Tuesday, November 30, 2010
My kids love Thomas the Tank Engine. Especially my younger son.
"ToTo!" He cries, whenever he sees the blue train, which is often, because Thomas-branded merchandise is everywhere. We can't go out, it seems, without passing a Thomas book, some toxic bubble bath, a pair of pajamas or a toy.
So when I offered the boys the chance to rent one movie each from the library last week, Oliver naturally went for Thomas.
I put the DVD on so that I could get dinner ready. Not paying attention, I caught the odd line from the show here and there. After a while, all I could hear was a bunch of whining, self-pitying trains, constantly complaining about something or other.
"Toby wasn't very happy because he didn't feel like an important train!"
"Gordon was grumpy because he wanted to go a different way but the other trains didn't want to go with him!"
"Percy was angry because no one was listening to him!"
And so on. It was like this, all the way through the show. Bloody hell. It was like watching a conversation between Simon Cowell, Grumpy the dwarf and Scrooge.
I don't remember Thomas and his pals being such a bunch of bad-tempered grouches, having watched the show as a kid.
But maybe it's because now I'm used to modern kids' shows like Dora the Explorer and Max and Ruby (shudder) where everything is super-positive and super-fun and super-awesome all the time and the messages are all positive and nothing is negative. Or maybe it's because North American kids' shows are more bright and cheery than English kids' shows?
Some kids' shows are so happy-clappy it's practically unbearable. If you've ever watched an episode of Ni Hao Kai-Lan, you'll know what I'm talking about. She is ALL ABOUT the positive messages, forever turning a negative situation into a positive one.
Which is equally irritating. I'm not sure what's worse: pouty, gloomy trains or hyper cheerful, slightly preachy Japanese cartoon girls.
Maybe Ni Hao Kai-Lan should get together with Thomas and scatter some of her euphoria on him.
What do you think? Have kids' shows have changed much since you were a child?
Posted by Lady Mama at 2:11 PM