Hey, Jessie. No, Really. Hey!
You know those God-awful children's sit-coms you have on in the afternoons to try to compete with Nickelodeon's God-awful children's sit-coms (and Spongebob)? Can you stop?
No, seriously. They're all really freaking bad.
Anyway, the show I have a particular problem with today is Jessie.
Admittedly, at first it seems like your typical sucky show with its cast of quirky, one-lining, not-hilarious-at-all characters, getting themselves into silly, embarrassing and otherwise boring situations. In other words, fairly non-offensive, run-of-the-mill crap. We've now caught bits and pieces of a few episodes (it's meant for tweens, not four year olds, so we're not really watching it anyway), but I'm still totally appalled at this programming, and even if my kids were nine or ten, I still wouldn't want them watching it. It's everything I do not want them to be.
Hey, Jessie is not only thoroughly inane, it's also modelling horrible behavior. Consistently. And in many different avenues.
The way they treat Nanny Agatha is reprehensible. Now, on Wiki, Nanny Agatha is listed as a character as follows:
"An unattractive, arrogant British nanny who frequently locks horns with Jessie and the Ross children. During their first meeting, she attempts to ban Zuri and Jessie from Central Park. Zuri and Jessie ignore Agatha and keep coming back, so Agatha starts posting mean things saying that Jessie is a bad nanny on her website. "Toddler Tattler:. Zuri, Jessie, and Christina stand up to Agatha, and Agatha shuts down her website. Agatha has a twin sister Angela, who is even more dishonest (but much prettier) and tries to steal Jessie's job, but the kids and Jessie stand up to her, and she goes back to England. So far, this is the only time Agatha, who despises the long-favored Angela, was on the same side as Jessie. Officer Petey met Agatha (dressed as a clown) at a fair in the park, and thought she was cute until he learned her mole and snaggle-tooth were not part of her costume."
Given this mediocre Wikipedia description, you can clearly see there are many reasons for the viewer to dislike Agatha. She's mean, she's dishonest, she's constantly trying to trip your hero up just for kicks, she's surly and awful.
But what do you do? You make fun of her looks. Constantly. All those other bad qualities are almost completely ignored vocally, as Jessie ranks on Agatha for her apparent ugliness.
Here are some examples:
Their first meeting -
Jessie: "I'm pretty sure you don't own Central Park."
Zuri: "For her sake, I hope she doesn't own a mirror."
Jessie: "And for the mirror's sake."
Jessie frequently refers to her as "Hagatha."
They also poke fun at overweight people, and sometimes the insults (of which there are dozens per show) have racist undertones.
They'll make fun of anything on that show, seriously. Intellect, looks, socialization skills, love, friendship. And the biggest offender is Jessie herself, the adult nanny. Shameful. It's all she has for jokes. And making fun of people isn't funny.
I'd like it if you would stop trying to teach my kids that laughing at people because they are different or have a weakness. What horrible behavior modelling. And not only are the characters doing it, but the laugh track finds it off-the-hook funny.
The sex talk and innuendos used are graphic, stupid and objectifying. Jessie should not be talking to her young charges in the manner that she does, referencing her "end zone" and etc. And it should not be funny that Luke (one of the kids who has a crush on Jessie) tapes the nanny sleeping, says things like "Come and find my off button" or gropes her in an elevator.
What in the ever loving...?
Disney, it's like I don't even know you any more.
I'd like to end this with some reviews I found on Common Sense Media from parents with kids who might actually watch this tripe on a regular basis.
- "this show is full of inappropriate innuendo and sexual references by very young kids as well as "Jessie". I don't think 8 or 9 year old girls need to hear their heroine saying "As long as he doesn't touch my end zone"."
- "The show makes me regret relenting on the whining for Disney in my house. For one thing, there is too much sexual innuendo - in one episode "romancing the crone", an older female neighbor is bending over suggestively and mentions something about "the view" to the butler Bertram, who is visibly horrified. Disney really thinks I want my kids to watch this? I won't go into many details because you can watch an ep for 5 minutes to see for yourself. For a show that is aimed at tween girls to contain so much sexism is inexcusable. The main characters are materialistic and shallow. Stereotypes are reinforced constantly (fat, old, or unattractive characters are frequently insulted and made jokes of)."
- "This evening I watched my first and last episode of "Jessie" and think it is inappropriate for all ages of adolescents and teens. The reason given here will be brief and to the point. The two attractive female teens are tall, fashionably dressed, wearing make up, hair attractive, etc while another young teen is short, boring drab outfit, no make up, childlike hair style and wearing glasses to boot. This young teen was subjected to very pointed unkind remarks by others and indicating in one scene that she was not pretty enough to have a boyfriend so might as well get a cat."
- "Bra stuffing is not a topic I'd expose my children to, same with bullying without any consequences, and the sexual references are inappropriate. Tired of the media telling our young teenagers that they need to change their bodies to meet the world's standards. Horrible role models and very negative message for kiddos. Come on, Disney."
And lest you think we're all just making a big deal out of nothing, don't forget you had to take an episode of Jessie off the air after the characters made fun of someone with Celiac's disease.
Keep it classy, Disney.
A lost customer