No sooner do I write a post about Disney’s increasingly heavy emphasis on wish-fulfilment fantasies in their kids’ shows, than Disney announces that they’re rebranding the low-rated Toon Disney Channel into Disney XD, a wish-fulfilment fantasy channel for boys. They’re clearly hanging on my every word.
The idea behind the rebrand, as the article explains, is that the Disney Channel shows mostly appeal to girls, even the ones that were supposed to be boy-friendly. (Zack and Cody was supposed to focus on the two boys, but instead the two teenage girls became the most popular characters.) So Disney XD will feature what is essentially the Disney Channel formula with guy stuff pumped in; the first big project is Aaron Stone — no relation to Eli, I assume, or for that matter Benjamin Stone or Judge Harry Stone — the same exact premise as Hannah Montana except with video games and superheroes added.
The whole channel kind of sounds like an insultingly stereotypical idea of what boys like, right down to the idiotic “extreeeeeeeeeeme” logo. But Disney has made a lot of money off insultingly stereotypical ideas of what girls like (princesses, fairy tales and love triangles), so who’s to say they can’t do as much to warp boys’ minds?
Of course, if they really want programming that boys like, they might think of bringing back some of the old cartoons, particularly Donald Duck, a rageaholic, guy-friendly character who used to be a genuine favourite among young boys (and doesn’t have a great deal of girl appeal, since he’s such an asshole to Daisy). But I don’t expect that, since that would make sense and save money, and no cable channel is going to do something like that.