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All the trains in my son’s train podcast ranked by how much I hate them
#1
That's the title of a piece in todays Guardian (UK thinking person's) newspaper. I don't think its geo-restricted, but just in case, here's the text:

"Every parent of a young child in lockdown either knows this fact or is about to learn it: you don’t get to choose where they find their joy.

For example, my two and half year old son likes to listen to the Thomas and Friends Storytime podcast. It is, by some margin, his favourite thing to do. By a similar margin, the opening “toot toot” of the podcast is my least favourite sound on the entire planet, which now activates my fight or flight reflex every time I hear it. But due to some quirk of evolution, I find myself unable to deny my boy his train show, as it gives him the kind of happiness unattainable to adults without the use of class-A drugs.
 
Nonetheless, I am genuinely confronted by how much I hate this show and the trains therein. Some of this can be chalked up to entering our fourth week of lockdown with no end in sight. Most of it can be chalked up to Thomas and Friends Storytime being a bad show about trains who I hate.

There are lots of interesting reasons to hate this show, but I’m not getting into any of them here. This is simply a list of all the trains in the show, ranked by how much I hate them. This ranking is not definitive. Those in a similar position to me may wish to make their own list of trains they hate from their child’s train podcast. It doesn’t need to be a train podcast specifically that’s driving you insane in lockdown. For me, however – and I really cannot stress this enough – it is.

9. Nia
Nia is the least objectionable train in my son’s train podcast, possibly because she’s afforded so little airtime. I can’t tell you much about Nia, other than that she’s painted orange, which is fine, and that she was once tasked with bringing an elephant to the Sodor Animal Park and the elephant ran away, which is not.

8. Gordon
A lot of people don’t like Gordon, who is haughty and rude, but I feel an affinity with this train because the contempt in which he holds all the other trains on the Island of Sodor comes very close to matching my own. There aren’t a lot of Gordon-centric episodes in Thomas and Friends Storytime, but as if to make up for this, the actor shouts each of his lines at an upsetting volume. Gordon doesn’t get into adventures like the other trains, and seems to be very into the core business of “being a train”. It is for this reason alone that he does not rank higher.

7. Henry
‘Henry is not entombed alive in the podcast, which is a great shame.’ I’m told that there’s a famous episode of the old TV show where Henry is bricked up in a tunnel for all eternity as a punishment for disobedience. I am not exaggerating when I say that if this happened to any of the trains in Thomas and Friends Storytime, I would take my shirt off and run around the living room like I’d just won the World Cup. Henry is not entombed alive in the podcast, which is a great shame.

6. Diesel
Diesel is a diesel-powered shunting engine and is the closest thing Thomas and Friends Storytime has to an antagonist. Why is he the antagonist? Well, when the Reverend W. Awdry was dreaming up the magical Island of Sodor to delight and entertain a generation of children, he decided to establish a blood feud between the diesel and steam powered engines. I can only assume he did this for his own inscrutable Protestant reasons, and the end result is a kind of completely incongruous, sectarian tension that runs through the series. Diesel is the head of the diesel faction on Sodor and once stole a Christmas tree. Pathetic.

5. Rebecca
My son has episodes that he likes more than others. Thomas’ Animal Friends, featuring Rebecca, is his favourite episode of all, and as a result I know Thomas’ Animal Friends better than literally any piece of media or art I have ever encountered. I have more clarity around the events that unfold in Thomas’ Animal Friends than anything that has ever happened to me in my actual life, including the birth of my son. It is for this reason that I would like to see Rebecca the Large Tender Engine exploded by huge amounts of dynamite.

4. Cranky the Crane
I’ll be the first to admit that Cranky The Crane is not a train. He still makes my list.

3. James
In 1896, the Lumiere brothers premiered their film L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat. It’s a 50 second clip of a train arriving at a station, and when it was first shown in Paris, the audience were so terrified that they ran screaming from the room. This was prescient, as 125 years on, it is my exact reaction when James The Red Engine appears in any episode of Thomas And Friends Storytime.
James is billed as “the funny engine”. To begin with, this is a lie. James does nothing at any point in any of the episodes that could even be generously described in those terms. The podcast’s insistence that James is comic relief might be what tips me over the edge in lockdown, ripping our speakers from the wall and walking them, and myself, into blessed traffic.

2. Thomas
The only reason that this guy isn’t at number one is that the other day we were at the park and my son held out his arms and ran down the path and said “toot toot I’m Thomas!” with a huge smile on his face which was the best thing to happen to me all week.
Nonetheless, Thomas is a huge piece of s**t and no doubt about it. J.R.R Tolkien once said that “cellar door” was the most beautiful sounding phrase in the English language. This was only because he had never heard the phrase “Thomas The Tank Engine has been turned to atoms by a futuristic beam weapon”.

1. Percy
And so, by default, Percy, The Green Engine, is my most hated engine on Thomas and Friends Storytime. He is in most of the episodes and says things like “Last one to Tidmouth Sheds is a broken boiler!” without any consequence from a sane God.

That’s the list. I do not wish to discuss the trains any further."
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#2
That second article is complete and utter nonsense!

