Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Her Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard

Last summer we attended the sold out LEGO® DUPLO® presents Day Out With Thomas at the Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton, California. This was one of Thomas the Tank Engine’s Bay Area gigs on his North American tour. If you have not had the pleasure of attending, it is an $18.00 per person, plus service fees, non-refundable, rain or shine, chance to ride the “real” Thomas steam engine and meet the lovable but irascible Sir Topham Hatt. If none of that means anything to you, you are my new hero.

After a lovely ride through the redwoods in an open train car packed with the under-seven set and their families, we went to track down Sir Topham Hatt. When we arrived at the greeting area we were told by one of Topham’s handlers that he was taking a break but standing in for Sir Hatt was Fifi of "Fifi and the Flowertots." A guy in a large flower suit waved frantically behind him.

(I am guessing it was a guy as I have been told by those in the know that the majority of “head work” - that’s what wearing the costumes with the giant heads is called in the business – is done by men because the heads are heavy and unwieldy. If you’ve got a few minutes, my tiny friend Kim can tell you an excellent story about almost dying on stage while attempting to tap dance inside a Tweety Bird costume and why even petite Tweety is a man’s job.)


We do not get the Sprout network with our basic cable package so I had not heard of Fifi or her Flowertots. Apparently, like Hasselhoff, she has a real Euro following. It was past Bob’s naptime and we couldn’t wait for Topham Hatt and the big creepy flower plushy seemed lonely and desperate so we took a quick (blurry) photo with the her/him. As we were leaving, Fifi handed us a DVD.

Our very large mistake: When we got home, we watched it. With Bob. And he wanted to watch it over and over and over again. And then more after that.

As a writing veteran of "Big Bad Beetleborgs" and "Sweet Valley High" (buried deep, deep, so very deep in the resume), I obviously can not claim to be a snob when it comes to kid's programming. Fifi is a stop-motion animation, forget-me-not flower who is known for being forgetful. (Get it?) There are the requisite good guys and other guys with bad behavior and we learn a lesson and the usual deal. The whole package is brought to us by the "Bob the Builder" guy. And dear Lord I wish I had never seen it.

Fifi is also a singer, and the Flowertots, are her band. There is one song in particular that Fifi rocks out on that is like a red hot needle piercing your soul with its awfulness. The rough interludes that they pass off as music on "Barney" are like Rogers and Hammerstein, by comparison. There is no point in trying to explain it further when the work speaks for itself.

Turn up the volume on your computer. Click here and then click the link that says “Milkshake.”


And the moral of the story? "Milkshake makes everything OK!"
Note: I always smile when I am terrified.


  1. You have detailed every aspect of this train costumed adventure to a tee. I love it! What's scary to me is whose underneath those outfits they wear, who are we hugging. I always wonder....Ick.

  2. Fifi's voice makes grown women cry.

  3. Poison control centers could update their instructions to: "induce vomiting (by watching Fifi.)"

  4. Three comments -

    1. There's no ice cream in that milkshake so there is absolutely no reason to be that excited. If they threw in a scoop, I'd be willing to reconsider my plot to pluck their petals off slowly.

    2. The heads of those costumes don't get cleaned very often. Try not to think about that too long.

    3. I absolutely love reading your blog.

  5. I have not the the pleasure of Fifi. But we did the Thomas the Train ride in Austin, only instead of redwoods, we chugged through the bad part of town and got to see crackheads waving and screaming, "Yo!It's a train wif a face!"

  6. LOL - make me look forward to everything I have in front of me........


  7. Fifi should never ever sing again. Those were horrible sounds.

    I love your writing! Tell Jeff his ny pal Lesley says hi!