7 Questions Parents Ask When Watching Blaze and the Monster Machines
Aside from the theme tunes, life lessons and 10-15 minutes of silence that tends to accompany them, the thing I love most about kids’ TV shows like Fireman Sam, PAW Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines are the questions they throw up.
Take Blaze and the Monster Machines. Yes, at first glance it’s a fairly straightforward cartoon featuring a good car with a “blazing speed” option who always wins and a bad car with a penchant for cheating who always loses. But watch each episode 20-30 times over the course of 18 months and you’ll find yourself lying awake at night wondering why this happens? Where these are? And what’s going on with X, Y or Z?
With this in mind, I have decided to add another article to my kids’ TV catalogue. It’s called 7 Questions Parents Ask When Watching Blaze and the Monster Machines, and it’s about to begjn. So, are you ready for it? Great, then all that remains to be said is: 1, 2, 3 let’s (pick apart) Blaze.
1. Why is Blaze the only Monster Machine who gets a driver?
Full disclosure: I’ve never been in the room when creatives brainstorm the concept of a new children’s television show involving heroic machines, but I imagine two of the main riddles they need to solve are: how can we humanise the main protagonists? And what can we do to make kids feel like the show’s hero is their friend? Blaze’s inventors cleverly answered the former by providing the all of monster machines with the power of speech and giving them facial features like eyes and a mouth. And they quite brilliantly answered the latter by giving Blaze a child driver/best buddy called AJ.
2. What’s the deal with Pickle?
Of all the characters in Blaze, Pickle is the one who fascinates me the most, because he forms the bridge between good and evil, knows right from wrong and deep down just wants to be loved. Plus, he has a surprisingly large appetite. But back to the question – what is his deal? I have two theories on this. The first is that he’s designed to be the good angel who sits on Crusher’s shoulder and tries to get him to do the right thing. And the second is that he’s the monster machine equivalent of a kid who doesn’t really fit in and is torn between the lure of making friends with the cool kid who is a little bit naughty (bad idea) and the cool kids who are uber-successful Jocks (good idea).
3. Why does Crusher cheat even when he has a massive lead?
I just don’t get this. I mean, sure chuck out a Robo Pineapple launcher when Blaze is right on your tail. But why Earth would you want to take a risky shortcut past a sleeping kissing bear when you are two CONTINENTS ahead of your rivals? The only plausible answer is that it’s an addiction.
4. Am I supposed to know about all this science stuff?
I hope not, as watching Blaze and the Monster Machines has taught me more about centrifugal force, rotational speed and air currents than my school ever did. In other news, my school just called and, apparently, I should have paid more attention in physics.
5. Where are all the girl cars?
This is a bit of an issue with the show. Yes, Starla is a rootin’ tootin’, ass-kicking cowgirl. And yes, Gabby is a wonderfully talented female mechanic and scout troop leader. But even allowing for these two fierce females, Blaze’s cast list is very “boy heavy”. I know it’s about cars, but another female monster machine would definitely be a welcome addition.
6. Can you get away with anything if the you stick the word “robo” in front of it?
If you are Crusher, and you’re inventing a giant cheese ball rolling/super slippery banana launching/tornado creating machine to hopefully stop Blaze and his cronies in their tracks, yes. If you’re a regular person in the real world, no.
7. Why doesn’t Blaze let anyone else win?
I’ve pondered this a lot over the last 18 months. I mean, if Starla, Stripes, Darington and Zeg are a) goodies and b) Blaze’s mates, then what is the issue with one of them crossing the line in front of the show’s eponymous hero? After much deliberation, I can only presume that behind his “friends forever” front Blaze hides an ego so huge that he’s threatened to quit the show if anyone gets to the finish before him. Well that, or the producers think that kids love winners, so the franchise’s continued success hinges on Blaze always being number one. One or the other.
Until next time…