Sunday, September 04, 2005

You Drugged My Mil...

I was intending to write a post about a war I supported (sort of) but I'm going to postpone it till tomorrow. Instead, I've decided to explain why the A-Team is the root of all evil.

Yes, The A-Team. Before going any further I must emphasise that I was a huge fan of the A-Team as a kid. I have many fond memories of the series, although when I look back on it now it seems that every episode had exactly the same plot. To summarize for anyone who hasn't seen it: Pretty young woman (possibly with dependent elderly relative) is terrorized by criminal thugs. She hires the A-Team. They turn up, antagonise the bad guys, get captured, get locked in an old barn full of welding equipment and assorted other tools, build an escape vehicle out of two rubber bands and a rusty steel sheet, burst out of the barn and overpower the bad guys. Everyone celebrates, except the bad guys. And then they're off, just before the Military Police arrive. It's a recipe for TV gold.

This is all well and good but for one thing. The A-Team always had lots of guns, mostly machine guns as I remember. There was always lots of shooting when they overpowered the bad guys, but no-one ever actually got shot. Similarly, when a jeep was blown up (another absolutely essential ingredient of every A-Team episode) the occupants would always escape the blast. No-one ever seemed to get hurt. This is the problem.

So now you're thinking I'm some kind of evil hippy who wants more people getting shot in childrens TV programmes. Well, you're right. Sort of. The thing is that this sort of stuff gets in your head as a kid. Kids think it's cool, I know I did. They want to be the A-Team, to use their shiny machine guns and cunning plans to sort out the problems of the world. It's a fantasy, but it's not a healthy one. It is based on a sterilized, consequence free version of violence, far removed from the harsh realities of violent action. It the real world, when you shoot at people, people get shot. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they are permanently injured. Sometimes, they shoot back. It not like shooting fish in a barrel.

If you compare the A-Team to, say, Reservoir Dogs, the A-Team's portrayal of violence is much more appealing. In Reservoir Dogs, one of the main characters spends much of the film bleeding all over the floor of a warehouse after having been shot in the stomach. I've no idea what being shot in the stomach feels like, but after seeing that film I can safely say that I really don't fancy it'd be hugely enjoyable. And by the end of the film, pretty much everyone dies. In Reservoir Dogs there is at least some attempt at realism, some attempt to portray the bloody affects of violent actions.

So, I think that by presenting this fictional violence-lite world, the A-Team glamorizes violence, perhaps even glorifies it. I wonder if I could get George Peppard prohibited from entering the UK? If you've got children, and you see them watching the A-Team (no doubt it's still on UK Gold or some such), why not encourage them to watch Reservoir Dogs instead?

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