Nia and Rebecca certainly deserve the hate but they don't understand anything about classic characters.
For example, Gordon has always been quite bossy, but if you look back at the Classic Series, the HiT Era and to an extent even the Miller Era (early cgi era), Gordon always had a good, wise side to him. Now, Mattel have made him very 1 dimensional, just like every character, and that's the only thing people see of thomas: just a brainded show for babies.
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#3
It pains me to see Nia at the bottom of the list. C’mon, do her justice and at least give her (and Rebecca) a place in the top two. Also, I wonder why Henry is on this list but not Edward?
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#4
This article is actually very close to what I have said about these engines myself.
Nearly every engine on the Island of Sodor possesses a negative character flaw that covers the entire spectrum of human behavior.
It is these flaws that we are taught to overlook and to just accept from these characters, but in reality they are actually not good qualities and are character traits, and should be avoided in creating and holding meaningful relationships in real life.
Of some of the characters mentioned, I will elaborate:
Gordon is intentionally rude, boastful and acts snobbish.
James is smug, snarky, vain, and a most likely a narcissist.
Percy is a most dangerous kind of friend, as he is both not very bright and pathetically insecure.
Percy has zero critical thinking skills and is easily tricked and manipulated to unwittingly throw a friend under the bus simply to make a new friend. (Day of the Diesels)
Thomas is a ditz, who’s over anxiousness to please others causes him to only listen to half of a conversation or take directions before chuffing off to constantly cause confusion and delay.
Some of the character’s flaws are shallow simplistic general examples, while others are deeper and more complex.
Spencer is the equivalent of Gordon though he is more the athletic type as opposed to Gordon as the intellectual.
Hank is the less intelligent blue collar version of both Gordon and Spencer who lacks the sophistication of Gordon or the athletic ability of Spencer, but can compete with both based simply on shear strength.
My list could go on and on…
Play nice & have fun!!Smile
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#5
@Muddy Poppins, That's the thing that makes them unique. If a character must be good, they must have flaws. If a character is flawless (like rebecca) they are rubbish.

What I said previously isn't saying characters should not have flaws, but I was trying to criticize just how one dimensionally people view thomas characters.
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#6
Yes and to add, by viewing them one dimensionally they are either blind to it, choose to overlook their flaws, or “accept, tolerate and celebrate” them, rather than to call them out for their behavior or challenge them to change.
It is the same complacent mentality of society today that has led us directly to the re-boot itself.
Play nice & have fun!!Smile
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#7
@Muddy I totally agree with what you’ve said, but I also agree with GGF that the characters should have flaws to make them interesting. If a character is perfect from their introduction they have no development and as a result are pretty boring. Take Rebecca, she is optimistic, easy-going, and overly helpful. There is nothing to be done with her, making all her stories very skippable.

Compare this to my personal favorite engine of the main cast, Gordon. He was first introduced in the books as a pompous, arrogant engine who looks down on those who are not as grand as himself. He refuses to except help from “lesser” engines like Edward and as a result gets himself into several, uh... unfortunate predicaments, to say the least. However, over time he learns from his mistakes and starts realizing that the other engines are just as good as he is. In Down the Mine and Paint Pots and Queens, he helps out Thomas and forms an alliance with him. He apologizes for his self-centeredness and in return for his good behavior is given the honor of pulling the royal train. Throughout the course of Wilbert’s books, he also gradually becomes friends with Henry (after being jealous of him when he returned from Crewe with his new shape). Then in Christopher’s books, he starts being faced with new challenges in the form of being replaced by new technology (Pip and Emma the HST) and eventually comes to accept them. He starts becoming more of a mentor to the engines and, by the end of the series, sort of turns into Edward. With all his experience from his many years on the NWR, he has learned that every engine has their time to shine and that he should be grateful for what he has and gracefully accept everything he’s given. He has truly gone through a journey, as have many of his colleagues. If he was always like this and never had to face any challenges he as a character would be pretty bland. And to add that, he was always my favorite because of his snarky dialogue and the ridiculous situations he consequently put himself into. He was interesting and entertaining and also had a great character arc.

I definitely think that Mattel has gone about the characters the wrong way recently though, they were all reduced to one prominent (and usually negative) personally trait and are not given any chance to grow.

TL;DR: Characters should have flaws at the beginning so that they can make mistakes and learn from them, which allows them to grow and makes their character journey interesting. This was done beautifully in the books and the Classic Series but Mattel has really dropped the ball with it. At least this is my take on the topic Big Grin
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#8
I don't know much about Nia or Rebecca as i haven't catch up the latest seasons of Thomas and Friends. So I have no comments about them.  I am more into the classic seasons with Ringo Storr, Alex Baldwin as the narrators.

The character I can't really stand is Daisy.  She is acting like a diva with outrages demands such as refusing pulling the milk car, refuse to take advices from Toby.  

Percy is deliberately portrayed the way he is to explain some terms small children don't understand such as deputation, ideas above the stations.  

I also don't like how the story portray diesel engines.  The story is basically anti diesel engines period.
My Trackmaster/Tomy/Plarail Photo Gallery Page (over 600+ photos and still under construction)
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#9
(07-25-2021, 07:37 AM)Muddy Poppins Wrote: It is these flaws that we are taught to overlook and to just accept from these characters, but in reality they are actually not good qualities and are character traits, and should be avoided in creating and holding meaningful relationships in real life.

Great analysis overall, Muddy. We must never forget that the virtues and flaws of the characters are coming right out of the Rev. Awdry's pen. Some of them are self-explanatory, but some of them are profound, intended to be read to children, and explain to them what are good qualities that should be imitated and implemented, and what should be avoided. All the characters have both good and bad sides, like real life people, and the point is to notice them and act accordingly... Not to love or hate them as people, because they are not people, but to apply the right attitude in the real life. That was Awdry's intention, and it was a noble one. He was a priest, after all...
My YouTube Channel: Mister No
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