It’s a Sad Day when Parents have to screen Disney Shows

Your Disney Airing at 9:45 am on a Sunday Morning

Your Disney Airing at 9:45 am on a Sunday Morning

I turned on Disney for my two-year-old daughter this past Sunday morning because she was asking to watch “miss mouse.” I found two channels on the Verizon Fios guide. Had never heard of either show, so I simply choose one, something called Phineas and Ferb. Meanwhile my daughter had migrated to another room in the house. I quickly went back to what I was doing on the computer, when I heard my wife call down from the upstairs hallway, “do you know there is an old man in his underwear on the tv?”

“Huh?”

I looked up from my laptop to see a cartoon character of a creepy old man in nothing but underwear.

What has society come to in this country? A parent can not put on the Disney Channel on a Sunday morning without worrying about what their child may hear or see? To me this is simply mind boggling.

Phineas and Ferb is a show that I was unfamilar with, but upon doing so Internet searches, I learned that this is a popular Disney production that appeals to not only children but also adults. Hmmm.

In the Wikipedia description, with Phineas and Ferb “Much of the series’ humor relies on running gags… Aspects of the show’s humor are aimed at adults, including its frequent pop-cultural references. Co-creator Dan Povenmire, sought to create a show that was less raunchy than Family Guy—having previously worked on the show—but had the same reliance on comic timing, metahumor, humorous blank stares, expressionless faces and wordplay. Povenmire describes the show as a combination of Family Guy and SpongeBob SquarePants. Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, the other co-creator, said the show was not created just for kids, but simply did not exclude them as an audience.”

Awesome.

So here was a parent on a Sunday morning simply tuning into the Disney Channel for their young, impressionable daughter, only to be presented with a cartoon character of a person that no reasonable parent would let their child be around.

Phineas and Ferb is a huge money maker for Disney, as there are all sorts of off-shoot products that have been derived from this show. Only a couple of years ago, Disney announced that the show had become the number one primetime animated television show for the demographics 6-10 and 9-14.

Nice.

The irresponsibility of the Disney Company is incredible in this day and age when scandals of sexual abuse (such as what occurred at Penn State University) seem like an every day occurrence. But it comes as no huge surprise to this author, since Disney has a checkered past that most in the public are unaware.

Disney also owns numerous companies including the ABC Network, which puts out some of the worst trash on network television. Their latest project is a show re-titled “G.C.B.,” which stands for the original name “Good Christian Bitches.” The show is even more offensive than the title, if that is possible. But more on that later.

When I was a child, I grew up watching shows like Tom And Jerry and Donald Duck. Not creepy old men in their underwear.

Not cartoons geared towards adults but aired during children viewing hours.

 

Editor’s Note: The Parents TV Council (PTC) is your family’s voice in Hollywood, and they need you to help make it stronger. If you want to support the Parents Television Council, join the nearly one million active members who are helping the PTC to bring responsibility to the entertainment industry.

WatchDog Dad

Rich Nilsen is the author of "Sleep Great for Life." He is the President and founder of All Star Press, an independent book publisher out of Tarpon Springs, FL. The mission is to help authors get their work published in both print and the latest e-book technologies, and help those aspiring authors promote their work successfully to the right audiences.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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23 thoughts on “It’s a Sad Day when Parents have to screen Disney Shows

  1. I understand where you are coming from, but the “underwear” gag is few and far between, but probably too much of a stretch. And before you go off on Phineas and Ferb, have you watched Tom and Jerry now. I mean, have you watched the cartoons we did as a kid (you look very much my age based on your picture). I let my 9 year old watched it and was amazed to see one Tom and Jerry where both Tom and Jerry got drunk…yes, drunk. Booze bottles everyone and then Tom’s owner comes home, so Tom tosses Jerry out the penthouse window down into the freezing snow. Jerry comes back to “haunt” Tom (of course, he really isn’t dead), but anyhow, here is the show you deem acceptable having the two main characters getting drunk! Several times, we see Tom killed in the cartoon. We see Tom’s pals smoking in the ally. Really, there were so many worse things in Tom and Jerry than in P&F. Stick to the GCB argument as I agree there, but the other argument is very weak.

  2. Clearly, I can’t type or be bothered to proofread (quick edit):
    I understand where you are coming from, but the “underwear” gag is few and far between, but probably too much of a stretch. And before you go off on Phineas and Ferb, have you watched Tom and Jerry now? I mean, have you watched the cartoons we did as kids (you look very much my age based on your picture). I let my 9 year old watch it and was amazed to see one Tom and Jerry where both Tom and Jerry got drunk…yes, drunk. Booze bottles everywhere and then Tom’s owner comes home, so Tom tosses Jerry out the penthouse window down into the freezing snow. Jerry comes back to “haunt” Tom (of course, he really isn’t dead), but anyhow, here is the show you deem acceptable having the two main characters getting drunk! Several times, we see Tom killed in the cartoon. We see Tom’s pals smoking in the ally. Really, there were so many worse things in Tom and Jerry than in P&F. Stick to the GCB argument as I agree there, but the other argument is very weak.

