6. Blaze and the Monster Machines

Oh my.

So… in a world populated by Monster Machines, a group of Monster Machines do… adventures… I think. It’s hard to describe. Blaze and the Monster Machines has a narrative that I imagine would be almost impossible to write without first mainlining crack. They might be playing monster machine football when an eagle monster machine steals their ball one moment, then dodging dinosaur monster machines in a monster machine volcano the next. Then, out of nowhere, one of them will tell the audience that they can escape because of levers and ask, “Can you say ‘The beam then pivots around the fulcrum, exerting the output force on some sort of object that needs to be moved'”? Presumably, somewhere, someone is driving a Ferrari bought from their cut of the money they make from Blaze and the Monster Machines being sold as ‘educational’ but this is no Team Umizoomi. Anything even resembling knowledge gets so lost among the dross as to be all but useless. The only thing that you can learn from Blaze and the Monster Machines is that Blaze wins every single race he enters.

What really raises (or lowers, depending on your viewpoint) Blaze and the Monster Machines in this chart is the fundamental misunderstanding of how bullying works and their attempts to teach children about bullying but actually just giving them the tools to be more capable bullies.

For example, at the end of one episode, Crusher (the naughty monster machine) approaches a drinks stall run by another monster machine who tells him he can have any drink, “except that one.” Crusher takes the one he can’t have, there is a crab inside it, it bites him. Now, I guess the lesson they are trying to teach is, don’t take things you are told not to, but the scene isn’t that simple, is it? The other monster truck could have said, “Don’t take that cup because it has a crab in it,” or, “Please don’t take that one,” but instead he chose to say, “You can have anyone except that one.” The implication is that Crusher can’t have that one because it is the best one. That’s bullying, right there. Crusher can either take one of the other cups and go away feeling small, or he can take the cup he has been told he can’t have and get bitten by a crab for his troubles.

Put yourself in Crusher’s shoes. Imagine you went to a restaurant and the waiter told you that you could have anything but the soup. You’d want to know why you couldn’t have the soup. If the waiter told you that you just couldn’t have the soup, it wasn’t for you, other people could have it but not you, you would be a little peturbed. Everyone around you is eating the soup. Why can’t you have the soup? So, what would you do? You would demand the soup. You would say, correctly, that you have as much right to the soup as anybody else. That your money is as good as the next person’s. And even when you could feel yourself starting to make a scene, even as you hate yourself you would stand firm. Until the waiter said, Fine, you can have the soup. If, five minutes later the waiter returned with your soup and there was a human turd floating among the croutons, ask yourself, honestly, what would you write in your Tripadvisor review?

Blaze and his friends are the popular kids, oblivious of their privilege, belittling anyone outside the circle. They are everything that is wrong with the patriarchy writ large, in a shitty font, on the side of a vehicle with stupid outsized wheels. They are the American dream gone sour, fetid. A bowl of shit soup.