A huge number of the shows’ plots focus on being attractive to the opposite sex. Kids who are bookish, have unusual passions like ventriloquism (Victorious), have asthma (Good Luck Charlie), are chubby (Suite Life), or wear glasses (Victorious) are subject to ridicule by the heroes. (It can’t be bullying if the heroes are doing it!) Parents, if they exist, are generally portrayed as dimwitted. When kids mock them to their faces, the parents react with helpless frustration or goofy, rueful acceptance.
And these shows are dumb. The writing isn’t witty. The plots are predictable. The characters are pancake-flat. Why put up with stupid TV writing when good TV writing is out there? A single musical number on Phineas & Ferb, for example, recently featured the words infernal, invective, abhor, ambivalence, subjective, atrocious, and apathy. Do not tell me all cartoons rot children’s brains.”—Must read: the great Marjorie Ingall on the problem with tween TV. I couldn’t agree more.