  3. Still, parents need some responsibility, Disney or not. You don’t turn on a show for a 2 year old that you’ve never seen nor know nothing about. The responsibility lies with the parent, not the network nor the two year old. That was never intended to be a show for a 2 year old and had you watched it for even 3 minutes you would have quickly realized that. Heck, there are many that would argue a two year old should not be watching television, not even Disney. Perhaps PBS or some Baby Einstein, but I think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill here (yes, a P&F reference). They had a fantastic live show (no underwear, nothing inappropriate) that my 5 year old twins loved. However, to take one scene from 150 episodes is still a stretch. Give me enough time and I get find you something inappropriate with Barney and don’t get me start on the Teletubbies. The biggest issue in this day and age is not television nor is it video games, it is parents who pass off responsibility and blame to television and video games.

    • I agree with Tim in that as parents we need to know what our children are watching. If you choose to have TV in your home YOU need to make INFORMED decisions about what your child watches. Placing your 2-year-old child in front of a show you have never seen places the blame much more on papa, not the Disney Channel. Sorry, Rich, but you need to admit that you messed up on this one and got busted by your wife. Oops.

      I have six children ages 5 – 17 and the younger ones don’t get to watch what the older kids get to. Period. Disney has never claimed that their shows are appropriate for all ages. They have specific (Playhouse Disney) toddler & preschool programming that is on weekday mornings. A lot of their other shows are very clean and appropriate for elementary age or older. My older children and I happen to love the creativity and humor in Phineas and Ferb and appreciate an option that is much more appropriate than the the trash that is on so many other channels.

  4. I have two boys – 4 & 1. I don’t let them watch that show because it is too old for them. That was my choice as a parent. I don’t hate Disney for that; they run programs my kids enjoy all morning. They know when Phineas and Ferb comes on its time to turn off the TV. Besides there is plenty on TV / OnDemand for the kids to watch, if you are so inclined.

    Lets not confuse an adult program with a children’s program that is also entertaining for adults. Television producers have been doing this for years. Watch Sesame Street and tell how many jokes are written for patterns that fly right over or kids heads. Phineas and Ferb is the same way, but written for kids older than ours.

    Also, lets not bring up old shows. They are not exactly PC. If they were on today parents would be blowing up blogs about them too.

    Finally for your programming knowledge, Disney is launching a Disney Jr channel so your child can watch Mickey Mouse Club all day.

  5. I was going to write a long, thought-out editorial in response to this in character as Dr. Doofenshmirtz (the cartoon character you take offense to), but I figured it would be a waste of time on what is in essence the teapottiest of tempests in teapots. To wit: Dr. Doofenshmirtz is so pathetic and bizarre that he could not ever be confused for a pedophile, it is the longest of stretches to connect a cartoon character in his underwear, regardless of age of either the cartoon or the character, to the recent pedophilia scandals, Phineas and Ferb is not meant for preschoolers, MOST of Disney Channel’s programming is not meant for preschoolers, a New York Times article pretty much proved that those preschoolers who might be watching it anyway don’t really understand it, most of the non-preschool content of the Disney Channel has content that is just as “bad”, if not worse, than Phineas and Ferb, cartoons in general regardless of age have content that is just as “bad”, if not worse, as cartoons of today (in general “it’s cleaner because it’s older” is a subsection of “it’s better because it’s older” that is just as fallacious), and despite his claimed “evilness”, actual patheticness and fact that he is currently divorced, Dr. Doofenshmirtz is by far a better parent than Donald “You Bought Those Cigars And You’re Gonna Smoke ‘Em, Oh Wait They Were For Me” Duck. (I’m surprised you didn’t mention the gag where it appears the platypus is shaving his genitals but in fact is really shaving his legs, which in itself is an ironic sight gag that sounds like it would raise your ire, but in itself can be traced back to similar gags in not only shows the creators formerly worked on, but older cartoons that you put on a pedestal- ones that, I might also add, were ALSO intended for adult audiences but over the years have appealed to children as well.)

    • To which a friend of mine who just so happens to write for Phineas and Ferb adds: “Doofenshmirtz is in his underwear because it is funny, case closed. We are all parents on this show. The last thing we want to do is hurt anyone. By the way…Phineas and Ferb is not a preschool show.”

  6. To add to my previous comment, a comment from my good friend Aliki, who also happens to be a writer for Phineas and Ferb: “Doofenshmirtz is in his underwear because it is funny, case closed. We are all parents on this show. The last thing we want to do is hurt anyone.”

