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The Best & Worst on TV

February 10, 2012

The other day I was researching for a magazine article assignment on media, technology, and parenting. In my research I came across a great website: Common Sense Media (CSM). If you are a parent, you’ll want to check it out. This site is “dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.”

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CSM lists their choices for the top 10 best and worst role models on TV. I was a little surprised! I thought I’d list them here on Witty Words to see what the rest of you thought.

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10 Best Role Models on TV

  1. Manny from “Handy Manny.” For ages 3 and up, Manny is generous and always helps out his friends while sprinkling in Spanish lessons, as well.
  2. Sid from “Sid the Science Kid.” For ages 3 and up, Sid is very curious and discovers the answers to lots of the “why” questions that kids ask.
  3. The cast from “The Electric Company.” For ages 5 and up, kids from all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and interests encourage kids to have fun while learning.
  4. Jane from “Jane and the Dragon.” For ages 6 and up, Jane is part of a royal court in medieval England who learns positive lessons during her adventures.
  5. Jessie from “Jessie.” For ages 7 and up, Jessie shows kids how to face a challenge while having a positive attitude.
  6. Jamie Oliver from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.” Ages 10 and up, Jamie gets kids to eat healthier food while traveling the country.
  7. Zach Anner from “Rollin’ with Zach.” For ages 10 and up, Zach travels around the U.S. to accomplish what each locale is famous for. Zach has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, but he shows kids that he’s not defined by his disability.
  8. Ellen DeGeneres from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” For ages 13 and up, Ellen shows that being yourself is the most important thing and to feel comfortable in your own skin.
  9. Finn from “Glee.” For ages 13 and up, Finn is a sporty guy who is not afraid to show his feelings and go against what is “popular” to do what he is talented at.
  10. Rory from “Gilmore Girls.” For ages 14 and up, Rory has a good heart and a good heart, one of the few down-to-earth, realistic girls on TV.
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Who made the list for top 10 worst role models on TV? (And you probably don’t need reasons why they’re on this list!)

  1. Snookie, “Jersey Shore”
  2. Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen), “Two and a Half Men”
  3. Kim Kardashian, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”
  4. Goku and Gohan, “Dragon Ball Z Kai”
  5. Tyra Banks, “America’s Next Top Model”
  6. All the Housewives, “Real Housewives of …”
  7. Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), “Gossip Girl”
  8.  Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), “Weeds”
  9.  Strawberry Shortcake, “Strawberry Shortcake Bitty Berry Adventures”
  10.  Candace (Ashley Tisdale), “Phineas and Ferb”
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So what are your thoughts?

Do you agree or disagree with these lists? Why? What do you look for in television shows for your family? What do you look for in role models for your children? What types of topics are brought to your attention while you watch these characters on their TV shows? What other role models (good and bad) would you add to the lists?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Elise permalink
    February 10, 2012 10:28 am

    Any idea why Strawberry Shortcake is on the worst list?!

    • February 10, 2012 2:19 pm

      I was surprised at first by that one, because my girls sometimes watch Strawberry Shortcake on the weekends. But after reading what they said, I think I agree! Here’s why she’s not a good role model:

      “OK, she’s not actually that bad. But her character has morphed from a cute, plump kid in baggy jeans to a svelte tween with a glamorous hairdo. What’s up with that? On top of that, she and her berry-named friends tend to needs lots of reassurance for every decision they make, and their vocations tend toward the stereotypical (food, dance, hair-care).
      Why it matters: Girls are increasingly being sexualized in the media at a younger age, leading to a limited sense of self.”

  2. February 10, 2012 12:05 pm

    What’s wrong with Strawberry Shortcake?

    • February 10, 2012 2:23 pm

      This is what Common Media says:
      “OK, she’s not actually that bad. But her character has morphed from a cute, plump kid in baggy jeans to a svelte tween with a glamorous hairdo. What’s up with that? On top of that, she and her berry-named friends tend to needs lots of reassurance for every decision they make, and their vocations tend toward the stereotypical (food, dance, hair-care).
      Why it matters: Girls are increasingly being sexualized in the media at a younger age, leading to a limited sense of self.”

      I tend to agree–my girls watch it on the weekends, and while it seems innocent, the look of the characters and the things they say are too mature for them. But I wouldn’t necessarily put her in the same category as Kim Kardashian!!

  3. bethkvogt permalink
    February 10, 2012 11:45 pm

    Interesting list. I was also surprised by Candace showing up. I get that she’s always trying to get her brothers in trouble … but then, there are times she realizes she loves them and even “likes” them. In some ways, that’s a pretty realistic view of kids’ relationships within families. We want our children to learn to value each other.
    And I’m not so sure about Rory of the Gilmore Girls being a great role model. She makes some major missteps when she gets older — particularly with her former boyfriend, who is married.

    • February 11, 2012 3:38 pm

      I definitely agree…my kids love Phineas and Ferb (and I don’t mind watching it either!) and they are realistic–two younger kids annoying their older sister. If this was my personal “Top 10,” I would have put a lot of others before Candace! Just like Strawberry Shortcake, she doesn’t quite compare with Snookie or any Kardashian!

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