The voices behind Bluey’s parents, Bandit (dave McCormack) and Chilli (Melanie Zanetti) on what to expect from the 28 Minute special, ‘The Sign

Nestled at the end of a cul-de-sac in suburban Brisbane, is a house that needs no introduction. Although technically home to four (excluding the variety of gnomes, puppets, leaf bugs and imaginary friends who lodge in the shadow of the poinciana tree and active imaginations of two Aussie pups) the Heeler house feels like a home for millions of families and fans around the world.

As Chilli reminds us in ‘Bedroom‘:“I guess it’s not the room, it’s who’s been in it.” It’s a lesson the Heeler family will need to hold close to their hearts as they embark on their biggest adventure yet in ‘The Sign’ – the 28 minute Bluey special, premiering around the world this weekend.

I guess it’s not the room, it’s who’s been in it…

S3E1 – Bedroom

The affection that so many people around the world feel for the Heeler family is itself an extension of the warmth and love that Bandit and Chilli surround their two girls with. Almost mimicking how far the show has spread from the suburbs of Brisbane to the skies of New York and beyond: the voices behind these characters, Dave McCormack and Melanie Zanetti join our conversation from opposite ends of the globe to discuss what’s in store for the world’s favourite Heeler family.

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When you first started on the show, did you ever get a sense of how big the show would become?

MZ: I don’t know if anyone could have predicted just how big it would become, but I did know right from the beginning that it was something really special. When I saw the first episode, I fell in love. It was so cute. My heart hurt, and I knew it was very special. So, I’m not totally shocked.

DM: Every step of the way has been an absolute pleasant surprise for me. And, and to work with Mel is so fantastic. I’ve been doing a bit of revision, like going back to the start to brush up on a few things with Bluey… and ‘Chilli’ is awesome man. She’s such a good character. You do a great job Mel…

MZ: Chilli is great! But Bandit is THE BEST DAD EVER!

DM: Yeah, he’s… he’s complicated… but Chilli’s amazing! The show’s amazing. I never thought it would get this far, but it does seem like a logical progression to get to an episode that’s basically four times as long as the normal episode. It’s exciting – I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

Did anything feel different when you were making ‘The Sign’?

MZ: Well, I recorded it in two parts, so I got a little bit of the audience experience. I found out what was happening the first half, and I was left with a cliff-hanger until I got to record the second part. That was really exciting. That’s never happened before.

DM: Yeah, that was the same with me. I did feel as though something was different. I could tell there was more going on than what Joe (Brumm) was letting me know. Then just all the stuff that happens in it… is incredible. There’s a lot going on!

MZ: There’s a LOT going on. There are multiple storylines, which is I think is kind of a first because in 7 minutes there’s only so much you can pack in, but in 28 you have the luxury of time.

What do you think have led to so many people connecting with Bandit and Chilli?

DM: Like I said, I’ve been looking back over a lot of episodes. Chilli is cool. She’s so cool. There’s one episode (‘Perfect’) where Bandit comes in and does the big entrance – “It’s Dad” – and then Chilli’s just there doing this really slow clap. It’s so funny, it’s so good.

And the one where Chilli farts and tries to usher everyone out of the room.

MZ: Family Meeting!’ My favourite episode… “On the morning of this morning...”

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MZ: I think how many parents have resonated with these two dogs. So many people have said to us “it feels like you’ve been filming my family, because this is exactly us.” So many people have been touched by this this beautiful show that’s been really magical.

There’s been a lot of fan speculation based off of some of the trailers for ‘The Sign’, specifically around Chilli’s supposed run in with the police…

MZ: Look, I just think Chilli’s in a bit of a pickle. Everyone is going to have to wait to see what actually happens… but let your imaginations run wild!

And wedding bells are in the air… do you have any personal theories about Bandit and Chilli’s wedding?

MZ: Oooooh… good question!

DM: Oh yeah, I do! I reckon it was WILD. A throwback to like, the seventies where they had big hair and… look I know that doesn’t make any chronological sense but just in my mind it’s a sort of colour film, really faded 35mm print family photo album… getting more and more blurry throughout the night as the tables fill up.

MZ: Yes, I love that! We know from ‘Whale Watching’ that they (Bandit and Chilli) enjoy a good dance on the table… so I reckon it was THAT kind of wedding.

DM: Yeah! Exactly that.

Every time a new episode drops, Bluey takes over the internet. Are there any fan reactions to previous episodes that have surprised you?

MZ: I wasn’t ready for just how big ‘Onesies’ was going to affect people. I had so many people contacting me, telling me how much that episode meant to them.

DM: I was surprised by how much ‘Cricket’ connected with people that hadn’t really watched the show before. They loved it, I’m talking about grown Australian sports men and women at the point of tears for their love and admiration for that episode. This episode became a cultural movement… I’ve spoken to seasoned politicians who would just cry – they loved it so much.

Without any spoilers, what fan reactions are you most excited for in “The Sign”?

Picture Shows: Bingo, Socks, and Muffin boogie on the dance floor!

MZ: I am excited for the rollercoaster of emotions that the fans are going to go on with this episode. The same one that I went on when I finally saw it…

DM: Look, it’s huge. I think fans are going to have a lot of fun picking out the guest voices. Often when they’re watching it’s like… who is THAT? And then you get to the end credits and you’re like OH!

MZ: It’s Natalie Portman!

Have any Bluey-isms made it into your own vocabulary?

DM: I say “dude’”a lot after ‘Favourite Thing’. I’m quite enjoying that – it’s quite liberating, and makes talking so much fun.

MZ: I’ve added “For Real Life” … oh and Muffin’s “THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!” from ‘Bike’.

Dave, do you have any favourite Chilli moments? And Melanie, do you have any favourite Bandit moments?

DM: In ‘Family Meeting’ when she farts… I think that’s great stuff to have on TV. Oh and I love in ‘Grandad’ when Chilli is sitting with her Dad and time’s passing. It says so much about the fleetingness of existence. We’re only here for a drop of time, and it says so much. You could write 10,000 28 minute episodes and it not say as much as those final few seconds of ‘Grandad’.

MZ: One of those Bandit moments for me is in ‘Rug Island’, where Chilli asks him what Bluey gave her and he says “Everything”. My heart. I love in ‘The Pool’ when the kids say “I’m cold, I’m hungry!” and he responds with “Hi Cold. Hi Hungry” – just classic dad moment. My dad would do that.

Keep an eye out for more with Melanie and Dave following the release of ‘The Sign‘, as we take a deeper dive into the episode.