Welcome to our very first Throwback Thursday! Every month, various Pulp Babes will reach way back into their memories and discuss (very broadly) some of our favorite places, programs, stories, and so on from a specific theme.
This month’s theme is all things Disney: movies, TV, and parks.
It all started with The Disney Channel in April of 1983. Disney already had successful programs such as The Mickey Mouse Club, most fondly remembered for helping launch the careers of Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Keri Russell. In the late 1990s, it was rebranded simply as “Disney Channel.” And don’t forget Zoog Disney, created at the very beginning of the “internet movement,” in order to expose the viewers to online gaming and extra information about the shows.
Disney Channel was conceptualized in the 1970s, but ran into a few bumps before finally airing in the eighties. Originally airing classic programs like Playhouse Disney and Zorro, the TV station eventually found its market in young children and preteens in the late 1990s to early 2000s. Shows from this period are the ones most familiar for today’s young adults: The Famous Jett Jackson, So Weird, Lizzie McGuire, The Proud Family, Kim Possible, That’s So Raven, Suite Life of Zach & Cody, and Even Stevens. The network was also known for showing previously-aired shows like Sister Sister, Smart Guy, and Boy Meets World.
All those shows helped shape who I am as a person, just as much as the books I read. Most of the shows listed were pre-social media, or began just as websites were taking off, aka a very pivotal era in TV history. They depended on solely on storylines; the interactiveness the us viewers felt with the actors was not enhanced by their tweets or Facebook statuses. We simply had the Disney “shorts” (mini TV shows and or commercials) and volunteering videos of all the DC kids together. Videos like this gave the illusion that the Disney kids were all friends.
To me, those in “The Circle of Life” video were the second generation, much to the disagreement of my peers. Raven Symone certainly broke racial barriers and discussed racism on That’s So Raven, but she was not the first! The Famous Jett Jackson addressed similar issues. I recall some racist jerk butts in one or two episodes. Shows like In A Heartbeat, The Jersey, and So Weird are Disney Channel classics that rarely get discussed (or perhaps my age group didn’t watch the older stuff). This is before Disney was pulling the big numbers, so the show’s stars were not a cohesive unit of polished actors who cranked out pop songs to accompany their shows. (Seriously though, why does every Disney star act/sing/rap/model etc.?) Most of these shows aired when I was very young so I saw them in reruns late at night, but if you have no idea what I am talking about, look them up! They were so rad.
So Weird, especially. It was a very creepy show that sometimes caused me to have nightmares, this was technically before Disney was marketed solely to preteens. There is some really scary stuff in that show! I remember writing a letter to Disney when I was 10 asking (or demanding) them to bring new episodes of So Weird back (I was that kid).
I know there a million great shows that I’m missing from Disney, but the ones I listed were my absolute favorites. About this time, Disney started their “Disney Channel Original Movies.” Below is a list of some of the greatest DCOM films known to man. ♡ Susie Q was/is my fav!
- Susie Q (1996)
- Wish Upon A Star (1996)
- Brink! (August 29, 1998)
- Halloweentown (October 17, 1998)
- Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (January 23, 1999)
- The Thirteenth Year (May 15, 1999)
- Smart House (June 26, 1999)
- Johnny Tsunami (July 24, 1999)
- Don’t Look Under the Bed (October 9, 1999)
- Up, Up, and Away (January 22, 2000)
- The Color of Friendship (February 5, 2000)
- Quints (August 18, 2000)
- The Other Me (September 8, 2000)
- Phantom of the Megaplex (November 10, 2000)
- The Ultimate Christmas Present (December 1, 2000)
- Zenon: The Zequel (January 12, 2001)
- Motocrossed (February 16, 2001)
- The Luck of the Irish (March 9, 2001)
- Jett Jackson: The Movie (June 8, 2001)
- Double Teamed (January 18, 2002)
- Cadet Kelly (March 8, 2002)
- Tru Confessions (April 5, 2002)*
- Get a Clue (June 28, 2002)
- Gotta Kick It Up! (July 26, 2002)
- The Even Stevens Movie (June 13, 2003)
- Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off (July 18, 2003)
- The Cheetah Girls (August 15, 2003)
- Full-Court Miracle (November 21, 2003)
- Kim Possible Movie: A Sitch in Time
- Pixel Perfect (January 16, 2004)
- Zenon: Z3 (June 11, 2004)
- Halloweentown High (October 8, 2004)
- The Proud Family Movie (August 12, 2005)
- Twitches (October 14, 2005)
- High School Musical (January 20, 2006)
Sure, Raven is Psychic and Alex is a teen wizard, but Lizzie McGuire is a normal girl facing the trials and tribulations of Junior High, and we love her for it. She is American as apple pie, and totally relatable. Her and her two best friends, Gordo and Miranda, experience beginning life as teenagers, encountering mean girls, annoying little brothers, and crushes on boys (cough ETHAN CRAFT cough). The only strange thing about Lizzie McGuire is the fact that their lives center around school, yet we never see them studying for tests or doing homework. I suppose it would be pretty boring to watch Lizzie and Gordo studying the stages of cell division, but knowing them they would make it enjoyable/entertaining; Gordo would say some wise, philosophical words and Lizzie would probably slip on solid ground (See this example from the masterpiece that is The Lizzie McGuire movie). The predictability of the show was what made it great. Lizzie proved to us that you do not need super powers to get your own Disney Channel Original Show, though if you can gaze into the future, have a wand, and are a teen pop sensation, then it may be more likely.
