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The Problem with Disney Shows Today

Updated on June 5, 2014
Save us Mr. Disney, you're our only hope!
Save us Mr. Disney, you're our only hope! | Source

Why is this an important discussion?

Maybe it is because I grew up in the 90’s with good quality shows, like Boy Meets World and Full House, or maybe it is because I am now a parent and I fear the influences my children are surrounded by, but for whatever the reason, I am appalled at the shows that appear on the Disney Channel these days. I long for the days of watching young children learn valuable lessons from their parents and teachers. I agonize at the thought that if the shows are this bad now, what will they be like when my soon-to-be three year old is a pre-teen, like most of the characters are in the shows now.

1. The parents, if they are even existent in the show, are made to look like morons.

Before I discuss the parents in today’s shows, I must reminisce of Mr. and Mrs. Matthews, from Boy Meets World. They were not perfect, by any means. There was the episode where Alan Matthews had to learn to balance his time and affections between all of his children, his two boys, in particular. They were always parents, though, not best buds, to their children. They set good examples for their children, how to work hard, how to become responsible. When Corey and Topanga insisted on marrying young, and then begged for help to buy a house they couldn’t afford because neither were working, the Matthews had to insist they deal with their life that they chose. This may seem harsh, but later in the episode, Corey realized that his parents were allowing them to struggle so they could realize how strong they were.

Now, onto today’s depicted parents. In the show Ant Farm, the parents are practically non-existent. The dad is a completely goof that doesn’t seem to have the intelligence of a piece of paper. He is constantly made fun of by his children, and their friends. The same is true on Good Luck Charlie. The dad is a complete moron. He is constantly made fun of by his children and his own wife. The mom on Good Luck Charlie is also absolutely ridiculous. She sets an absolutely horrible example for her children. Austin and Ally's parents show up very rarely, and they seemed to be concerned with everything except their children. Finally, the parents from Dog With a Blog also need to be included for their absolutely ludicrous behavior.

Now, on Full House, another beloved 90’s show, the dad (mom had died) and the two live-in uncles could be goofy at times (one was a comedian), but they were still authoritative figures when they needed to be. Again, they were not perfect, they were realistic.

The parents are not even pictured.
The parents are not even pictured. | Source

2. There seems to be an unlimited supply of money in each one of their lives.

It gets me so frustrated whenever I turn on the TV and all of the characters on Disney Channel seem to have unlimited money, unlimited nice clothes, and the best of technology. Again, I must cite Boy Meets World. All of the characters were normal clothes, that were realistic. Shawn Hunter, Corey Matthews’ impoverished best friend, wore ragged clothes and the same leather jacket in almost every episode.

It is not the clothes that characters on Disney wear today that bothers me so much as it is the appearance of unlimited money. On Good Luck Charlie, the mother does not work and the dad is an exterminator, but yet, all of the 4 children all have brand name-looking clothing, an expensive looking home, and all the technology they need. What is this teaching our children? Children all over will want to know why their stay-at-home mom and working dad cannot afford to live like the ones they see on TV. The show Jessie is no exception either. At least, though, it makes sense for them to appear to have unlimited money because their parents, practically non-existent, are extremely wealthy. In Ant Farm, it was at least somewhat realistic, money-wise, until the show came into a new season where a billionaire built them a brand new school, with unlimited technology.


3. The kids are hardly ever shown attending school, like actually in a classroom.

Where have the times gone where Mr. Feeney would be teaching class, but he wasn’t just teaching a history lesson, he was teaching a life lesson. I do not believe I have seen an episode of today’s Disney shows where the kids are in a classroom, learning, from a teacher that isn’t ridiculous in some way. There was an episode of Good Luck Charlie where Teddy took her baby sister to school to help her get an ‘A’. The teacher, who seemed to hate her before, instantly became loopy because of seeing a baby. As a teacher, I might have a few questions if one of my students brought in a baby. Gabe, the younger brother on the show, would prank his teachers, which sets a great example for students today (please pick up my sarcasm). There is no respect between child and teacher. Teachers are mocked, pranked, and portrayed as crazy, but we wonder why children today have no respect for their teachers at school.

Now, I know I only reference two 90’s shows in my sh-peel. This is because they were my absolute favorites growing up. There are so many other great examples of good-quality shows from the 90’s that could have been mentioned. Likewise, there are tons upon tons of Disney shows that could have also been mentioned to make my point that Disney shows have gone downhill in quality over the years. I fear for the upcoming release of Girl Meets World, the Boy Meets World spin-off. Is it going to do justice to the original show, or will it succumb to the awful examples for kids that seem to be so prevalent on TV today? We shall see.

One last Pro-90's TV picture because I think it needs to be said.
One last Pro-90's TV picture because I think it needs to be said. | Source

What 90's Show Do You Miss the Most?

