So says Nick Schager in LA Weekly. Excerpt:
If the Mouse House’s recent, quickly reversed decision to “beautify” Brave‘s redheaded warrior heroine, Merida, was a sad commentary on pop culture’s continuing endorsement of ridiculous feminine ideals, that incident remains a minor blip compared to the loathsome lessons being taught on a daily basis, in 22-minute form, by Disney Channel sitcoms such as Shake It Up, Jesse, Wizards of Waverly Place and Austin & Ally, and Teen Nick’s similarly noxious (and, mercifully, just canceled, albeit endlessly replayed) Victorious and How to Rock.
At first, these might seem to be disposable comedies about navigating school and teaming up with friends to triumph at love, popularity and the arts. But if you actually watch them, you’ll see that the latest breed of girl-targeted tween sitcoms — more than either their milder predecessors (Zooey 101) or their blander boy-centric compatriots (currently, Disney XD’s testosterone-y Lab Rats and Kickin’ It; Nickelodeon’s goofy Bucket & Skinner’s Epic Adventures) — promote an adult-free universe in which wise-cracking tartlets mug for the camera in too-revealing mall-wear while prevailing over social obstacles through a combination of you-go-girl obnoxiousness and slapstick idiocy. That the shows aren’t the least bit funny — I dare anyone to laugh — is inarguable. Far more distressing are the unpleasant lessons they teach about humility, civility, individuality and what it really means to be an adolescent girl.
He goes on to say that The Disney Channel basically teaches your girls how to be Bratz, the scuzzy cartoon figures memorably described eight years ago by James Lileks thus:
The Bratz are now Baby Mommaz. Yes, the hooker-in-training dolls have children. Bratz are the main reason I do not keep a supply of bricks around the house, because everytime the commercials come on I wish to pitch something kiln-fired through the screen so hard it beans the toy exec who greenlighted these hootchie toys. The Baby Bratz are as bad as you can imagine: “Bottles with Bling.” Judas on a stick, why not just refit the Bratz so they have Real Oozing Gonorreal Flow Action?
“They know how to flaunt it, and they’re keeping it real in the crib.”
What exactly is the penalty for failing to keep it real in the crib? Someone busts a cap in yo Pamper? I know I am old and so out of step it’s a wonder I don’t just appear as an indistinct smear, but was it really necessary to push the Age of Sultry Hussyism down to the infant stage? And who, exactly, are the Babyz flaunting it for? Are we going to see a commercial with Elmo in sunglasses, sitting with his legs sprawled, spanking some pliant Babyz with one hand while gumming down some mashed crack?
In our house, The Disney Channel is a byword for loathsome crap not fit for child consumption. Your mileage may vary.