Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Put Down the Remote and Move Away From the Disney Channel

Last night as we were getting ready for bed Grace was acting a bit sulky.  She was clearly angry at me because I asked her to pick up a mess she made earlier and put it in the trash can.  She was huffing and puffing a bit so I asked her why she was mad at me.  And she said "I want to live in a penthouse!"


"I want to live in a penthouse so that our house is always clean and I don't have to do any jobs!"

Ahhhh!  I realized right away that The Disney Channel's hit show "Jessie" was sending insidious subliminal messages to my children.  Haven piped in "Yeah, we need a butler to do all the work."

Lest you think we are using our children as cheap labor, the only "work" that our kids have had to do in the last week is to put their shoes in their bedroom and wash a sink full of plastic cups.  But their aversion to anything they perceive as a chore has really gotten out of hand!

I suppose part of the blame must rest with bad parenting.  I guess.  I'm not sure how to instill a love of sorting laundry or raking leaves in a kid, but apparently I've been a failure.  But I feel like at least part of the blame must be place on the Disney Channel.

I am not a big TV person.  We have one, but quite frankly I'm just too fidgety to sit on my couch and ever watch it.  So if the TV is on, it is usually tuned into the Disney Channel.  It is the only thing we let our kids watch, besides PBS Kids and their DVD collection.  The shows they seem to pay the most attention to are "Jessie", "Dog with a Blog", "Shake It Up", "Austin and Ally", and "Good Luck Charlie".  They also like many of the cartoon offerings like "Phineas and Ferb", Wonder Over Yonder", and "Jake and the Neverland Pirates".  Mostly I don't mind the cartoons.

Now I am no Disney hater.  I love Mickey Mouse.  I was more excited to be at Disney World this summer than any of my kids.  But here are some of the less than terrific things that my kids are learning from the Disney Channel.

  • "Jessie"--We learn on "Jessie" that adopted kids all get adopted by wealthy people and live in penthouses.  They all have butlers and nannies who do all the work.  They have parents, but their parents never come home.  OK, they come home once or twice per season.  When we do meet the parents they seem not very smart and very self centered.  We also learn that you can be a smart alec if you're cute enough.  There is ethnic diversity in the family, which is nice to see, but they often fall into stereotypes that aren't so great.

  • "Dog with a Blog"--On this show we learn that parents are all dumb and neurotic.  The mother character on this show is AWFUL!  Older brothers are dumb, younger sisters are very bratty.  And we think both those traits are charming and adorable.  Ick!  I dislike this show a lot.

  • "Shake It Up"--The only person in our house that really pays much attention when this show is on is Haven.  He loves dancing.  LOVES it.  He imitates all the hip hop moves that the dancers perform. So other than showing them some dance moves I don't think my kids have been influenced much by this one.  I do have to say that it gives you the impression that teenage girls go to school about once a month, but they appear on TV every day.

  • "Austin and Ally"--On "Austin and Ally" you learn that anyone can be a rock star, without much effort, without attending school, and without any parents around!  Where the heck are all the parents??? Ally's dad shows up from time to time, but he is another stereotypical foolish parent type.  No one does chores, they just sing and dance and go to the mall a lot.

  • "Good Luck Charlie"--OK, this show I like.  There a two parents who are not perfect, but they are smarter than their kids and they appear in every episode.  The family is very middle/working class. Dad owns an exterminating business and mom is a nurse/stay-at-home mom.  Older brother is goofy, but a really good actor so he plays it with charm and humor.  Oldest sister, who the show mostly revolves around, is not the most popular girl in school.  She's sort of goofy herself.  The family loves each other.  And they're funny.  Of course, I heard this one is going off the air soon.

So there you go.  There are a lot of bad influences on my kids.  I suppose it could be much, much worse. None of my kids has seen an episode of Sponge Bob.  We never watch the Cartoon Network.  That place scares me.  They ask for Veggie Tales and Wiggles, just as often as anything else.

Disney Channel, I need your help.  Can you please feature an episode of "Jessie" where all the kids stop acting bratty and clean the whole house just because they think it would be a nice thing to do for their butler, Bertram?  Can "Austin" please go to school one day and thank his band director for leading him to music?Can Rocky and CC stop "Shakin It Up" for just one episode and go do the dishes?  Prince Grace and Prince Haven need a good dose of reality. Because no matter how hard they "wish upon a star" there is no way we will ever be able to afford a maid, butler, nanny, or penthouse. So Disney, could you help a Mama out and try and keep a little more real???

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