Parent reviews for Blaze and the Monster Machines

Common Sense says

Friendly characters + STEM content = smart pick for tots.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 44 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 9 reviews
Parent Written byBetan T. August 8, 2016

Blaze and The Monster Machines - Positive, Parent/Child Interactive,Entertaining - Learn while Laughing with a Kid Safe Show

This is a quasi-interactive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) oriented program combined with the normal upbeat Positive
Social Awareness Message (Friendship, Teamwork, Responsibility, Diversity, and Caring).

The CGI environment is stylized for "shape" recognition in a world environment (circle, squares, rectangles, etc.). It does use children's interests in motorized vehicles (specifically suped-up trucks) that have been personified with unique but not intensely deep human personalities - a tool of the trade animators have used ever since animated flip book cartoons and recently like the Disney CARS movie franchise.

Many parents have begrudgingly compared BLAZE to Disney Cars (not a STEM oriented animation whatsoever), Dora The Explorer, Bob the
Builder, Elmo's World, Sophia the First, Paw Patrol, Thomas the Tank Engine, etc. They also expect this show to be the end all, do all STEM/Social Awareness/Environmental Responsibility all rolled up into one show for their children to watch without parental
involvement.

Bob, Dora, Elmo would be closest on par to Blaze as STEM and Social Awareness. Dora does get more involved with a direct Environmental Message, which was one of its goals, than Bob or Elmo. Thomas has elements of STEM, but it's more on track with Social Awareness and doing the right thing (after doing the wrong thing). Paw Patrol and Sophia are not STEM oriented, but focus more on Social Awareness. Cars ... is just entertainment. According to Disney, Cars definitely is not STEM and although it has elements of teamwork, it's primarily just entertainment.

The fact is ... not every child is interested in the characters of Dora The Explorer, Bob the Builder, Elmo's World, Sophia the First, Paw Patrol, Thomas the Tank Engine, etc. ... just like they may not be interested in Blaze!

So, the same STEM and Social Awareness elements are incorporated broad spectrum into a number of different children's shows. Just like you as an adult may like one Late Night Television Host but absolutely dislike another Late Night Host although both are expounding the same views on the same exact topic ... children feel the same about what programs they like to watch.

Of course, there are the claims:

1) "Give me some Speed" and "Let's Blaze" are drug references to LSD and Marijuana use.

2) the running Protagonist and Antagonist theme (Good Personal Choices vs. Bad Personal Choices) between primary characters AJ/Blaze and Crusher/Pickle promotes an "us versus them" theme.

3) Crusher and Pickle's friendship is based on a Bully and a Victim relationship.

4) the dangerous street stunts and reckless driving promotes unsafe behavior (children imitating in real life what they see on television) and no segment on Street Safety.

5) there is no Environmental Message present and Resource Waste is acceptable (Crusher spilling oil all over the Monster Ball field, Baker Bots making tons of food that is only cleaned up by throwing it all away).

6) the characters are primarily one dimensional stereotypes.

7) AJ and Gabby are too young to drive, Gabby looks too boyish, and they seem to be the only humans in the show.

8) the character Zeg pokes fun of slower individuals or individuals with speech issues.

9) the audience in the Axel City Monster Dome stereotype spectators as less intelligent or redneck.

Let's pick each one of these claims off:

1) They're not promoting drug use. If you're reading that deep into this cartoon, take two really big steps back and put down the bag of Doritos folks. Although "Blaze Up" and "Gimme Speed" were drug references in the 80s counter culture, they've pretty much run their course in 2016. And just about any phrase can be used as an inappropriate reference ... the phrase "You're on Bob's wood Mr. Crab" from an episode of Bob the Builder is now a popular adult oriented reference. Dora talks to and understands Boots ... so the same thing said about Scooby Doo could be applied to Dora as well.

2) All shows require at least one thing ... a Protagonist element (what you want to be and cheer for) and an Antagonist element (what you want to avoid). Otherwise you have no storyline, or one that's not very interesting or becomes numbingly redundant where nothing happens. Parents complain that AJ/Blaze and the other Monster Machines never attempt to help Crusher become a better personality, but they miss the fact (that children pick up quickly) Crusher never wants to change and that Blaze! gives him every opportunity to do so. Crusher is an adversary, his purpose is to show the opposite of cooperation and fair play and how cheaters never win in the long run. Nowhere does AJ/Blaze never "ostracize" him or Pickle. In matter of fact, in one episode Crusher doesn't want to race with Pickle and AJ/Blaze asks Pickle to race with them. AJ/Blaze even helps Crusher in the same episode when Crusher's chosen team mate Rudy abandons him in a pit that Pickle cannot pull him out of. There's no "US vs. Them" theme ...

