Talk Disney to Me
Imagine. You arrive home from an exhausting day at school, hoping to kick up your feet on the coffee table and catch up on your favorite shows without your mom nagging you to take out the trash or clean the dirty dishes. Pressing the buttons on the remote, the television finally turns on—channel 35. Unfamiliar and ridiculously cheesy theme songs play with a collection of colors appearing on the screen. Your immediate reaction is “What am I watching? What has channel 35 done with their previously brilliant shows like Suite Life of Zach and Cody, Hannah Montana, That’s So Raven, and Lizzie McGuire?”
Not a lot bugs me in the world. Of course, little things here and there piss me off. Kidz Bop. Crocs. Noisy eaters. My suitemate. But these annoyances don’t compare to the trash they now call Disney Channel. The excellent shows from the 1990’s and early 2000’s vanished, replaced with shows that lack originality, substance, and humor. What happened to Disney Channel? And why were these popular shows all cancelled? I can’t seem to find the answer.
I used to love Disney Channel, until 2006, when everything changed. I tend to get distracted, so it’s rare for me to find a show worth watching several episodes of in one sitting. The Disney Channel shows from the 90’s kept my attention for hours. They provided entertainment to viewers of diverse ages through strong plotlines, humor, and relatable characters. Entertainment is the main reason people watch television. However, the shows on Disney Channel today flat out suck. There is nothing entertaining about Win Lose Draw because it is literally a game show version of Pictionary. There is nothing funny about Dog with a Blog. The title is catchy, but you know the show’s main plot without even watching it. Yawn. Who comes up with these shows? The only semi-decent show on this channel is Good Luck Charlie, but it might as well be called Bad Luck Charlie because it simply doesn’t compare to the classics.
Ask anyone born in the 90s what their favorite show to watch after school was. Their answers will include some or all of the following: Lizzie McGuire, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, That’s So Raven, Hannah Montana, Even Stevens, Kim Possible, Phil of the Future, or Life with Derek. I remember coming home from school every day with a smile on my face because I knew my afternoon would consist of countless hours of pure enjoyment with quality Disney Channel shows. No matter what time of day, I always watched an amusing show. If you turn on Disney Channel today, you will find the exact opposite. Over the years, Lizzie McGuire became a show about 11-year-old child geniuses with cacophonous voices in A.N.T. Farm. Hannah Montana became two twin sisters screeching at each other in Liv and Maddie. And That’s So Raven became a nanny with bratty, adopted kids in Jessie.
Kids are buying into this ridiculous display of characters. Even though these shows are as awful as waking up for school on a Monday morning, kids still watch them—I, included—hoping they’ll get better. I have been loyal to Disney Channel ever since my mom introduced me to it as a 5-year-old. I consistently watched their shows whenever I was bored or needed a good laugh. However, times change and more importantly, shows change too.
At least the old Disney Channel shows had some sort of substance and bigger meaning for society. For example, Lizzie McGuire discussed the treacherous struggles of dealing with awkward stages and bullies. In an episode of That’s So Raven, Raven taught children about body image and how beauty didn’t only come in sizes 2 and 4. These are the lessons teenagers need today. But what do we get instead? A show about two best friends dancing on a television show and a stupid game of Pictionary. Really? Pictionary?
I worry about future generations if producers continue making these god-awful shows. How else are they going to learn about adolescent problems? I don’t think observing an 11-year-old sing and dance will come in handy in the long run. “Oh the 11-year-old can dance? Cool. Sign me up for dance classes!” Even though kids’ shows are fictional, there still has to be some sort of message. If there’s no meaning, what’s the point? Entertainment impacts children and teaching them of a “dog” with a “blog” will influence them to actually believe dogs operate computers and write blogs. If you’re going to create a show about a dog, at least make it accurate and have the dog bark. C’mon now. I suggest they rerun the old Disney Channel shows or start creating better shows. Not only are they entertaining, but they also contain life lessons applicable to children today. Issues I couldn’t blatantly ask my parents, such as bullies and body image, were answered in the shows I viewed on Disney Channel. Is that too much to ask for? Disney Channel had such a good reputation, but that clearly diminished with the addition of pointless shows.
It was extremely difficult for me to write this paper. I'm not exactly sure what made it so challenging, but I remember glancing at the directions for this essay and being completely lost. I had no idea where I wanted to begin or how I planned to convey my ideas to make it humorous and persuasive. I definitely think the most challenging part of this essay was figuring out how to write my introduction. The introduction intends to hook the reader and force them to continue reading. However, I couldn't seem to find a way to hook the reader while still staying true to my "voice" and personality. As I jotted down some ideas, it came to me. The most effective introductions I've read hooked the audience by basically transporting them to the specific event. The audience uses their five senses and are able to relate to experiences through of imagery. Once I came to this realization, I was relieved I was no longer having terrible writers' block. Instead, I just winged it and hoped words would flow out of my mouth and directly onto the page. The most rewarding part of this essay was I was able to use my sarcastic personality to talk about a topic I'm truly passionate about: Disney Channel. I thought it was interesting how you could use humor to address legitimate issues and even provide a solution/proposal. In my essay, I used a lot of popular references, Hypophora, rhetorical questions, and bold statements of opinion. I think the model essay allowed me to use these literary devices effectively. My model essay was about reality TV. After reading this essay, I felt hesitant about what to choose for a topic. I discussed possible ideas with my peers because I didn’t know how to display my humor on the page. My peers all had the same suggestion: I should write about Disney Channel because I know a lot about that topic. I didn’t diverge much away from the model essay because the model essay helped me entertain the reader rather than just merely informing them of all the ridiculous shows on Disney Channel today. However, I strayed from the model essay to provide more background on the popular references I constantly mentioned. In addition, I had to change the structure of the essay to make sure my proposal was more prominent. Overall, I believe I learned a lot through the construction of this essay. I learned to stay true to myself and my voice because it made it more enjoyable to write.