OPINION: Kids’ TV? Anything But
If you read my last column, I told you that the Walt Disney Company has a lot of obstacles to overcome if they want to bring back wholesome family entertainment. I also told you about Frozen – a film that has now reached the billion dollar mark at the worldwide box office – and how its success shows that people are hungry for old-fashioned animated movies based on fairy tales and aimed at the entire family, whether they may be CG or hand-drawn. Disney Animation, along with its sister company Pixar, do a great job keeping this tradition alive, and apparently they want to continue on with it. The theme parks are part of that tradition as well, allowing the entire family to have fun together.
But, what’s missing is the television factor. As Bill O’Reilly pointed out in a Talking Points Memo on his Fox News program back in February, dubious entertainment is affecting unsupervised children of all colors. Unfortunately, that also includes television networks you would think are aimed at kids. Disney Channel, and rival Nickelodeon, makes billions putting out shows that teach its target audience of teens and tweens to rebel against and/or talk back to their parents. Some examples that come to mind are Disney Channel’s recent kid-com I Didn’t Do It (with the two fraternal-twin protagonists throwing a wild party when their parents told them not to, and lying about it when they get home), sister network Disney XD’s Crash & Bernstein, and Nickelodeon’s Sam & Cat.
If you can’t see that unsupervised children could imitate the behavior the protagonists of these shows promote, you are not a responsible parent – period. Walt Disney would indeed turn in his grave if he saw any of those shows on TV today. Back then, television was a great medium, and Mr. Disney saw the potential of it, which is why he decided to host his own show back in the 1950s in order to tell his audience what great things were in store from his company. Now? Let’s just say if he were still alive, his blood would boil due to the Disney Channel airing garbage like Crash & Bernstein and I Didn’t Do It. As O’Reilly also pointed out back in February, our society needs to convince children to stop destructive behavior. It will take honest people to combat the problem.
The effect of shows on Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Nickelodeon is corrupting young people everywhere, but you will never get many in the news media and entertainment industry to admit that. The children’s television industry – especially Disney Channel and Nickelodeon – doesn’t care about wholesome family entertainment; all they want to do is make money. Disney CEO Bob Iger will have to tell the folks at Disney Channel and Disney XD that they will need to change their ways and stop putting out the filth they’re airing right now if he wants his company to follow Walt’s original vision. He did it with the then-struggling feature animation and theme park divisions, and he will have to do it to the TV division as well before he leaves his post as CEO in 2016.
I hope Iger follows my advice, if he would put energy to tell his television networks to stop spewing out trash that helps children succumb to our declining culture, that would be tremendous. Disney is trying its best to bring back a time when entertainment was not harmful to children through its two feature animation studios and various theme parks and resorts. They’re doing very positive things for this country, but unless they spread the respective cultures of their animation and theme park divisions into their kids’ television networks, they will have a hard time countering our corrupt popular culture.