It’s been five years since the beloved animated series Bluey premiered on Australian TV and took the world by storm.
The Queensland-produced series, which has seen guest appearances from a number of high-profile international celebrities including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Natalie Portman and Eva Mendes, has been described as one of Australia’s biggest exports and even “the best kids’ show of our time”.
Actress Melanie Zanetti, who voices Bluey and Bingo’s mum Chilli Heeler, tells Yahoo Lifestyle around the milestone anniversary that she believes the show’s massive success all comes down to its messaging.
“I think it's just a testament to how beautiful the writing is and how wonderful the whole team has been in creating something that’s really special,” she shares.
“I love that it has the most beautiful - lessons is the wrong word because it's not didactic at all, there's nothing that's stuffing things down your throat. But there's a sense that it's imparting some really important messages.”
She adds that she’s been contacted by several parents, particularly dads, who have said the show has helped them learn how to play with their kids and “makes them want to be a better father”.
“So many people say Bandit and Chilli are ‘parent goals’ and ‘we can only aspire to be like them’, and I think there's something incredible about creating these role models,” she remarks.
“I think Joe Brumm, who's the writer/creator, has this incredible ability to tap into the reality of life at that age for kids and parents. He can really get the essence and the reality of that in all its absurdity and humour and brilliance and the tricky parts and I think by being so specific - it feels like a paradox - but then it becomes so universal because it's the truth of that experience.”
Melanie describes the process of landing her role on Bluey as a “completely serendipitous situation” as she was initially hired to provide the ‘scratch vocals’ for the pilot that was being presented at the Asian Animation Summit in 2017.
“They did their due diligence and they spent about three months auditioning all over Australia, and then they came back and said, ‘Actually, you're it’,” she recalls. “And the feedback was they couldn't find anyone with the same warmth in their voice, so that's why it was me.”
Despite never working in children’s TV before, Melanie says she instantly fell in love with the series and knew it was something she had to be a part of.
“When I heard that they were properly auditioning for it I was on my agents and they were like, ‘You know this is a kid's cartoon, right?’,” she laughs.
“I was like, ‘I know what this is and it's very special and I want to be part of it’. So I reminded them of that before I went on Jimmy Fallon. I was like, ‘Who was right about this kid's cartoon?’.”
Melanie reveals her favourite Bluey episode
To celebrate the show’s fifth anniversary, ABC is calling for all Australians to vote for their favourite Bluey episode in the Biggest Little Bluey Countdown.
Melanie shares that her favourite episode is season two’s ‘Sleepytime’, which is also the series’ highest-rated episode on IMDb.
“I love it so much,” she says. "I recorded it, I knew it was gonna happen, but I wept when I saw that episode.
“Look, there are so many brilliant episodes. ‘Cricket’ that's been released recently is such a wonderful episode - I don't even care about cricket really, but that got me in the feels. ‘Baby Race’, and ‘Flat Pack’ are some of my other favourites. ‘Hammerbarn’, ‘Tradies’, one of the season three ones, ‘Escape’.
“There's just so many wonderful episodes, so I’ll be really interested to see what other people love as well.”
You can vote for your favourite Bluey episode here.
The top 100 Bluey episodes will air on ABC Kids from 6am-7:30pm AEDT on Sunday 19 November. Voting closes Monday 6 November at 9am.
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