The Decline of Disney Channel

Dana Shefet, Editor-in-Chief

If a group of 90’s kids were asked what their favorite childhood show was, the answer would vary somewhere along the lines of Even Stevens, Lizzie McGuire, Kim Possible or Boy Meets World. These shows were a staple of our childhood and watching these shows was one of our favorite things to do. If we decided to turn our TVs on to Disney Channel today, we would find shows about spoiled city kids surviving summer camp or time traveling best friends. These new Disney Channel television shows lack substance and do not shine a respectable light on issues that our society is facing today.

Old Disney Channel shows focused on issues that teens deal with in their everyday lives, teaching kids that they face the same obstacles that their role models on TV face. Lizzie McGuire was a show about a girl trying to survive high school with her two best friends, Even Stevens focused on the lives of a brother and sister getting into trouble and Boy Meets World followed a boy through his entire life from child to a married adult. Back in the day, Disney Channel put focus on having plots that the average kids could relate to. Lizzie McGuire covered topics such as dealing with the perfect picture day outfit, eating disorders, the transition into high school, friendship tensions and rumors. These shows had meaning and were considered survival guides for any young adult.

Current Disney Channel shows have no foundation and although they are comical, that is all they seem to be good for. They set unrealistic expectations for kids and do not teach how to deal with everyday situations. Current shows possess no beneficial content and are used solely as marketing strategies. Most of the shows are short lived and get cancelled after a season or two. In the new Disney shows, the main characters teach kids that they can get away with breaking rules, being disrespectful to their parents without consequence. Old Disney Channel shows taught important life lessons, leaving each episode with a good message to their audience. Hannah Montana, another Old Disney Channel show taught the importance of friendship and loyalty. Although old shows such as The Suite Life of Zack and Cody had mischievous characters, they were always taught a lesson at the end and got a punishment for their bad behavior. That show taught kids not to lie and have good good intentions all while having fun.

The new Disney Channel shows are repeating themes from past Disney shows and are not showing any creativity in new, creative show ideas. You can find the same plotline in many of the new shows are almost the exact same as our generation’s. Best Friends Whenever, a show about two best friends traveling through time together, shares the same plot as Phil of the Future. Austin and Ally is based on a teenage pop star living a normal life, similar to Hannah Montana. Finally,  KC Undercover, a show based on a secret agent theme mimics Kim Possible, a cartoon classic.

Although younger kids may enjoy today’s Disney Channel, they are not gaining important life lessons out of them and do not realize how much better Old Disney Channel was. Our generation of shows were original concepts that had more than just a comical effect. Our generation of Disney Channel was the best and we will remain classics for years to come.