Clementine Ford: Bandit In 'Bluey' Is The Ultimate Thirst Trap
In my short time as a mother of a small person, I’ve taken immense comfort in the online spaces that exist between other women and parents keen for community and solidarity.
Whether it’s a question about croup or sleep regressions, sometimes reaching out to largely unknown people at two in the morning is all you have to keep you tethered to this reality. It helps to know there are people out there who get it. Who’ll hold your hand, metaphorically speaking, and tell you it’ll all be okay.
Oh, and who are also willing to speak with you at length about the absolute thirst trap that is Bandit Blue Heeler.
For those unfamiliar with the wildly successful animated children’s series Bluey, here’s a brief primer that I am copying and pasting from the Bluey wiki: “Bluey follows the adventures of a lovable and inexhaustible anthropomorphic six-year-old Blue Heeler puppy who lives with her dad, mum and four-year-old little sister, Bingo.”
The series was created by Ludo Studios, an Emmy-award-winning creative house whose team is more than half comprised of local graduates from QUT and Griffith University. Set in South Brisbane (and written by Joe Brumm, formerly of Charlie and Lola), the seven-eight minute episodes are beautiful tributes to the power of imaginative play, familial bonding and the equitable distribution of domestic and parental labour.
The journalist Philippa Chandler wrote this about Bandit (voiced by Custard’s Dave McCormack) in The Guardian: “[Bandit] is laconic, playful and certainly more emotionally intelligent than, say, Peppa Pig’s hapless dad. His relationship with his daughters forms much of the tension -- and humour -- in the show, which manages to somehow conjure up the magic of childhood without being schmaltzy.”
This is a nice and writerly way of saying what most male-attracted viewers of the show are thinking, which is 'I would ride that dog like he were a man and I don’t care who knows it'.
I’ve asked myself if it’s weird that I’m deeply sexually attracted to a cartoon dog and I’ve decided that yes. Yes it is. Our union would be technically illegal (not to mention a total violation of the Cool Bitch Code because Chilli, Bandit’s life partner, is also a mega babe) but maybe not completely illegal because he is, after all, fictional. Which, to be honest, is just one of the many tragic things about modern life.
I asked a couple of my mums groups what they thought of Bandit. Specifically, I said “I’m writing an article about how Bandit is a thirst trap and I was wondering what others thought.” The responses were, for the most part, succinct and clear and probably best summed up by the thoughts of my friend, Elizabeth.
“OH HELL YES,” she wrote. “And you can quote me on that.”
I guess the true appeal of Bandit lies in the fact he’s so different from most depictions of men (and fathers in particular) in pop culture. Or in life, really. Laura La Rosa summed up the Daddy Problem in her great article, Where’s Your Daddy: The Rise and Fall of Mediocre On-Screen Fathers. In a sea of Daddy Pigs, Ray Romanos, sitcom lumps and Tony Sopranos, Bandit reminds human women people what it could look like if a man basically just tried a bit.
In fact, I spoke to Laura about this and she made the astute observation that Bandit is the basic level of what we should expect from men, and the fact he is sexualised and fetishised is a problematic insight into how low the bar is.
I’ve decided there’s no shame in having the horn for a cartoon dog. Firstly, he’s funny and smart and they are basically the first things I look for in human companions too. But also, and maybe this is the most important part of all, I just feel like he would be really good in bed????
I mean, he is a very hands on co-parent so there is probably a lack of crushing resentment permeating through that sprawling Queenslander house and that makes it a lot easier to maintain any hint of a sex life. Chilli does not seem like she’s carrying around a list of names of people she’s going to kill Arya Stark-style, except that the names are just every single thing Bandit has done to annoy her over the last 10 years. Plus he’s an archeologist so he’s
b) adept at using his hands for delicate tasks
c) good with bones
Also, he’s clearly very good at imaginative play which I am 100 percent certain translates into some R-rated games in the bedroom (or laundry room, or kitchen, or wraparound verandah).
READ MORE: Why Is 'Dad' Synonymous With 'Lame'?
Like, Chilli just seems like a very satisfied lady dog, if you get what I’m saying?
And if you don’t, what I’m saying is that I think Bandit f**ks well.