The 10 best Bluey episodes, for both kids and parents – sorted


It’s hard to know where to start with this beloved Australian cartoon – but these episodes are funny, thoughtful and incredibly touching

Sun 20 Mar 2022 16.30 GMT

With 150 Bluey episodes now available on ABC iView for those in Australia and slightly fewer available on Disney+ for those in other, less Blueified countries, it can be hard to know where to start with this much-loved cartoon about a little blue heeler dog and her family – and then where to start again, and again, and again. Here are my 10 favourites:

A scene from the Duck Cake episode of Bluey. Photograph: ABC TV

10. Duck Cake

It’s never specified that the cake in question is being made from the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book – but let’s be honest, it is. And this episode isn’t really about Bluey and her dad Bandit making her little sister Bingo’s birthday cake; it’s about doing things that aren’t fun because they have, in Bluey lingo, gotta be done.

As Bluey learns the satisfaction that comes with completing tasks, parents will experience the horrified thrill of recognition over the bits of Lego strewn about the Heeler lounge room – a moment of valuable relatabilty in a house that’s otherwise far nicer than most of us will ever see.

It’s also thoughtfully provided a generation of frustrated parents with a perfect ersatz swear when things get too difficult: “Oh, duck cake!” Why not try it in front of your own children six or seven thousand times?

A still from the Rain episode of Bluey. Photograph: ABC TV

9. Rain

With barely any dialogue and some of the most gorgeous sound design and animation in the series so far, Rain has Bluey playing a very familiar game of trying to block a stream of water pouring down her front path. It’s incredibly simple, but powerfully evocative: not only for how it captures those dark daytime storms familiar to anyone who’s spent any time in Queensland, but also in the way that Bluey’s mum Chilli gradually abandons her attempts to stay dry and embraces playing with her daughter. If you want a single episode that sums up the overarching philosophy of Bluey, it’s hard to think of a better example.

8. Dance Mode

Some episodes of Bluey inspire fear in parents because they represent a new standard that children then expect in their own lives. Seriously, the tooth fairy rate mentioned in the episode Markets: five dollarbucks per lost tooth? Who even has physical paper money lying around the house these days?

Anyway, Dance Mode goes one step further, by conditioning children to expect their parents to dance in public on demand – which both Chilli and Bandit do with gusto, if not exactly willing enthusiasm. In any case, this episode about how sometimes we say yes when we really want to say no involves a lot of public down-getting as it makes its way to its triumphant conclusion. It also contains a busker who isn’t playing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, another refreshing break from reality.

A still from the Camping episode. Photograph: ABC TV

7. Camping

Bluey meets visiting French-speaking Jean-Luc while on a family camping trip and the language barrier doesn’t stop them developing a firm friendship until he abruptly leaves without being able to tell her that he’s leaving and no I’m not crying, you’re crying.

It’s a simple and beautiful lesson about embracing moments of joy as and when they arrive in our lives, even though – spoiler – teen Bluey and teen Jean-Luc meet again years later and he now speaks English and oh god why can’t all loves be this perfect and pure?

6. Pass the Parcel

This recent episode lit the socials up with the ire of a billion furious parents, who did not appreciate having their kids party traditions critiqued. The Heelers’ next door neighbour Pat the Dog, AKA Lucky’s dad, doesn’t hold with this everyone-gets-a-prize business, calling for a game of pass the parcel that adheres to old school rules: one big prize in the middle, instead of one in every layer.

Chaos, predictably, ensues; lessons are learned, parcels are passed, and Australia escapes becoming, as Pat puts it, “a nation of squibs”. While the ending seems to wildly overestimate the enthusiasm of children who are not getting toys, it does involve Pat enraptured by an absolutely killer bit of 80s AOR rock, complete with bitchin’ guitarmonies. GUITARMONIES!

A scene from Stumpfest. Photograph: ABC TV

5. Stumpfest

Chilli and Aunt Trixie (the always brilliant Myf Warhurst, whose “Go and destroy the planet somewhere else!” is the best line delivery of the episode and possibly any episode of anything) settle back with drinks, while Bandit, Uncle Stripe and Pat dig up stumps from the yard. This thrilling display of masculinity is not remotely undercut by Bluey, Bingo and Muffin giving the three men makeovers as a condition of letting them pull up a stump they’re using as a beauty parlour.

This episode is especially glorious for the way it captures the way in which men interact with one another: mainly through paying one another out in between some unexpectedly real conversations (at one point, as Bandit strains over a crowbar, you overhear Stripe reassuring Pat over something he’s going through). As Chilli explains to Bluey, this is how grown-ups play; any right-thinking dad should charge out to the backyard with his mates and an axe, yelling “STUMPFEST!”

4. The Creek

In another episode that captures an ultra-specific moment in Australian childhood, Bandit take the girls and their friend Mackenzie to the park, but when the kids get bored he decides that it’s time to head down to the creek instead. Leeches, yabbies, dragonflies, tadpoles, and even a pademelon turns up as Bluey overcomes her aversion to the grubby, sticky outdoors and discovers that the bush is a beautiful place to be.

As the kids learn the joys of spending time in nature, I heard echoes of my own father when Bandit warns the girls about dropbears: “I’m joking. But seriously, watch out for snakes.”

From Flatpack. Photograph: ABC TV

3. Flatpack

Chilli and Bandit build an Ikea-style outdoor swing-seat, while the girls play with the packaging and in doing so literally recreate the entire development of life. You know, the sort of thing that no other show would even think of doing.

It’s impossible to watch this episode and not see it as creator-writer Joe Brumm’s spiritual-scientific manifesto: Bluey and Bingo start as mother and baby fish and then proceed through reptiles, dinosaurs, mammals and even cavedogs until finally an all-grown-up Bingo takes the now elderly Bluey to explore space.

Extra points for the most meta line in the show, as Bandit scoffs at the Ikea-style illustrated instructions: “I’m not taking advice from a cartoon dog.” Harsh, Bandit.

From Baby Race. Photograph: ABC/YouTube

2. Baby Race

AKA The One With Baby Bluey. Chilli remembers her first-time-parent anxieties as infant Bluey lags behind other kids in their mothers and babies group, with Chilli determined to get Bluey walking. From a condescending paediatrician dismissing Chilli’s concerns, down to Bandit’s mum deciding to put oil on Bluey’s knees to force her to walk (Bandit: “This isn’t legal any more!”), this episode is both wise and hilarious.

But the moment where an older, more experienced mother (voiced by Leigh Sales, no less) reassures Chilli with the one lesson she’s learned from having “eight – no, nine!” kids is that all mums just need to hear that they’re actually doing great, is another of the series’ big waterworks moments.

From Sleepytime. Photograph: ABC/YouTube

1. Sleepytime

In years to come, this Bluey episode will be used by humankind to test if someone is actually a replicant. If you’re not struggling to suppress choking sobs by the time Bingo tells the Sun that she has to go now because she’s a big girl, then we’ll deploy the Blade Runners.

This is a thoughtful, beautiful meditation on the people in our family orbit. A dreaming Bingo and her toy rabbit, Floppy, drift through the solar system, while back in the Heeler household Bandit and Chilli have a night of interrupted sleep familiar to every parent of young children.

Aside from anything else, it just looks gorgeous. Jupiter is a sloshing fluid world, intercut with the sleeping girls merrily kicking Bandit in the belly. Saturn is surrounded by swirling rings of bunnies, calling to Floppy to join them. And the Sun is the warm and comforting voice of Chilli, telling her daughter that she is always there and always loves her. It’s an entire scope of the cosmos, poured into one typical night. This episode is pure genius, and it may one day save humanity.












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