Movie Mom

Movie Mom

More on the Eww-ishness of Zach and Cody

posted by Nell Minow

Slate TV critic Troy Patterson echoes the concerns about the smarmy qualities of the Disney series “The Suite Life on Deck” that Dan Savage discussed in the essay I linked to in June. “On Deck” is the follow-up series that takes real-life twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse. They are the proteges of child stars turned moguls Mary Kate and Ashley Olson. The show is a sort of “Love Boat” for tweens and much of its humor comes from Zack’s precocious ring-a-ding-ding hit-on-everything-in-a-bra personality.

The Suite Life is of course mild in its sexual content, offering double entendres-once-removed and gentle references to oiling up bikini models and such. How did the protagonists’ rock-star father meet their lounge-singer mother? It is strongly implied that she threw her underwear on stage, or so Dad claims. It takes a little effort to get one’s own panties in a bunch over a kids show employing material like that, but it’s a snap to feel unqualified disgust for the way the show giggles at Zack’s crass predations. In one episode, a new passenger turns his head, but he’s turned off by her baggage, her literal baggage. The luggage locks are a bad sign. “That means she’s suspicious and cautious,” he says. “I’m looking for naive and vulnerable.” Cue the laugh track. Elsewhere, he describes part of his philosophy of life to a pal: “There is nothing–nothing–better in this world than an unhappy hot girl.” In watching eight episodes of the show, I haven’t seen Zack achieve any romantic success, but nor have I seen him receive any proper sanction. Thus do I eagerly await Walt Disney’s presentation of a feature-film spinoff titled Zack & Cody’s Rockin’ Roofie Frat Party.

According to Patterson, this is the number one television program for children 6-11. It is hard for me to imagine that parents — or Disney — find this charming, funny, or appropriate.

  • Your Name

    I think that Troy Patterson guy is making such a big deal out of this The Suite Life On Deck is a funny show my family and I always like to watch and we do not consider it has innapropiate content. But there’s a lot of shows on Nickelodeon that their sexual and violence level are pretty High for example “The Fairy Oddparents” or “Drake and Josh” who are always attaching each other.
    Disney’s shows like The Suite Life On Deck, Hannah Montana, Sonny with a Chance; Wizards of Waverly Place are nice and funny shows to watch and they might make a few jokes about sex topics but thats not even in all episodes or all the time.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for the comment! I’m glad to hear from a fan of the show.

  • Annoymous

    oh come on already…. there is nothing wrong with this show!!! my family and i watch it all the time and its very chld approciate!!! i think both these boys have a great future ahead of them if they dont become full of them selves! i think the suite life on deck is a better childs program than most so i would recemend this show to anyone and you all should find a different show to complain about!!!!

  • Nell Minow

    I’m glad you and your family enjoy the show, but don’t you find the way they talk about women/girls kind of creepy? Do you have sons or daughters, and does that make a difference?

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