Now that Lindsay Lohan’s new low-budget ($200,000) piece of erotica, The Canyons, has been released, and Miley Cyrus has posed for Notion Magazine in her underwear, it might be useful to look at how the Disney Channel and fellow corrupter of youth Nickelodeon are leading tweeners toward behavior that can only be referred to as noxious.
The LA Weekly had a comprehensive piece on June 20 delineating the kind of behavior exhibited on Disney Channel shows such as Shake It Up, Jesse, Wizards of Waverly Place and Austin & Ally, and Teen Nick’s Victorious and How to Rock. Writer Nick Schager said the shows:
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 . . . Far more distressing are the unpleasant lessons they teach about humility, civility, individuality and what it really means to be an adolescent girl . . . In each of these programs, everyone is endlessly ridiculing everyone else in order to showcase their own playful impudence, thereby equating coolness with smart-assery.
Schager also took the networks to task for the absence of parental models on the shows:
. . . grown-ups are either altogether missing in these shows or, in the case of Wizards of Waverly Place and Good Luck Charlie (and the superior, now-canceled, (Carly) , infantile sidekicks with no legitimate influence on their mischievous charges. When adults are around, they’re depicted as buffoons, and their threats of punishment are toothless, mere narrative devices designed to provide drama while also underscoring the kids’ awesome and lionized do-what-I-wanna-do behavior . . . the general absence of mother and father figures — the kids live more or less on their own, in lavish houses or apartments, without having jobs or any notable sources of income — conveys the idea that, with a lot of self-satisfied smirking and pratfalling ingenuity, teens can accomplish everything and anything they want, by themselves, because they always know best.
As for sexual provocation? Schager wrote that shows such as Victorious, A.N.T. Farm and Shake It Up show young girls “uniformly cast from the same Bratz-doll mold. They’re singing and dancing robots designed to exude youthful, tacky sexuality that’s safe and “subtle” (first kisses are the extent of the stories’ huffing and puffing) yet absolutely omnipresent. Following the lead of contemporary tween-oriented pop music — a link made depressingly plain, and unholy, by an episode of Victorious featuring Ke$ha — the shows’ eroticized elements are intrinsically linked with coolness.”
Disney Channel and Nickelodeon: paving the way for the corruption of the innocent.