Two Brits in a bar burst into
laughter. They both have their arms slightly extended,
hands loose at the wrists. Their heads loll slightly on
their necks as they walk, floppy-limbed, towards the
jukebox and back.
"What the hell are you doing?" I ask,
embarrassed. People are looking.
"The Thunderbirds walk...haven't you seen
"No. Stop doing that with your arms."
"I guess it never aired in America. I just
discovered it's back on television, and it's absolutely
fantastic. But not. But great. You should watch it."
"What's it about?"
"A family that flies around and rescues
"No no no. They have these great big ships
with all sorts of gadgets and vehicles in the pods."
"Pods?" I am growing more confused.
"It's on Saturday mornings. You'll love it.
It's right up your street."
"So what's with the walk?"
"Well, they're all puppets. Marionettes, in
I stare at them. "Explain this to me one
Brits and an American in a bar. One leans his head on
his fist, listening wearily. The other one stares into
space with a glazed expression. I've been talking for
half an hour.
know what else is cool? It's about citizenship. When was the
last time you saw anyone stress doing something good simply
because you are supposed to - not because you're some
flag-waving saint, but simply because it's what a person does?
There's no politics, no agenda. They don't do this because of
what they are, they do this because of who they are."
"No, they do
it because of what they are, which is puppets. Please shut
sorry I ever told you to watch this," mutters the one staring
done in a second. So I have this theory - "
right now. You can't have theories. The show can't support
theories. It's not The X-Files."
reason the show works so well is because it manages to
simultaneously embrace the idea that technology will save us
and reject it by having most of the disasters come from
technology gone awry."
encourages what are seen as traditional American values
without ever mentioning the country."
"Hang on a
said that. The Thunderbirds are not American. They are
English. They just happen to have American accents. Those are
British values they're holding up. And do you think any
American would name his son Virgil?"
"If the two
of you don't shut up about the bloody Thunderbirds," the
glazed Brit says. "I am going to kill the both of you."
We are quiet
for a moment. The first Brit leans in. "You know, I bet there
are a lot of websites and groups out there for people like
you. You know. That kind of fan."
what are you implying?"
are the kind of person who scribbles down little stories about
Buffy, and I'm telling you, you can probably find like-minded
people on the net."
absolutely do not." I'm quiet a moment. "You really think
there are...groups and stuff? Really?"
He nodded. "Go web, young woman. You'll find what you're