Bluey: no place like home

Max Jeganathan on Bluey's newest episode, "The Sign".

The cage fight between renters, landlords and mortgagors continues. Our housing crisis is frustrated and seemingly intractable. Refreshingly, some wisdom has been thrown into the debate by that world-conquering family of cartoon blue heelers.

Bluey’s recently released episode “The Sign” had an Australian audience of nearly 2.3 million. That’s almost 10% of Australia’s population and almost one million more than TayTay’s new album had sales/downloads in its first week in the US – record-breaking in its own right.

We hear, correctly, about the financial quicksand facing renters, home-owners, aspiring home owners and others who just need somewhere to sleep. Bluey’s latest episode offers a deeper unifying insight that goes beyond competing property rights. Housing is not just economic. It’s emotional. It’s personal. It’s existential. Why? Because a house is not enough. In the words of that other Aussie cultural icon Darryl Kerrigan “It’s not a house. It’s a home.” Happiness and meaning connect to people and place.

In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah declares God’s vision for his people to live peacefully – finding “secure homes”. The word “blessing” in the following verse denotes holistic flourishing, not merely material provision.

Ultimately, the promise of a new house falls short of The Heelers’ home. The episode ends with the sale of the house falling through and the canine family crying, hugging, and celebrating on the lawn with the “for sale” sign ripped out. Their home is an extension of their family – the canvas on which their lives are painted. I get it. My family and I recently moved back to Australia after seven years overseas, and into a modest house similar to that of the Heelers. We’re still settling in, but it already feels like home. And there’s no place like it.

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