3) This is by design. That's why parents should watch shows with their children instead of plopping down kids in front of a TV or Computer and walking off. Crusher is a classic bully, as most antagonists in any story are. His character exhibits every personality trait of a narcissist. There's a reason for this ... for you as parents to discuss this with your children about what to look for in choosing who they consider friends or hang out with. After all, this is STEM and Social Awareness. Children pick up on this right away, that in real life, people like Crusher are not necessary your friend even though they may pretend to be. But even bullies need a toadie (sidekick) and Pickle is it. Pickle is basically Crusher's conscience - always upbeat, always trying to get Crusher to do the right thing. As a Bully, Crusher is more of a whiner than a physical abuser.

4) Yes, and it's intended to keep interest. Let's face it, children are not going to watch a show where monster trucks drive slowly through Axel City or stay parked in Gabby's garage and talk like old women under dryers at a hair salon. Here again, is where you as parents come into play ... explaining the difference between cartoons doing funny stunts and how in real life drivers do not do this except in shows like the special ones that the Monster Machines participate at the Monster Dome. Blaze! requires some parenting on the parents' part too. My 2 year old daughter already knows it's just a cartoon and people don't really drive that way in real life
and how you can't do their stunts on the road. And she figured that out without me telling her. Too many times, parents think their children are too young to understand concepts when children are actually more keenly aware about things than adults are. Also keep in mind, this is not a Safety Town video or Driver's Education. But the creators probably could tone down the stunts if the Monster Machines are not racing or practicing and are just driving down the street normally.

5) Correct. Generalized Science, Technology, Engineering and Math concepts are it's core, Social Awareness is its message. It is not
an Environment Sciences lesson. You're not going to see a saving rainforests/whales episodes or energy conservation episodes or
benefits of recycling. That's Dora's bailiwick and Paw Patrol's "Rocky" touches on Recycling with his "Don't Lose It, Reuse It" catch phrase. Although - the writers should play the responsibility angle by showing someone recovering the oil for reuse after Crusher spilled all over the Monster Ball field in order to cheat or all the Baker Bots food recovered to help the less fortunate.

6.) Again correct. But keep in mind, this is a pre-schooler's show and the K.I.S.S. method ... Keep It Sensibly Simple. (I know that's not the true acronym, but I'm keeping it polite). There's no need to over complicate the characters to get the core STEM topic and message across.

7) It's an animated entertainment program for children. Give children more credit than what you're giving them, they know children don't normally drive Monster Trucks. They know that some older children in real life can ride a 4 wheeler like Gabby or Ryder in Paw Patrol. As for Gabby missing some female attributes - they're unnecessary to get the point across that Gabby with Purple longer hair and a girl's voice ... is a girl who is a mechanic (another Plus: Gabby personifies that girls can do just about anything as boys). And the children this program is for, don't have those attributes yet to begin with. As for them being the only two humans living in a city of living machines, again it's the K.I.S.S. method. The show is about Monster Machines and other living vehicles, you only need 1 boy and 1 girl. And for people clambering for diversity ... AJ is not Caucasian and Gabby is representative of a mixture of races.

8.) Zeg is a dinosaur Monster Machine that's well loved by the characters and children viewers alike. He's not an inside joke against slow people or people with speech impediments. There's no need for a Political Correctness crusade against Blaze! because of Zeg's character voice. If you're going to do that, then you may want to first consider the stereotypes concerning Transformers and the way the Dynobots were portrayed in that cartoon ...

9) Ever been to a Truck Pull or Demolition Derby or Rodeo at a Fair or a Motocross event? Ever sat in the Grandstand bleachers and looked around at the folks sitting next to you? LOL ... it's pretty much the same as they portray in Blaze!