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    • kiddiecreations profile image

      Nicole K 

      3 years ago

      I really appreciate your thoughts in this hub! I've been thinking the same thing as I watch Disney shows these days. They are a far cry from shows like Boy Meets World, Step by Step, Family Matters, Full House, and many other 90's sitcoms we grew up with. The dialogue just seems more watered down and simplistic, and so do the "lessons" learned in each episode. As you said, the parents are shown less and less as well. In the new spinoff, Girl Meets World, at least it shows the kids in the classroom and Mr. Matthews is their history teacher. However, lots of times they're not even learning about history, the whole classroom experience is just centered on Riley and Maya and exactly what's going on in their little world. BMW did a much better job of having realistic classroom discussions, that also happened to relate to what Corey and Shawn (and Topanga) were going through at the time. The money thing really bugs me too, so I'm glad you said something! In Girl Meets World, Corey is a teacher who doesn't make a lot of money, but Topanga is a lawyer, so I guess that's how they're able to afford their posh apartment and the constant stream of brand name, fabulous clothes, and the gigantic bedroom for Riley... However, Maya's mom works as a waitress and her dad is out of the picture, so how are her clothes always brand new and fantastic? It's not very realistic. Also, the girls' hair looks like they just came from the salon 99% of the time. I'm sorry, but no junior high girl's hair would ever look as perfectly curled and styled as theirs. It just makes you wonder what that does to a girl's self esteem when she wonders why her hair and clothes and makeup don't look as amazing... but then again, I guess that's why it's TV and not real life. Still... in Full House and BMW there were definitely times when characters had wardrobe malfunctions and bad hair days, and they didn't appear to have unlimited money and clothes... Wish today's TV shows reflected a more realistic picture of reality like they did back then.

    • Maria-Arg profile image


      4 years ago from New York City

      It's just need to write a whole dissertation in the comments section to gainsay the hub.

    • profile image

      Heather Noneofya 

      4 years ago

      While I appreciate what you're saying overall, that kids today are too immersed in the seemingly always available technology and parents are more concerned with being their children's friend than their parent, I don't feel like Disney is the source of corruption for young minds you seem to interpret it as.

      First off, I firmly believe your child should know by the time they're old enough to choose their own shows that everything on television is fictitious and exaggerated for entertainment purposes only. The idiot kids who set their clothes on fire before trying to jump their skateboard off a roof into a pool because some trained moron on a "reality" show did it also have idiot parents because again; at the age that a child would be interested in such mischief they should know the basic rules of wrong versus right or at the very least that most primary lesson- don't play with matches. Almost always these same kids have parents who are never home and not filtering what their child watches or at the very least aren't discussing with them the basics of reality versus fantasy or stunts versus real life- ironically these same irresponsible excuses for parental figures are the first to sue the tv shows and their actors.

      Secondly, Disney shows have as many good qualities as bad. The mom in Good Luck Charlie was a nurse in a busy hospital, she always knew what her kids were up to and wasn't afraid to punish them when they crossed the line. In Jessie the message of adoption and blended families trumps the unrealistic setting and while the parents are wealthy, it only comes up in a comical fashion and does not affect the type of children the kids of the house choose to make friends with. In Austin and Ally music is promoted as is being yourself- Ally is shy and a little nerdy and refuses to stop dancing badly and loving history, school and writing and her friends (while they do subtly tease her occasionally) don't try to make her someone she isn't. Sure, the story lines are often exaggerated versions of real life situations but the same was always true in full house, fresh prince, etc. Boy meets world was a rarity in how down to earth and realistic it was, hence why even almost twenty plus years later it's spawned a spin off and people still demand reruns of the original.

      Lastly, nineties shows were just as guilty of being unrealistic as todays- in full house every problem was solved with a loving calm talk with dad and a hug, the kids never got into any real trouble and while DJ had a long term boyfriend real life issues like teen love and sex never even came up between them! None of the adults ever yelled or screwed up in any major way and when they did make some ridiculously tiny mistake everyone was immediately ready to forgive. In Saved by the Bell the cool kids were friends with the nerdiest kid in school which would have never happened in real life, Screech was portrayed as a total moron and the parents were almost never around. In Fresh Prince this insanely wealthy family lives this totally peaceful and humble life? Realistic? Not really. No one ever swore at all, nothing really bad ever happened to anyone and Will talked to his uncle totally disrespectfully all the time and yet never got asked to leave or even pay rent!

      The shows have changed to morph with the times. We aren't high income at all but we have a netbook, two tablets and several nintendo/xbox products. We have two cars and two incomes, my kids balance playing outside and computer time without my hounding them every minute of the day and my twelve year old loves dumb comedies and yes they have swear words and stupid physical humor and yet he knows not to repeat swear words, hit people in the nuts with bats or jump off the roof- imagine that. Common Sense- so rare it's a superpower.

    • Maria-Arg profile image


      4 years ago from New York City

      I've been saying this exact same thing for years now! Glad someone agrees with me. Shows for kids today are gimmicky, badly written, and stupid. I have the same fear for girl meets world. I saw a clip on YouTube and eesshhh, it was not reminiscent of boy meets world. But hopefully they are able to turn it around.


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