I think I was about 22 when my group of friends started to reproduce. Peter (not his real name) and his partner (not her real name either) had fallen pregnant accidentally so they had decided to start a family. It was an interesting time as a mere 18 months prior to a little person coming along I had driven rather recklessly around Pete’s neighbourhood knocking over wheelie bins in my old XF wagon. We were young assholes and the laughter that was abound in the car that night is something that will live with me forever. After Pete had his first child, he disappeared from our social group for a good 12 months.
We’d hear from him from time to time and he would occasionally show up at a music gig, eyes hanging out of their sockets, clutching a beer and smiling maniacally. I knew that what he was going through was tough, but I was too young and selfish to offer any kind of real or tangible help. Instead I swore off having children forever (there were other factors contributing to this decision but that’s a story for another time) and instead focused on living a free and easy life.
What helped my decision along was watching the same process all my family and friends seemed to go through when a little person comes into their lives. Suddenly they become connoisseurs of shite like the Wiggles and Play School. They had no idea what phase we’re currently in with the marvel universe but they’re right up on the latest line up change in the Wiggles or who’s the better role model on Sesame Street (for the record the best role on The Street is Ernie). I had less than zero interest in any of this tripe and what made it worse was my interpretation of modern cartoons. They seem so fucking condescending.
You see I’m a child of the 80’s. I grew up on decent cartoons. Give me He-man, Thundercats, Silver hawks or any other cartoon that basically revolves around a toy company trying its damndest to sell me a new version of The Eternian Barbarian with a battle damage chest and I’m all in. Looking at cartoons now is almost painful. There are some rare gems but it’s mostly watered-down morality tales where everything is worked out in a very non confrontational way. Now please, pop your pitchforks back in the shed, I’m aware that these are important lessons for our little people. I’m just from a different time.
Bandit is not your typical TV dad, he’s not the cringe inducing, bumbling idiot type that Australians seem to get served so often
When my little Lex came along, I was terrified. After all I didn’t want to be a dad. But once I’d heard him cry, I was very ok with the direction my life was moving.
The early days seems like a blur. It’s amazing how much you change in 12 months. I know Emma and Lachie didn’t work out, mumbles the monster is my favorite Wiggles track yet I still can’t stand most of what my little man wants to watch.
Unless he wants to watch Bluey.
I was hooked on Bluey from the first episode. The unique blend of Australian humour, excellent script writing, superb animation and relatable life lessons were an incredible breath of fresh air.
Most of all I love Bluey for Bandit. Voiced by Custard front man David McCormack, Bandit is the dad we should all aspire to be like. He’s engaging, funny, patient and most of all he’s never too busy to play with his kids. Bandit is not your typical TV dad, he’s not the cringe inducing, bumbling idiot type that Australians seem to get served so often. Instead Bandit is an interested caregiver who relishes in the opportunity to engage in meaningful playtime with his two girls. Bandit isn’t condescending or patronising toward his children when he’s with them, instead he makes time to talk to his kids on their level and help them come to conclusions on their own terms.
Bandit has a great sense of humour, I get the feeling he’d be great to get a beer with. He’s relatable because he’s real (as real as a cartoon dog can be, I suppose) and as such it’s very easy to draw parallels between how Bandit tackles fatherhood and how I find myself engaging with my little man. Bandit and his wife, Chilli are perfect together and it seems that they are very good in bouncing off one another in order to help their little girls.
Bandit is also great because he more often than not doesn’t mind making a fool of himself to entertain his kids. He flat out doesn’t seem to care if he’s dressed in a feather boa, ink glasses and moustache on his face and an antler headband on his head. Bandit will happily play the magic xylophone game with his girls and won’t break the game even if the neighbours are coming past.
This Christmas when the Bluey toys come out I’ll be buying a figurine pack for my little man, however, quite mysteriously, the Bandit figure will certainly be missing. He’ll sit on my dashboard to remind me of the kind of dad I want to be.