May 24, 2024
Bluey’s surprise new episode was based on this dad’s chaotic family camping trip | CBC Radio

Bluey’s surprise new episode was based on this dad’s chaotic family camping trip | CBC Radio

As It Happens6:36Bluey’s surprise new episode was based on this dad’s chaotic family camping trip

When Stuart Heritage agreed to play two separate games with each of his children simultaneously, it left him exhausted, confused, and hiding in the bathroom. 

But that misguided decision — and the chaos that ensued — landed him a credit on his favourite TV show, Bluey.

Surprise, the unexpected coda to the hit cartoon’s powerhouse season finale, is based on Heritage’s family camping trip three years ago, and it’s made him a hero in the eyes of his children and all their friends.

“That is the thing I love most about it — that was a real moment with my real kids,” Heritage told As It Happens host Nil Köksal.

‘Awful, bad decision’

It all began in 2021 when Heritage, a pop culture reporter for the Guardian based in Kent, England, decided to take his kids, then aged three and six, on a weekend camping trip all by himself — “which, in retrospect, was incredibly foolish,” he said. 

At a playground near the campsite, one child insisted they play “floor is lava,” while the other proposed a “complicated alien defence game on a climbing frame,” Heritage said.

“They were just arguing over who would go first, and it got to the point that I was just like, ‘Look, if it will help, I will play the game with both of you at the same time,'” he said.

“Awful, bad decision.”

WATCH | Bluey‘s emotional finale makes an impact: 

Bluey season finale hits a nerve with kids and parents

The Australian animated kids’ series Bluey is bringing many parents to tears as the family looks to uproot their lives so the dad can move to a new job. Experts say the show is able to appeal to both kids and adults by tackling difficult topics in a nuanced way.

The children proceeded to explain the complicated rules of their imaginary worlds at the same time, talking over each as they did so. 

“I went to defend the climbing frame from some aliens, and the younger kid told me I was standing in lava. So I jumped up on a see-saw, and then I was letting the aliens in. And it just went backwards and forwards and backwards and forwards,” Heritage said. 

“And it just struck me that … basically, this was an episode of Bluey that I was in.”

So he fired off a pitch email to the series creator, Joe Brumm, whom he’d previously interviewed for the Guardian.

Why grown-ups love Bluey

By this point, Heritage was all in on Bluey, the critically acclaimed Australian animated series about a family of dogs that’s become a fan-favourite for both children and parents, alike.

“The thing that connected with me was the dad. I mean, I’m talking about a cartoon dog, which sounds bizarre, but he is sort of the best dad in the world. He’s present, he listens, he’s patient, but at the same time, he struggles,” Heritage said.

“Dads are kind of watching him and almost taking parenting lessons from him.”

LISTEN | The cross-generational appeal of Bluey: 

The Current11:11Why adults love the children’s show Bluey

The show Bluey is ostensibly for kids, but it’s gained a significant following among adults for the way it handles moments like death and infertility — like in its recent season finale, in which Bluey and her family processed tough emotions about a potential move. Meryl Alper, an associate professor in communication studies at Northeastern University in the U.S., tells us more about this charming blue heeler dog.

Meryl Alper, an associate professor of communication studies at Northeastern University in Boston, says that’s a huge part of Bluey’s cross-generational appeal. 

“You see a lot of TV that’s for kids that’s educational. But not so much that’s really also meant to help parents come away with some bigger answers, and maybe some new questions for themselves, about who they want to be as parents,” Alper told The Current host Matt Galloway.

“It’s really this sort of animated guide for how to play with your kids and how to be really present with them.”

Pitching from the toilet

But no parent can be present 100 per cent of the time. So after a wild day of simultaneously fending off alien invaders whilst avoiding hot lava, Heritage locked himself in the campsite bathroom for a brief moment of respite.

That’s where he ironed out the details with Brumm over email. 

“Joe Brumm replied very quickly, and very reassuringly said, ‘You have everything you need to survive in that toilet,'” he said. “Dad to dad, that felt very kind.”

A man and two small children sit in a tent, raising their arms in the air excitedly.
Heritage and his kids during their chaotic 2021 family camping trip. (Submitted by Stuart Heritage)

The episode in question, Surprise, dropped on Sunday on Disney+. In it, dad dog Bandit bites off more than he can chew when he agrees to play two different games with Bluey and her sister Bingo at the same time. 

The final credits read: “Created and written by Joe Brumm, from an idea by Stuart Heritage.”

“My oldest kid went to school and announced to his classmates that the episode had my name at the end of it, and the teacher put it on for them,” Heritage said. “Now I’m a real big deal. You have no idea. Yeah, I’m a real big shot on the playground.”

What’s next for Bluey?

Surprise was, indeed, a surprise to fans. It dropped unexpectedly a week after the show’s emotional and critically acclaimed Season 3 finale, The Sign.

At 28 minutes, The Sign is four times longer than the usual seven-minute Bluey episode. It showed the family dealing with a decision about whether to sell their house and move to a new city.

Surprise aired after the finale because it makes reference to The Sign‘s plot, and the producers didn’t want to spoil anything, Heritage wrote in the Guardian.

The Sign’s length and subject matter had viewers speculating about the end of BlueyBut the show’s producer recently told the BBC the beloved Australian dogs will return to the screen after a temporary hiatus. 

Ludo, the studio behind Bluey, did not respond to a CBC request for comment. 

Heritage suspects that when the show returns, it will be in a different format — perhaps longer episodes, or maybe even a movie.

But he’s quick to note he has no inside info. 

“They don’t tell me anything, by the way,” he said. “They know I’m a journalist and I’ll just blab it to everyone.”

Source link