While we recover from the Oscars, it’s time to take another stroll down memory lane and revisit our childhoods. In the past, the Arts Desk has written about some of our favorite and least favorite shows on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, so it is only right that we complete the children’s television channel trifecta. This is Unpopular Opinions: 2000s Disney Channel Shows.
“Cory in the House”
This was the spinoff I didn’t know I needed but will cherish forever. The short-lived series follows characters from the earlier Disney show, “That’s So Raven,” focusing on Raven’s (Raven-Symoné) brother, Cory (Kyle Massey) and his adventures in Washington D.C. after his father becomes head chef at the White House. In many ways, the show felt more fresh and engaging than its predecessor, since episodes didn’t always have to rely on Raven’s psychic visions. Had it run longer, the show could have shown more of Corey’s transition through his school years and perhaps even incorporated an election arc to see whether or not President Martinez (John D’Aquino) would stay on. Massey is also joined by Disney Channel favorites Jason Dolley, known for “Good Luck Charlie” and “Minutemen,” and Madison Pettis, later seen in “Lab Rats” and “Mostly Ghostly,” who are charming additions to the cast. Similar to his “Good Luck Charlie” character, Dolley plays a clueless musician, Newton “Newt” Livingston III, and his banter with Massey was always a highlight. The show should have run for longer, but I’m glad we were able to enjoy Corey’s White House adventures while we could. — Guru
“The Suite Life of Zack & Cody”
There is no other Disney Channel show in recent memory that is as quotable as “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.” Between the “floss” musical number and London Tipton’s description of a ‘Prindle’ (what she calls a transmission gear selector), the show gave us countless iconic moments. There is a reason that the series has stayed in the collective memory of millennials — the show was daring for its time, tackling issues like eating disorders and body dysmorphia in the episode “Food Fight.” And who can forget when Cody defied gender norms to compete in the Ms. Tipton beauty contest? It’s a hilarious show chock-full of nostalgia, life lessons and wholesome moments. What is more quintessentially 2000s Disney than that? — Nicole
“Disney Channel Games”
This was an annual event, the magnitude of which has seldom been replicated in children’s programming history. It was the definition of appointment television, the all-star game of each Disney Channel season. The Disney Channel Games were the ideal distraction from a slow preteen summer. It had celebrity, inter-show competition, drama and just a note of reality. However, if you were wondering which child actors were talented athletes, nowhere in these games was that query ever answered. The challenges were always inexplicably more complex than they needed to be. Still, obstacle courses still seem infinitely more entertaining to the juvenile mind when run through by the Wizards of Waverly Place or those two hotel-crashing twins. It created the illusion that these were just normal kids, that even these massive stars were having a childhood just like yours, and even they got to have a field day once in a while. Although short-lived, these games once represented the pinnacle of athletic competition to kids everywhere. — Dante
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