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Why Not Disney?

Courtney Cox | Wednesday, August 31, 2011

With Nickelodeon staging a ‘90s comeback and playing the best childhood shows ever created, I can’t help but be disappointed that Disney has not yet jumped on the bandwagon.

Sure, “Legends of the Hidden Temple” is great, and I could watch “Rocket Power” forever, but the lineup is simply incomplete if I cannot watch my favorite Disney shows as well.

Some of the greatest ‘90s and early ‘00s shows were not on Nickelodeon at all. There is the occasional instance when an old school Disney Channel Original Movie makes a cameo in my adult life, but it just isn’t the same.

If it were up to me, Disney would begin showing “Lizzie McGuire” the minute the clock strikes midnight. The theme song would play and I would watch Hilary Duff dance around in that heinous purple and orange outfit with Lalaine and Adam Lamberg. I would watch cartoon Lizzie agonize about tripping in front of Ethan Craft, and I would gladly watch as Lizzie transforms Larry Tudgeman into a stud so he can go to Miranda’s party (who doesn’t love a makeover montage?).

“Even Stevens,” in addition to launching the career of Shia LaBeouf, was another Disney Channel classic that I’d love to see back on the air. Aside from the fact that a woman in her twenties (Christy Carlson Romano) played an eighth grader, it was so goofy and lighthearted that it couldn’t be beat. Louis, Ren and Donnie fit the stereotypes of any childhood show. Louis was the class clown, Ren was the nerdy intellectual and Donnie was the jock.

In the category of best friends created for the screen, Twitty and Tawny take the cake. Twitty was too cool for school and Tawny was the morose, goth girl. In the real world these people would probably never have been friends, but it works nonetheless. They also rock out as the strange band that sang songs with lyrics like, “The bunny in my brain goes flip flop. Flip flop.” It doesn’t get better than that.

Even though Nickelodeon had animated hits like “Rugrats” and “Hey Arnold!” they by no means had a monopoly on awesome animation. In fact, one of the most recognizable ringtones hails from a Disney Channel animated series. “Call me, beep me if you wanna reach me,” sung by Christina Milian opens “Kim Possible,” the action show about a high school cheerleader who doubles as a crime fighter saving the world. She and her best friend Ron Stoppable fight villains like Doctor Drakken and Duff Killigan.

“Recess” was an equally-great animated series from Disney Channel, but some without cable would still recognize the show from its syndication on ABC’s One Saturday Morning. T.J. Detweiler was the ringleader of a ragtag group of six friends (Vince, Spinelli, Mikey, Gretchen and Gus) going to school in the perfectly stereotypical Third Street School. The show lasted for an impressive six seasons and later spun off into a feature-length film.

“The Proud Family” rounds out the old school Disney Channel animated series lineup. It follows smart girl Penny Proud and her family members Sugar Mama, Trudy, Oscar and twin siblings CeCe and Bebe. Oscar Proud runs around embarrassing his daughter and Penny endures the usual childhood trials and tribulations. In a shocking revelation, I discovered that Destiny’s Child and Solange Knowles voice the theme song to the show.

Old school Disney Channel shows are just as nostalgia-inducing as Nickelodeon shows, but the network has not brought any of my favorites out of the vault. Here’s to hoping they do so in light of Nickelodeon’s success.

The views in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Courtney Cox at ccox3@nd.edu.