Like most nineties kids, from the age of two to twelve, TV consumed a majority of my life. Programs like the Rugrats, Kim Possible and Lizzie McGuire were new and exciting sitcoms with fresh ideas and means of escape from reality for roughly thirty minutes everyday.
Now, flipping on the TV to the Disney Channel is horrific. There are washed out shows with crutched ideas of entertainment that are simply lackluster and boring.
The fall of quality can be seen through the recycling of sitcom ideas, prevalent in modern TV platforms such as Nickelodeon and Disney.
In 2002, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius was a brilliant new show based on a young boy making new inventions and having an adventure everyday. He created shrink rays, time machines, hover crafts and things unimaginable. Comparable current media greatly reuses the entire basis of this show. A prime example: Disney’s Phineas and Ferb who essentially are two brothers of the same age as Jimmy, around ten or eleven, who do the same thing by engineering a new creation everyday.
iCarly, 2007, was another very refreshing show that had “random” and unseen ideas. The show was two girls who complement and their male friend with complementary personalities, who, together, got into different predicaments that were solved by their own wit. Since iCarly ended in 2012, Nickelodeon has tried to replace it with a new show, Sam & Cat that showcases one of the iCarly’s main characters, Sam. The same ideas from iCarly carry through: There are two girls and one boy, and the main characters share similar experiences to the iCarly characters and have essentially the same basis for the program. There is nothing new about this idea for a show and is neither pleasurable nor fun to watch.
Disney is also guilty of resurfacing ideas for their shows. The new show Liv & Maddie is one about twin sisters who began living together again after a separation at youth. Disney has used and reused this idea in both TV series & films. Sister, Sister (1994), Twitches (2005) and The Parent Trap (1998), all shared the same idea of twin sisters reuniting and having complementary differences useful in achieving a goal.
The repeat of watered down ideas extends as channels now base shows off of older hits. Disney’s Girl Meets World is a sad excuse for a spin-off for ABC’s Boy Meets World that aired in 1993. By changing the point-of-view from a young man to a young woman does not make it any less of a lazy idea to put anything on air every week.
Besides reuse of ideas, shows now-a-days are just really bad on their own. Fanboy and Chum Chum and The Regular Show are programs with no educational or moral value and serve incredibly low entertainment purpose. They show awful graphics for the age, and very banal plots of quite frankly doing nothing for a 20-some-minute period between mind-numbing Go-Gurt ads.
There can be argument made that there were some awful shows made back in the nineties as well, Beavis & Butthead, for example, however, these shows are justified. As stupid as they were, they were the first of their kind. They were not throw-away ideas or the tenth remake of the time-machine episode, they were still unseen. Although perhaps some of the ideas on the newer shows are unseen to the younger audience, there should be a progression in the entertainment industry to produce contemporary story-lines for new groups of kids and young adults to watch and enjoy.
Quality television may be a thing of the past, and may even slowly become extinct. There ought to be a revival of ideas to adapt and appeal to newer generations of TV-watchers without being meaningless noise. I have hope that young Hollywood will venture to reach beyond the themes of the nineties and make new shows for the new age.