Why This Controversial, Unaired Bluey Episode Got Censored Right Away
You can’t even see it in the U.S., but this specific Bluey episode will never air as it was originally conceived.
Easily one of the best kids cartoons of all time that’s equally great for adults, Bluey has had more controversy than you’d expect for a family of talking Australian dogs. This has led to moments being removed or censored, while some episodes were banned outright and never seen on American TV; outside of illegal streaming sites or DVDs. And, a relatively new episode has caused quite a backlash for the past two weeks, and now something’s been done about it (spoilers ahead).
Originally airing on April 16 in Australia on ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), “Exercise” opens inside the Heeler’s bathroom, as Bandit hits the scale to unhappy results. Disappointed with the numbers before him, Bandit grabs his midsection, and laments “Oh man…I just need to do some exercise.” Chilli agrees, responding with “Tell me about it,” before she weighs herself with similar dissatisfaction.
When the divisive episode initially dropped, the internet was abuzz. Many claimed it was fat-shaming Bandit. Others derided the reaction and cited it as a non-issue.
On May 5, 2022, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation made an announcement, declaring immediate changes to the episode. These adjustments happened right away and included their global distribution partners. The upside is “Exercise” won’t be banned when it arrives on Disney’s platforms, but it will be altered, missing the section described above. The episode now opens with Bandit entering the backyard, ready to exercise.
Now, showing Bandit exercise was never the point of dispute – the mentality behind mocking his weight was the issue. Bandit wasn’t suddenly drawn to look morbidly obese, or facing life-threatening consequences if he didn’t shed his love handles. His shape stayed identical to every episode that came before and will come after. “Exercise” wasn’t meant to be The Biggest Loser, where Bandit dramatically transformed himself to look like Chris Hemsworth.
Body dysmorphia is a real problem around the world, and that often affects people who outwardly look physically healthy. Kevin Smith just released an amazing video, honestly depicting how his struggles with weight and dysmorphia started as a child, and continue to afflict him to this very day. Moving your body is never a bad thing, but fixating on tiny physical flaws can grow into massive mental health obstacles that won’t go away as quickly as a few pounds.
In this way, “Exercise” is also a reminder for adults to find ways for self-care. Having kids means parents have less time for their own personal needs, a hard-to-swallow concept for many. Bandit successfully loses some weight by the end, but he’s also accepted what his life is now; he better understands the tightrope he walks between his duties as dad and feeling personally fulfilled. Bluey has a good track record for being receptive to alternate perspectives and correcting errors. The fact this kind of adjustment happens at all in Bluey is a sign of how the show strives for some version of realism.
Still, for Bluey fans, the next important question is when will this batch of Bluey episodes come to the US, and that’s still a mystery. With five more new episodes dropping in Australia, what controversy will the Heelers cause next?
Here’s our full listing of every single banned or censored Bluey episode, ever.
Here’s a list of all the Bluey episodes that have yet to air in the U.S. — complete with spoilers!