The Problem with Power Rangers
Growing up I was never allowed to watch Power Rangers. When I emerged from my childhood cocoon I found that a lot of other people weren’t allowed to watch Power Rangers either. Not that I thought I was the only one, of course, but I always find it fascinating to meet someone else who wasn’t allowed to watch the show as a kid. Why? Because it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’m not questioning my upbringing. I know my mom raised me the best she could and made choices in our best interest about what we could and could not watch, I just don’t see the reasoning behind it. What was the problem with Power Rangers?
The obvious answer is the violence. Power Rangers is a show about teenagers beating up monsters with martial arts. Kids are inclined to copy that kind of thing and concerned parents didn’t want that. The secondary reason would be the magic. At least in a few seasons, magic is a big part of the Power Rangers lore and they fight both with it and against it at times. From my mother’s perspective, I expect it was a combination of the two that led to it being banned in our house. That and probably MOPS propaganda.
The funny thing is, I don’t know that I would have wanted to watch it if it weren’t banned. For one thing we didn’t really get it in our house, it playing on channels like FOX which came in blurry at best on our TVs. It was also a “boy” show to me, at least when I was little. I didn’t have much interest in teens dressed in silly outfits beating up people in giant rubber costumes, looking equally silly. It didn’t hold any appeal on its own to my prepubescent self, except that it was forbidden.
When I got into college my brother introduced me to the world of internet reviewers, specifically the network on That Guy with the Glasses. One of the reviewers I started following, Linkara, reviews mostly comic books, but is also a huge Power Rangers fan. So much so that he decided to do a video series looking back at each season of the show and giving his thoughts and analysis on it. I had no real desire to watch the whole show myself, but the opportunity to find out what it was all about and see what I had been missing was too good to pass up. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve watched every current episode of the History of Power Rangers, all seventeen videos. And you know what? I still don’t understand.
Maybe it’s because I’m watching from a biased perspective, listening to a fan talk about the show in nostalgic tones, but I don’t see what was so bad about Power Rangers that warranted so many kids being forbidden to see it. Okay, so there’s no Christian lore in there, there’s a bit of violence and sometimes there’s magic. The violence is always used for good, even when it’s not fighting evil, it’s usually for a good cause and, as far as I can tell, explains that martial arts isn’t about beating people up, but discipline and protecting the weak. As far as magic goes, it’s not like it’s a thing just anyone can use. I doubt kids would want to go out and try it themselves. The Power Rangers are ridiculously good role models in the early seasons and generally set a good example for kids on how to treat others and do the right thing and such. They fight the forces of “evil,” which, admittedly, look rather silly most of the time, but it helps kids to understand it’s not real, I think. I doubt any child got confused about the reality of the show.
I’m not saying that I would have liked Power Rangers as a child. I’m not saying parents are wrong to sensor what their children watch. I am saying, though, maybe we should look into things a bit before banning them in our homes. Sure, I guess this is easier to do now with the internet and all that. When it comes time for me to make these decisions I’ll have way more resources than my mother had when I was a child, to read reviews and watch shows myself before allowing my kids to watch them. But I feel like a better approach is to watch the show with the kid and explain when you see something that might be confusing or wrong about the show. I just think it might be a healthier approach than saying “Don’t watch this, it’s bad” without explaining why. But I’m not a parent, and I won’t be for some years, so feel free to disregard my thoughts as I have no experience in the matter, except from the child’s perspective.
As always, I’d love to hear other perspectives. If you know the real logic behind the Power Ranger’s ban, let me know. If you have other thoughts, I’d love to hear those too! What other shows were banned in your house?