Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010: A Year in (Pop Culture Role Model) Review...

One might think that since I am an adult now, my days of looking to television for role models are long behind me. But why? It doesn't matter how old we get or even how much we may accomplish; we can always better ourselves...and we should never stop trying!

The Parenthood pilot wanted its audience to wonder and worry about the teenagers in the Braverman family. Amber had run off to live with her boyfriend rather than have to move to a new city with her single mom, brother, and in with their grandparents. Haddie, on the other hand, seemed old-fashioned in that Pleasantville sort of way but had a run in with drugs right off the bat that taught us not to judge these kids at first glance, or by how they dress. As the series has gone on, though, both girls have emerged as strong, smart, independent young women that most of the awkwards in high school would kill to emulate. Amber has stood up to her so-called friend about drugs and money issues and proven to be responsible by calling her mother to pick them up when her friend got wasted at a party. She studies hard and does well in school, even when she doesn't have a teacher on whom to crush. Meanwhile Haddie consistently helps out with her brother, does well in school, goes out for student government, and volunteers in a soup kitchen.

Liz Lemon (30 Rock) is quite the flawed character that most people wouldn't aspire to be like, but I'm not most people! Besides, if there was ever a time to root for her, it would be now, as this season she has taken great strides toward improvement. She may not be eating better, and she undoubtedly still has her Slanket in her office for long nights at her computer, but she is in her first real, seemingly healthy adult relationship, and she even began to work through some of her intimacy issues. She won't be "better" overnight, but she's working toward it, and that's more than we can say for a bunch of others out there in the pop culture ether these days!

The Winchester Brothers have only one positive constant other than each other in their lives: Bobby Singer. The man has stepped in countless times to save their, as he would say, "sorry asses", and though some would say he was handed a raw deal-- having to kill his wife and all (twice), being paralyzed for a good amount of time, and oh yeah, having to make out with a demon but he still keeps fighting the good fight harder than most. He is a fine example of a strong work ethic and an even stronger sense of loyalty. And he locked Sam in a panic room (twice), so there's always that as a bonus! (Supernatural)

Leonard Hofstadter (The Big Bang Theory) puts up with a lot. As if his above-average intelligence wasn't something to admire in and of itself, he is also a genuinely good person with an above-average level of patience and an above-average threshold for annoyance. Not only does he manage to keep calm and compartmentalize any sad feelings about living so close to the one great love of his life and having to watch her come and go with other guys, but he is also Sheldon's roommate, best friend, and chauffeur. He is the leader of his little group, and he manages to impart wisdom (even if subliminally over time) far past his knowledge of math and science on his fellow nerds. Leonard puts up with so much, he puts the rest of us to shame!

Phil Dunphy isn't the perfect husband, father, or businessman. He is goofy, at times awkward, and often hapless. He embarrasses his kids, his wife, and his father-in-law weekly, but through it all he manages to have a fantastically optimistic, kid-like enthusiasm and outlook on life. Unless he has stomach cramps; then he freaks out. But that's fair enough; Phil is a whiz with technology and always game to lend a helping hand, whether it be to fix a printer or a broken heart. If more people shared his attitude, the world would be a better, more helpful place. (Modern Family)

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