You know, I’m not even sure where to start with this. When I think of Thomas the Tank Engine, I think of three things: my childhood, that vine where Thomas is chasing Harry and Ron in the flying car, and that remix of the Thomas and Friends theme song with 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.”
Then, you know, I got a little older and their faces in general just started to freak me out and I was glad that I didn’t have to watch it anymore.
However, you know something serious is about to go down when Jia Tolentino of The New Yorker writes a piece about it. Turns out that if you really pay attention to what we used to watch, Thomas and his friends were living in some sort of hell. There just happened to be trains there.
Let’s go back. Remember a few of your favorite moments? Thomas and Bertie racing? The wonderful friendship between Thomas and Percy?
Nope. None of that will erase from your memory what I’m about to show you.
Let’s take a look at some of the more sinister moments, shall we? The one currently making the rounds on Facebook is when the Fat Controller (that was literally his name) summons Henry to be barricaded in his tunnel forever simply because he wouldn’t move when he was asked.
Turns out his tyranny doesn’t end there.
Now that I think about it, it doesn’t shock me as much as I thought it would. Let’s be real, the Fat Controller looks like he just walked off the pages of Struwwelpeter (look that book up for nightmare fuel).
But Tolentino also brings up points brought forth from Tumblr user, frog-and-toad-are-friends, who points out that the entire series just takes place in the post-apocalyptic world where “steam trains are routinely killed and their body parts are sold or cannibalized for repairs.”
Tolentino also writes, “In one episode, a manager tells a showoff engine named Smudger that he’s going to “make him useful at last,” and then turns Smudger into a generator, never to move again.” She also recalls a time when a bus was turned into a hen house.
There are countless other examples in her piece, “The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” and if you want to ruin a childhood classic, feel free to give it a read.