Overall, it's a positive show. Children get excited over it. They absorb the STEM and recognize what it means to be a friend, work as a team, and what a bully is. There's nothing scary, evil, or "disturbing" about the show. No creepy, gross, hideous, nightmare causing creatures (regardless if they're "nice"). The majority of complaints by parents are simply complaints made to complain about something. Watch it WITH your children, like it's supposed to be watched and do the interactive parts WITH your children. Sometimes, I think the children who watch these programs are more acute to what's happening than the "bubble-wrap the world" parents who comment about the programs. LOL

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byGregory Nelson September 16, 2015

Overrated Rip Off

Honestly, Why did CSM give Blaze and the Monster Machines 5 stars, and Why do people like it so much, It is just a rip off of Cars, Bob the Builder and Dora the Explorer, Each character is a vehicle, and there's a human, the new Bob, and They ask where something is even though it's in front of them, just like with Dora, There's no hope in anyone watching this, it's too overrated, Please don't EVER watch this.

This title contains:

Consumerism
Parent of a 4-year-old Written bySarah R. June 12, 2020

Blaze isn't so great

My daughter does like it but I think the STEM concepts and vocabulary are just an afterthought, so what if my child can say "Rotational Speed" ( or any number of other vocab words) when the concepts aren't actually defined or explored. Also why do they never use units? Kids can understand more , even little kids, its too dumbed down in the strangest way. It doesn't seem like its written or conceived of with actual care for children. I think the phd research staff they credit should try to pipe up more. Kids get it, and they deserve to be taught in a fun and rigorous way, with deeper characters and compelling stories. Blaze is not this. It's not good. Why so much praise?
Adult Written byShannon_O May 11, 2020

Not a fan

This show demonstrates a lot of bullying. I understand that they are trying to convey that Crusher's behavior is bad and cheating is bad however they go a little overboard with shaming his character. Even his best friend, Pickle, belittles him when calling him out on his bad behavior. Plus, if Crusher is the bad guy for wanting to win and cheating in order to do so, then Blaze is just as bad because in every episode, no one else can win besides Blaze. And if Blaze is losing in a race, he cheats by using blazing speed to get ahead of Crusher or whoever else is in the race. It's not really fair to always make one character the winner, the hero, the good guy, etc.
Adult Written byJesse F. April 17, 2017

Show Me Units!...... X

The show is great. It's very STEM oriented, and as an Electrical Engineering Student in my last year of school, I absolutely love the songs. Each episode has some new theme, which is usually derived from physics, and every episode will have a new song tailored to that theme.

The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because the show has a serious problem talking about units. The only units I remember actually hearing are Meters, Kilograms, Degrees Celcius, and degrees (angular). This is a major issue in a show that's about engineering, and is the reason kids think 30 speed is fast.

I don't understand why talking about units would be so difficult. The show already throws out words like [centripetal force; inertia; rotational speed; aerodynamics...] the list goes on. But there is rarely mention of something as simple as time or volume. Even the "Light Thief" episode failed to introduce an SI base unit; the Candela - a quantified measurement of how BRIGHT something is. You just see these Monster Machines getting brighter and brighter with no mention to how bright they are getting. There was a mention of using "more energy", but they never put a number to it.

Anyway, good show. Just missing the units, which is where kids usually struggle in STEM classes.
Parent of a 2-year-old Written byNaomi D. November 30, 2016
Id like to comment on a specific episode on centrifigul force. Where on the show blaze was referring to this as centripidal force..i found this extremely annoying and in my opinion if you are focussing on teaching children that you pronounce the correct word.
Parent of a 2-year-old Written bykelhey October 7, 2016

