Wednesday, January 9, 2013

You See What Happens When You Find a Stranger in the Alps?!

(Or, how Thomas the Tank Engine Managed to Piss Me Off at 7:00 This Morning)

This is what happens, Larry!
Last night, I read this Cracked article on ways that TV has censored some originally badass movie lines. In particular, John Goodman's line in this scene from The Big Lebowski was altered for television to:

You see what happens, Larry? You see what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps?! You see what happens when you feed a stoner scrambled eggs?!

(By the way, if you have no idea what this line was originally, the clip above is definitely not safe for work.)

Clearly, this change to suit the censors is completely nonsensical. J and I had a good laugh over it when I told him about it this morning, and we went along our merry way assuming that we were done with absurd censorship for the day.

Then I turned on PBS to help calm LO down. It was just barely 7:00 am, and the child had already been up for two hours. At least one hour and 58 minutes of that time seemed to have been spent crying, since the child's sleep schedule is still off.

Thomas & Friends is not a show we often watch, both because it is on freakishly early and because I find it kind of cloying. 
Also, an anthropomorphic train engine kind of creeps me out.
But LO and I sat and watched the entire episode today, which was clearly a rerun because both stories were about The Winter Holiday!

Now to be honest, I'm not sure as to which winter holiday they were referring, seeing as I suspect that every major religion celebrates something during winter, not to mention various secular winter holidays. However, The Winter Holiday! as celebrated on the island of Sodor includes presents, Christmas trees (which they were specifically called) and Sir Topham Hatt dressed as Santa Claus.

Watching this episode unfold, I got more and more annoyed. I understand that good old Thomas is hoping to avoid offending anyone by not including their particular religious/traditional/secular/demon-worshiping/Grinchly holidays. But by attempting to not offend anyone, they managed to offend me--and probably anyone else watching.

I mean The Winter Holiday! in this episode was clearly Christmas. Calling it The Winter Holiday! doesn't change the fact that they are talking about Christmas. They're just censoring something until it becomes nonsensical. (Not unlike finding a stranger in the Alps.)

Look, I don't mind if the residents and train denizens of the island of Sodor all celebrate Christmas. At least that's a recognizable tradition. Hey, we could even have a Jewish train (name of Shlomo the Engine) who teaches all the other trains about the joys of Rosh Hashanah or Passover (but not Hannukah, because this).

But even if the cast on Thomas & Friends is uniform in its celebration of Christmas, for the love of all that is holy, just call it Christmas. An attempt to be inclusive by not actually naming names is the opposite of helpful. Kids who celebrate Christmas will wonder why the hell Thomas and Friends are being so vague. Kids who don't are going to wonder why they don't get gifts for some generic The Winter Holiday! Parents of both are going to be pissed off.

So, Thomas, here is what I have to say about your Winter Holiday! episode:
Please stop finding holidays in the Alps.
It's not good for anyone.

1 comment:

  1. The did the same thing on Jake and the Pirates! Not that I watch that show or anything...

    One of my favorite Lebowski Fest costume pictures I saw was three strangers in the Alps. Awesome.