As parents around the world rejoice from the surprise 11 new Bluey episodes, a debate has begun about one of the show’s most beloved characters, Bandit.
Bandit, who is dog dad to Bluey and her younger sister Bingo, has been referred to as a “bad dad” and “bully”.
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Questions have been raised about whether Bandit was a “loveable larrikin” or “bad dad,” in an opinion piece published on Friday in The Conversation.
The piece was written by two University of Southern Queensland lecturers who, between them, specialise in theatre, writing, editing and publishing.
Since the article’s release, the opinion has been labelled “rubbish” by fans defending one of Australia’s favourite fictional dads.
The article touches on what it suggests is the “darker side” of Bandit.
“Occasionally, however, we catch a glimpse of Bandit’s darker side, with his playful teasing of his young daughters sometimes devolving into bullying,” the authors said.
“Bandit never strays far from the reductive stereotype of the Australian larrikin: The likeable roguish male stuck between childhood and adulthood whose disrespect of authority and rough-and-ready masculinity reflects Australia’s emotional attachment to the working-class underdog.”
Bandit’s “parenting prowess” is compared with his wife Chili’s personality of being “figuratively and literally in the background”.
The article refers to Bandit as a “traditional” man who “teases his wife on the pains of pregnancy and labour”.
“When he reluctantly submits to wearing make-up, he is subsequently mocked by his mates for doing so,” the lecturers wrote.
“He censors himself from engaging in full imaginative play when under the gaze of other men.”
‘Totally missed the brief’
Following publication of the piece, Bluey fans flocked to Facebook to support Bandit and Chilli, with reaction so prolific the administrator limited the comments.
“I really think you’re overthinking things. Just grow a sense of humour,” one comment said.
“What an absolute load of rubbish. Clearly written by someone who has never actually watched an entire episode all the way through!” said another.
“Rubbish. The writer clearly hasn’t watched enough episodes of Bluey. There’s considerable nuance to his character, and in general, he’s pretty self-deprecating about his ‘larrikin’ character,” a third added.
“It’s that time of year again. That’s right, it’s time to cancel Bandit from Bluey,” another comment said.