Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mighty, mighty machines

One show that's on Canadian television, but not available in the US (to my knowledge), is "Mighty Machines." For anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of discovering this educational, children's programming, the concept is as follows: various 'mighty' machines are shown at work and a voiceover, in the character of one of these machines, explains what they do. For example, the "In the City" episode is told mainly from the point of view of Little Mac, a city pickup who rides around the city and visits various machines like Dusty the Streetsweeper, Vic the Vacuum (who cleans out storm sewers), and Stumper who chops up old tree stumps. The show airs on Treehouse both as short 5-minute clips between longer shows and in its own 20+ minute slot.

My son fell in love with "Mighty Machines." Anytime we have caught it on Treehouse, he goes into a fit when it's over. How convenient it would be, my wife and I said to each other, if they had some episodes on DVD. Silly us, of course they do. We found one, previously viewed, at our local video store one day and figured it was worth a shot (we were also trying to distract him from the fact that we hadn't been able to fulfill a promise that day). The DVD had 3 full episodes for more than an hour of viewing.

We watched the DVD's episodes on the sawmill, buses and trains, and trucks so many times that we could recite the lines as well as any of our favorite Monty Python sketches. Our son would sing along with the sawmill song ("I've been working at the sawmill" to the tune of "I've been working on the railroad"). Somewhere along the way, he decided the machines were so awesome that they deserve another 'mighty,' hence frequent requests for "Mighty, Mighty Machines." One day as my son and I came home on public transportation, he began to declaim in a Shatner-esque manner, "Mighty machines... they're mighty machines... doing mighty things... for you... for me."

He remembered where we had bought the first DVD and asked us some time later if we could go in and look for more DVDs. My wife and I acquiesced, figuring that maybe we could have a little variety.* So we walked away with two more "Mighty Machines" DVDs, each with 3 episodes. Now he tends to flit back and forth between episodes (usually on different DVDs), calling out "I need to watch train one," followed by "I need to watch garbage dump one."

So tonight, we were out for our evening walk, and he asked to go look for more "mighty, mighty machines." This was when we weren't even in sight of the store.** For whatever reason, it seemed like an OK idea. I think both my wife and I were relying on our belief that we had already bought out all of the previously viewed volumes at this particular store. Guess again. As we paid for our two DVDs, the clerk remarked, "'Mighty Machines,' volumes 1 and 4. I guess we didn't have volumes 2 and 3." To which I replied, "We do... and volume 6."

On our way back, my wife remarked, "Well now we're just missing one volume." But really, what are the chances we'll be lucky enough that they stopped with volume 6?

* This is always the toss-up for me. Keep the one DVD so that we watch it until we all go mad or add new ones so that although there's greater variety in the rotation, it's even more stuff that drives us crazy. Not an easy decision.

** The kid has, and has always had, an outrageous memory. We were merely headed towards the store, and he knew.


bubandpie said...

This post made me laugh long and hard. My theory has always been to go with more variety, though not necessarily in the course of a single day! Hence, our near-complete library of Baby Einstein videos, now accompanied by Bub's voice-over of the advertising material (his favourite part): "Books, videos, DVDS, discovery cards! Music, art, science and nature! I love Baby Stein!"

Lisa b said...

totally made me laugh too
Its CRAZY the stuff they remember and always to your detriment!

Mouse said...

My son also has a "Bob the Builder" DVD that runs through a bunch of other shows produced by the same video company at the end. If we try to skip them, he gets all worked up. They're mostly things he doesn't watch otherwise, but he needs those 30-second snippets.