BLUEY. “Sleepytime”, or the Touching Masterpiece

“Sleepytime” from “Bluey” is the perfect episode for children and adults.

Lukasz Budnik

21 April 2024

Bluey sleepytime

One of the most enjoyable aspects of parenthood for me is the opportunity to show my preschool-aged son animated films and series (mostly) that I enjoyed watching as a child. Observing his reactions, as well as the subsequent conversations and exchanging of remarks, is fascinating and adds a wonderful new dimension to the life of a film enthusiast. At the same time, I have the chance to discover and evaluate contemporary productions aimed at younger audiences – among them, my definite favorite is Bluey.

An Australian production helmed by Joe Brumm, Bluey premiered in 2018. Since then, three seasons have been produced, each comprising several dozen episodes (each lasting just under 10 minutes, with the exception of the most recent, extended to half an hour). As I write these words, Bluey holds an average IMDb rating of 9.4/10 based on 26 thousand votes. And this rating is not exaggerated.

Perfect for a family viewing

Bluey spanko

The titular Bluey is a young anthropomorphic dog who lives with her parents, Mum Chili and Dad Bandit, as well as her younger sister Bingo. Like any child, Bluey explores the world, encounters difficulties, spends time with family and peers, experiences moments of joy, but also disappointment. And it’s written in a way that makes it very easy to relate many situations to a preschooler’s everyday life. Furthermore, Bluey is equally a series about parents and for parents, often offering therapeutic value as it presents situations familiar from life and plays them out beautifully, sometimes even offering direct support (in one episode, Bluey’s mom’s friend comforts her in a moment of doubt, breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to us: “You’re doing great”). There are plenty of wonderful, witty ideas in Bluey. The series also doesn’t shy away from addressing difficult topics (such as miscarriage), though they are depicted subtly enough that adults are more likely to pick up on them than children. The whole show is infused with warmth and humor, often very straightforward, which is of course not a flaw – my preschool-aged son often bursts into laughter, and my wife and I join in with him. Amidst all this, Bluey is a very touching and endearing series. All its best qualities are encapsulated in an episode from the second season titled Sleepytime.

Sleepytime, or the cosmic journey

Bluey spanko

The main character of Sleepytime is Bingo, who plans to sleep alone all night (only with her plush toy). Mom reads her a bedtime story, then heads to the bedroom, where she lies down next to Bandit. As everyone falls asleep, nocturnal wanderings begin – Bluey goes to her mom and asks for a glass of water (then takes her place, causing mom to go to the children’s room), Bingo lies down with her sister and dad, Blue and Bandit end up on the floor… We see all of this from Bingo’s perspective, who dreams that she is drifting through space with her plush toy. What the dog experiences in reality is reflected in her dream. As she moves, she also travels through cosmic space. There she starts running on Jupiter (in reality, she kicks her dad’s legs in her sleep) and slides on waves, while in reality, she rolls over in bed. At one point, she loses her plush toy while moving through a dream to another room – in the dream, her toy joins a ring of others, bidding farewell to a sad Bingo. Alone, Bingo spots the sun in space, rushes toward it on a comet with a smile to warm up and feel safe – it turns out that in reality, her mom hugs her, whispering as the sun that she will always be there for her and that she loves her. In her dream, Bingo decides she must go now because “she’s a big girl now” and indeed sleeps through until morning. In the episode’s finale, we see the characters sleeping in different places – Bingo in her own bed, Bluey and Bandit together on the floor, Chili alone, comfortably in a large bed.

A touching masterpiece

Bluey spanko

Sleepytime is a beautiful episode, relying less on dialogues and more on visuals and magnificent music (using excerpts from “Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity” from The Planets by Holst). The initial idea of dreams merging with reality, led by the metaphor of maternal presence and love as the sun – combined with what Chili says at that moment, is truly a very touching moment, from both the parent’s and the child’s perspective (at any age). Like many other episodes of Bluey, this one could essentially function as an autonomous short film (and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was successful as such). As mentioned above, everything that makes this such a wonderful animated series for children and adults is here – excellent concept, humor, emotions, and situations that will surely resonate with all parents (even a half-asleep Bandit sitting with Bluey in the toilet). I’ve seen it several times and always ended up moved. A true masterpiece of the small screen, encapsulated in just seven minutes.

Łukasz Budnik

Lukasz Budnik

He loves both silent cinema and contemporary blockbusters based on comic books. He looks forward to watching movie with his growing son.

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