Monday, September 22, 2014

Gotham -- Of Heroes And Parental Advisories

As many of you probably know, "Gotham" starts tonight. I am VERY excited about "Gotham". Because of "SouthLAnd". Yes -- all roads lead to "SouthLAnd". You see -- Ben McKenzie, who was one of the lead actors on "SouthLAnd" is playing the lead role of Jim Gordon in "Gotham". And -- as a very dear friend of mine said -- "I will support the "SouthLAnd" actors until the day that I die." Yep.

So, if you don't know, "Gotham" is a "Batman" origin story. It follows the newly-hired Detective Jim Gordon as he tries to deal with the chaos that is Gotham City until he finally can't take it anymore and thinks up Batman. Yes. I believe the whole Batman thing will end up being Jim Gordon's brainchild. Bruce Wayne will be like, "Have you lost your mother f***ing mind, Jim??? You want me to do WHAT??? That's just f***ing crazy." And Jim Gordon will be all like, "You have the money. You have the education. You have a very large basement and a cool old house with mysterious spaces. You have the athletic ability. And I'm just plain tired out from chasing around bad people who like to pretend they're animals and stuff. And Barbara is tired of me never being at home. In fact, I think she's got a little something goin' on the side. Who can blame her? She's never been the same since the time I cracked my skull up against that concrete pillar. (Points at forehead.) Yes. That was years ago and you'd think she'd have gotten over it. But -- nooooooo. So, I think I've got to go home and start gettin' some sexy on with Babs before it's too late." And -- thus -- Bruce Wayne, in a moment of sympathy for his old friend and realizing that his fun afternoons with Barbara had to come to an end at some point, relents and goes to the PLUS SIZE lingerie shop to get some black tights and such.

So... What was the point of this whole thing again?

Oh, yeah.

Parental advisories.

I read a parental advisory for "Gotham" last week. I forget which group posted it. I don't remember the exact wording. But, I'll strive for accuracy.

The parental advisory people said that "Gotham" is not suitable for children. I agree. It probably isn't. To each his or her own, though. I wouldn't have let my kids watch it when they were little.

The parental advisory people also said that "Gotham" wasn't suitable for young teens. I'm a little bit more unsure about that point. I probably would have let my kids watch it as young teens.

The thing the parental advisory said, though, that really made me roll my eyes was something to this effect:  They weren't advising the show for kids or young teens because the hero -- Jim Gordon -- isn't going to win in the end. He's basically going to be a defeated hero. And, apparently, this sort of hero is very bad for children and young teens.

Say what???

First of all, I'm sure he's going to have at least a few little victories along the way. Yes, in the end -- exhausted and suffering from Barbara withdrawals -- he will have to think up Batman. But, that doesn't make him a defeated hero. It just makes him realistic and a little bit humble. I mean, one guy against a whole evil city??? Come on.

Seriously, though, what is a hero? Is a hero somebody who inevitably overcomes his obstacles single-handedly. Who never admits defeat? Who is never actually defeated? -- OR -- Is a real hero somebody who makes mistakes, makes the wrong choices sometimes, goes down some wrong paths, has serious falls (even moral ones), trusts the wrong people occasionally, ends up lost -- maybe even completely lost -- and then has the humility and the moral strength and the fortitude to admit his faults and his failings (at least to himself) and get back up and go on and try to do the right thing.  To me, this second kind of person is a real hero. The first kind of hero -- the unfailing, unerring, inevitably undefeated/undefeatable one is not a real hero. It's easy to be that kind of person. The authentic hero -- to my mind, anyway -- is the one who has to face down his wayward humanity and keep on pushing forward, even when it would be easier to give up and run away. It certainly would be easier for Jim Gordon to give up and run away. But, he doesn't. And that, at the end of the day, is what makes him a real hero. He doesn't run away -- either from himself or from the city that needs him.

So -- perhaps -- Jim Gordon is just the kind of hero our young teens need. Because -- in life -- that's what most of us have to go through. Most of us are not Captain America (bless his heart). Most of us are more like Jim Gordon. We screw up. Badly. We have disappointments -- from others and from ourselves. And we need to learn to rise up those screw-ups and disappointments and stay the course. And there are times when we have to call in our own Batman (a.k.a. bestie). And if my kids were still young teenagers watching "Gotham", this is what we would be talking about.


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