Et tu, Blué?

Bluey Episode Gets An Edit After Some Expressed Concern Over Fatphobia

The episode has not yet aired in the U.S., but both the original episode and the decision to edit have sparked debate among fans.

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There are no perfect shows. But if there were, lots of parents and kids alike agree that Bluey would be a top contender. The series, now in its third season, has been praised for its true-to-life depictions of childhood and parenting, managing to be heartfelt without being maudlin and very, very funny. But after the episode “Exercise” was released in Australia, some fans called foul on the opening scene for its depiction of health, weight, and body image, leading the series’ creators to re-edit the episode for future airings.

“The recent episode of Bluey, Exercise, has been republished by the ABC following a decision by the makers of the program. The new version provides families with the opportunity to manage important conversations in their own way,” a statement from the Australian Broadcast Network (ABC) explains. “As the home of Bluey, the ABC supports the decision to re-edit the program and we have updated the episode on our platforms. BBC Studios will use this revised version for global distribution and also support this decision.”

In the original version, “Exercise” opened with Bandit getting ready for his day in the bathroom. As he brushes his teeth, he steps on the scale and quickly sighs “Aw man...” prompting a heretofore unseen Bluey to pop out of the bathtub and ask “What? Why did you say ‘aw man?’” (It’s a silly moment but, like so many silly moments on the show, one familiar to many parents: kids are inadvertent jumpscare experts.) “I just need to do some exercise,” Bandit replies dejectedly, at which point Chilli and Bingo walk in. “Tell me about it,” Chili replies. Bandit goes on to explain to his daughters that a job and kids make it hard to fit exercise into his routine, all while scrutinizing his body in a mirror and squeezing his midsection. The scene concludes with Bandit and Bluey cheerfully discussing making exercise a priority as Chili steps onto the scale and dejectedly intones “Aw man...”

While the rest of “Exercise” is sweet and unobjectionable (Bandit heads to the backyard and incorporates his children and playtime into a quick workout routine), some criticized the framing of the episode in the (now cut) scene. Linking a number on a scale and physical appearance as the reason one should exercise (as opposed to acknowledging that everyone, regardless of size, should incorporate physical activity into their routine in order to be healthy and feel good).

“I adore @OfficialBlueyTV & the messages it sends,” tweets @psychocinematic. “Except in the latest episode ‘Exercise,’ where weight becomes a trigger for exercise. Watching Bandit stand on scale& squeeze his belly, frowning, sends a msg to kids that fat = bad & exercise = weight loss. V upsetting.”

“Listen, if you as a parent hate on your body or your kids body in front of them, they 1000 percent take that sh*t in. I did,” @samanthakgreen says. “So I get the Bluey blacklash and also, weight loss isn't the only reason to exercise.”

The internet being the internet, backlash to the backlash has been equally robust.

“This is ridiculous. Being overweight is unhealthy, if you won’t listen to a Bluey then ask your doc,” tweets @CentristRambler.

“I think some viewers are missing the point [of ‘Exercise’],” says @Boundsy1. “How about look at the positive message around monitoring your health and doing something proactive about it.”

Ironically, a 2021 study published in BMC Public Health found that weight stigma, or even fear of stigma, often discourages individuals from participating in exercise and sports. An article published by the University of Washington School of Medicine cautions linking exercise exclusively to weight. Dr. Mansi Shah, a primary care provider at UW Medicine, says:

“Oftentimes people frame weight loss and exercise as two things that go together. It’s really important to get exercise for mental health, overall health, and sleep, but whether your weight changes in response to your exercise routine is something that is not really under your control, despite the pervasive cultural messages we receive that suggest the opposite. We should disconnect the idea of being healthy from the idea or goal of losing weight. We make a lot of assumptions about our health and the health of others based on weight, and we should unpack these assumptions. A higher number on the scale is not an automatic indicator of poor health.”
The Heelers are often found getting lots of exercise in while playing with their children.Disney+

“Exercise” now opens with Bandit heading into the backyard for a quick workout, which his daughters quickly turn into play, highlighting the fact that getting time to exercise is hard when you have kids, but also that staying healthy can be a fun activity for the whole family to do together. While some adult fans have expressed disdain at the change, others are pleased to see the show make the small change.

“No one is saying exercise is bad,” tweets @mate_nz. “We just need to change our ideas of when someone should make a change. It shouldn’t be weight focussed [sic]. It should be about your general health and fitness goals.”

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