Disney Channel benefits from contemporary storylines

Gabby Zabat, columnist

Ever since I was six years-old, I have been watching Disney Channel. I’ve learned about the meaning of friendship from Hannah Montana’s Miley and Lily, the lengths of true love from High School Musical’s Troy and Gabriella and how to casually break into song and dance from Camp Rock.

Fast forward ten years later, and now, new Disney Channel shows like Andi Mack and K.C. Undercover are losing focus on the sing alongs and dance mobs that my third grade self loved so much. Disney Channel is stepping away from the Hannah Montana and High School Musical era and is teaching their younger audience about present-day societal and controversial issues.

In fact, Disney has changed so much throughout the past five years that characters have stopped drawing the Mickey Mouse logo with a sparkly wand while saying, “you’re watching Disney Channel.”

In this new era of Disney Channel, the spin-off of That’s So Raven called Raven’s Home is not only comedic in portraying Raven’s iconic visions, but it provides the audience with an outlook on life with split families.

While watching Raven’s Home, I was taken aback as the audience learned how Chelsea’s husband is in jail. While I am still getting accustomed to the more mature side that Disney strives for, I appreciate they are illustrating their characters’ family situations with a more universal, realistic perspective.

Living through divorced parents and combined families myself, I understand why Disney would want to bring attention to such a common lifestyle. But the progress doesn’t stop there.

Currently, one of the most notable TV shows airing on Disney Channel is Andi Mack. The storyline surrounds an Asian-American family and a 14 year-old girl who is meeting her birth parents for the first time. Immediately, I realized how Disney went completely out of their comfort zone by introducing such a serious topic.

I became a huge fan of the show because I’ve never seen or understood such a dramatic event through a young person’s perspective. Not only does Andi Mack’s storyline relate to their younger audience, but is also very interesting to the rest of the public as it gives them the opportunity to see societal issues that weren’t acknowledged during their youth.

To top it off, Disney has recently introduced such an amazing and relatable topic to their Andi Mack audience: a coming-out storyline. I especially love how any person, whether they’re eight or forty years-old, can understand the pressure and anxiety of being in such a vulnerable position.

Many teenagers have claimed the old Disney is so much better than the new Disney.  While I, too, miss Wizards of Waverly Place and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, I don’t necessarily agree with this statement.

However, Disney has still retained a lot of the aspects I loved from when I was young. I’ve now learned how not every girl has to be a popstar like Hannah Montana, but can be a bad*ss spy like K.C. Undercover. So, please excuse me while I try to cram in one more episode of Raven’s Home. *Spoiler Alert* DeVon and Raven are still together.