Today I look at Blue’s Clues, cuz it’s really fun.
Blue is a cute dog who lives with Steve until Steve goes to college, then she lives with Joe. I am watching a Steve episode. My oldest 2 sons watched a lot of Blue’s Clues when they were little, and we are a Steve family. Blue is a female dog, and she is a puppy who is kind of silly and squirrelly. She does not speak, just makes bark-y noises that Steve understands.
I will disclose my bias here. I love Blue’s Clues. My kids watched it a lot. It is cute and benign. Positive male role models are important, and Steve is so very nice and never gets frustrated even though he is constantly being asked to do things for others on the show. There is a lot of preschool math, repetition, and music/dancing.
Steve is the main character and the only character who interacts the camera. He talks to the camera and asks viewers questions and off-camera kids answer him.
There are other non-human characters that interact with Steve and Blue. Pail is a girl and Shovel is her brother. They are a pail and a shovel who talk, play in the sandbox, and give Steve some help with the clues. Periwinkle is a little boy kitten who lives in the neighborhood and is Blue’s friend. Tickety is a female clock who lives on Blue’s dresser. They are in this episode but have very little interactions in this episode.
Side table drawer is a character. I think she is a girl. She is there to serve Steve.
In this episode, Steve and Blue are playing cafe, setting up a restaurant in their house. They forgot to add a dessert, so in addition to making lunch and serving it to their friends, they had to play Blue’s Clues to figure out dessert (spoiler: ice cream sandwiches).
They took a trip to the grocery store to pick up tomato sauce because the “customers” wanted spaghetti instead of the cheese sandwiches Steve was pushing. Fortunately, they had very patient customers who did not complain about waiting for the sauce to be made while they staved off hunger with nothing but pretzels for an appetizer.
Steve is a grownup, this is his house and his things. But he is very playful and spends his days hanging with his dog and anthropomorphizing the things in his house.
Salt and Pepper are a couple and they work in the kitchen. They have French accents and feed the stereotype that men can be in the kitchen if they are chefs (not just taking care of the house), and he is a French chef, so that is an elevated level of it. This is not entirely fair because Steve does live on his own and is found in the kitchen, but there is that unspoken pervasive notion-male French chefs-AOK.
This is only one episode and not all characters were in it. There really are not any female role models in the show, and female characters have very few speaking parts. There is talk of a new round of Blue’s Clues, and the new lead might be a woman. As much as I love Steve, I would welcome the change.
Our count so far.
Count today- 1 show
Count total- 7 shows
Shows with male lead- 5
Shows with female lead- 2
Shows with a positive message for girls, starring girls-1