Saturday, March 21, 2015

Why I Do..., No. 2: Why I Watch the Disney Channel

In November 2002, I discovered something that changed my life forever.  About two months prior, I had been dismayed to discover that ABC Family had replaced Growing Pains, my favorite show at the time, with 7th Heaven, leaving me with no way to watch the Seavers.  I spent the next several weeks in a state of despair.  In fact, I even considered throwing my TV set in the trash can; without Mike and Carol, what was there to watch? However, that all changed when a kid my mom was taking care of at the time showed me a little television program called Lizzie McGuire.  I'd had some slight experience with it before, but, seeing it with an open mind made me realize what I was missing.  It didn't take long for me to watch every single episode of the show up to that point, which was rather easy, considering Disney Channel showed it every day.  I also became a fan of other shows from the Mouse network, including Even Stevens and That's So Raven.

Some people probably thought it was a fad; after all, how often had I gone from having a number one favorite thing only to despise it soon after? That wasn't the case here, though; even though I didn't watch it all that much for a while, I enjoyed it every time I did.  I wanted to see the shows in their entirety, but, I couldn't make it work with my schedule, partly because of technology issues; specifically, a broken DVD recorder and no DVR.  I have been watching the shows on iTunes lately, and am really enjoying them.

So, what's the appeal of Disney Channel? There's actually more than one reason why I like it.  First off: The Disney Channel is clean.  These days, it's getting harder and harder for parents to find morally decent entertainment for their kids.  Even "PG" films are increasingly getting edgier, and go beyond what many discerning viewers--parents or otherwise--would approve of.  However, Disney is well-known for its dedication to family friendliness, and people everywhere know that, if it's associated with the House of Mouse, it's likely morally decent.  True, that isn't always the case; some recent Disney products have had some shocking moments, such as the vulgarity that was in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Still, for the most part, you can count on the Mouse for clean content, and that's true for their channel as well.

Second off: The Disney Channel is entertaining.  I know some people don't think of it that way, but, I do; seriously, it's very cute and funny.  The Mouse network has provided me with plenty of entertainment; even before Lizzie, it was how I originally got into Growing Pains, which was well before the incident mentioned above.  I wouldn't keep watching it if it didn't entertain me.

Third off: The Disney Channel's products are well-made. I often say in my entertainment reviews that no one does a sitcom or telefilm like the Disney Channel, and I believe that to be true.  Their productions easily stand up in quality to anything on the other, they have a dedication to morality that you can't really find anywhere else.  Even some of Nickelodeon's "kiddie" shows are rife with adult humor.  As long as the Mouse network keeps it up, I'll continue to be a fan.

I do have a couple of concluding points to make.  First off: Over the years, I have been well-known for my "crushes" on Disney actresses, ranging from Hilary Duff to Demi Lovato to Olivia Holt.  It's true that they did hold a certain appeal...but, now that I think about it, I think it was more their characters I liked than the stars themselves.  Actors and actresses usually get identified with a certain character, regardless of whatever else they do; however, the truth is that there's no guarantee that they're anything like that facade, whether the person they portrayed was good or bad.  That's why I don't do that anymore; seriously, the way someone acts in a movie versus the way they act in real life are two different things.

Second off: Though I may be known as a Disney Channel fan, I don't sit around and watch it all day! I remember reading an article over a decade ago where a then-twelve-year-old girl said, "I come home from school, and I turn on the Disney Channel, and I don't watch any other channel." That's not the case with me; in fact, I rarely watch live television, Mouse network or otherwise.  The new episodes of Disney Channel's shows tend to air on Sunday nights, when I'm at church; that's why I usually end up watching them either on demand or on my DVR.  I also watch many shows--not just Mouse network ones--on my Mac and iPad, either by converting them from a DVD or getting them from iTunes.  Honestly, I can't stand the way Disney Channel plays their episodes to death; I recently had two young people at church tell me that, every time they went to watch I Didn't Do It, it was the same episode.  I think they should try and vary their programming more; maybe show reruns of old favorites or air kid-friendly movies, like they used to do back in the day.  Though I love the shows they air on there, I don't want to see them a million times; that's why I stick to watching it on my own time.

Any comments?

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