A proud admission this: I utterly loathe and detest the Power Rangers. I absolutely hate them. With a passion that would see me willingly tear apart whole countries if it would enable me to destroy them and their intrinsically shite by-blows and spin-offs.
Which is a shame because my 5 year old boy absolutely loves them. With a passion that sees him tearing apart the house and any toy with a limb in an effort to emulate them.
This makes for a modicum of conflict as you can imagine. I’m afraid to say that in response to this my answer has been to adopt the Victorian Dad approach and ban Power Rangers utterly from my kingdom (i.e. the house) and this ban has extended so far as to ban the entire God-awful Jetix channel from ever sullying my television screen. Yes, like all cruel fathers before me, the television is my ultimate weapon. The biggest gun in my arsenal.
Maybe this seems overly cruel and unjustifiably unreasonable? Perhaps. But in my defence I would like to point out that after a mere half hour’s exposure to Power Rangers and other copycat shows my boy – along with every other boy who watches them, I hasten to add – becomes so blindingly aggressive and pumped up with adrenalin you’d think he’d wolfed down a two pound bag of sugar (the transformation is like Jekyll and Hyde and has been noted by various family friends). Trouble and tears inevitably follow and in the end Karen and I both decided that the short tantrum that ensued from not being allowed to watch the show was infinitely preferable to the madcap violence that possessed the boy when he had been allowed to watch it.
Anyway, what brought all the above to mind was that for my birthday a few months ago Karen bought me the entire Monkey box set. If you don’t know what the hell Monkey is – tough, look it up on the internet. The box set contains all 52 glorious episodes and every weekend since then the boy and I have watched a couple of episodes per afternoon. It’s kind of become a male bonding sort of thing. But the thought struck me that in a weird kind of way Monkey is possibly the forerunner of all these horrible shows like Power Rangers and Mutant Ninja Turtle Doves or whatever it is they’re called. Cowabogoff, dude.
So why do I approve of Monkey and not Power Rangers?
Easy. There’s a deep-set spiritual aspect to Monkey that anybody, whatever their level, can connect to. But more than this the moral viewpoint of Monkey isn’t so abrasively black and white as it is in Power Rangers – it is in fact exceedingly grey just like real life and so behoves the viewer to think and consider and empathize with all the characters before forming your own judgements. With Power Rangers it’s all so easy and simplified that there is just no need to empathize or show mercy and so it encourages a ruthless streak which borders on the nasty.
Sure my boy still likes to emulate the fight moves in Monkey but underneath it all I can also see that he’s battling to crystallize his own sense of good and evil, right and wrong. Better he does that than blindly accept the bigoted intolerantly moral codes of the horribly Americanised Power Rangers and end up stomping his way round the world with an unassailably righteous chip on his shoulder...
A little bit of uncertainty can be a virtue.