Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cheer up Thomas, you miserable git.

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?

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Nikosmommy said...

YES! I have totally noticed how the trains on Thomas are a bunch of negative-Nelly's!!! They're always being sucky about some sort of problem/predicament.

And you're right, north american children shows are incredibly positive and up-beat. The only one (in my opinion) that keeps it "real" is Franklin (the turtle) but I've seen that show so many damn times that I can't really stand it anymore.

Mammatalk said...

Happy clappy?!! LOL! :+)

Elaine A. said...

My oldest LOVED Thomas and I would do the same thing and think "What the heck are those trains' problem, GAH!"

But he also LOVED Dora and she irked the hell out of me.

Go fig.

Now my 3 yr old loves Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid. (do you have those shows?) and they are somewhat more bearable...

And Ni Hoa Kai-Lan? GAG!!! ;-P

James (SeattleDad) said...

Thankfully we have avoided Thomas. Laughed at the Max and Ruby shudder. I hear you. Ruby is uber annoying and I keep waiting for Max to backhand her in one of the episodes, but alas it never happens.

fiona2107 said...

Hahahah! You're so right, I hadn't really noticed before but he is quite the sad sack!

BTW Dora I can handle it's her cousin Diego that makes me wanna stab myself, LMHO!!

And I loved sooty and sweep when I was little. Not sure if you know who there were :)

naomi said...

Yes they have changed. Some have become more violent, some have become great learning programmes and we seem to have done away with the ones that were'innocent' but has lots of hidden meanings such as 'magic roundabout'.

Mwa said...

I think they have changed. Some of them are great, and they are without question more entertaining, but I hate the ones that talk down to kids. And I don't allow the children to ever watch Mighty Mites because I want to slap that woman and her squeaky voice.