Tropes are simultaneously loved and hated in all media. Heartwarming to behold and thrilling to subvert, they nonetheless help guide viewers through their experience, constantly offering the parties involved, from creator to character to viewer, unique blends or denials. Some tropes even cover entire genres, describing storylines and defining how they generally work. One such trope, most commonly found in fantasy and science fiction, is “The Hero’s Journey.”
This quest follows the hero through a cyclical series of stages from normal to a new normal, and writers from Neil Gaiman to Octavia E. Butler use it in their stories. Although The Hero’s Journey is relatively straightforward, it helps to have an explainer. Interestingly enough, one of the best introductions to this fantasy trope doesn’t come from a work of fantasy or science fiction, or a scientific paper. On the contrary, the best teacher in this tale comes from the Australian children’s show Bluey.
BlueyThe third season of follows the childhood antics of the eponymous blue hooker, but the episode in question, “Curry Quest,” focuses on his younger sister Bingo and their Bandit father. Bluey’s mother, Chili, recounts the major turning points of the hero’s journey as Bingo and Bandit meet them. Driven by Bluey’s curiosity about what a quest is, Chili explains that the hero starts out safe at home before the call to adventure comes, kicking off the quest just as Bandit enters to explain. that he will swap curry with a close friend, calling the hero to action and beginning the narrative.
As Bingo clings to the door frame despite his father’s insistence, Chili explains that the heroes usually deny their adventure at first, the “denial of the call”. From there, Bandit and Bingo meet a friend and mentor, face challenges in the form of a dive season, and meet an assistant before being faced with a major revelation: Bandit will be going on a six-week excursion, the complication of this journey that is traditionally represented by just across from the comfort of the hero’s home. The characters then undergo a transformation to hide from a magpie, getting along before Bandit returns home from his journey at the end.
This is an example of Blueyits broad appeal. Although young children will be entertained and enjoy the story in broad outline, the detail is for adults. The characters serve to give adult viewers a critical education here, allowing those unfamiliar with The Hero’s Journey to become familiar enough with him to find him in the fiction of The Lord of the Rings at star wars. This education is for adults watching the show with their children, and the story along with basic explanations of their relationship to the trope actually makes this episode of Bluey a unique and brilliant educational tool.
However Bluey is completely and unapologetically a children’s show, it regularly delves into the intricacies of adult entertainment. “Curry Quest” is just one example of his transcendent writing and story. This is in addition to its particularly shiny Easter eggs and important messages about parenthood. However, the unique relevance to fans of fiction, especially fantasy and science fiction, makes “Curry Quest” a must-have for fans of fiction in general.
Bluey is currently available to stream on Disney+.