My toddler has a new TV obsession. It’s called Blaze and the Monster Machines. It’s on Nick Jr, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And it’s really rather good.
I say this partially because the show gives me 20 minutes of peace every morning, but mainly because it manages to achieve the notable feat of both entertaining and educating my son at the same time.
Really? Yes, really. Thanks to watching Blaze and the Monster Machines, my son now has a passing knowledge of structural engineering, velocity, chain reactions, adhesion, wind currents, acceleration and a bunch of other stuff that, while useful in the long run, makes absolutely no difference to the daily life of a 2-year-old who enjoys asking questions like: “Can I take my pee pee out?” and “Can you smell my poo poo?”.
Which brings me to the one thing I’d change about Blaze. Namely: that I think he should have brown eyes rather than blue. Just kidding. I’d actually like Blaze and his best friend/driver AJ to quit teaching the world’s toddlers GCSE Science and start teaching them everyday stuff that would make parents’ lives easier right here and right now. You know, things like…
1. Drinking water
One of the best things about Blaze and the Monster Machines is its use of interactivity. In just about every episode, they have a small segment where Blaze asks the audience multiple choice questions along the lines of: “Which piece will fit in the gap in the bridge?” or “Who is the icicle going to fall on?”.
After the question is asked, the audience gets around five seconds to respond before Blaze reveals the answer. Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because I want the producers to use this state then stop mechanism to help to end the daily parental nightmare of getting more than three drips of water passed your child’s lips.
How would this work? Simple. At least three times in every episode, Blaze and AJ could have a pit stop, where they take a quick swig of water, before looking straight into the camera and saying, “Come on kids, now it’s your turn.”
2. Learning to share
Hold on. Am I saying that I want Blaze and the Monster Machines to teach my son how to do good sharing, so I don’t have to keep banging my head against a brick wall? Yes, that’s actually what I am saying. And here’s how I think it could happen.
In one episode next season, the villainous Crusher tries to win a race by stealing all the petrol in Axle City. The majority of the good cars want one monster machine to use the small amount of fuel they’ve recovered to chase him down on his own, but Blaze and AJ have another idea. They use some complex science and maths to show their friends that they can all catch Crusher if they SHARE the remaining petrol correctly.
The gang agrees and from then on the usual shenanigans take place – i.e. they catch Crusher, he regains the lead by creating a pie-throwing robot, the good guys fend off the pies, defeat the robot, and then use blazing speed to pip the big cheater on the line.
3. Brushing teeth
I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of battling a toothbrush into my son’s gob every evening. Thus, I propose that Blaze’s inventors make the world a better place by producing an episode that is all about tooth decay, gum disease, plaque, fillings, root canal surgery and so on.
I appreciate this plot sounds a little dry upon first hearing, but open your mind to the kind of magical mystery ride it could take us on. Darington could lose a tooth performing a stunt, prompting a chase to find it that sees Zeg crack a tooth on a rock, Stripes require a filling and Starla get butted so hard by a Bighorn that she need dentures.
And what about our hero? Well, Blaze has perfect teeth, because… wait for it… he brushes them every morning and evening. Cue a montage of him cleaning his teeth merrily and a song about the dangers of gum erosion.
Toilet training a toddler is never going to be fun. But it would be a little less hellish if Blaze’s writers stepped up to the plate and created an episode that sees our hero, AJ and Gabby the mechanic all need to go to the toilet (note: at different times).
And then what happens? Well, on each occasion everyone watching at home has to decide where the character should go from a choice of three options, one of which will always be the toilet.
In the show’s usual style, viewers will get around five seconds to answer the question, before Blaze reveals the answer and reminds everyone to “flush properly” and “wash their hands”.
5. Doing good listening
Before kids, I had no idea that there were two types of listening. There is good listening, where your son or daughter intakes the information and does as instructed. And then there is bad listening, where your son or daughter completely ignores the information and does whatever they want to do.
In the battle between good listening and bad listening, one monster machine stands alone. His name is Blaze and if his writers pen an episode that sees him comeback from the depths of despair (or, you know, being trapped by a robo-spider web) to win a race because he does good listening and Crusher does bad listening, then I will pay their wages for six months. Not really. But I will be very, very grateful.
Aaaannnndddd that’s a wrap. Those are my top five ideas for the next season of Blaze. Find out if any of them make the cut via Nick Jr, Netflix, Amazon Prime or my social media posts about suddenly being really rich.
Until next time…