You’re Scaring Me, Disney!

7 comments
OCTober.  MONSTober. See what they did there?
OCTober. MONSTober. See what they did there?

Dear Disney Channel,

For a long time, we’ve been partners in parenting:  Me, doing all the hard work, and you, giving me a much-needed break once in a while with your whimsy and fantasy.  But we need to talk.  It’s about your programming.  Yes, I know that it’s October–oh I’m sorry, “Monstober”–and that you are a business trying to cater to a particular demographic that is apparently in need of thrills and chills.  I get that.  I’m writing to you as a mother of a 5-year old who is on the cusp of that demographic but who loves all things Disney and Halloween (admittedly mostly for the candy, but I digress).

I realize that, as her parent, it’s my job to have full control over what she watches.  And I do my best to limit the amount of TV she watches, especially on school nights.  But let’s face it, some days after a full day of kindergarten and afterschool programs, a girl just wants to zone out in front of the boob tube for a half hour.  Disney Channel shows are a fun way for her to unwind and laugh a little.  And since I watch them with her like a responsible parent, they also don’t make me want to kill myself like those shows on Nickelodeon.  If I look at the description of the show and decide that its content is going to be too grown up or scary, I select something else.  Hey, we still have Sprout to fall back on, right?

But it’s not so much the actual programs that I’m writing to you about–It’s the COMMERCIALS!  Even while watching the most innocuous of shows like Good Luck Charlie, during “Monstober” every commercial is hosted by a couple of ghouls and shows the scariest, most nightmare-inducing scenes from the special Halloween episodes and movies “all month long!”

Since when is it ok to make these kids...
Since when is it ok to make these kids…
...look like this? During a G-rated show?
…look like this? During a G-rated show?

Is it really necessary to advertise at ALL hours the shows that scare the pants off my kid?   You’re showing my kid images of things I won’t let her watch until she is much older, if at all. (Because I know better.  What about those parents who don’t know better? Yikes!)  I’m afraid to leave the room for a second for fear that when I return, my daughter’s hair will have that tell-tale white streak in it from being scared so terribly. (Sorry, that’s a Nightmare on Elm Street reference.  I’m guilty of liking the scary movie or two, but I’m a grown up!)

Yes, I could just turn the channel, and I do.   But you try arguing with Princess Sofia’s biggest fan and tell her Disney is off-limits for all of October!    I don’t have a problem, per se, with the programs you’re marketing to the tween-age set-although, ask me again when my girl turns 11.   But when we’re watching a show before 8:00 p.m., heck, when we watch a show at 7:00 in the morning, do the commercials need to show images like this:

Really?
Really?

Or transform our favorite sweet characters from this:

The sweet, albeit spoiled rotten, cast of Jessie
The sweet, albeit spoiled rotten, cast of Jessie

To this:

Seriously?  This show is G-Rated?
Seriously? This show is G-Rated?

I mean, come on! It’s bad enough that we can’t even walk through the doors of our local CVS Pharmacy this month because a giant Grim Reaper is waiting to greet us at the door.  Now she isn’t safe watching the most magical channel on earth in the comfort of her own home?  There has to be some sort of a compromise.

I understand how much of a money-maker Halloween and all things spooky are.  There is plenty of money to be made on non-scary Halloween themes.  I mean, she’s 5.  Just how scary do you think a show has to be to spook her?  (Trust me.  The girl screams at the sight of her toothbrush.)  And before you come back with “It’s just a commercial!” let me tell you that all it takes is a single image to give a kid a really. bad. dream.  Just ask me how my 2 a.m. wake up call scream was last night.

How about you agree to keep to keep the G-rated shows, well, rated G, and I promise to let my daughter keep gorging herself on age-appropriate Disney programming.  I think that sounds fair.  I understand that my words may be falling on deaf ears.  Any company that can do this to Goofy can’t exactly have their head or heart on the side of parents.

Sheesh. Not even Goofy is safe during Monstober!
Sheesh. Not even Goofy is safe during Monstober!

From conversations I’ve had around the water cooler at work, I know that a lot of parents of kids even older than mine are feeling the same way.  We’re all doing our best to avoid the Disney Channel this month.  But until more parents unite and scream for age appropriate commercials, let alone programming, it looks like I’m going to be living off my DVR and fast forwarding through all the commercials.

Oh well.  I guess I’ll try the folks over at Xfinity to see if they can stop showing horribly violent and scary movie previews as I’m browsing the Kids section of the OnDemand menu. (Seriously, WHY?? How does this make sense?)

Sincerely,

A Fan of Spooky, if only well-timed.

All images in this post are from various sources of Disney Channel programming, such as YouTube or DisneyChannel.com. 

7 comments on “You’re Scaring Me, Disney!”

  1. I’m in the minority here! We don’t have cable anymore so we tend to watch a lot of what’s on Netflix in place of TV shows. Nora has requested, after seeing the cover images for the shows, an episode of Goosebumps (who remembers those tween books?) about monsters and ParaNorman. She thinks the monsters and ghosts and zombies are “cute.” That said, she was petrified of the mascot (a dog) at my football game the other week. But once I explained it was a boy in a costume, like Halloween, she warmed up. And it certainly hasn’t stopped her from asking for the “show about the monsters” or “Pare-morman.” Maybe her general fearlessness is a stage, but for now I’m rolling with it.

  2. Amen! I hear you about this and ALL commercials on ALL channels! Often times I have to tell my kids not to look at the commercials on tv because they’ll get nightmares! Hubby and I were just looking at a commercial like this last night and shaking our heads, lamenting the days of yore when you couldn’t see anything REMOTELY like that on tv until after 10pm. WTF???!!! Great post.

  3. I didn’t realize how much halloween stuff can scare little kids until the other day when I brought Lills into a party store. She took one look at a giant fake monster with flowing eyes and ran over to me scared and needed to be held. I can only imagine how she’d feel if she was seeing these kinds of commercials too. Yikes!

    1. Michelle the first time we took Z to the costume store we had no idea how freakin scary it was going to be. Innocent first-time parents! We had to play zone defense to keep Z in the cute kiddie section that was right next to the animatronic Scream and Linda Blair Exorcist display. Yeah, head spun around and all. It was awful. Thank goodness for the internet or the kid would be a hobo every year! LOL The scary stuff really is everywhere. You see it on T-shirts and commercials all year round too. Maybe I’m oversensitive because I am a parent but sometimes it feels safer to stay in the house. Or at least have her wear blinders when we’re out!

  4. Oh my gosh YES! Damn you, Xfinity OnDemand previews! I’m frantically scrolling for Super Why while a zombie movie is in the little preview box. Whhhhy is this necessary? I love Halloween, but seriously? Can the terrifying commercials and previews happen after 8pm pleaaase?

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