I’m hating the “Thomas And Friends DVD Experience.” Loathing it with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns.
Here’s how it used to work when it wasn’t an experience: My preschooler would say, “Mom, I want to watch a Thomas video,” and I would go get the video, forward through the commercials, get to the main menu, and hit “play” or select a story to play. Total time: fifteen seconds.
Here’s how it works nowadays:
- My preschooler says, “Mom, I want to watch a Thomas video,” and I go get the video.
- I forward through all the commercials to get to the main menu
- The main menu comes on, only there are no selections. Instead, Sir Topham Hatt’s voice starts up. “Welcome to the Thomas And Friends DVD Experience. Today we’ll be watching stories about Thomas and his friends on the railway lines of Sodor.”
- Sir Topham Hatt then continues talking and blathering away while I’m pushing every button on the remote and on the DVD unit itself to forward PAST his preamble (which used to be on some DVDs, but you could skip) and get to the menu selections.
- The menu selections pop up. But first, Sir Topham Hatt, who is now in serious danger of having a remote control jammed sideways down his throat, says the various engines are going to explain what each menu option means.
- Four different engines explain what their “jobs” are (Dudes, you’re menu options, get over yourselves) and they are, essentially, “play,” “skip to a scene,” “special features,” and “make Mommy wish she’d never heard of Thomas The Tank Engine.”
- Finally, after all that is over, four menu options pop up, and you can finally pick “play” so your kid, who by now has fallen asleep, can watch the video.
Whoever designed this needs to Experience real life with a preschooler. Sure, I bet they thought, “This is great for preliterate kids! They won’t need to read the menu items and they can do it fine without their moms!” No, they still can’t do it fine without their moms because mom still needs to load in the DVD and turn on all the equipment. (Because my Patient Husband is a geek, the DVD player requires three things to be turned on.) The kids never remember where the remote is, so they need mom for that. And so on and so forth.
The net result is, I “experience” five minutes of trying to get the TV set up so I can go get something else done. Meanwhile, the baby is fussing or dinner is boiling over.
Therefore, I’ve put in a design for a special ring of Purgatory. In this ring, the designers and promoters of this Experience will get a DVD player, a top of the line wide-screen TV, a surround-sound stereo system, a leather recliner, and 65 of their favorite movies. They must watch 60 of the 65 movies before they can enter the Kingdom of God.
When they put in the first DVD, they will forward through the commercials to find that the main menu is being prambled and narrated by a minor character from the movie. He will talk interminably about how to operate a DVD player. And then, when their popcorn is stale and they finally get to “play all,” the DVD will freeze or begin to skip just after the opening credits, a nd they’ll have to do it all over again.
Being human, of course they’ll try it with every one of the movies before realizing they’re all like that.
Enjoy, guys! Enjoy the Experience just as much as I do.