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Television Has Lessons To Teach
by Charissa Taylor
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique


Many people believe that watching television is a waste of time and brain cells. Yet what people do not realize is that every television show has either an overall lesson theme or a lesson hidden in it. It can be easy to spot some of these lessons, but for the most part one has to look for them. This is true for Saturday cartoons on through the primetime dramas.

Pokemon is one of those cartoons. The Pokemon are the stars and pets of the show. While Ash, Misty, and Brock are the main human characters. The show is about training Pokemon to win battles and for the human to ultimately become a Pokemon Master. Pokemon has an ongoing lesson theme and it is fairly easy to see. That lesson is taking care of and loving one’s pets.

Ash is the perfect example of this. To Ash his Pokemon always come first. He has gone through a blizzard, a fire, a storm, into a booby trapped cave, down a waterfall, been chased by fierce Pokemon, and risked his life many times all to save his or other Pokemon. For instance, once Ash and a very weak Pickachu were being chased by a flock of angry Spearrow, who wanted to rip them to pieces. Ash covered Pickachu with his own body so that Pickachu would be spared. Another time, two Pokemon where lost in a raging blizzard. Ash refused to go inside until he had found and saved both of them.

Pokemon also teaches one what will happen if you treat your pets with love and respect. One time Pickachu found himself surrounded by people who all looked and sounded like Ash. But because the bond between the master and his pet had become so strong, Pickachu was able to tell who the real Ash was. Even Misty, who constantly fights with Ash, commented, “That’s one thing Ash does well. He takes good care of his Pokemon.” Brock replied, “Yeah. That’s why they love and obey him.”

Pokemon is a simple Saturday cartoon that teaches anyone who watches a lesson. The shows that are not so simple teach a lesson too, like the primetime dramas. The West Wing is about the President of the United States and his senior staff. This show deals with many different and hard issues on every episode. Some of their lessons are easier to spot than others, but there is always a lesson to be learned.

Like the time Toby is connected to a dead homeless man by a coat he donated to Goodwill. He finds out that the man was a veteran of the Korean War. Toby is appalled at how the man has been living and treated. So using the President’s name he gives the veteran a full military funeral. The lesson here is on how we need to be patriotic and have respect for our veterans.

Another lesson was on having humility. A Republican political analyst, named Ainsley Hayes, who has never been on television before is having a debate with Sam. Sam usually dominates the floor and leaves his opponent feeling stupid and useless. But it is Ainsley’s turn to shine and she is the one to catch Sam off guard. Sam is humiliated and mumbles to himself, “Please, oh please, let them not be watching." Of course those back at the White House are and this is proven when Josh rushes into Toby's office saying, "Toby, come quick. Sam's getting his *** kicked by a girl." Toby hurries out after Josh calling over his shoulder, “Ginger, get the popcorn!” The President offering Ainsley a job at the White House tops this off.

Another example is the importance of friendship. After Josh blows up at the President he is taken into an office where he is diagnosis with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from being hit by a stray bullet intended for the President’s daughter. The session goes most of the day and far into the night when he finally comes out he sees Leo sitting in the lobby. When Leo asks how it went Josh asks if Leo was waiting around for him. Leo simply repeats his question to which Josh makes one of his usual jokes. But Leo doesn't buy it and Josh tells him what he has been trying to hide. Then Leo tells him a story, in which a man can help his friend because he has been there before. Leo finishes by telling Josh not to worry about his job, "As long as I got a job, you got a job."

One last example on friendship would be the comment the president makes to his staff. "You guys are like family. You've always been there for me. Always been loyal, honest, hard working good people. And I love you all very much and I don't say that often enough."

It can be so easy to miss the lessons that the television shows we watch can teach us. But when we really pay attention we can be surprised by what we learn. Not all they lessons are good, but if we are careful we can stimulate our brains cells instead of killing them and just by watching television.

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Member Comments
Member Date
B Brenton 07 Oct 2005
Yay TV! While it's not entirely beneficial to one's spiritual growth, I think TV (esp. cartoons) can be ok in moderation. Theres so much uh, awful stuff out there that Christians tend to miss the good. Thanks.
Barbara Thompson Young 07 Oct 2005
I encourage you to read an article called, "Pokemon Another Introduction", by David L. Brown. Just type the title and his name into the search engine.


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