the pool games. Bandit finds himself resorting to the oldest of conversational gambits: ‘I’m bored.’ ‘Oh, hi Bored! Nice to meet you!’ ‘Ugh.’ ‘I’m HUNGRY.’ ‘Oh, hi Hungry! Meet Bored!’ ‘Grrr!’ ‘Tough crowd!’ This one has some very funny and original jokes and some excellent dialogue, strikingly capturing the family fun on a hot summer day feeling.
This unique episode actually finds the narrative moving backwards through time as the show progresses. Bingo, with Bluey in tow, is looking for her beloved toy Floppy before she goes to bed, only she can’t remember where she put her; so Chilli asks her to think back to what she was doing before she came to bed. And just why is Bandit now a Chickenrat? And what on earth is a Chickenrat? A pleasing detective story with a twist, and a clever structure to this episode makes this one satisfying little televisual unit.
26. Road Trip
Something something something Necessity is the mother of invention something something but sometimes Mum is the mother of invention something something. Yep, when they’re stuck on a long road trip, without their video games, Bluey and Bingo turn to their parents to stave off boredom. So Mum keeps on coming up with suggestions – Eye Spy? (Nooooo!) Why not use your hands to play video games with the passing scenery? In the meantime, Bandit has his own battle against boredom – he keeps frantically moving the family along, so they don’t get stuck behind the Grey Nomads. (Grey Nomads? What are ‘Grey Nomads’? The kids have no idea what this means, so this little Aussie colloquialism attains semi-mythical status in their mind). So there’s a lot here! Bandit’s comic urgency, the Aussie reference to ‘Grey Nomads’, the common experience of a long road trip, the video game jokes, and more. Plus, the animation is absolutely gorgeous – even in passing, the Australian landscape is positively glowing with detail.
25. Baby Race
Spurred on by Bluey’s natural competitiveness – ‘Am I faster than Judo?’ ‘Yeah, but am I faster than Judo today?’ – Chilli tells her kids a story about the time when she was a new mum, and became determined to have Bluey walk before Judo. ‘It’s a baby race!’ shouts Bluey. Yeah! Ooh, there’s some good stuff in this episode, a lot of it for parents – you can wince sympathetically (Bandit changes a pooey nappy) or laugh (as baby-Bluey lies drooling on the floor, Bandit lies drooling on the floor as well, completely exhausted). Of course the moral is ‘it’s not a race’ even though the title says it is, so it kinda sorta is.
24. Burger Shop
When Bandit, whose parenting style is relaxed at the best of times, announces that he’s reading a book about relaxed parenting, and from now on he’s going to let the kids make their own decisions, Chilli is sceptical. The kids should have been in bed by now, and they’re still in the bath! But Bandit reckons he can handle it. It’s a fine little comic set up they’ve got going on here. Bluey and Bingo are playing Burger Shop, would Dad like to buy a burger? They just want to keep playing – when Bandit says ‘okay, just one’, they keep talking him up to ‘just one more’. Bandit keeps on telling the kids to get out of the bath without actually telling them to do it at all: ‘Kids, I need you to make a good decision right now….’ And Chilli keeps on coming in and threatening to pull the plug. And just whose side is Bandit on, anyway? He gets more and more desperate in his bargaining, and the game gets funnier and more fast-paced as it goes on. There are some excellent visual gags here – the cartoonists, in keeping with the typical minimalistic style of the show, turn the plastic letters stuck on the side of the bath into burgers, chips, and even, at one point, a moustache and top hat.