In February 2004, Walt Disney Pictures released one of the best movies ever known to man. In Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Lindsay Lohan stars as Lola Cep, a 15-year-old New York City native who relocates to the suburbs of New Jersey against her own will. Lola aspires to be a famous Broadway actress and is selected over Carla Santini (played by MEGAN FOX!) for the lead role in her school’s musical “Eliza Rocks”, which ultimately gives Carla a feeling of obligation to make Lola’s life a living hell. Meanwhile, Lola befriends an “unpopular” girl named Ella Gerard (played by ALISON PILL!!) after bonding over their mutual obsession for the famous rock band, Sidartha. After discovering that Carla has tickets to Sidartha’s last show in New York, Lola and Ella falsely claim to have tickets as well. Lola and Ella eventually never get into the show, sober up the drunken lead singer of Sidartha Stu Wolff, are brought to Sidartha’s after party, and form a strong friendship with Stu all through the course of one single night.
This movie has EVERYTHING a teen-comedy-musical-drama needs; DDR battles at the arcade, fangirl paraphernalia, shrines, an animated scene, a musical number, tons of journals/diaries, and even an eccentric drama teacher.
Although the role of Lola was originally meant for Hilary Duff, I think Lindsay Lohan was BORN for this part. She sung her own parts, danced to perfection, and even acted like a TEENAGE ACTRESS would in a high school play. To be completely honest, i owe most of my own artistic endeavours to Lindsay Lohan. Through Freaky Friday, she inspired 7-year-old me to pick up a red electric guitar, got me interested in journalism and eventually my own school’s newspaper through Get a Clue, and led me to audition for my school’s choir and musical through Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Lindsay is still one of my favorite actresses and I am highly anticipating her comeback to films, whether they be teenage comedies about identical twins or even just a cameo in a Sofia Coppola film.
Whether we wear our Disney hearts our sleeve or not, we’re pretty much all at the core Disney princesses. I’m Mulan when I’m feeling determined, Tiana when I’m being ambitious, and Pocahantus when I’m jogging through the park at night, wind in my hair and trying to catch a breath. In all honesty, who hasn’t done it? Dressed up in your old ballet tutus so you can be Tinkerbell, got a row for making waves in the bath because you fancied being Ariel for a bit. At twenty-one, my boyfriend and I worked crazy twelve-hour shifts: me getting yelled at all day long in a call centre, him stacking shelves all summer long, all pretty much so I could don a pair of Minnie Mouse ears for the day in Florida. I still will never forget how much my little heart about broke with happiness that night at the Disney castle, every firework like a shooting star passing above my head in sync to “When You Wish Upon A Star,” lighting up the castle like a bright frosted cake. I felt like I was seeing it through a five-year-old’s eyes. Some people will argue Disney paints an unrealistic picture of being an adult. People rarely meet fall in love and live happily ever after, but they promote an optimism which is almost extinct. The princesses may seem naïve and too trusting. But I guess we could all do with following our hearts that little bit more and working hard to make sure we give our dreams a fair shot of succeeding before giving them up. Just a thought for the next time you’re pulling on your Mickey Mouse sweater.
I could write for hours about how fantastic and amazing the old Disney films were. All of “the classics” were great, but my favorite one is Alice in Wonderland.
Walt Disney made his version of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” one of the best adaptions of this story. Not only because the drawings are amazing, but the film also mixes of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Looking Through the Mirror Glass. This movie is a combination of exquisite imagination and Disney’s natural instincts to know exactly what the film should entail. Alice in Wonderland has everything a movie should have, he made this film something magical.
In 1951, everything was very traditional and old-fashioned, but Alice in Wonderland was completely unique to this era. Walt Disney managed to change the look of the story but keep the spirit of the novel and Lewis Carroll. The film is special because it is a children’s story, but is enjoyable for adults as well. Dreamy and magical; a psychedelic trip. The visual resources are stunning and the idea of making Alice in Wonderland a musical is fantastic.
My childhood and my life wouldn’t be the same without the magical symbols that Alice in Wonderland has. Surrounded by cards, keys and colors all the time.