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This Controversial Episode of Bluey Was Censored Immediately After It Aired

Bluey has had its struggles with censorship as far back as season one, including one episode that was outright banned. What works in one place might not work in another, and often it’s countries outside of Bluey’s home country of Australia that require some changes. They’re usually minor things that don’t really affect much of the plot, but for this latest episode, some fans are in an uproar over the latest censorship that they believe dramatically changes this episode.

The culprit this time was the latest episode to air in Australia during season three, titled “Exercise.” It premiered in Australia on April 16, with the episode beginning inside the Heeler’s bathroom. Bandit is busy weighing himself, and not looking too thrilled at the numbers he’s looking at on the scale. Exasperated, Bandit grabs his tummy, and laments “Oh man…I just need to do some exercise.” Chilli agrees, responding with “Tell me about it,” before weighing herself with similar dissatisfaction. Bandit spends the rest of the episode exercising while the girls play around him, finding a way to make his workouts more enjoyable and still be part of his family time. By the end, a doctor’s check-up reveals he’s made some progress, and everyone lived happily ever after… at least, so we thought.

On May 5, 2022, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC, the home of Bluey in The Land Down Under) made an announcement, stating they would change the episode immediately for future broadcasts. These revisions happened right away and would affect not just their countr, but all of their global distribution partners. Instead of weighing himself in the bathroom, “Exercise” now begins with Bandit entering the backyard, ready to start exercising.

Here’s a clip from the episode (unaffected by the censorship):

After the episode initially aired in Australia, the internet was abuzz. Some viewers believed it was fat-shaming Bandit and was unnecessary to include in a children’s cartoon. Others derided the reaction and said those against it were making a fuss over nothing, and ruined the episode because the plot was now completely different without that initial set-up. The truth seems to be somewhere in between.

The issue those viewers who didn’t like the beginning took umbrage not with Bandit’s desire to lose weight, but elements around it. All of the Bluey characters are shaped quite odd to begin with – the Heelers being cylinders – but Bandit’s character model in “Exercise” appeared identical to any other episode. Those concerned with this episode didn’t like the idea of the Heeler dad disparaging himself when he seemed fit enough as is, and were worried children might see this and get the wrong message. In other words, losing weight is fine, but passing it off like Bandit was some behemoth because he perceived himself to be that way was not ideal.

It’s a fair point, as body dysmorphia is a major problem in many parts of the world. This illness often begins afflicting people when they are children, and episodes like this could be harmful to their mental wellbeing. Just recently, Kevin Smith released a video depicting how his struggles with weight and dysmorphia started as a child, and how it continues 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 excess pounds.

A better take on this episode is to consider how to best take care of yourself. If you’re not happy with something and have the power to change it, then go for it. But the most important thing is to remember to take care of every part of you, and that begins with your mental health just as much as your physical condition. Many adults forget about self-care as they get older due to the hardship of the real world, but “Exercise” shows us that you can have it all, it just takes a little bit of adjusting to get there.

On an interesting side note, some fans consider “Exercise” to be a continuation of a storyline that started a few episodes earlier in the season. In “Granny Mobile,” the mean granny poked fun at Bandit’s body, which seemed to bother him as he looked at himself in a mirror moments later. Seeing as how this episode happens later in the Bluey continuity, it’s a possibility that Bandit took those nasty comments to heart and decided to try shedding some pounds.

“Exercise” has not officially aired in the U.S. yet, but it will certainly be interesting to see what American fans think about it once it does.

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