Remembering Disney’s “Golden Age” of Shows

todayApril 7, 2022 76 1

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By Allison Schroeder
Web Content Assistant Manager

As an avid Disney watcher, I love to rewatch Disney shows and movies multiple times. I remember my first introduction to Disney, or at least the earliest one I can remember, which was when there was a thing called Playhouse Disney whose host was a yellow ball of clay — named Clay.

This is when cartoons like “Out of the Box,” “Rolie Polie Olie” and “Big Bear in the Blue House” played, and when my days consisted of only watching cartoons on repeat with toys scattered around the room, and juice boxes and snacks handed to me throughout the day. Those were the glory days.

Moving forward, soon I would be introduced to two shows called “Hannah Montana” and “Wizards of Waverly Place” that every child was aware of at that time. My room would be filled with posters of Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez from their respective shows, I had bright pink walls to accommodate the colors of my Hannah Montana comforter on my bed.  

Those days, I only began to wonder what it was like to be a Disney Channel star and desired to perfect my Disney signature like all the other actors during commercial breaks.  

Fast forward maybe a decade, here I am about to graduate college in about a month and I sit in my apartment watching Disney Channel on cable as my apartment’s Internet is not allowing me to watch a full episode of any show or movie I put on Netflix. But this fast forward is a little bittersweet. 

Disney Channel is playing a show that resembles a poorly made knock-off Simpsons that I may have scrolled past on Disney+. Then after the animated show ends, a re-run of the beloved “Jessie” comes on and a bittersweet nostalgic moment occurs. How long has it been since I last watched Disney Channel that was not through Disney+? Apparently, it has been a while.  

The last animated show on Disney that I had seen was the popular “Phineas and Ferb.” With the famous and beloved “Phineas and Ferb” in Disney Channel history, you would think that Disney would create similar shows to it alongside its beloved repertoire of live-action shows. But, from what I see, they are not nearly as good as their ancestors.

No offense to Disney, I will always love them no matter how much I do not agree with their channel’s vision, but their current productions like “Big City Greens,” “Amphibia,” “The Owl House” and “The Ghost and Molly McGee” just are not cutting it. Especially when they are playing a weaker lineup of live-action shows and shorts, it feels disappointing.  

It is hard to embrace the changes of Disney Channel when it is hard to let go of what was considered the “Golden Age” of Disney. The “Golden Age” is thankfully available on Disney+, but it is not the same to view it outside of the normal television programming, and instead can binge-watch a whole season in a day of a show you used to watch on a specific day and time to not miss it.  

Shows like “Hannah Montana” had taught me the valuable lesson to stay true to myself and my values despite how easy it can be to fall off the track, but today’s shows lack the moral lessons that those in its “Golden Age” had strongly represented.  

A part of me is curious if those from the “Golden Age” generation are blind to the issues that arise in our period of Disney Channel, or has it progressively gotten worse since our generation mostly halted its viewership for various reasons? Does Disney see a benefit in their current rotation of shows, or is it flopping big time?  

These questions arise and nostalgic memories flood back through my brain like a movie. I sit and remember all the good times I had with Disney Channel, despite how bad it has become over time. It may not be my Disney Channel, but it is certainly one that I imagine could grow on you.

Featured Image by Allison Schroeder

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