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Bluey quashed false rumours that the show was being cancelled by releasing 11 new episodes of the much-loved animation this month, but now the show is facing fresh controversy.
Bandit Heeler, who is the dog dad to Bluey and Bingo, has now been accused of being a ‘bully’ with a ‘dark side’.
An opinion piece published in The Conversation on Friday sparked some backlash, as the writers debated if Bandit really is a “loveable larrikin” or possibly just a “bad dad”.
The writers are two lecturers from the University of Southern Queensland, who have published many novels, plays and poetry between them.
Fans quickly slammed the article as ‘rubbish’, with parents saying that it’s more ‘dangerous’ to have a character seen as ‘perfect’ rather than the relatable Bandit.
The pair delve into the character and his ‘darker side’, with one paragraph reading: “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.”
The article accuses Bandit of being a ‘bully’, and paints his wife Chilli as being ‘figuratively and literally in the background’. The writers say that Chilli often has to pull Bandit back into line, and is described as ‘boring’ by her husband.
Bandit is also described as a ‘traditional’ man, with the article noting that he teases his wife about the pains of pregnancy and wants to be the ‘head’ of the Heeler household.
‘Missed the point’
Bluey fans quickly flooded social media to defend the show and beloved character Bandit, with many accusing the authors of ‘cherry-picking’ to suit their angle.
“These authors have really missed the point of Bandit’s larrikinisms. Each episode where those problematic behaviours are on display serves to challenge them and demonstrate that traditional masculinity is a block to play and fun. Bandit always overcomes these blocks by letting go of the need to be ‘manly’,” one commented.
"It’s that time of year again. That’s right, it’s time to cancel Bandit from Bluey," another wrote.
“Of the 130 episodes that have aired, the writer has cherry-picked the easiest negative stereotypes associated with Bandit’s behaviour. There have been many episodes that not only destroy this traditional masculine behaviour, but do so by the self-awareness of Bandit himself. Do better,” a third added.
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