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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2013 at 8 P.M. ET/5 P.M. PT ON CBS
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Why I want my daughter to watch TV

The lessons our kids can glean from prime-time fare might surprise you

By Barbara Card Atkinson
Special to MSN TV

TV has long been considered a vast moral and cultural wasteland (with some rare exceptions). Especially daunting has been the way women have been portrayed, from man-crazy ditzes to long-suffering wives saddled with thick-skulled husbands to cutthroat corporate types who alienate their underlings. But TV has a lot to offer, and the important lessons children can glean from pop culture fare might surprise you. It's delighting me.

I'm seeing shows which feature stellar female characters -- often flawed, but outside the mold of "waif" or "lost/lovelorn lamb." It's also nice to see male characters outside the "dumb dad" or "humorless, intractable grump" mode -- more men need to be portrayed with depth and nuance, too. There are shows which depict moral dilemmas (often with unintended consequences), the nuanced ways office and public politics must be navigated, and shows about how people have treated each other and continue to treat each other.

While there is still an avalanche of TV out there featuring varying levels of questionable material in terms of sharing it with our children, there are also a number of shows which can be enjoyed by multiple generations. And, hey, if the kids, both my son and daughter, inadvertently learn something as well, everyone wins.

While not every one of these Emmy-honored shows is right for every age kid, I have a few I think are worth considering.

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MSN Entertainment's guide to the 2013 Emmys: We run down some surprising lessons you can glean from Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation," "The Amazing Race," "Castle" and more Emmy-honored prime-time fare.