One of the best shows out there

To say this is our toddler's favorite show is a huge understatement! We watch Blaze so much - and now have several toys, books, and accessories - he seems like a part of our family. We love this show so much, I feel the need to counter some statements made here. ... I disagree with the reviewers who claim this is a rip-off of other shows. There are no other shows in existence that so effectively feature STEM concepts at a level accessible to preschoolers. The other shows referenced merely gloss over concepts like these and focus more on emotional development and relationships, which are valuable, but not at all unique. It is also one of the most interactive shows in this category. It keeps children engaged and interacting with the characters while learning simple math and engineering concepts. ... I disagree with the reviewers who claim Crusher is ostracized from the rest of the group. On the contrary, despite his repeated attempts to cheat and steal and bully the other monster machines, the group continues to include him and always comes to his rescue if he gets into trouble. In "Tool Duel," even after Crusher steals Gabby's toolbox, once Blaze and AJ return it to her, she fixes Crusher's exhaust pipe. In "The Truck Team Challenge," when Crusher falls into a pit and Pickle alone doesn't have enough *mass* to pull him out, Blaze helps them. In "The Mystery Bandit," when Crusher's toy truck goes missing along with other metal objects, he joins the group in searching for it. In "Race to Eagle Rock," Crusher is included with the group as they transform from monster trucks into race cars. In “The Wishing Wheel,” Blaze’s wish that everyone gets their own wish fulfilled includes Crusher getting the world’s biggest trophy. In both “Runaway Rocket” and "Rocket Ski Rescue," each entire episode follows Blaze as he saves Crusher when his high-powered rockets are too much for him to control. I’m sure there are more examples; these are just off the top of my head. Also, he has a best friend and loyal companion in Pickle (my favorite character). ... Finally, the reviewers who claim the catchphrases “Let’s Blaze!” and “Give me some speed!” are drug references need to get their minds out of the gutter. ... If you haven’t watched the show, I recommend you give it a chance. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but don’t believe some of the B.S. reviews that claim it is in any way harmful. I’m an educated, loving, progressive parent, and I am very picky about what my child is exposed to. This is a great show, period.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 3-year-old Written by[email protected] May 23, 2016

Great Learning and Positive!

My 3-year-old son is now yelling out words like TRAJECTORY, FRICTION, ADHESION, and STRUCTURE - I love that they don't dumb anything down, encourage vocabulary building, provide real world examples in the story line to make connections and are doing math and science constantly. I think I even heard him subtracting the other day in the back seat.

The trucks have a nice diverse range of characters, with both Male and Female leads as the show.

Socially, the story line typically follows some problem they need to solve, and one truck who is always trying to cheat/sabataoge Blaze, the truck known as "Crusher" has only one friends "Pickle".

When asked does my son want to be a Blaze truck that has friends and helps people or a Crusher truck - he knows which one is positive, makes good decisions and other trucks seem to respect.

Great show by Nick JR.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 3-year-old Written bytenah January 5, 2015

attention getter!!

My lil boy LOVES blaze and the monster machines. He interacts with them. The show definitely keeps his attention!!
Adult Written byAbiel14 April 19, 2020
Adult Written byYangor68 March 9, 2020

Son loves it

Blaze and the Monster Machines is simply a good show. It teaches certain engineering terms in a way where the kids don't even realize they are learning. (one day my son after flushing the toilet points at the water and tells me "dad, that's a vortex"). While it might be more geared towards little boys since we are dealing with animated monster trucks, they have tried to add more elements for girls along the way. They add an electric monster truck that is a girl (not on every episode) piloted by female mechanic. So they do try to be inclusive for boys and girls.
Adult Written byLynn_Darlow January 31, 2020

High energy, engaging, educational!

This has been my son’s favorite for a year now (he’s 3.5) and I don’t think that is changing anytime soon! He loves it and honestly I think it’s one of the better shows out there for little kids. It’s high energy with upbeat songs but still slows down enough where he can keep up with the plot and interact with it. It covers a lot of basic STEM stuff and while of course it is basic, my son has picked up a lot from it! Basic counting, counting by tens, greater than, less than, problem solving, and basic concepts like inclines, friction, melting, force, light, etc. Another big plus is the lack of villains or anything scary. Lots of positive messages about helping friends, playing fair, trying your best, etc.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 3-year-old Written bydanielswedin July 19, 2019

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byRevPhil June 13, 2019

Barely qualifies as educational, but relatively harmless nonsense

My two boys, 4 and 2, absolutely love this. It sells itself on being a 'STEM' show, but the STEM parts feel tacked-on and inconsistent - it's really about selling Blaze products.

