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Many of the events in Bluey are openly childrens' games, and primarily take place in the real world with an overlay of imagination.

For example, in S01E01 the audience is expected to understand that the xylophone isn't really magical, and that this is simply a game that Bluey and Bingo are playing.

Similarly in S01E06, the audience is aware that Bingo isn't really a statue. Magical or otherwise.

Outside of elements that are clearly portrayed as being games, can the events of the show be considered to be an accurate depiction of events from the perspective of a child, or can Bluey be considered an Unreliable Narrator presenting events that are wholly or in part fictional events within the setting of the show?

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Most episodes have no narrator, so no, the term "unreliable narrator" doesn't apply.

A more useful way of looking at what you're asking is probably What is the perspective of Bluey? Is it more subjective or objective? And what are the rules of the Bluey universe?

Asking those questions together you'll find that these vary from episode to episode; however, I find that one of the appealing things about the show is that maybe the xylophone is really magical? Maybe Bandit would have stayed with a hose in his mouth forever? The Heeler family fully commit. That's the magic of the show. We are mostly in the kids' perspective, but because of the adults' full commitment to the games then that perspective becomes the reality of the show. Different to our reality, hence why you find it 'unreliable', but consistent for the show.

That being said, not all episodes have this sort of 'magical realism'. Sometimes the parents are reluctant, or something gets in the way of them playing the game. Other times, the perspective shifts, like in S1 E37 "The Adventure", where Chloe and Bingo switch roles for various reasons. The music pauses whenever they are out of character, then restarts again. Here, the show breaks it's own illusion, but then manages to recreate it - you can follow the story of the adventure even though the 'actors' playing the roles keep switching in and out. In these sorts of episodes, it is obviously just a game.

But whether the show is flirting with magical realism or not, I don't think the concept of an unreliable narrator really applies to what the show is doing.

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    I would argue that the narrator doesn't need to be literally narrate. Sometimes it's more an issue of "show, not tell". For example, Rugrats sometimes has direct narration where a character tells us something that's unreliable such as describing an ordinary person or an object as being a monster, but at other times we see the world form the perspective of the characters with no narration and it's equally unreliable. Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 8:08
  • You can definitely make that argument, and you're definitely asking an interesting question, but I don't think "unreliable narrator" is really the best term. I usually interpret that phrase to mean that the narrator is self-serving in how they are telling the story. What you are talking about is probably something like a "subjective perspective". Calling a person a monster is a subjective opinion, but not necessarily a self-serving distortion of the facts.
    – magarnicle
    Commented Apr 1, 2023 at 2:36
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    Have unreliable narration? Like I said, no. Blend reality and fantasy and have an ambiguous perspective? Yes. Those are more accurate and useful terms. However, it does have an example of unreliable narration: in Family Meeting, Bluey and Bandit are both unreliable narrators of their version of events, leaving out and twisting details to serve their own purposes. But this is a story-within-the-story, not the episode itself. There's no evidence that we are seeing an 'unreliable' view of the actual family meeting.
    – magarnicle
    Commented Apr 2, 2023 at 23:07
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    @AaarghZombies The question presupposes that one answer will always be the case. It may vary from episode to episode. In some cases, it's clear that Dad and Mom are just willing to play along and really commit to the bit. In other cases, it's ambiguous, like in Spy Game where Bingo's command appears to cause a minor disaster and there's no way the adults could be in on it (or it could be coincidence, or the way little-kid-vision can construct coincidence out of nothing). Commented Apr 4, 2023 at 20:48
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    It's absurd to claim that every show that has ever had one episode where the narrator is unreliable is therefore, as a whole, always an unreliable-narrator story. Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 20:32

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