August 25th, 2013
My eldest nephew is crazy about Thomas the Tank Engine. He can spent hours watching Thomas videos on Youtube, but best not to let him watch this one. Meanwhile, Drew Magary explains what makes it an awful, awful tv show:
Thomas and his friends live on Sodor and spend their days toiling endlessly, “shunting trucks and hauling freight.” (Shunting, by the way, sounds like a great Urban Dictionary term for silent fucking—”We shunted while his parents slept next door!”) The engines are only happy when they are being “Really Useful,” which suggests to me that they have been brainwashed by fearsome tuxedoed railway overlord Sir Topham Hatt to accept the bonds of slavery without question. These poor engines have never known freedom, and so the very idea of it is alien to them. The whole story could have served as an allegory for life under the Russian czars before the rise of the Bolsheviks. But I bet the Rev wasn’t that subtle. I bet he was just a man who thought trains were bitches.
On the whole though the show has an useful message for all kids: shut up, you’re not special, do as you are told. If you don’t we’ll brick you up in an abandoned railway tunnel:
Thomas the Tank Engine: propaganda to get kids used to the awful conditions of the UK railways, or just to get them used to being happy cogs in the capitalist machine?