Wednesday, September 8, 2010



Hannah Montana. The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam.

As if the Disney Channel needed another method to send sentient adults running for the remote, there is now Disney Blam! You should know just from that title whether or not this is the program for you.

Imagine someone screaming the word "BLAM!" directly in your face. Now imagine that this person has one of the most grating, unpleasant, obnoxious voices you've ever heard. Now repeat that word over and over for one minute and thirty seconds. "Blam! blam! blam! blam! blam! blam! blam!" Do you feel like you're being shot in the face with a machine gun? I do! I tried to think of a word more abrasive than "BLAM!" and was unsuccessful, so kudos, Disney, on an appropriately irksome title.

Think I'm exaggerating? Watch the following clip at your own - BLAM! - peril:

Believe it or not, that clip is only a minute and a half long, even though I feel I could've caught an entire season of Mad Men in that agonizing span. I now know what Hell is like - it feels like being tortured for an eternity!

Is this really what it takes to hook the ADD generation? Back in my day - not so terribly long ago - Disney was still a sacred, untouchable entity, producing such classics as Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. I imagine there were some purists who balked at Timon and Pumbaa's flatulence humor, moaning, "How has Disney sunk down to this level?" To these purists, I have just one thing to say:


The Lion King is looking pretty old-fashioned now, isn't it?

Once upon a time, Disney was about simple cartoons featuring silly characters getting themselves in absurd predicaments. And that's about it. I'm pretty sure some of them involved a mouse, but who can remember such details anymore? Then there were full-length animated features, then there was a theme park. Then there was merchandise. I suppose it was all downhill from there. Soon celebrities like Robin Williams were doing their shtick in Disney films, and wiseass postmodern comic relief like Timon and Pumbaa were inserted to appease the kiddies. At least those movies still retained the winning Disney formula with strong themes, imaginative stories, and memorable characters.

But what could kids possibly be getting out of Disney Blam!? Aside from an excuse to refill their Ritalin prescription?

Once upon a time, Disney's characters were a staple of growing up. Mufasa might as well have been Jesus Christ for how well he was known and worshiped. Do kids even know who these characters are anymore? It's no coincidence the Anonymous Blammer refers to Goofy and Donald each as "that guy." I bet he's never heard of them, either. I can only imagine some tyke running up to Mickey Mouse at Disneyland and saying, "Look Mom! Look Dad! It's that guy from Blam!" And then giving "that guy" a swift kick to the groin with a snicker, a stale pun, and - what else? - a "Blam!"

Not that I'm surprised. The Disney Channel has been violently offensive to adult sensibilities for quite some time now - I dare you to visit the Disney Channel website. It is borderline terrifying. Those trademark mouse ears can still be located, but beyond that, there's nary a familiar face from my childhood. Certainly no Goofy, Minnie, or Donald Duck. Not even an Ariel, Simba, or Genie. You would think Disney would use this outlet to, say, air Disney films and cartoons featuring cherished Disney characters. Alas, no. Primarily the Disney channel features shows about teenagers doing assorted trickery (sometimes magical, and sometimes just fooling people into thinking they are/aren't a famous country diva) and pretending they're not sexually active. Quite a lot of this involves singing - Disney would rather have their tween viewers believe that your average American adolescent is more likely to burst spontaneously into song than get to third base with his girlfriend, and in this respect, I suppose things haven't changed that much. Family values are still in tact, they're just a lot harder to buy these days when the focus is on high school students rather than far-off princesses.

Where are the mice in suspenders? The irate, pantsless ducks? The miserly uncle with three boisterous rhyming nephews? I suppose Disney Blam! was some genius executive's way of keeping these characters alive in the minds of today's youth. I suppose they think this is a way of honoring dear old Uncle Walt and his beloved early creations.

In reality, this is the Disney Channel desecrating the name of Walt Disney and everything he once stood for, spitting on all that is holy in the world, and poisoning the futures and well-beings of our nation's children. Blam! Blam blam blam! Now let's hit rewind on the Blam Cam and watch it again, shall we?

I just don't see the point. As I recall, Disney cartoons were already brief and rather violent. Sure, the violence was more harmless even than, say, Looney Tunes or Tom & Jerry, but cartoon creatures were constantly hit with objects that would mostly likely kill a normal human being. This was done for our amusement. When I was a kid, I still found these cartoons reasonably entertaining without any added "blam!" They did not need pesky voiceover spouting ESPN-esque quips to "explain" what was going on. I don't recall ever watching a Disney cartoon and thinking, "Man, I just don't get what's going on here! Can't someone spell it out for me?" Not even as a very young child. I certainly never thought the cartoons needed more sound effects. When the image of an animated dog getting a pie in the face is accompanied by a "smoosh" sound effect, that generally works. Why a spoken "blam!"? Why, why, why? How the hell did Steamboat Willy become Jackass for 4 year-olds?

Is this just the first step in Disney's forceful world takeover, dumbing down all that is sacred until it can be dumbed down no more? You know that graphic with Tinkerbell flitting about, waving her wind, and then illuminating the Disney castle? It wouldn't surprise me if that flick of her wrist was soon accompanied by a "BLAM!" Lady and the Tramp's spaghetti kiss might also be punctuated with a "BLAM!" and then rewound for an "Instant Replay." They could probably cut Cinderella out of Cinderella altogether for a story about mice and birds making a dress, "BLAM!"-ing with every stitch. And hey, on second thought - why can't it be a spoonful of "BLAM!" that helps the medicine go down?

The following is ostensibly a parody, but almost indiscernible from the jaw-dropping horror of the real thing:


Did you hear that?

I'm pretty sure that was Walt Disney shooting himself in the face.

Wham! Blam! No thanks, man,


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