Pros:
- The plots don't have any real danger or 'villains' as such, and there is no violence
- The characters all get along for the most part, even Crusher is included when he wants to be
- There is some basic attempt at education, although this varies wildly between episodes and reduces each season

Cons:
- While Crusher is shown to lose because he cheats often, Blaze also uses an unfair advantage every time, and ALWAYS wins because of it - yet is consistently praised and rewarded
- Blaze seems to feel it is his RIGHT to always win, a very unhealthy message
- The STEM message is very diluted. Most of the show ignores physics: balls bounce forever without slowing down, fuel is rarely needed, gravity and mass is usually ignored, that sort of thing. Moreover, each episode has plenty of transformations, things appearing from no-where, all of which are basically just 'magic.' All of this is par for the course with cartoons, but this sets itself a higher standard of being a STEM show, which it fails most of the time.

Conclusion:
I don't object to this show as entertainment (and I think the 'drug' references are just people being over-sensitive), but it is not useful for education.

Whenever possible I discourage my kids from watching this nonsense - ANYTHING available on CBeebies has infinitely more educational value, is free, and isn't primarily trying to sell toys and lunchboxes.

This title contains:

Consumerism
Adult Written bycpd2017 June 8, 2019

Good and bad

The good:
STEM teaching

The bad:

Teaches that if someone cheats, you cheat in a better way

Crusher specifically teaches them that if you throw a fit when you don't get what you want, everyone will cave in and give it to you. (he loses and throws a fit but gets what he wants in the end anyways)
Adult Written byApplecider13 April 14, 2019

Annoying, but it has some educational value

Why do kids shows have to be so loud and annoying? Don't get me started on the catch phrases. My 4 year old does learn things from this show, so it's not so bad. Pickle is my favorite. I don't think Crusher is all bad, he's just excluded and takes it out on them by "cheating," but I think Blaze cheats just as much.

They do mix up scientific terms sometimes.I noticed, which is annoying. There was one episode that drove me crazy talking about centripetal force. All through grade and high school I don't think I ever heard that word I did look it up. There is a difference between centripetal and centrifugal force.

Meanwhile my kid can't add 3+5 so what does this matter at this point . I know there are some "drug" references in the catch phrases. I also know children shouldn't learn that driving the way they do is ok. Or that the "good guy" always wins because he's special and he can do fancy things with his truck. Blaze should really be eliminated from every competition. It's kind of like an athlete being in steroids right? Just my opinion.
Adult Written byDrTim37 March 24, 2019

Cheaters always win, Gimme some drugs!

The positives with Blaze and the Monster Machines are the interactivity that Blaze & AJ have with the viewers. Whether it's asking which pattern should be next or asking the audience to say a phrase, it does it's best to keep the viewers attention.

Unfortunately the negatives far outweigh that because during several episodes at several points, the phrases of , "Lets Blaze," and, "Gimme some speed," are used and it's been noted before that those are direct drug references - my little guys teachers mentioned this to me after picking him up from school, apparently him and his were playing Blaze and said a few key lines that they were concerned about. Then I watch and see that the teachers were right and I notice that Blaze and his fellow team of weird monster trucks often deal with the antagonist Crusher and his cheating with their own specialized cheating of their own. Crusher dropping a banana peel on the street during a race? Oh, Blaze just transforms into something to give him a clear advantage to out_cheat crusher!

But the final thing that really got me, and maybe it's petty since its a cartoon aimed at 4-5 year-olds, is the tires. Every sentient creature, whether it's a talking monster truck or a bird in a tree, has monster truck tires instead of feet. Birds, rams, dragons, squirrels, EVERYTHING has monster truck tires in place of feet! Even crabs and other sea creatures have huge monster truck tires that are bigger than the bodies of the creatures they are attached to! It's just too weird of a show and between the trouble at school and answering a curious 4 year old about why a little bird has huge tires, I just blocked it from the TV.
Parent of a 4-year-old Written byTracy B. February 17, 2019
Its one of the best cartoons out there for boys !
Alot of counting and science words age appropriate! Best for 4 years old and up but 3 would love it too
There is maybe one character that has a very whinny voice but the rest it alll good! I was supriseda good cartoon like this for boys event existed

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byRhardcore February 11, 2019

Blaze cheats from the first episode and never stops

Got so tired of having to explain why Blaze is actually the bad guy and cheater. He’s racing in the wrong class. He’s like bringing a motorcycle to a bicycle race, or a jet truck to a truck race :/
Adult Written byAndreawatts January 14, 2019

Entertains my 2, 4, and 8 year old boys

Kids love this show and talk about this show and learn a lot.

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