Fans are enraged as Bluey episodes over , and inappropriate episodes of the fan-favorite children’s program Bluey are popping up online, and though some parents have spotted the bootleg episodes nearly immediately, others haven’t been so fortunate, ultimately exposing their children to “episodes” of the show about the Heeler family that teach less-than-family-friendly lessons.
‘Bluey’ Takes Children’s Programming by Storm
Bluey has become the most popular show in the history of Australian children’s programming, and in the United States, the show that chronicles the daily life and adventures of the Heeler family–Bluey, her sister Bingo, and her parents, Chilli and Bandit–is among the most popular children’s shows in Disney’s history as well.
Originally created by Australian animator Joe Brumm and produced by Ludo Studio, Bluey is a different take on children’s programming as it aims to teach life lessons and social skills through the use of imaginative play. As such, there are no numbers, no letters, and no lessons on counting or reading in episodes of Bluey.
Rather, each episode is only five to seven minutes in duration and instead gives viewers a peek inside the Heeler household and features the characters modeling behaviors for younger viewers with the goal of encouraging the development of social skills, communication, and other concepts in children–and sometimes in their parents as well.
Though it has become one of the most popular offerings for children on cable television and streaming, Disney’s Bluey has been somewhat problematic as well, as some episodes touch on difficult subject matter, including death, infertility and miscarriage, the end of relationships, and other topics. The show has also produced episodes that have angered fans for various reasons.
Fans have called out episodes featuring topics of weight loss and body image, suggesting that Bluey promoted “fat-shaming.” In another episode, Bluey’s family is seated around a table to discuss Bluey’s dad’s flatulence, referred to as a fluffy (seen in the video below). Another episode angered some because it featured Bluey eating grapes–something that can be dangerous for dogs in the real world.
Other episodes, however, feature far more dangerous and “inappropriate” subject matter, and that’s because they aren’t from Disney.
Fakes, Spoofs, and Other Imposters
Imposter episodes of Bluey first surfaced on YouTube in April, much to the shock and disbelief of those who love the fan-favorite show that has taken children’s programming by storm, and some parents who’ve had the unfortunate experience of viewing the fake episodes have rushed to alert other parents about the dangers of the Bluey ripoffs.
“Has anyone seen this?” a shocked mom wrote in a post to the Bluey Moms Facebook Group. “My husband put it on for our daughter and it’s NOT Bluey.”
The woman couldn’t say what happens in the episode, as she was so taken aback by what she saw, that she immediately turned it off.
“Honestly, I just turned it off ASAP so I don’t know what happens, but Bluey and Bingo were crying in the first scene, [and] it’s nothing like [Bluey].”
“It’s ridiculous what they do to kid’s shows,” one mom posted in response. “All of these shows are turned into inappropriate, poorly animated videos; it’s disgusting.”
The mom who responded to the initial post said she had a similar type of imposter episode trend with other children’s shows, including Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig.
“I won’t let my kids watch this version,” another mom chimed in. “It’s odd and weird things happen. My three-year-old screamed and shut it off one day because the parents were hitting Bluey and Bingo, and it freaked him out. That was the day YouTube got removed from the TVs.”
Yet another mom said she had seen a fake episode that featured Bluey’s sister Bingo eating fecal matter.
How to Spot a Fake ‘Bluey’ Episode
The knockoff Bluey episodes feature characters that look very similar to the real Bluey, Bingo, Chilli, and Bandit Heeler–except that the color palette used in the spoofs is slightly different than the one used in Disney’s Bluey. The characters’ names in the fake episodes are the same, making it difficult for some viewers to make the distinction between the authentic episodes and the fake ones.
Parents who are concerned about whether they’re allowing their children to watch fake episodes of Bluey or the real deal don’t have to work too hard to see the differences between the two. Fans who regularly watch Bluey will immediately be put off by the grimy-looking colors used in the animation.
But if the color differences aren’t immediately noticeable, all parents have to do is listen to a minute or two of an episode. The knockoff Bluey episodes feature storylines that encourage lessons that are in stark contrast to those on Disney’s Bluey that promote good social skills, communication, family interactions, kindness, honesty, and other moral and educational concepts. The spoofs include story elements that are depicted as Bluey and Bingo fighting, being mean, arguing, being disrespectful–the list goes on.
As one mom shared in the Facebook Group for Bluey Moms, one of the fake episodes reportedly features Bingo eating feces, while another one sees the two pups pretending to be sick to get out of telling their parents about the bad grades they got at school. Yet another fake episode shows Chilli and Bandit physically abusing their children.
There’s even a fake episode that includes assault rifles as elements in the storyline.
How Can Parents Keep Kids Safe From ‘Bluey’ Imposters?
So what are parents to do if they want to be sure their kids don’t accidentally watch a fake episode of Bluey?
First, don’t use YouTube when watching full episodes of “Bluey.” As YouTube features authentic content, the platform also features parody or “spoof” episodes of various shows, and as the app showcases user-created content, parents, grandparents, and other adults must be diligent in looking at the credentials of any content before showing it to children. When watching Bluey, the alternatives to YouTube include Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney+.
Second, if children are watching episodes of Bluey online on YouTube Kids, don’t allow them to do so without supervision. YoutTube Kids includes a section of authentic Bluey episodes, clips, live-streams, and more, on the official Bluey Channel on YouTube Kids. But even so, parents must be diligent about what they click on, as there are multiple offerings that look like they are the original, when, in fact, they are imposter episodes.
Third, familiarize yourself with the look and the messages found in authentic Bluey content so you can spot fake episodes, no matter the device, channel, or app.
Bluey is one of the most successful and popular shows in the history of children’s programming. The writers and producers of Bluey have a knack for telling stories about the Heeler Family that hold kids’ interest and engage their parents as well, making Bluey among the first children’s programs to double as family entertainment as well.
Here’s hoping the creators of the imposter Bluey episodes take their “talents” elsewhere and leave the Heelers alone.