If you make dumb choices, bad things happen

Published by adviser, Author: Jonathan Janasik - Commentary, Date: April 18, 2013

So I was watching Poke’mon the other day, and I noticed one thing that really pisses me off. No, it’s not the fact that it teaches kids that animal fighting is awesome. I think I can shrug that off, it’s just survival of the fittest. What makes me angry is that Poke’mon teaches kids that it is okay to be stupid and lazy.

For those of you who live under a rock or are older than 25, Poke’mon is a television show based off of a video game series. The titular Poke’mon are these small monsters that vaguely resemble real animals, only much cuter. The premise of the games and show is that kids like to capture these creatures from the wild and force them to fight one another.

The main character of the show is named Ash Ketchum. He’s a boy at the tender age of about 13 who decided to skip school in order to become the best monster fighter ever, because why not? I think that this is the first main problem I have with the show. We’re supposed to look up to somebody who wants to be “the best”.

Try to think back to high school gym class, there was at least one kid who tried too hard. He wanted to be the best. The problem with declaring that you want to be the best, is that it makes you sound like an egotistical douchebag. Why is being the best at something so important? Why should I care at all about Ash’s masturbatory quest to become the best?

But that’s not the worst part. To fully understand what makes Ash such a terrible influence, we first have to talk about the so-called “villains” of the series. These two friends named Jesse and James work for a company known as Team Rocket. Not much is ever said about the company, but we know that they’re bonkers, because they also hired a talking cat named Meowith. You’d never see a competent company like Walmart outsourcing to cats.

In any case, it’s Jesse, James, and Meowith’s job to steal Ash’s favorite Poke’mon. This is what has always bothered me, Team Rocket never succeeds. Don’t get me wrong, I know stealing is bad but think about it like this: Jesse and James have an actual job to do. Ash just wants to feed his own ego. Jesse and James are innovators, they come up with new ideas every episode. Ash hides behind his pets. Even when Jesse and James completely fail, they come right back to try again. Ash rarely ever fails.

The proactive and dedicated characters are the ones that we should be rooting against, while the go-with-the-punches school-skipping animal-fighter is supposed to be the one we identify with? Please tell me that I’m not the only one who finds this a little bit confusing.

When I was a kid, I saw one movie that changed the way I thought about life, it’s called the Great Silence. It’s about a large scale blizzard that causes large masses of people to go hungry. Left with no other option most of the people stranded in this storm are forced to steal food from each other.

In order to solve this problem, the government decides to hire a bounty hunter named Loco. Surprising to everybody, Loco is actually quite crazy. He likes to shoot people. That’s where the main character, a cowboy named Silence, comes in. He wants to shoot Loco, because Loco likes to shoot people. Silence likes people, so he doesn’t like to see them be shot.

Also, Silence’s parents were also killed by bounty hunters much like Loco. Seeing as how this is a movie, you would think that you could guess how it will end. The classic Rocky story. The hero goes against all odds, beats the bad guy, and gets the girl.

You’re wrong. Here’s what actually happens, Silence and Loco meet and have an old fashioned spaghetti western duel at dawn. Loco shoots holes in both of Silences hands. Can’t win ‘em all. But that’s okay, in Star Wars Luke Skywalker didn’t beat Darth Vader the first time they fought, and Luke got his hand chopped off. It’s the second fight that’s always the one that matters. So at this point, you’re still rooting for Silence.

Everybody tells him that he’s an idiot for wanting to fight again. But Silence truly believes that he has a chance because he’s “the good guy”. So he meets Loco, and they prepare for another duel. Loco shoots Silence in the face. Then he shoots Silence’s ladylove. And then he kills the rest of Silence’s friends. It’s quite the bummer to say the least.

I think there’s a lesson to be learned here. If you make dumb choices, bad things happen to you. I think that this lesson could be transferred into the world of Poke’mon. No, not by having Ash Ketchem being shot in the face with a gun, but instead he should be figuratively shot in the face with a lesson about reality. I don’t know, maybe his mother could tell him that she’s no longer supporting his dead-end dreams and that she’s making him go to college for a degree in business. I know it’s depressing, but I think it’s good for the young viewers. Think of the children.


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