One Controversial ‘Bluey’ Character Isn’t Actually All That Bad
— Disney/ BBC
There are always characters in TV shows that viewers loathe, whether it be for legitimate reasons or personal preferences. The same goes for kids’ entertainment, and that sentiment persists even in something as wholesome as Bluey. If you were to make a tiered chart of characters from this popular Australian kid’s cartoon on Disney+, chances are a high percentage of fans would rank these two characters on the bottom – Muffin and Judo. We’ll save the Heelers’ Chow Chow neighbor for another day, but Bluey’s cousin Muffin is a divisive one among its audience.
Muffin’s fiery temper has landed her in some hilarious situations, but it’s also made Bluey fans leery of her. Brash, spoiled, and tantrum-prone, many have compared this member of the extended Heeler family to Angelica Pickles from The Rugrats. It’s easy to take Muffin at face value as a prima donna, but she’s another case of Bluey showing kids and parents in a more realistic light.
Despite her behavior, Muffin is the prime example that no child is irredeemable, holding an uncomfortable mirror up to expose some unpleasant truths about raising kids, and certainly worth a deeper look at why she’s really one of the best in the show.
Is Muffin Really A Brat?
Even from her first appearance in season one’s “BBQ,” Muffin was a chaotic force of nature. She’s like a wild pony, unable to be tamed no matter how hard anyone tried unless she took the reins for her own sake. There are plenty of examples of Muffin’s bratty tendencies across the series, making it understandable why this kid has such a rough time getting fan support.
She was mildly antagonistic to her older cousin in “Horsey Ride,” being a know-it-all when her younger sister Socks was nomming on Bluey’s special toy. Season two showed us how demanding Muffin could be in “Charades” and “Library,” and she was just plain bonkers in “Sleepover,” but there’s no culprit to blame on that other than lack of sleep.
No shortage of episodes displays the negative traits of this character, but many show her as a precocious child who just likes to have fun. Muffin was following Bluey’s play pattern when it came time to defend their nail salon in “Stumpfest”, the same as she did in “Backpackers.” She’s also genuinely well-mannered on the Christmas episodes, unrelated to Santa visiting their home, and has been a good big sister with her sibling, even helping the pup hold an ice pop in “Charades.” Even in season three’s “Pizza Girls,” Muffin was more about anarchy than she was about disobedience and stirring up trouble.
What’s the episode where Muffin became nice?
Muffin’s turning point occurs in season three’s “Faceytalk,” which is about the Heeler children virtually playing together on tablets. The episode begins with Bluey’s mum Chilli reminding Bluey not to hog the screen from Bingo, “because we know what happens when you hog.” While this may seem like a simple lesson, it falls into the deeper message of the episode as the plot progresses.
Muffin wants to finish drawing a hat on the Faceytalk screen before turning the tablet over to her little sister, Socks, and resists the boundary Stripe places on her screen time. Trixie, meanwhile, has washed her hands of the situation because she has “somewhere to be.” Remember, Muffin is around four years old here, and is testing the limits of what she can and can’t do. There’s no intent of malice on her part since, in her mind, all Muffin wants is to doodle her pink cowboy hat. Stripe gets in the way of her finishing that task, but has difficulty being firm and following through with what he says. After Muffin absconds with Stripe’s phone, a wild chase through the house forces Trixie’s involvement and leads to a standoff with her husband instead of her unruly daughter.
“Faceytalk” isn’t just about Muffin’s problems with sharing, because the root of the problem starts with her parents. From the onset, the couple had communication problems regarding how to handle their kids and being on the same page with each other. In the last act of this episode, it all comes crashing down into the event that permanently changes who Muffin becomes.
The running theme through this story was “hogging” things, and Stripe felt like Trixie hogged the kids when it came to discipline, and undermined him, while Trixie felt Stripe wasn’t doing things the way she wanted and was therefore inferior to her decisions. In the end, the pair find unity in their parenting, and in doing so, start a cascade effect on Muffin that begins to see the character make some changes of her own.
The Redemption of Muffin Cupcake Heeler
A few episodes later, “Granny Mobile” brings us the threequel to the Granny series. This story marked the first time Muffin appeared since “Faceytalk,” and the difference in her personality is immediately noticeable.
The Heelers, with Muffin joining them for a playdate, visit their neighbor Doreen’s yard sale. After seeing a mobility scooter for sale, the girls decide to play Grannies, with Muffin playing the part of Gladys the “grouchy granny.” After spending some time as this character, Muffin tells Bluey she isn’t enjoying being so mean but is unsure how to play the part differently.
As Doreen struggles to not be such a pushover during her yard sale, a real grouchy granny shows up demanding to buy the scooter for a fraction of its actual price. Muffin, so lost in her elderly persona that Daniel Day-Lewis would be impressed, grouches back to the actual octogenarian, and uses her Muffin powers for good instead of evil, helping Doreen get four times the asking price for the vehicle.
Muffin’s good deeds showed her there was a time and place for her authoritative voice, acting as positive reinforcement that it’s possible to still follow the boundaries set by her parents while also maintaining her inner self. If anything, this proved Muffin can stand up for others the same way she used to for herself, advocating for the voiceless in whatever situation may occur. How this realization will be used in future stories remains to be seen, but the evolution of Muffin is clear now, and the road ahead is starting to look much less bumpy than her wild ride in “Sleepover.”
The Sweetest Muffin of Them All
It’s important to remember that Muffin is only around four years old by the end of season three, so her emotional development is still in flux as she learns about boundaries. If her behavior was like this as an adult, it would certainly be a call for alarm, but this is relatively normal for a preschooler.
Outgrowing this phase will naturally happen through her mum and dad collaboratively parenting their child, and supporting each other. It won’t be easy and there will likely be more disagreements as they figure things out, but seeing how quickly Muffin changed in season three, it proved it’s never too late to make positive changes that will enhance the attitude of their kid while improving communication with each other.
While some parents may fear their children reenacting the negative traits of Muffin, or others may label her “annoying,” watching someone like Muffin grow onscreen is vital for kids and adults to observe. It took some time, but Muffin is learning about the consequences of her actions while her parents strive to become better at their jobs as caregivers. If there are two things Muffin taught us, it’s that coconuts have water inside them, and it’s never too late to make a change.