‘Bluey’ Joins Disney in Neurodiversity Win

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Explorers episode of Bluey

Credit: Ludo Studios

While Disney+ might only be our resident Bluey distributor, there’s no denying what role the House of Mouse played in the show’s rise to fame. However, both parties are making headway in the neurodivergent community as Bluey and Disney make strides in representation.

Mackenzie walks through the tunnel
Credit: Ludo Studio

For those unfamiliar with the term, neurodivergent is a non-medical umbrella term that describes people with variation in their mental functions and can include conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other neurological or developmental conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (per Forbes). While our modern culture has given these conditions much more attention, Disney and Bluey have been knocking it out of the park for fans living with them.

Related: ‘Hamilton’ Star Lin-Manuel Miranda Cast in New ‘Bluey’ Episode

The Disney Parks were recently described as a “haven” for the neurodiverse community, but Bluey takes things a whole step further by incorporating a neurodiverse cast. While many of the fanbase see Bluey and her sister Bingo as neurodivergent-coded, one episode gives the full representation so many individuals have been howling for, and the community responded.

Bluey is Representation Done Right

Jack and Rusty in the episode Army
Credit: Bluey.tv

If you’ve been with us for a long while, you’ll know that “Army” is an episode Inside the Magic has mentioned several times before. In the episode, Jack (a Jack Russell who clearly lives with ADD/ADHD) makes friends with Rusty (a red kelpie) who helps constructively channel his energy during a game of army.

Like any good Bluey episode, it spoke to viewers on an emotional level. Naturally, it didn’t take long for those represented to react.

Related: From Pups to People: ‘Bluey’ Explores Deeper Connections in Season 4

On Bluey’s subreddit, a recent post shared just how much the neurodivergent community felt represented by the episode—not just by having a character with a neurodivergent condition but one who copes with the struggles shared by those being represented.

u/Noha307 begins the discussion with a very personal statement.

“As a straight, white, middle-class male, I’ve never felt the need to be represented in media, and so, in a way, I’ve never understood it. That is until I watched Army and identified with Jack. I’ve dealt with ADHD for years, and the episode has to be the most accurate depiction of it I have seen. Specifically, the line “there’s something wrong with me” is something I immediately understood. (An understanding that disappears when “wrong” is replaced with “going on,” I might add.) ADHD is too often boiled down to cheap jokes of “squirrel!” in other media, so the fact that the writers are aware of the other aspects that come with it – such as the self-doubt (aka “rumination”), the hyper-focusing (“Wow, that was a lot of detail!”) or even the hereditary aspect (as in Explorers) – is really validating.”

Nowadays, representation in media is being taken much more seriously, and the user above isn’t the only party who feels that way. Several other Bluey buffs were quick to add how the episode affected them, particularly those with neurodivergent conditions.

Related: ‘Bluey’ Movie Teased by ‘Wicked’ Director

Further down in the comments, u/kissimmee-seawolves writes,

“Same demographic as OP here and same opinion on representation. Not sure who needs to hear this, but the Percy Jackson books brought me to tears, as a grown man, due to the way they paint his ADHD and Dyslexia in such a positive light. I just wish I had read the books sooner. I was the same age as Percy when they came out. Also I couldn’t agree more about Army and relating so much to Jack!”

Neurodivergent viewers aren’t the only individuals being affected by the episode either. Several parents of kids living with conditions like Jack’s are also picking up on the importance of this representation, as well as how they might feel in certain social situations.

An animated dog character with brown and white fur, reminiscent of Bluey, wears a green camouflage hat and a blue backpack. The dog raises a paw to its head, appearing to salute. The background showcases a soft, stylized landscape with light greenery and an open sky.

u/Lady_Teio shares how both them and their child felt about the episode when they write,

“We found out that skateboarding and reading are 2 of his strengths, and even though he had a rough behavioral time in school, he ended up making the honor roll!”

Once again, Bluey has proven to be not just a show for kids but also for parents and a surprisingly large adult audience. Because of its widespread demographic and the various communities, the show continues to represent, it consistently surprises and warms the hearts of all viewers.

Related: ‘Bluey’ Canonically Ends Baby Daddy Debate

Speaking as a member of the neurodivergent community, this writer can instantly make the connections between Jack and those living with similar conditions to his. As someone who was diagnosed with ADD at a young age, I can concur that Jack’s story echoes with countless others who cope with similar situations. As if we needed another reason to love Bluey.

How do you think the show handles this kind of representation? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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