February 26, 2006

Standard Disney Formula

Filed under: Estrogen,Idiot Box,Rants — Katrina @ 9:48 pm

Last night I was at a neighbor’s house for several hours, keeping an eye on the ten-year-old boy who lives there while his parents were out. (Can you tell I’m trying to avoid using the word “baby-sit”? He’s not a baby!) So, basically, just sat there with him watching TV all evening. Not exactly taxing. Until about 8pm, anyway, when he switched to the Disney channel to watch a movie that was coming on, some crap with Lindsey Lohan and Tyra Banks about a doll that comes to life.

Within the first five fucking minutes of this movie, I saw all of the standard premises that Disney likes to use. The main character is a middle-school aged only child with only one parent, almost always the parent of the opposite sex. In this case, the main character was a girl, so her father was the only parent around. Because the father is alone, it means her mother died. In cases where it is the other way around, as in when a boy is the only child and his mother is the only parent, his father either ran off years ago or is divorced from the mother because he’s a workaholic. Disney likes using distant, workaholic fathers. The fathers have to be the “bad” ones. Can’t actually have a scenario when the mother is a workaholic or totally abandoned her family. If she’s not there, it means she died. Because you can’t make a woman look bad ever. But the father never died. He’s just mean and evil and had more important crap to worry about than his wife and son. Can’t say he just died. Can’t have the mother act like she actually misses a man. Those are the Disney rules for their way-overused Freudian families.

And that’s just one premise! Another is the girl’s personality. She plays football. She hates dolls. She is a loner and never goes shopping with the other girls. Her mother is dead. It is already established the movie involves a Barbie-esque doll that comes to life, who loves to shop and wear fashionable clothes and put on makeup and insists she’s “the best role model for all girls”, even though she says that shopping is “what a girl does best”. Can you say “gender stereotype”? Yeah, you can pretty much fill in the blanks for the whole rest of the movie with that!

That’s what I’m doing. I didn’t even see the rest of it after about an hour into it. We changed the station to Nickelodeon to watch All That (which I can’t fucking believe is still actually running, I was like his age when it started!) When the station was changed, I felt this moment of lucidity in my brain. The horrid crap we had been watching for the last hour was changed to something else, something that isn’t nearly as mind-melting. What a relief!

Why does Disney do it, though? Frankly, these family settings they cling to are rather depressing. The only explanation for it I’ve ever gotten was that people were complaining to Disney already because it seemed like the only families they ever showed had two married parents and two or three children and they all got along just fine. People thought it was too cutesy. Okay, I can understand that, but don’t just totally throw it the fuck away! There’s LOTS of types of families out there. Married parents with one child. Three children living with their uncle. One child living with two grandparents. Single father (whose wife was a selfish bitch who ran off and did NOT die) with three sons. It goes on. Gay parents, even, since Disney is strong enough to withstand any backlash from Christian conservatives in response. Shit, Christian conservatives hate them already! Hell, you know the last movie Disney probably did that had both parents? Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! From fucking 1989! Okay, there might have been some since. The crappy sequels to that movie do NOT count.

And another thing! Just what was so wrong with the Lindsey Lohan character in that movie anyway? What, a girl who plays football, doesn’t like dolls, doesn’t go shopping with her friends, and keeps to herself? So the fuck what! She sounds perfectly fine to me. Although, true, I didn’t see how the movie ended, I will guarantee she ended up hanging out with her friends she had been ignoring and being a bit more outgoing. Because, you know, keeping to yourself is a disease that must be gotten rid of.

Okay, I’d better stop before I go off on like a zillion tangents, all of which I shall rant about later on. Seriously, though. Fuck you, Disney. You suck. Except for your animated movies. Those rule. The originals anyway. Quit making sequels to every goddamn thing, even movies that are over fifty years old. Bambi does NOT need a fucking sequel. You seem to make sequels with the sole purpose of finding any character who does not have a mate and finding him/her a significant other. It’s tiring. Stop it! And quit putting Lindsey Lohan and Hilary Duff in everything while you’re at it. Damn. And stop making such dumb Disney channel shows. That’s So Raven sucks! Lizzie Maguire (sp?) sucks! The Proud Family sucks! The Suite Life of Zack and Cody sucks! They really suck because I’m sick of these “the kids are always wrong” shows. You make me sick!

God, I so want to ride Splash Mountain right about now.


  1. DAMN RIGHT, TESTIFY!!! *snap, snap*

    …Truer words could not be spoken, especially the last bit about the sequels. You are SO right…why did Bambi…need…to…be…ruined? GAH. I hate Disney. All this pop-culture-infused modern crap (Lizzie McGuire marks a low point in human society) is killing the kids’ minds. Force-feeding them all these close-minded, idealistic shows are just setting them up for shock and surprise when they grow up. But classic Disney? Damn good stuff. Ah, how I do love all the Animated Masterpieces. If only Walt were still alive, he’d shape up the empire, no doubt.

    Comment by Ariel — February 28, 2006 @ 8:45 pm

  2. *sigh* Yes! I agree! I love Disney’s animated films, but the live-action stuff gets on my nerves. Most of the Duff/Lohan films have similar plots…*sigh* But yes, they should have different types of families on the show as well instead of the Single Dad/Deceased Mom formula. It’s nice to see fathers on shows raising kids, but what about single mothers and daughters? Dysfunctional nuclear families? The possibilities are infinite.

    Comment by Jesu — February 28, 2006 @ 8:46 pm

  3. i knew it!

    katrina is secretly a butch woman wanting to find her “inner he-man”

    Comment by Max — February 28, 2006 @ 10:42 pm

  4. Sigh. You figured me out. 🙄


    Comment by Katrina — March 1, 2006 @ 12:04 am

  5. I love Disney stuff!

    A lot of it (yes the live action stuff) that I’ve seen has actually been very pro-youth rights. Very strong youth empowerment stuff.

    “Three children living with their uncle.”

    DUCK TALES!!!!

    Comment by KPalicz — March 3, 2006 @ 3:11 am

  6. Duck Tales doesn’t count. It’s one of the, you know, good stuff they do. 😛

    Comment by Katrina — March 3, 2006 @ 4:29 am

  7. HEY!!! The Bambi sequel was GOOD damnit! And in the end, Bambi’s dad discovered that he DIDN’T want or need a mother for Bambi. It kicked ass. Although I admit that having Patrick Stewart as the voice of Bambi’s dad was just a little out of place…. 🙂

    Comment by Galen — March 5, 2006 @ 9:29 am

  8. What about the animated features? Mulan’s parents are both alive. And most of the heroes and heroines seem to be high-school age or older.

    Comment by Alexander — March 5, 2006 @ 9:31 am

  9. I was more specifically talking about the non-animated movies, the ones that are usually about some middle school age kid involved in some sports or other activity, and the like. The animated movies are just fine. :b:

    Comment by Katrina — March 5, 2006 @ 5:27 pm

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