On “Walker, Texas Ranger”

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bill-swift - December 28, 2013

I've been spending the holidays with my in-laws and that means one thing: all day marathons of Walker, Texas Ranger. I'm not sure why my father-in-law loves the show so much, particularly because he is a highly intelligent person and isn't being forced to watch it in a dentist's office or something. What I realized after having binge watched about 30 episodes is that I don't think this is a show for adults. It is really heavy-handed in its moralistic lessons. It's not unlike an episode of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers or the "And knowing is half the battle" segment at the end of a GI Joe episode.

Every episode of Walker is essentially the same. Someone commits a crime or does something wrong. Very often it's a young person that's made some bad life decisions. That or it's just some thugs that need a good roundhouse kick to the face. Walker and his partner Ranger Trivette, (who dresses not unlike the Don Cheadle Buck character from Boogie Nights), are called in. They then proceed to kick a lot of people in the face. At some point(s) Walker will have a monologue in which he explains what the person did wrong in excruciating detail. The Bible may even be invoked. You know, because Jesus said, "If a man strikes you on one cheek, you turn around and kick him in the other cheek with your cowboy boot." Walker always gets his man and rides off into the sunset in his pickup truck.

Much like an episode of the Power Rangers or GI Joe, the show combines preachy morals with extreme violence. It's an ancient device of delivering messages that goes back to the Greeks, the Torah, and old episodes of Fat Albert. I think I'm going to write a book on the wisdom of Walker, Texas Ranger. There are worst moral compasses than a karate chopping law enforcement agent, I guess. And always remember, the eyes of a ranger are upon you.

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