Annnnnnnd Why Should I Care?
On “Unicorse,” the twelve-minute children’s cartoon that will save us all.
First things first: I am not a Bluey parent. I know that Bluey — the Australian cartoon about a family of talking dogs — has become for Millennial parents what Sesame Street was for our Boomer moms and dads, a children’s show that’s actually watchable by adult standards. It has never been that for me, because I could never convince my daughter to watch more than a few episodes. She’s seen multiple seasons of Adventure Time. She can name several hundred Pokemon. She doesn’t give a shit about Australian dogs, and I cannot make her.
So I’m not a Bluey adult, and I’m not an adult-watching-children’s-cartoons-adult either; I just wind up seeing a lot of children’s television because there’s a child in my home, and I have to be near the TV so that she doesn’t press the wrong button and accidentally stream Saw IV.
I will put all of that aside, however for this week’s column, which is about the 2021 conflict resolution manual “Unicorse,” a twelve-minute Bluey episode that has done more to fix me — psychologically, spiritually, politically— than the core texts of several world religions. I’m going to spoil the plot for you, over the course of this column, but the show is on Disney+ and (again) takes less than fifteen minutes to watch in its entirety, if you want to get out ahead of me. Here, a representative sample of “Unicorse” and its teachings:
So: The plot of “Unicorse” is that Bluey, the cartoon dog child, can’t sleep. Her mother wants to calm her down by reading her a story. Her father wants to hype her up — and irritate her mother — by bringing out Unicorse, a puppet who is, famously, “the most annoying unicorn in the world.”
Unicorse interrupts. Unicorse derails. Unicorse laughs at other people’s suffering; Unicorse boasts, repeatedly, that he is immune to empathy, that feeling for his fellow man (or unicorn) simply cannot take root in his cloth breast. The event that makes you cry? It…