Thursday, October 21, 2004

Childhood Heroes and what they teach us

Growing up without a dad, I had no immediate male role models to look at. But I did have TV!

Sounds bad, but when I think back on it, I learnt some great things from my small-screen heroes. Like...

Dr. Who taught me to think first before trying to solve something with force. Helps when fixing computers! He also taught me to have a childish sense of wonderment and a sense of humour, even when you're about 900 years old.

Michael Knight taught me that confidence makes you look cool, and attracts the ladies (an important lesson to a 7-year-old!). He also taught me that going against the flow can sometimes get jobs done better (just think of how many times he upset poor old Devon Miles).

Captain James Tiberius Kirk taught me a helluva lot ... I studied that guy like I was going to Starfleet Academy! Key learnings I suppose were the value of waiting and seeing how a situation will pan out, and knowing how to act when the time is right with decisive action.

He also taught me about bluffing. Works well when faced with big ugly aliens.

And the Tracy brothers taught me to keep composed even under the worst pressure. Oh, hang on, that was probably because they're puppets... :)

How about you? Did you get some growing-up lessons from the small screen? Please share!


At 10:28 AM, Blogger Borscht said...

What a great post -- SY -- here we go again with the age comment -- but you and I are not all that different in age to not be attracted to the same programs -- I was never a TV guy -- and my mom was a disciplinarian -- so I didn't really lolly-gag like some of the other kids in the 'hood.

For me, I think one of the most important present influences is Sydney Bristow from Alias -- and perhaps Nate from Six Feet Under. I love those two.

Bistow: She's smart, athletic, and she cares -- even when she forces herself to do something, she has a heart about it all - and would make for the perfect emotional leader -- inspirational to the T -- the fact that she's a woman only adds to her cachet.

Nate: the fact that you can be such a fuck-up for the first 20 years of your life -- and then storm back and make the best tasting lemonade from the sourest of lemons. He kicked all of his corrosive habits, and made a success of himself with his dad's funeral parlour -- and you love him because he's so real. There's sometihng so sweet and true about the man -- something so everyman -- that he becomes loveable, from a character perspective.

At 5:50 PM, Blogger M@ said...

It's funny, but I can't think of a single TV character from childhood who I can remember influencing me in any way. When I think back to my childhood viewing habits, I remember Family Ties and the A-Team. Not that George Peppard didn't have some real coolness to him.

However, there is one show that I look to still, from my adulthood: Sports Night. If you're not familiar with it, I recommend that you pick up the DVDs -- if you don't love it, I will buy them from you at cost. It's a show about a nightly sports news show. And it's brilliant.

The executive producer is played by Robert Guillaume. He has a brilliant quote about leadership about midway through the first season:

"If you're stupid, surround yourself with smart people. If you're smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you."

Wow. Ready for that? To be a good leader, you have to have people around you to tell you you're wrong. And it's demonstrated in the show -- it's a central theme. And I swear to you, when you see episode 1-11, "The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee", you will have tears in your eyes.

I learned a lot from that show -- not least of which was that the people you need to tell you what to do are gone far too soon. You find the people you want to learn from, and sooner or later it's your turn to continue the experiment. Depressing.

When you let me fall
Grew my own wings
Now I'm as tall as the sky
When you let me drown
Grew gills and fins
Now I'm as deep as the sea
When you let me die
My spirit's free
There's nothing challenging me

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Borscht said...

Matt -- that was such a beautiful little poem -- I really liked it.

I remember a couple shows that I used to watch when I was about 16 -- they were Friday night shows -- and I would have loved to have seen them round about this age as well.

One was called: Matthew Star, quickly following on its heels was another called: The Funky Mutants, or something like that.

Matt, do you remember it.

I think it's important to mention...I love people who can tell you 'no.' I think Karl Rove does a pretty good job of keeping Shrub in line -- but I have mixed views, and don't want to hate Bush only because it's politically expediment to do so. As of right now -- it's Kerry predicted to win Penn and Cali -- so it might tip the scales in a huge way -- that's 55 electoral college votes people, and that's nothing to sneeze at, for sure.

Great post Matt.

Nice going!

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Simon said...

I remember Matthew Starr! Can't remember much about the story but I can remember the weird sound effect they used when Matthew used his powers. Did that show remind you any of Superman?

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Borscht said...

Glad you remembered -- I don't remember exactly -- but he had this ability to leave his body for extended periods of time -- and he had to then find a safe place to "stash himself." It was funny watching him find these various places.

Is this the same show?

At 9:04 AM, Blogger Simon said...

I believe it is, yes. Ah, memories!


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