I was watching television with Daniel the other day. He was watching the Pokemon cartoon series. For the uninitiated, Pokemon started out as a card game. Monsters were listed with various talents and points and kids could do battle with them. The show is probably ten years old now and the original nine year olds who watched it back in the day have moved on to bigger and better things. However, new crops of nine year olds rediscover it and the related Pokemon paraphernalia. Daniel is just one of the latest batch to discover the wonderful world of Japanese “pocket monsters”.
Like the cartoons I watched as a kid, the plot of Pokemon is pretty much the same in every episode. The “Pokemon Trainers”, a group of kids and their sidekick monsters (Pikachu and Squirtle, to name a couple), travel to some exotic location, looking for a new Pokemon. Meanwhile, the bad guy and his incompetent minions also happen to be looking for the new Pokemon (what are the odds?). After some twists and turns and usually right after “when things look their worse”… well, there is a commercial break. But immediately following that, the bad guys get their comeuppance and the good guys win the day.
I didn’t mind the repetition. After all, I watched Scooby Doo for years as a kid. However, what got me was the writing. Each Pokemon has a name. If you don’t catch what the name is, the little monster will helpfully tell you all the time. That’s how they communicate. Dogs bark, cats meow, Pokemon say their name. They say it happily, sadly; they can say their names with more inflections than a surfer can say “dude”. I can only assume the script for a Pokemon episode looks something like this:
(surprised at the wondrous sight before them)
(amazed at the wondrous sight before them)
This is the job I want. I think I was born to write for Pokemon. The above sample only took me thirty seconds; I was that inspired! While I’m sure the writers get paid ten times more than the average firefighter, the real reason I’d want to write is for all the children around the world. Daniel would look at me with new respect… at least until he turns ten and discovers some new show on television.