      • My apologies, but if possible, could you please remove this string of comments? My friend wishes to remain anonymous. Thank you. I shall restate my point elsewhere.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree that you cannot trust Disney shows. Over the last twenty years, I have seen numerous things I object to even in their G movies. However, I previewed a few episodes of Phineas and Ferb before allowing my sons to watch it from about the age of nine. I have caught snatches of many other episodes. While there is plenty in some of Disney’s shows to be concerned about, particularly dating at a young age being acceptable and occasional sexual innuendo, I have never seen anything offensive in Phineas and Ferb (unless you’re offended by a cartoon guy in boxers). The “creepy old man” pictured is the villain on the show and he’s probably in his forties or fifties and is completely inept. I have never thought him creepy.

  8. I did not wish to share comments on this forum, as I do not speak on behalf of the company…which is why I asked Ryan, a devoted fan, to remove my statement. Phineas and Ferb is not for two year olds. However, there are many age appropriate shows for this audience on Disney Jr. Best to you and your family.

  9. Here’s a few points of thought for your consideration:

    1. I would argue that most of Phineas and Ferb’s audience (the 6-11 and 9-14 demographics you mention above) is not even aware of those scandals like the one at Penn State, and those who are understand that it should not be emulated.

    2. Your two-year-old daughter had likely forgotten this scene before you wrote this blog.

    3. Dr. Doofenshmirtz is a character whose actions *should not* be emulated – he is clearly presented as a villainous character, and one who is (as Ryan Mead said) pathetic, bizarre, and in many ways more childish than the actual children on the show (the title characters and their friends).

    In closing, would you take your child to a movie or buy them a video game that you had never heard of? Sitting them in front of a TV show is no different. Ultimately, the responsibility for knowing and understanding the media that children are exposed to belongs to you as the parent – not Disney Channel, and not anyone else.

    I await your response.

  10. Honestly I don’t think there’s anything “unnapropriate” with a cartoon of a man in underwear. First of all I don’t think that a 2 years old child would see anything disturbing on it. Second, it’s all a matter of information (at least that’s what I think). If you talk to your child about it and explain that there’s nothing wrong with a cartoon of a man in underwear, but that it’s not something to immitate in everyday’s life, that should be enough to let her watch what she could find in TV or internet throughout her life without worrying about it. We cannot control everything our children watch, but we can give them tools to know how to watch them.
    Also, I don’t think that values have been lost in society, I think that we’re just the same as ten years ago, and a hundred, and a thousand years ago. The only difference is that today we have more ways to transfer information, faster (for good and for bad).

  11. “When I was a child, I grew up watching shows like Tom And Jerry and Donald Duck. Not creepy old men in their underwear.”

    Not to mention Looney Tunes, which had, you know, GUNS? Not that I have a problem with any of these shows, but with all due respect I don’t get your alarm at all. Surely your daughter is old enough to know what underwear is. Unless you never let her go to the pool or beach, she’s probably also seen a man without a shirt at some point. You’re taking ONE image from the show and forming what I believe to be a very flawed and misinformed view about it.

    I also don’t understand why you seem to take issue with Phineas and Ferb having adult appeal. This it not synonymous with being inappropriate. I’m a college student and I adore the show. It’s witty and clever, containing references to pop culture, literature, history, etc. that may fly over some younger viewers heads but give it an appeal to all ages. Again, I fail to see the problem with that.

    Honestly, this is the kind of show I wish had been around when I was closer to your daughter’s age. It encourages kids to be creative, to get out and play instead of sitting around the tv all day. Compared to peer shows like Spongebob, Fish Hooks (also on Disney Channel), etc., how many do you find that do the same thing? Look, not all parents will like or approve of the show. That’s fine. It’s your children, use your best judgement. I just hope that you will open your mind and do a little more research before you jump to conclusions.

  12. There’s really nothing offensive about this at all. At least he’s wearing underwear. Try and relax a little. The more you try to “shelter” your child from harmless things that you perceive as vaguely offensive, the more wild they’ll turn out to be. Sheltering parents create wild children.

  13. I’m failing to see why seeing someone in their underwear is offensive. It’s really confusing to me. I’ve been exposed to numerous walks of life and never have I encountered anyone I deemed to be a pedophile simply because they were in their underwear or looked a little off. You are coming off as the type of parent who assumed someone (man) is a pedophile simply because they smile at your child. Do I think P&F is appropriate for toddlers? No. Do I think you are overreacting to a more offensive degree? Yes.

  14. What I find most offensive on this show is the bully and the abuse aimed at the foreign boy. I can’t believe in this day and age a cartoon would show this. The cartoon is promoting bullying and nothing less.