Major Influences #2: TGIF Sitcoms

90's Sitcoms - Full House - Family Matters - Step by Step - Boy Meets World - Wayans Bros

Like many since the dawn of television, the core of my moral code is derived from TV sitcoms. A long, long time ago there was something known as the TGIF Lineup which aired on the ABC network. The shows on the lineup changed every once in a while, but a certain few were particularly influential to me and my generation. Here they are, in the order of earliest-aired:

Who can resist a dude serenading a toddler?

Who can resist a dude serenading a toddler?

Full House

A show about three grown men who live with three young girls, Full House aired from 1987 to 1995. My ridiculous description of the premise aside, Full House was an anchor show for TGIF and taught traditional American values which Captain America would approve of. From what I recall, though, most lessons on the show are aimed at kids, including: sometimes bad stuff happens to good people; alcohol is bad; don’t be a jerk; and it’s easy to get a date if you’re a Greek dude with awesome hair.

Later in life, I saw the Quantum Leap episode guest starring Bob Saget. I was shocked by his use of foul language. Then, I heard his stand up routine.

Childhood ruined.
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The Good Guys: Square Bear Heroes

The Good Guys: Captain America, Ned Stark, Cory Matthews, Harry Potter, Obi-wan Kenobi, Doug Funnie, Ross Geller, Rick Hunter, Superman

Some people have problems with a male character if he’s too much of a square bear. I personally think it’s rather important that we have these characters in our social consciousness. They are, more or less, the kinds of guys that boys and men should strive to be.

Here’s a list of some fictional good guys who go the extra mile (in no particular order; I’ll try not to drop too many spoilers to anything, if any):

Captain AmericaCaptain America

Steve Rogers starts out as a scrawny little guy who is rejected from service in the U.S. Army because he is too frail. He volunteers to undergo an experimental procedure which turns him into the super-soldier, Captain America.

What I think a lot of people miss about Cap is that, though he loves his country, he doesn’t blindly follow orders from the government; he fights for a truer sense of freedom and liberty, and for people who cannot fight for themselves. People who dismiss Captain America simply because of his name and the fact that he wears a flag are missing out on an awesome hero.

I also like how he’s so polite to everyone (when he’s not knocking their teeth out with his shield).

Eddard StarkEddard Stark

Ned Stark, the unfortunate protagonist of A Game of Thrones. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Ned Stark is “honor.”

While discussing Ned, someone once told me that Ned’s honor—and all honor—is simply for the sake of appearances. I was annoyed, but didn’t respond right away. Thinking about it later, I concluded that this person was simply wrong. Honor isn’t just about appearances; honor can drive you to do the right thing, whether or not anyone else is aware of it.

Though a lot of Ned’s honorable acts are public and preserves his family name, I believe Ned would do the honorable thing even where no one’s looking. That’s why he’s awesome and that’s why he’s on this list. There’s also some internet speculation as to Ned’s past that, if proven to be true in George R.R. Martin’s later books, would make Ned all the more awesome as it implies he sacrifices some of his own honor for others.
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