Min(d)ing The Media Season 1 Episode 1

Min(d)ing The Media is a blog dedicated to exploring the world of all media content, and mindfully mining the psychological and therapeutic gems from said content. I will be exploring different medias and teasing out themes that we can focus in on and maybe learn a little more about what it means to be human. You can expect a wide range of content from many genres of movies, tv shows, anime, comics, podcasts, music, and books. While exploring themes, I will also be giving reviews using a 1-5 dice 🎲 rating scale. Some of these blog posts will also include their own podcast counterpart and additional content. Any extras will be included in links or embedded in the posts themselves, so don’t worry about missing out!

I am kicking of this new blog with with one of its own series, “Never Blue When Watching Bluey”. For each post in this series I am going to be writing on each episode (in chronological order, of course) of Bluey. Not just because our family is obsessed with the show, but because it has some really great content to mine/d for parents and kids, alike! So without further ado, here is the first installment.

Never Blue When Watching Bluey—Episode 1– The Magic Xylophone

Rating: 🎲 🎲 🎲 🎲 (to be fair.. I legitimately give all of these episodes a perfect 5/5 dice in general, but I’m trying to rank them amongst each other).

Synopsis: The first episode of Bluey is “The Magic Xylophone.” We learn so much about the Heeler family jammed into this 8 minute episode. They also teach us some important emotional and social skills. First, a quick synopsis and character review. Bluey, the main protagonist, is a blue colored Blue Heeler, and is the big sister to Bingo, an orange colored Heeler. Bandit is the blue colored Heeler Dad, and Chili is the orange colored Mom Heeler. We notice immediately that this family’s glue is humor and warmth. The episode starts with with some of that humor and warmth as Bandit plays Bluey like a piano on his lap.

Bingo then wants a turn as the piano. Her request foreshadows the tension and theme in the episode…sharing. Bingo doesn’t exactly get her turn, but does get used as a butt bongo when Chili enters the room. A cut scene later Bingo is rifling through the playroom toy bin and finds the titular “Magic Xylophone”. This is the first time we see the Heeler family referring to one of a myriad inside jokes and fantasies that they all share in. The Xylophone has the imaginative power to freeze anyone who it is played towards. The girls terrorize Bandit, who willingly and patiently plays along, with being frozen and dressed up in a lot of ridiculous outfits. Here the tension comes again, as Bingo asks for a turn to do the freezing, but Bluey blows over these requests. Eventually Bingo tells Chili that Bluey isn’t sharing. Chili replies “Bluey, if you won’t take turns with people, they won’t take turns with you.” So against Bluey’s judgment that her sister would get them both frozen (because she is too slow) if she gave her the Xylophone, she shares.

Sure enough, both of the girls get frozen, but not because of Bingo being slow, but because the girls were squabbling over turns. Bluey gets frozen and turned into a garden gnome. Bingo eventually gets the magic Xylophone back, but keeps Bluey frozen to have a heart to heart talk about feeling hurt that she is not being shared with. The last cutscene happens and we see how Bluey responds as a sweet big sister as we see their plans to team up on Bandit come to fruition. Bluey tricks Bandit by pretending she is still frozen so that they can freeze him into a “fountain” on the front yard (ie. Frozen as a statue with a hose squirting in his face). Perfect ending.

Themes: Siblings learning to share and listen, and parental guidance vs direction. 

Parental wisdom for the kids= “Bluey, if you won’t take turns with people, they won’t take turns with you.” Teaching a life lesson rather than refereeing a sibling struggle. As parents we don’t have to just play air traffic control for our kids when squabbles happen. There is time, space, and opportunity to not rescue or delegate for them, but allow them to soak in messages and experience the impact of their decisions. Bandit even contributes to this life lesson parenting approach as he stays fully committed to the bit of the Magic Xylophone. He had many opportunities and choices where he could have shut it down to counsel the girls as he observed some of their conversations, but allowed them to play through and learn together. He continued to allow use of himself as source of tension, and potential unification.

Ultimately, less intervention is usually more.

The Xylophone: The Magic Xylophone is a great symbol that represents the fine line between kids navigating having agency in the world, and experiencing the overwhelm of having too much control and power. This anxiety is mitigated through play and the game itself, but also through how the parents choose to allow the kids to navigate their own structure of sharing. There would have been an impact to Bluey and Bingo’s relationship had this impasse not been resolved. Now a new level of trust has formed as each pup remembers how they share a powerful tool for play, and feel agency in making their own choices with support of their parents. They also feel a sense of mastery as they navigated this impasse successfully. Neither left each other in the game and neither, Chili nor Bandit, had to stop the game.

Recap: Parents—reflect emotions and life lessons, but then get out of the way when things haven’t completely ruptured between siblings during play. Kids—Some of the greatest life lessons in sharing come from pausing things and having a heart to heart with someone about how you feel when you are left out. If this is not being received well, it might be time to get more adult support.

Look forward to sharing the next episode soon!

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