Alright listen up. I hate remakes. It's at best nostalgia gone awry, it's at worst repeating history to make money. Is it any mystery that in the ratio of good to bad remakes, the best are in short supply and the worst are not only more numerous, but often so terribly unforgiveable or forgettable?
If I had any say, we'd only have remakes under three conditions, and even these are stretching it:
- The remake is of a media property that was either obscure, unappreciated or ill funded.
- The remake is able to make itself unrecognizeable to the original, but keep its core essence.
- The remake is of a foreign property.
I won't get too into that, I just wanted to use it as a bookend to explain my new blog series:
After my article on Recess proved popular, I decided that rather than seek the hidden adult concepts in kids TV, I'd implant them myself. This is essentially what children shows would have been like had they had extremely heavy drug overtones. That's right, nothing clever or deep about it, just cheap stoner humour.
Childhoods, prepare to die.
Fucking loved Thomas The Tank Engine. It's the sole reason why Ringo Starr is my favourite Beatle. And I was a hardcore fan; be a badass like me and read the original 'The Railway Series' books. The author's son continued writing them after his Dad put down his pen, and with illustrations they were like proto-comic books but about motherfucking talking trains.
That said if you just read the Wikipedia articles on the different trains, they put my fandom to shame. I have much respect for the railway enthusiast community, but their level of attention to detail is frightening sometimes. Makes the thought of actually riding a train with them a peverse nightmare.
A few months ago I had the interesting idea of what would happen if you slipped a piece of hash in Thomas the Tank Engine's coal fire. Faster than you can say 'steam rolled' I had an entire re-envisioning of the series in which our favourite locomotives are puffing and polluting everything with the illest stink stink.
What could be more hilarious than a crew of anthromoporphic locamotives baked out of their minds? It wouldn't exactly make it any weirder around the Island of Sodor. Can you imagine if you were a trainee at that railway station on your first day, but had no idea the trains could talk? That would fuck you up for sure, especially when just people act like it's normal.
"Oh the trains? Yeah they're alive. In his spare time Percy teaches hobby crafting, and Toby the Tram Engine just got confirmation on an allotment."
"Right. And can they fuck too?"
"Probably not. Which is a shame because if Donald and Douglas ever get a civil partnership they're going to miss out on so many of the benefits."
I like to think the trains were already stoned. Most of the time if you look at their expressions they seem overly happy or zoned out about something.
Or maybe the whole show was just the fat controller's drug induced hallucination after smoking some really nasty shit.
But this is a remake, not a truth theory.
Essentially this new version would be the same, only the daily antics of the engines and vehicles wouldn't be about them falling down holes, leaving their signal-guards behind or crashing into barber's shops. Actually it probably would, but they'd only do all that stuff cause they were high at the time.
The reason I think it would work is because there's just so many comedic similarties between train terminology and the stoner's dictionary. To demonstrate, here's the rhyme that inspired the original author, Christopher Awdry, to write his first story about the trains in Sodor:
"Early in the morning,
Down at the station,
All the little engines
Standing in a row.
Along comes the driver,
Pulls the little lever
Puff, puff! Chuff, chuff!
Off we go!"
And here's my little revision:
"At 4:20 in the afternoon,
Coached at the station
All dem little bongines
Passing in a row.
Along comes the dealer,
Pulls out a joint,
Puff, puff! Choof, choof!
But what is a good stoner comedy without memorable characters? After all a good time is had with the people you share it with and share with.
Just a few joining Thomas in his hippy circle of friends include:
Bung the canniBUS,
The Dealer Engine,
and Harold the Helicopter
For those curious Edward is a narc and won't be part of the crew.
So that's pretty much all I have to say about this particular series. I'll leave these stone rollers to their myriad of wonderful adventures, whether that is to find a takeaway, to grab another dimebag or just finding the will to leave the station.
Next time on Reefer Remakes: The Magic Mushroom Bus