Teen Disney: The transformation between Zoog Disney, and Disney XD

So you’re sitting at your computer reminiscing about your youth. All of those days playing Ghost in the Graveyard, taking your BMX bike out for a day on the town, finding a place to call your own whether it was with friends or without. It feels nice, doesn’t it? But then your mind starts to drift. Suddenly you’re remembering things from your childhood that you really enjoyed that somehow seemed to disappear as time went on without a reason as to why. Then you recall Disney- pretty much the staple of childhood everywhere (alongside of Nickelodeon)- and the shows you used to watch. Now you look at Disney today. How could it compare? Well. Let’s find out, shall we?
Item #1 on our Disney list is the name for the Disney channel programming for pre-teens and teens. Zoog Disney. Now not everyone will remember this, but Zoog Disney was a pioneer idea as it incorporated Disney channel programming on and off the air by combining games and content from the shows that normally showed on TV. Now-a-days, Zoog Disney goes under a different name- Disney XD. It is no longer the pioneer programming that we had originally come to love, but now an epicenter of teen-aimed shows that don’t really have morals or life-lessons.

Item #2 Zoog Disney shows were as follows: So Weird, The Jersey, The Famous Jett Jackson, Lizzie McGuire, and The Even Stevens. Each show had it’s own message.

So Weird was about a girl who was on the path to finding out what had happened to her father when she was an infant to cause his mysterious death. The show progressed through an increasingly dark tale, that eventually Disney dubbed as being “too dark and scary for kids” which cause the show to introduce a new leading lady, and take a turn to the light. The show only lasted one more season after that happened, but the show’s moral was to never give up trying, no matter how scary the path may be.
The Jersey was about a group of kids (the Monday Night Football Club, or MNFC) who possessed a mystical jersey handed down to the lead character by his grandfather. The jersey, when worn, would transfer the wearer into whatever sports player that has been chosen by the person wearing the jersey. If the jersey was worn inside-out, suddenly the wearer is imbued with the talents of the athlete that was most recently possessed by the wearer. The underlying moral of this story was to go out there and be great. Don’t lie, cheat, or steal. Just be great. I also think it had a subtle message against drugs. At least that’s what I’m getting out of it.

The Famous Jett Jackson. Now this was a show I loved to watch. It was about a kid who starred in a super-spy television program named “Silverstone” and his life off camera. It wasn’t a documentary, or even a mockumentary, but it did have the message that no matter how important you may think you are, everyone is equal and should be treated with respect.

Lizzie McGuire. I didn’t really watch this series, so my commentary is purely speculative at best. I imagine that the underlying message for this series was to never alienate your friends, always be truthful, and don’t stress yourself out. Your problems aren’t the end of the world.

The Even Stevens. Very basic and very loud message. Be yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re an honor student, the class clown, or an idiot jock. You are what makes you you. Be proud of who you are, and have an undying faithfulness to your friends and family.

Item #3 is Disney XD. This is where things started to change. During the transition between block names shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, That’s So Raven, Kim Possible, and Phineas and Ferb began to pop up. So let’s see their review, show we?

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody followed two boys, twins, who lived in a hotel and essentially had the run of the place. Eventually the show transitioned to The Suite Life on Deck which meant the location changed from a hotel to a large cruise liner. Other than that the story stayed the same. I don’t recall there every really being a moral idea behind this show.

That’s So Raven. This was more mind-numbing entertainment- for lack of a better word. It followed the life of underage psychic Raven. That’s all I know. From what I hear, many of the shows themselves didn’t even have a decent resolution. The show would finish up quickly with no arching story.

Kim Possible. This was essentially the animated version of The Famous Jett Jackson, minus the fact that the spy was a TV character, she actually was a spy. The morals stayed the same though. Treat everyone with respect.

Phineas and Ferb. This is the greatest show on XD. It’s the only one worth any time in my books. It’s about two step-brothers who build outlandish things every day during the summer so that they can have the best summer ever. This show has gone a few seasons now, and it’s still summer. The moral isn’t a hard hitting one, it’s just this: “You’re a kid. Enjoy the time you have now, and use your imagination.”

Sure, there were other series that premiered in both Zoog Disney and Disney XD- Bug Juice (Zoog) for one was Disney’s only reality series about kids at a summer camp- but these were the staples of the programming blocks. With my reviews on the table, which blocks would you rather watch? Which would you rather your children to watch?

 

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