Monday, April 5, 2010

A brave new world of children's television puts adults in kid-like trance

Whenever proposed with the opportunity to spend time watching cable television, there is always one channel that completely grabs the attention more than any others. It’s fascinating, entertaining, smart and funny all at the same time. It’s a channel that is predictable, yet lovable. It’s sometimes commercial-less, and always moving from program to program by seamlessly placing cartoons in between. It’s…The Disney Channel.

Wait. The Disney Channel?

What? You wanted to spend your time wasting away on Dr. Drew’s “Sober House” or “True Life: I think I’m too fat because I can’t see my knee caps anymore?”

Three shows of note come to mind. Each is special in its own way, and one of them was stumbled upon this past weekend. Consider the following:

Sonny With A Chance

Who is Demi Lovato, anyways? Who cares? The show is brilliant. It’s like “30 Rock” for teenagers. A show based around the shenanigans that occur while preparing and filming a sketch comedy show. A female lead with a competent head on her shoulders whose best female friend happens to be an egotistical, superficial blond. Sound familiar? The only addition is the smaller girl who plays the always entertaining role of “small girl who is smarter than everyone else and occasionally snarky about it.” And that’s a great addition. Besides, how clever is that title? On a scale of one to awesomeness it’s got to land on super-awesomeradical.


These dudes are funny. No. Honestly. It’s clear they all want to show a side of them that they never have the opportunity to reveal otherwise. Sure, the stories are fairly predictable, but a character strictly based around being the president of the group’s fan club? It’s like they are parodying themselves parodying themselves. A lead character who is a stylist? That’s balls-cool. Who else would even think to put such a character in a series that is based around teenage boys in a rock band? The goofy one is goofy. The smart one is smart. And the popular one is popular. P.S.: Not that you heard it here, but “Burnin’ Up” is the jam.

The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody

No way Ashley Tisdale is a day under 19 when this show was filmed (also creepy how she resembles an ex-girlfriend so much, a double take needs to be sometimes taken whenever she appears on screen). This show is worth watching simply for Kim Rhodes’ hair. Short and blond on a middle-aged woman is the new hotness. The kids are adorable and the premise, much like the previous two, is interesting enough to speak to any grown individual. Plus, the stuff those dudes are able to get into is super cool. Can you believe they are already 17?

All told, The Disney Channel knows exactly what it wants to do, and it does it better than any other television station in the world: Appeal to parents just as much as their children. It’s an ideal that many other kids’ shows have longed for, yet never come quite as close as this crop of kids’ TV. And for someone who refuses to give cartoons any time of day (word is “Spongebob” is much the same), watching Disney shows is way more beneficial than another episode of “Tool Academy.”

Besides, there’s nothing weird about a dude in his mid-20s finding great happiness and joy in such things. Is there?

Wait. Is there?


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