23. Double Babysitter
They come up with the best names on this show, often puns on dog names (‘Lucky’s Dad’ is actually called ‘Pat’. ‘Pat the Dog’. Suitable for his omnipresent role as the butt of jokes). This episode we get two perfectly named characters – Uncle Rad (he’s the fun uncle on Bandit’s side of the family) and Frisky (she’s the normal babysitter). Because of a miscommunication (yeah, right) they both end up babysitting Bluey and Bingo, and they hit it off very well indeed. There’s a great sequence where they play ‘Twenty Questions’ with the kids – ‘Why don’t you have a wife?’ ‘Well… how do you know I don’t?’ ‘Well, do you have a wife?’ ‘Well…. no.’ ‘Well, why don’t you have a wife?’ ‘Uh…. her turn!’ Meanwhile, in kid world, Bluey is worried about going to sleep while the babysitter is there – it’s only after very patient discussion and some fun bedtime games that Uncle Rad and Frisky are able to find out what it’s all about. Several great comedy sequences and games are packed into this tight little seven minutes, and if you’ll skip forward to the Christmas Swim episode, you’ll find out how well the Frisky and Rad pairing went. (Well? Yes, as a matter of fact, it did.)
Everyone likes the copycat game when they are doing it, not so much when they are the ones it’s being done to. Bandit wakes up to Bluey copying him and there’s not much he can do about it so he decides to run with it, making fun of Bluey (and Bluey managing to make fun of him as well). Then there’s a sudden change of tone when Bandit finds a sick budgie – ‘A cat must have gotten to it’ – and he and Bluey have to take it to the vet. So what we get in this episode is actually a nice subtle look at two kinds of copying – the annoying copycat kind, and the deeper sort – kids learn from their parents by copying. But what are they copying? This show sometimes has such a light touch – in the seven minutes it manages to pack in several scene changes, and a couple of the Big Questions – how do we react to death? How do kids react to it? Where does copying stop and acting normally begin? Does it?
I was a bit stunned when I first saw this one – somehow the producers manage to have almost the entire show run on no real script, but with action going all over the place, all at once. And it all makes sense, because they hang it around this simple central idea – it’s a party, Bingo is trying to do a handstand, and when she actually succeeds, she can’t get anyone to watch her. They’re all too distracted – playing games, making food, setting the table. She keeps on doing this for over half the episode! Then we cut to Nanna. She’s at the party too, and she just wants something to do – but everyone keeps telling her that, no, she doesn’t have to worry, sit down and rest. You can see the denouement coming, but it’s no less satisfying for all that. A satisfying episode about the problems faced by the littlest child in a family, a follow up to Duck Cake, and a successful experiment all in one, which somehow, by focusing on only one thing, manages to be about everything.
20. The Doctor
Things get really weird when Bingo is the Doctor and Bluey is secretary. How does the triage process work? Honey’s bumped knee just can’t seem to compete with stuff like ‘Arrrrgh! There’s a crocodile on my nose!’ And how on earth do those egg beaters get used in the surgery? I have questions. There’s plenty of comedy here; Honey’s anxiety about not being seen by the doctor gets neatly resolved in a joke ending that almost seems too pat, though there’s another anxiety Honey is displaying – is she really creative enough to take part in the game? – that is also resolved. I can’t say anymore about this episode – I’ve probably said too much already – but do watch it, it’s one of the good ones (they’re all one of the good ones, dammit!)
Bluey is mystified that Bandit doesn’t become friends immediately with another father he meets at the playground, Fido. ‘We just need to get to know each other a bit better first.’ ‘How long will it take?’ ‘It’ll take as long as it takes.’ ‘You sure do take a lot of time making new friends!’ Truth is, Bandit and Fido obviously do like one another, but their shyness from an adult perspective is understandable. They’re both the sort of jokey, blokey dads who like to get involved in their kids’ games, make fun of their kids and occasionally become the butt of their kids’ jokes. Cutting several times between Bluey’s house and the playground, this is another episode making excellent use of minimal materials to build up the comedy and dramatic… well, there’s not so much dramatic tension in this episode, but there is dramatic, well, sweetness. The music, also, is lovely, a playful riff on bird song, suitable for the two dads and their kids, in that slightly vulnerable time of making new friends.
(Stay tuned for the final post - including the TOP TEN!)
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
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