having a 3yo brother means i get exposed to kids’ shows way more often than i thought i would at this point in my life, but man, binge watching thomas the tank engine as an adult is a wild fucking experience
all these trains (and there’s like 20 counting locomotives alone, don’t even get me started on the anthropomorphic train cabins) are MAD competitive the whole time and will constantly fuck up their own whole day by tring to prove they’re the biggest baddest train. and like, i understand that you gotta get you plot from somewhere and i imagine plotlines like this happen in cars etc. as well, but the other day i was watching and i noticed that all these goddamn locomotives have DRIVERS in them. that apparently have no control over their train’s actions at all whatsoever. so these trains wake up, pick up their drivers, go to work, get taunted by another train who’s like “ha ha i see u there with your 4 cabins but did you know i can pull SIX cabins and still fucking book it at 80mph” and the 4 cabin train will be like “fuck it i gotta prove myself now, hook me up with 4 more cabins” and will inevitably derail themselves or some shit while the engine driver just shuts up and kicks back the whole time
i explained this to my brother and was like, is that fucked up or what, but he just pointed at the green train and went “that’s percy” so i guess that’s his take on the situation
OKAY I’M GETTING IN ON THIS BECAUSE I’M MAD AND FULL OF COLA
I worked on that show. For three hideous months of my life, I did this.
And there was this whole unwritten rule structure about the drivers and what they did and when they did it and how/when they needed to act
And there was this weird fucking balance between what the trains did and what the humans did - the drivers would only act when the train can’t do a thing by itself. Hooking up to another car? Driver does it. Need to shift from one track to another? Driver gets out and does it. Loading up one of the cars? Drivers.
See something funny here? BECAUSE I DID. What driver would hear their sentient train say “fuck it i gotta prove myself now, hook me up with 4 more cabins” and NOT respond with “Percy just shut up and drive we have people to transport or the Health and Safety committee is going to breathe fire up both our asses”???
Naw, they hear their giant fucking trains with giant fucking faces whining about how they are getting old and outdated and how they need to prove themselves by doubling their reasonable capacity and they go “welp, okay” and they get out and they hook up those cabins.
Otherwise, the trains had total autonomy to do whatever petty competitive shit the plot of the day demanded that they do. Go way too fast and end up breaking because they wanted to race a new and not outdated engine that’s actually built for speed? They do that. Go 100% the wrong direction because they wanted to show their friends a thing they got loaded up with and end up ruining it? No probbo, Bobbo. Disobey directions given by Sir Topham Hatt HIMSELF because they’re too proud? You do the thing buddy. Strain way too fucking hard to carry 8 fucking cabins when they were only built for 4? YOU GO FOR IT YOU MORON TRAIN.
SO WITH ALL THAT HERE’S MY THEORY that I had to develop because it was either that or never stop drinking ever again
Those drivers? They never speak to each other, never acknowledge the existence of any humans. They get in the train, go with the train, fix the train, load or unload the train. That is all they do.
They’re not human.
They are symbiotic extensions of the trains. They are a combination of the birds that eat parasites off hippos and fucking Boston Dynamics style robots where literally all they do is whatever shit their designated Train Of The Day deems worthy of their time.
With no task to fulfil, they are thoughtless beings. WATCH THEM. They look around at nothing. They blink. Sometimes they lean on the edge of the window. 99.5% of the time, they do nothing, they see nothing, they interact with nothing. They are shaped in such a way as to avoid unsettling the real humans of the world, but are below humans in almost every way - Sir Topham Hatt never speaks to them directly in the way he speaks to the engines.
If the train derails and it’s possible that a human driver would be severely injured? It’s fine, because they’re not actually human. They crumple into a heap of non-euclidian geometry and then rebuild themselves like an inflatable snowman. Their recovery is fuelled by the years of poor decisions they’ve helped enable - all this time they’ve been feeding off the intellect of these trains.
Why do the trains never learn from their mistakes? Why, after more than 30 years, are they still getting stuck, taking on more weight than they should know they can handle, still derailing themselves?
Because these symbiotic train extensions need their slice of the pie. They must feed. And what’s more cost effective than sandwiches? Thought. 30 years of quiet leeching, giving the trains enough processing power to do their jobs, but not so much that the trains don’t need them anymore.
The trains are in a constant state of developmental hiatus because of the drivers themselves.
NOW YOU MAY BE THINKING, this seems weird and unusual. Why would Sir Topham Hatt allow for this? Wouldn’t it be more cost effective for the trains to be able to learn from their mistakes and become better workers?
And to that I ask you… from this entire operation, hauling coal, hauling people, hauling animals, being “really useful”… what do the trains get out of this? They are kept alive and maintained, but neither are they allowed their own independent thought, or their own free time or interests. Everything they do is done under orders of Sir Topham Hatt.
And without the brainpower to devote to critical thought, they are unable to see how their petty struggles to be better than each other only reinforces the system where they are coerced into being “really useful”, above all else.
WAKE UP SHEEPLE
did not expect to wake up today to thomas the tank engine discourse and unsettlingly well-thought-out conspiracy theories..but at the same time, in this day and age, i really cant say im surprised