Ten (Fictional) Heroes from my Childhood
10. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Growing up, I loved this cartoon. I had the action figures, a ninja turtle bike, wallet, t-shirt. I don’t know what appealed to me so much. Maybe you could eat pizza all day and still be a bad ass. Isn’t that every 10 year old boy’s dream?
I can relate to Stand by Me in some ways, and I always say it’s my all-time favorite movie…probably because I’ve always wanted to write even at a young age. I think this is the ultimate coming of age movie that hits home to every boy, regardless if you relate to it or not. You actually feel for these characters and the fact that Gordy just wants to be acknowledged by his loved ones and is encouraged to never give up on his dream of being a writer is what I resonated with.
I tend to always root for the underdog. Growing up, I felt like Doug was written just for me. A dorky, insecure boy who likes to write and has a huge imagination. That was me in a nutshell. He was such a nerd but somehow everyone loved him. I think because he had such a good heart and was very genuine. That’s also me, by the way.
7.Timon and Pumbaa
You know I had to throw in a Disney hero in here. My childhood consisted a lot of Disney movies. The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie not just because of the crazy monkey or the catchy songs, but because of the loyalty and “hakuna matata” philosophy. When others shunned Timon and Pumbaa, they learned to not care what anybody thinks and live their life their own way. They’re loyal to a fault and are always there when someone needs help, because they can sympathize. And when they realize their threesome has become a twosome, they are heartbroken, but can’t help feel a sense of happiness that their buddy has found someone who he loves. And that’s what we’re all shooting for, right?
6.The Power Rangers
I can’t say I was into Power Rangers as much as some people who shall remain nameless, but I think these guys appealed to me the same “you can still be nerdy but be a badass” way the Ninja turtles did. They dress up in dorky costumes, are into dinosaurs, their car turns into some boss Optimus Prime-esque thing, and they fight bumbling androgynous villains. You can’t get that kind of quality in a half-hour program nowadays.
It’s about a boy…meeting the world. If we learned anything up until now, these were the kind of shows/movies that were written just for me. I had to learn life lessons with Cory. There was a lot wrong with this show, like how some people rode off into “Judy Winslow land” as I like to call it, and there were a lot of inconsistencies, but I think the main concept was there. As Cory grew, so did his problems. He went through puberty and he thought he was becoming a werewolf. Great writing right there!
Now that I look back on it, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood had to be the creepiest show for kids. I guess when I was little, people didn’t think there was anything wrong with a grown man inviting kids into his house and playing make-believe with him. To me, Mr. Rogers struck me as a grandfather who was slowly slipping into senility. The land of make-believe was a creep show of batty puppets and humans who thought there was nothing wrong with talking to an owl or a cat. I think Lady Elaine was the creepiest of them all.
She was a big weirdo but she did have a sweet nature. Anyways, all creepiness and pedophilia aside, Mr. Rogers was a kind old man that wanted you to know that learning could be fun as well. I would probably not let my future kids watch this show nowadays but times have changed. Now it’s not safe for a man to take off his shoes and have kids play with his “trolley.”
3.Budnick from Salute your Shorts
The all-knowing, all trouble making red-head from a show about summer camp. Granted he was the bully/troublemaker of the group but to me, he was misunderstood and deep down he had compassion. A lot of the times, people act out to get attention. And in this show it was usually the wrong attention. He liked to goof off but I think he was just a kid who liked to have fun and when it came down to it, he would stand up for what he believed in.
2.Brad from Hey Dude
The first female on my list. I would say that Brad could be a hero(ine). Although the show about a dude ranch wasn’t the best of ideas, they brought on a confident female who stood up for her principles. Her name is masculine, her gestures were masculine, even her voice had a deep tone to it. She was proud of being a tomboy but under all that confidence stood a woman with feelings. She tried not to let her emotions come out and for people to see that she was really human. But to know that Brad actually had a heart was good too. I don’t want to sound corny, but I’m also not a misogynist. I think this role was important for females growing up, and for them to know that in a predominantly male world, girls could still show their true colors.
1.Mr. Feeny and Mr. Wilson
Two mysterious neighbors who had a lot to say and would somehow always be the deus ex machina to the story at hand. Nobody knows where they got all their wisdom, or why they lived next door to such dysfunctional families, but I appreciated their earnest advice. I believe it’s because they never had children so had to live vicariously through their neighbors. I’ll always remember them as the sage men who gave the whole moral of the story. They seemed to be there when someone was at a loss and they were always “part of the family.” I wish I had neighbors like that, instead of the ones who blast their bass through the wall 😦 or the ones who are crazy and sunbathe on the roof.
In conclusion, the writers of the shows/movies that were on when I was a kid were definitely smoking something.