I am a firm believer in not sheltering kids too much from the real world. I was over-protected and insulated when I was little, and I often wished, as a young adult that I had been better prepared to deal with reality. On the other hand, when I am in the room with a six-year-old little girl and a four-year-old little boy and I turn on the Disney Channel, I expect quality programming, and that there be some responsibility taken for the messages planted in their young minds. I expect the ‘good guys’ to be responsible, ethical, and, well, good.
Specifically, the program, “Kickin’ It” has taken the discipline of karate and bastardized it into a message of bullying. The characters often exhibit violent, destructive, behavior for which there are never consequences.
Example #1: A scene where the “good” kids fought with troublemakers. During the fight scene, which took place in a restaurant, tables were overturned, sending items upon them flying everywhere, and the place was trashed. When the fight concluded, the characters left the restaurant in triumph, the scene ended, never addressing the damages to the restaurant. What’s up with that? Good guys or not, there should have been, at the very least an apology to the restaurant owner, with an offer to pay for the damages! Even in “Superman II” when Superman pounds the bully in the diner, ridding the place of a huge troublemaker, Superman plants a wad of cash in the owner’s hand and apologizes for the damages!
Example #2: A scene in which half a dozen kids with sparring staffs (7 foot, bamboo poles) stood over two kids lying face down on the ground beating (raising the staffs over their heads and bringing them down full force) them over and over again. I have never, even in Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris movies, seen Karate used that way! Karate is used for self defense! Whatever the kids on the ground did wrong, the karate kids, according to the discipline they are being taught, would never be justified in pounding someone face-down on the ground, with sparring staffs. First of all, sparring staffs are not clubs. That scene was no less violent than the news clip of the Rodney King incident.
For Disney, of all television stations, to air this gratuitous, irresponsible, bully-inspiring, barbaric garbage is outrageous. For parents, grandparents, and child caretakers to be unaware or uncaring about the content of these programs is negligent and inexcusable.
“Kickin It” distorts (to say the very least) the entire message of the discipline of karate. It promotes irresponsible, bullying behavior, not to mention highly unsportsmanlike conduct. For a country evolved enough to ban end zone dances, I am appalled that this show hasn’t been protested already.
And it’s not like it’s aired once a day that’s avoidable, it’s all over the Disney line-up, bombarding children several times a day, for hours at a time.
I find it sad that the writers of this program squandered the opportunity to write quality episodes that have the potential to teach some decent values to pre-teens. They could have run with the concept and produced some fine shows that send a positive message to kids that by learning the art and discipline of karate, they don’t need to become bullies to defeat bullies. That there are honorable ways they can protect themselves and gain values that can guide them through their entire lives. Instead they portray their ‘good’ characters taking cheap shots and never owning up to their responsibilities.
The Disney Channel producers should be ashamed, and so should the writers of the show for vomiting out such rubbish.