Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thomas & Friends…And Me

Even in our Sunshine State there is rain. With due respect to the folks in Edina, Minnesota, who have to hunker down from ice, wind and snow, we too have to run for cover when clouds burst over Florida. Happily when I recently found myself indoors channel-surfing, I came across a cartoon series titled “Thomas & Friends.”

Nowadays, Thomas & Friends is familiar to every little boy and girl in kindergarten. Certainly so by the time they graduate in their caps and gowns (!) Still the series remained more or less unknown to those of us of a certain age who came along well before there was kindergarten, let alone television. So I'm glad I found Thomas for now I too am one of his friends. The history of this British/Canadian/American cartoon program reads like a detective story, far too tortured a path to follow.  I'm not sure all that matters.  It is far more important to locate the listing in your TV Guide, then tune in.

Thomas & Friends teaches evergreen lessons not just for little boys and girls but for people of all ages, parents especially.  In addition there are great production values. (Even cartoon figures in the background have detail and movement.) A welcome respite from the endless cut and paste versions we are fed in the endless parade of imported junk that drains any sense of believability from story lines.

Without being patronizing, Thomas & Friends retrieves cherished standards of yesteryear.  Viewers learn the importance of “Thank you”, ”Please”, helping others, not taking credit that belongs to another, apologizing for making mistakes, and a raft of other examples. All of which flow naturally from the adventures facing Thomas and his companions. There are singable songs that accompany footage that nicely ties the cartoons to the real world.

To be sure there is a bit of Britain that is not familiar to most American ears.  Terms like “Sir” and “Madame” pop up in place of “you guys” or “me and him”.  That said, I suggest you try it.  I'm certain you will like it.

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