Are There Any Good Role Models Left on TV?

By Christa_Banister
Posted: Fri, 10/22/2010 - 21:33

pensive Dr. Quinn

By Christa A. Banister, senior music editor,

It’s no secret that today’s average sitcom shares very little in common with its much-loved, family-friendly predecessors like The Waltons, The Brady Bunch and The Cosby Show.

In fact, it’s pretty astounding just how much television programming has changed in only a decade. While recently tuning in to reruns of ’90s staples Seinfeld and Friends, comedies that featured attractive characters with the tendency to hop from bed to bed without exactly giving it much thought, it was shocking how tame it felt when compared to what’s regularly going down on Mad Men, Jersey Shore, Grey’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl these days.

What’s even more shocking is that younger and younger audiences are spending some major time taking it all in. According to a recent study conducted by the Media Awareness Network, the average girl living anywhere in North America will watch 5,000 hours of television, not to mention 80,000 advertisements, before she starts Kindergarten.

Pretty unbelievable, isn’t it?    

And in a day and age where a once tried-and-true role model like Hannah Montana’s Miley Cyrus has grown up and proclaimed that she “can’t be tamed” while donning a skimpy, Britney-esque bird costume, one can’t help but wonder if there really are any good role models left on television.

While they are certainly fewer and farther between, there are still a few notable exceptions to the rule. So with no further adieu, we’re offering up seven of our favorite television stars (in no particular order) who’ve managed to stay classy on the small screen.

And as for my shameless plug of the day, for anyone in search of TV shows that always feature strong protagonists with genuine, tried-and-true character, be sure to check out the variety of quality programming on gmc – uplifting entertainment.

Ty Pennington on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
Anyone who’s watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition already knows it’s impossible not to cry when watching carpenter/host Ty Pennington in action. Giving families hope by building them beautiful homes, Ty’s example is definitely one worth following.

Ina Garten on "Barefoot Contessa"
As one of the Food Network’s most popular chefs, Ina Garten (a.k.a. Barefoot Contessa) shows viewers how to make comfort food with the volume turned up. While the food itself never looks anything short of mouthwatering, it’s the lovable camaraderie with her longtime friends and genuine love for her husband of 40+ years, Jeffrey, that really makes it a must-watch.

Jamie Oliver on "Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution"
Using his celebrity for good, chef Jamie Oliver has made it his mission to teach kids (and their parents) about eating healthfully (rather than indulging in processed food). And when he’s not showing his audience how to whip up something vitamin-rich and delicious, he’s fighting for the causes of more nutritious school lunches and affordable organic produce.

Alexis Castle on "Castle"
While many of TV’s teen girls are rebellious, snotty, and not anything close to someone you’d want your kids looking up to, Alexis (played by actress Molly C. Quinn) is a refreshing change of pace. Not only does she have a sweet and openly honest dynamic with her novelist/detective father Richard, but she dresses age-appropriate, is smart and even when she’s dating someone, she doesn’t let the relationship consume her life.

Sarah Walker on "Chuck"
In the vein of Sydney Bristow on Alias, Sarah Walker (played by Yvonne Strahovski) proves that women can be strong, funny and successful without compromising their personal integrity in the process.

Special Agent G. Callen on "NCIS: Los Angeles"
In the high stakes Office of Special Projects, Special Agent G. Callen (played by Chris O’ Donnell) will do whatever it takes to apprehend some of the most elusive and dangerous criminals – and he does so with courage and dignity. Growing up in 37 different foster homes as an orphan, G. Callen is also fiercely loyal and protective of anyone he loves and handles difficult situations with grace.

Sandra Rinomato on "Property Virgins"
Traveling coast to coast to help first-time homebuyers find the first place they’ll call their own, Sandra Rinomato is not only helpful, but practical and sensible, too. Not only does she talk common sense about not taking on too much debt and having realistic expectations, she always goes the extra mile, no matter how picky the clientele.


About the Writer

After graduating with a B.S. in Journalism from North Central University in 1998, Christa Banister moved from Minneapolis to Nashville, Tenn. and eventually started working at CCM Magazine/Salem Publishing in various editorial capacities as an editor, columnist and website guru for five and a half years. After that, she launched her own Dallas-based freelance writing company and writes for numerous clients including Salem Publishing, (she review movies for them each week), Christian Single, Christianity Today, Threads Media,, and also helped kickstart the first Christian music blog for MTV. In addition, she also writes bios for professional recording artists and authors and penned her first two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers for NavPress.

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