Children's television shows are usually packed full of positive messages, life lessons and wise words to help youngsters understand the way of the world. These shows are intended to give kids a solid foundation for morality and teach correct behavior. While most of the time they're spot on, some times they stray far from the mark, making us question everything we teach our kids.
The 1984 television show, Thomas & Friends was no exception to that rule. Brightly colored trains captured the attention of kids everywhere and the story educated them with the help of voice-over narration.
Upon closer examination of the show, some lessons may be a bit darker than we originally remember.
You will probably remember this episode and totally look at it differently now than you did when you were a kid.
Appropriately titled, "The Sad Story of Henry", the third episode of Thomas & Friends' has us turning heads about what were taught as kids.
This is the episode where Henry doesn't feel like working.
Henry had just received a fresh coat of green and red paint and didn't want to ruin it by going out in the rain.
Instead he opted to stay dry, much to the chagrin of Sodar's many travelers. That's when things took a dark turn.
That's when his red-cheeked boss known as the "Fat Controller" got disgruntled about him slowing down his high-speed operation. So what he did to poor Henry after the train refused to leave his tunnel is punishing.
At first, Henry didn't seem bothered by his boss's anger. Had he known what the Fat Controllers plan would be, he would have been out of that tunnel so fast.
The Fat Controller said that if Henry wanted to stay in the tunnel he was welcome to do so, taking it one step further by taking his tracks away and sealing him INSIDE the tunnel "for always and always and always!" That's not the worst part, either.
The most terrifying part of it is that while the builders entombed Henry, there is a cheerful tune playing in the background. (Stay tuned for the video at the end)
That's when none-other than The Beatles Ringo Starr narrated gleefully that all Henry could do is watch other trains go zipping through the tunnel next to him. “He was very sad,” Ringo then said, “because he thought no one would ever see his lovely green paint and red stripes again.”
Poor Henry lost steam because his fire had gone out. Subtle dirt from the tunnel had spoiled his lovely green paint and red stripes anyways and he begun to wonder if he would ever pull trains again.
As if things weren't bad enough, the narrator added salt to the wounds with his closing line. “But I think he deserved his punishment. Don’t you?” Ouch! Poor Henry.
Sure hard work is important, but an eternity inside a dark tunnel seems a little harsh for a kids' show, don't you think? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Inspiration: Boredom Therapy