The Most Popular ‘Bluey’ Episode In Australia Hits Way Different In The US
After some American toddlers started affecting English accents after watching Peppa Pig, we should have seen this coming. Some US kids are developing Australian accents after watching Bluey. The phenomenon has been reported by many families whose kids watch the show and abruptly break out Aussie phrases and pronunciation. You might have seen it in your kids, or even adapted a few of the words into your everyday speech without realizing it. But now, one new Bluey episode has a mouthful of words that won’t make sense for most Americans. That said, its an endearing story that might make your kids want to pick up a bat. Just not the kind of bat you’re used to.
Ten episodes of Bluey dropped on Disney+ on January 12, 2024, which brings the show’s third season to a close ahead of the mega-sized finale set to air globally later this year. Among these is the episode “Cricket,” which in 2022, was ranked the best episode of the series in a viewer poll conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (Yes, we’re just now getting 2022 Bluey episodes in the US.) That episode is “Cricket,” an episode that barely features series protagonist Bluey at all.
So does this episode live up to the hype?
What’s the Bluey “Cricket” episode about?
The neighborhood kids and their dads are playing a friendly game of Cricket, until Rusty steps up to the pitch to bat. No matter how hard the adults try, nobody can strike Rusty out. Every time a new adult challenger steps up to lob a ball at him, we learn more about the hard work Rusty put into the game, persevering against different obstacles and perpetually practicing to master the game (and frustrate the fathers).
In the end, the only person who can get Rusty out is himself. He hits the final pitch from Lucky’s dad to his little sister in the outfield, Dusty, who unbelievably makes the catch. The siblings excitedly walk off the field, his triumphant sis ecstatic in her win, and Rusty content knowing he passed his love of the game to the youngest member of the family. We flash forward in time as young Rusty fist bumps an older version of himself, grown up into a professional Cricket player about to compete in front of a sold-out stadium.
Why did Australians vote “Cricket” the best Bluey episode?
As Raphael exclaimed in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, “Nobody understands Cricket!” That might be true for sewer-dwelling reptiles in New York, but the team-based bat-and-ball game is played around the world by billions, making it one of the most popular games that never picked up steam in America.
For those living in The Land Down Under and home of Bluey, “Cricket” was a love letter to their childhoods. There’s a great deal of national pride in Australia around the game and seeing it come to life in Bluey earned the animated series a new level of respect among citizens of The Lucky Country
“If you’re a cricket fan, I don’t care how old you are, you have to watch this episode,” retired pro player Ed Cowan stated on the Grandstand Cricket Podcast. “And if you don’t have a tear in your eye at the end of the episode, I don’t even know if you’re human.”
Another highlight for Cricket fans was how many references to real players were sneakily inserted into the episode. The field we meet adult Rusty at is The Brisbane Cricket Ground AKA The Gabba. Young Rusty practices by whacking a ball off his home’s wall near a water tank, a scene associated with the legendary Don Bradman’s adolescence. Brumm explained how Rusty’s hitting technique was modeled after Steve Smith, a former captain of the Australian national team regarded as one of the best batsmen to ever compete.
That said, understanding the sport of Cricket isn’t a requirement to enjoy this episode, but it adds another level of depth if you do. The simplest way to explain Cricket to an American fan is to say it’s kind of like baseball, except not at all. You can put it into a more accessible perspective by treating it like The Sandlot, a throwback to simpler times and formative memories. The game itself isn’t as important as the metaphors within it, and that sentiment can resonate with everyone, no matter whether or not they know what “four bits” or “off stump” means.
What’s the real message of “Cricket?”
As Bandit explains to Bluey in this episode, Cricket’s about more than hitting a ball around the grass, and that goes for the deeper message of this story.
It wasn’t just Rusty’s batting aptitude and devotion to the game that was on display. His love of his family, ingrained by his father, brings us closer to the most important part of this story. As we learned in previous episodes, Rusty’s dad (voiced by Anthony Field of The Wiggles) is in the Australian army, meaning he’s often away from home for long periods. Because of the distance between them, his dad sends letters to correspond with his wife and three kids.
The last letter of advice Rusty reads in the episode from his father informs him there’re harder things in life than a cricket ball, so don’t back down from anything standing in your way, keep your eye on the ball, and concludes by reminding him to take care of his sister. Resilience in the face of hardships is the most obvious takeaway, easily demonstrated through Rusty’s prowess on the field. The power of sport as something to bring people together is the larger theme in “Cricket,” as the Red Kelpie never forgot the steps he took to improve at the game, and readily passed it on to his adorable sister.
If you had a sibling, relative, or parent who showed patience and helped you improve at something you wanted to excel at, that feeling lives deep inside your heart. It informed the way you instructed others, and is paid forward every time those good vibes are shared with someone else. In life, the points don’t matter, so never take your eye off what matters most – family.