Analysis: Blaze and the Monster Machines

Analysis: Blaze and the Monster Machines

This week’s show is Blaze and the Monster Machines, which is on Nick, Jr.

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Blaze is the name of the main character-the monster truck. AJ is his driver. AJ is a boy (age unspecified, but he does not seem to be grown up)  The monster machines make a lot of fire and can flip and are loud. 

AJ is a brown-skinned main character! Yay!! Hm, but really it seems that the Blaze is the main character. He is the truck. AJ drives and interacts with the viewers, a la Dora. Seriously Dora-esque, complete with a map that is consulted and challenge spots on the map, and a bad guy who is pretty incompetent (“Crusher” even sounds like “Swiper”), and time left for viewers to guess the next step. 

Gabby is a girl with purple hair and she is the mechanic, so that is a positive. She teaches STEM ideas, which is also great. However, she sits in the passenger’s seat and there are no female drivers.

EDIT: According to Wikipedia, she usually drives an SUV and does eventually become a monster truck driver. She is the first female monster truck driver and the first driver to have a female (?) monster truck. 

I cannot give praise for that. The show could have started with lots of gender diversity, but it didn’t. It premiered in 2014, not the 1970s or 1980s, so it isn’t a matter of changing with the times.

This is confusing. There are drivers, but these trucks and machines also know how to talk and drive by themselves. Which makes the drivers seem sort of superfluous. 

I was really excited to see a main character of color, but upon watching the episode, Treasure Track, he really seems like he is more a supporting character to the main character, who is Blaze. Quite disappointing. Blaze even speaks to the viewers and knows science, so there are no skills that AJ has that Blaze doesn’t also have. 

So, props for having some diversity in casting and for helping kids learn STEM, but it was still very male centric and the diverse characters serve mainly as support to the machines.

This show has a male lead (Blaze), but I don’t know if he is an adult, so I am not changing that count. I don’t think I can consider the humans to be main characters because they just don’t get enough interaction or story line.

 

TALLY SHEET

Count today- 1 show
Count total- 14 shows
Shows with male lead- 7
Shows with female lead- 4
Shows with a positive message for girls, starring a female lead-3

New categories:

Shows that have a male adult lead-5
Shows that have a female adult lead-1

 

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