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'Bluey' creators have perfect response after 'Exercise' episode sparks concern from parents

Several claimed the episode perpetuated harmful messages about exercise and body weight.

bluey, bluey exercise
@laceyjadechristie/TikTok

Bandit, Bluey's dad, laments his weight and says he needs to exercise.

The Australian kids' cartoon “Bluey” is pretty universally loved by young and old audiences alike. People appreciate the show’s unique way of blending wholesome humor with mundane or even difficult situations in a way that feels both mature and whimsical.

On a recent “Bluey” episode titled “Exercise,” Bluey’s father, Bandit, becomes disappointed after stepping on the bathroom scale, grabbing his tummy and declaring he needs to start exercising.

"Oh man...I just need to do some exercise," Bandit laments.

"Tell me about it," Bluey's mother, Chilli, chimes in before stepping on the scale herself and shares a similar reaction to her own numbers.


Responses to the episode were mixed. Many viewers in Australia who watched the episode expressed concern that it subliminally sent some toxic messages around body weight—in particular, the message of equating exercise with losing weight rather than overall health.

@laceyjadechristie I have so many thoughts about this scene and I am so interested To see what you think. #bluey #fatshaming #bodypositivity #fatliberation #parenting ♬ original sound - Lacey-Jade Christie

One viewer wrote on Twitter: “I adore @OfficialBlueyTV & the messages it sends [but] watching Bandit stand on a scale & squeeze his belly, frowning, sends a msg to kids that fat = bad & exercise = weight loss. V upsetting.”

Some felt that the show merely reflected an honest part of parenting and that the backlash was unwarranted.

“I am a parent and I felt really seen by this—your body changing after kids because you don’t have the time or energy to exercise like before.”

Still, a few actual health professionals chimed to affirm how the scene could be problematic. Over on Instagram, pediatric dietitian Dr. Kyla Ringrose explained that while she loved the show for being so relatable to parents, the show “missed a big opportunity” to teach kids the other more intrinsic benefits of exercise, rather than once again having ”trusted adults (albeit dogs!) expressing dissatisfaction with how their body looks. All bodies are good bodies.”

Ringrose added: “If this episode were remade so the first 30 seconds were about Bandit not having energy or Chilli feeling a bit flat, and they decide to get some movement in to feel well, I’d be all for it. @OfficialBlueyTv how about it?”

“Bluey” creators took notice of the complaints, and immediately revised the episode for both ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation) and the BBC.

The new scene can be seen online thanks to generous souls on TikTok. The clip below, shared by “Bluey” enthusiast @AussieGirlMagic, shows a side-by-side comparison of the two versions. This time around, Bandit is seen simply whipping out the fitness mat and putting on the exercise playlist.

@aussiegirlmargie Ludo studios listened to HEALTH PROFESSIONALS and changed the Bluey episode Exercise from season 3 #bluey #blueytok #blueyseason3 #blueyexercise #disney #ludostudios #blueyheeler #banditheeler ♬ Bluey Theme Tune - Bluey

So far, many have applauded the decision, particularly those who had to grow up with their own issues around exercise that began with early messaging.

Here are a few comments from TikTok:

“I’m glad they did this, seeing my parents focusing so much on their body image as a kid really affected how I see my own.”

“Love to see it! I’m glad they were so receptive to the genuine concerns around health and wellness.”

“As someone with an ED, I’m really glad they made this decision.”

“This is great! Exercise should be motivated out of health and fun, not out of shame or fear of weight.”

Though this “Bluey” episode has yet to air in the U.S., it’s safe to assume that American audiences will be watching the edited version when that happens.

All images provided by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

Collins after being selected by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

True

A changemaker is anyone who takes creative action to solve an ongoing problem—be it in one’s own community or throughout the world.

And when it comes to creating positive change, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective can hold just as much power as years of experience. That’s why, every year, Prudential Emerging Visionaries celebrates young people for their innovative solutions to financial and societal challenges in their communities.

This national program awards 25 young leaders (ages 14-18) up to $15,000 to devote to their passion projects. Additionally, winners receive a trip to Prudential’s headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, where they receive coaching, skills development, and networking opportunities with mentors to help take their innovative solutions to the next level.

For 18-year-old Sydnie Collins, one of the 2023 winners, this meant being able to take her podcast, “Perfect Timing,” to the next level.

Since 2020, the Maryland-based teen has provided a safe platform that promotes youth positivity by giving young people the space to celebrate their achievements and combat mental health stigmas. The idea came during the height of Covid-19, when Collins recalled social media “becoming a dark space flooded with news,” which greatly affected her own anxiety and depression.

Knowing that she couldn’t be the only one feeling this way, “Perfect Timing” seemed like a valuable way to give back to her community. Over the course of 109 episodes, Collins has interviewed a wide range of guests—from other young influencers to celebrities, from innovators to nonprofit leaders—all to remind Gen Z that “their dreams are tangible.”

That mission statement has since evolved beyond creating inspiring content and has expanded to hosting events and speaking publicly at summits and workshops. One of Collins’ favorite moments so far has been raising $7,000 to take 200 underserved girls to see “The Little Mermaid” on its opening weekend, to “let them know they are enough” and that there’s an “older sister” in their corner.

Of course, as with most new projects, funding for “Perfect Timing” has come entirely out of Collins’ pocket. Thankfully, the funding she earned from being selected as a Prudential Emerging Visionary is going toward upgraded recording equipment, the support of expert producers, and skill-building classes to help her become a better host and public speaker. She’ll even be able to lease an office space that allows for a live audience.

Plus, after meeting with the 24 other Prudential Emerging Visionaries and her Prudential employee coach, who is helping her develop specific action steps to connect with her target audience, Collins has more confidence in a “grander path” for her work.

“I learned that my network could extend to multiple spaces beyond my realm of podcasting and journalism when industry leaders are willing to share their expertise, time, and financial support,” she told Upworthy. “It only takes one person to change, and two people to expand that change.”

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is currently seeking applicants for 2024. Winners may receive up to $15,000 in awards and an all-expenses-paid trip to Prudential’s headquarters with a parent or guardian, as well as ongoing coaching and skills development to grow their projects.

If you or someone you know between the ages of 14 -18 not only displays a bold vision for the future but is taking action to bring that vision to life, click here to learn more. Applications are due by Nov. 2, 2023.
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