Disney Channel Tween Programming

Essays on Shows from Lizzie McGuire to Andi Mack


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About the Book

Much has been written about the Walt Disney Company’s productions, but the focus has largely been on animation and feature film created by Disney. In this essay collection, the attention is turned to The Disney Channel and the programs it presents for a largely tween audience. Since its emergence as a market category in the 1980s, the tween demographic has commanded purchasing power and cultural influence, and the impressionability and social development of the age group makes it an important range of people to study. Presenting both a groundbreaking view of The Disney Channel’s programming by the numbers and a deep focus on many of the best-known programs and characters of the 2000s—shows like The Wizards of Waverly Place, That’s So Raven and Hannah Montana—this collection asks the simple questions, “What does The Disney Channel Universe look and sound like? Who are the stories about? Who matters on The Disney Channel?”

About the Author(s)

Christopher E. Bell is an associate professor of media studies in the department of communication at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, specializing in the study of the ways in which race, class and gender intersect in different forms of children’s media. He is a TED speaker, a diversity and inclusiveness consultant for Pixar Animation Studios, a 2017 David Letterman Award winning media scholar and the 2017 Denver Comic Con Popular Culture Educator of the Year.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Christopher E. Bell

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 287
Bibliographic Info: 5 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8194-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3963-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Road Map to the Disney Channel Universe (Christopher E. Bell, Marissa Lammon, Angela M. Guido and Julie Estlick ) 1
What Dreams Are Made Of: Hilary Duff and the Illusion  of Girl Power (Cary Elza) 29
That’s So Afrofuturist: That’s So Raven, Black Radical Imagination and Afrofuturist Tweens (Terah J. Stewart) 46
Hannah Montana: The Best of Both Worlds During the Rise of Facebook (Claudia Lisa Moeller) 59
Family, Hard Work and Magic: The Skewed ­Working-Class Sensibilities of Wizards of Waverly Place (Colin Ackerman) 75
“Disney is ruining my kid!” A Case for Cultivation and Social Learning in Tween TV (Rachel Guldin, Janelle Applequist and Travis R. Bell ) 91
“There’s no way I can make it without you?” Austin & Ally’s Vision of Gender/Race Equality (Allison Schottenstein) 111
Adopting Diversity and Ignoring Race: Representations of Race in Jessie’s and K.C. Undercover’s Families of Color (Rebecca Rowe) 129
Girl Meets “Woke”: Rowan Blanchard, Intersectionality and Fan Engagement (Christopher E. Bell, Marissa Lammon and Hanne Murray) 146
Girlhood Voice in the Disney Family: Liv and Maddie and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (J. Richard Stevens) 166
Stuck in the Middle of a Flattened Culture (Sloan Gonzales) 183
De-Bunk’d and ­De-Natured: Tweenage TV Comedy in the Artificial Outdoors (Daniel F. Yezbick) 193
Diversity at Face Value: Bizaardvark’s “Diversity” Problem (Jayne M. Simpson) 213
Are You My Mother? Narrative Frames in Andi Mack’s Grandfamilies and Teenage Pregnancy (Andrea B. Baker) 227
That’s So Raven’s Home and Boy Meets Girl Meets World: Recursion, Revival and ­Multi-Generational Dialogues (Michelle Anya Anjirbag) 239
Children of Queer Bodies: Disney Channel Original Movies as Social Justice Narratives in Descendants 2 (Sara Austin) 255
About the Contributors 271
Index 275