Remember the good ol’ days? Miley’s scandalous double-life drama, Zack and Cody’s hotel dilemmas and Raven’s future vision powers? Of course, how could one forget what then seemed to be the everlasting epitome of the Disney Channel. Great acting, great humor, great plots, great life lessons. But just like any other plateau, the Disney Channel experienced a sudden and unexpected drop in terms of… everything.
Let’s first reminisce and bask in the greatness of some of the Disney Channel’s early 2000’s hits. Though most don’t have a twin, a secret identity or visions of the future, many do face the everyday problems that were featured in the shows.
“Hannah Montana”: A normal country schoolgirl by day, teen popstar sensation by night. The show is based around the life of the main character Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) and her friends and family.
Miley might seem like an “unrelatable” girl who has the best of both worlds, but aside from her constant paranoia about her secret getting out, she faced normal problems. The show taught viewers about the importance of family, even with constant sibling rivalries and father-daughter situations. And let’s not forget the lessons of how to be a true friend, there’s even a song about it.
“Thats So Raven”: A curvy girl named Raven Baxter (Raven Simone) looked up at a comet and gained the power to occasionally get visions of the future. Now she goes about her days in high school with her best friends, using her powers to somehow get them in and out of trouble.
Aside from the usual friendship, family and boy drama that seemed to be a common occurrence in the show, Raven’s issues dwelled deeper than just that. The show indulged into touchy subjects such as racism, body image and self-confidence.
“Suite Life of Zack and Cody”: Two blonde twins who seemed to make it their job to unintentionally cause trouble in the Tipton Hotel shared some of their mistakes and hilarious moments with their friends and hotel employees.
This comedy-filled show expressed not just how to love that one annoying sibling, but also how to live happily with divorced parents. And the most recurrent: consequences. Two little twin blonde boys in a hotel, it’s trouble waiting to happen. Zack (Dylan Sprouse) and Cody (Cole Sprouse) always found themselves in a predicament and were disciplined with the right punishment, teaching kids right from wrong.
And now to submerge into the topic of the current disappointment. The shows nowadays are night and day compared to the classics. Their plots are copy-and-paste identical. It’s almost always about some skinny kids, who are in desperate need of an attitude adjustment, with problems almost always revolving over the desire to be famous. Take “Shake It Up”, “A.N.T. Farm” and “Jessie” for example.
Those are just a few top-notch examples of terrible comedy. In each TV show, the humor is tacky and makes the viewers who have experienced decent shows express a torturous groan.
Unlike those on the old Disney Channel, the main characters are certainly not people a child should look up to. Both Cece (Bella Thorne) and Rocky (Zendaya Coleman) are bland teenagers with no character development. Also, they’re way too skinny. Unlike the old TV shows, such as “Thats So Raven”, these girls need to put some meat on those bones and stop setting an unrealistic expectation for children.
And speaking of unrealistic expectations, “A.N.T. Farm” is a show about middle school prodigies who are sent to learn in high school. Imagine a kid with no special talent watching a show that portrays some kind of incredible modern Picasso. Most would feel bad about themselves already, why would they need a TV show to add to the lack of self-confidence?
Not only are reviews reflecting a low-level of liking for the new shows, the audience appears to be too. “Shake It Up”’s most viewed episode reached 6.2 million people, while Hannah Montana grossed 7.6 million, landsliding with more than a million compared to the new show.
Okay, Disney Channel, everyone needs a break now and then, but it’s time to step up. Enough of the fun and games, just sit down and make a TV show that won’t cause viewers to moan in despair. Bring back the positive messages. Bring back the knee-slapping humour. Bring back the grasping plots. Bring back the magic.