Top 10 Disney Channel Jokes That Would Not Work Today

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Top 10 Disney Channel Jokes That Would Not Work Today

VOICE OVER: Emily - WatchMojo WRITTEN BY: Tal Fox
As great as these shows are, these are the jokes on Disney Channel that would not work today. For this list, we'll be looking at times that the Disney Channel missed the mark: whether that's jokes that have no place on children's television or making light of a serious issue. Our countdown includes "The Proud Family," "Jessie," "Hannah Montana," and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Jokes on Disney Channel That Would Not Work Today


The House of Mouse doesn’t always get it right. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Jokes/Moments on Disney Channel That Would Not Work Today.

For this list, we’ll be looking at times that the Disney Channel missed the mark: whether that’s jokes that have no place on children’s television or making light of a serious issue. We will only be focusing on shows that originated on the Disney Channel though, so any moments from series like “Boy Meets World” haven’t made the cut.

#10: The Birds & the Bees Talk
“The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” (2005-08)


With Maddie’s Sweet 16 just around the corner, Zack is running out of time to find the perfect present for his crush. When he turns to Esteban for advice, the hotel bellboy gets the wrong idea and expects a very different conversation. Then, Cody shows up and says Maddie had basically told them exactly what her ideal gift would be, but - while Cody was actively listening - Zack’s mind was very much elsewhere. While it’s likely that a younger audience would not have understood what he was alluding to, we don’t think reducing women to sex objects would fly on the Disney Channel today.

#9: Animated Halle Berry
“The Proud Family” (2001-05)


This is definitely one for the more eagle-eyed viewers or those with impressive peripheral vision. During this episode, Wizard Kelly walks into a movie theater showing a Halle Berry flick. The movie in question is called “Swordfish” and the scene playing is one where Berry is reading and lowers the book to reveal that she’s topless. Of course, the animated version cuts away just before she bares all but, it’s still a questionable choice for a children’s animated series. We doubt many people noticed it, but we assume some of you will probably be checking it out after this.

#8: Shaming Olive Oil
“The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” (2005-08)


Here’s another one that probably went over your head as a kid. When The Tipton prepares to throw a party for Boston’s oldest citizen, his daughter comes in to taste the food. She is delighted by Chef Paolo’s sauce and asks him what ingredients he used. Among the extensive list of ingredients, he mentions “olive oil with a questionable past”. Who knew you could slutshame oil? We imagine this joke raised a few eyebrows among older viewers. Needless to say, slutshaming of any sort would not be acceptable now and never really should have had a place on the Disney Channel anyway.

#7: Eating Disorder Joke
“So Random!” (2011-12)


It’s no secret that Demi Lovato left her Disney days behind to focus on her recovery. While starring in “Sonny with a Chance,” she underwent treatment for “physical and emotional issues”, which included battling an eating disorder. Rather than being canceled, the sitcom became the sketch comedy variety show, “So Random!”. Although it only ran for one season, it still managed to cause controversy due to a joke about an eating disorder in an episode that’s no longer approved for re-broadcast. Sadly, this wasn’t the only show facing backlash for making light of eating disorders at the time, but more on that later.

#6: Gluten-Intolerance Bullying
“Jessie” (2011-15)


You would hope that a channel beloved by children would help promote tolerance and kindness. However, in one episode of this comedy series, we see Jessie and the kids teasing Stuart for being gluten intolerant, with Zuri even throwing a pancake at him. Parents of children with similar conditions that had seen the episode via video-on-demand were disappointed to see bullying behaviors that were all too real for their own children used as a punchline. One parent even created a petition calling for Disney to reassess their content, and it garnered 2,120 signatures. Disney listened to the concerns, issued an apology via Facebook, pulled the episode and removed this storyline when it was aired on TV.

#5: Oliver Is Diagnosed with Diabetes
“Hannah Montana” (2006-11)


This episode also didn’t get past Video on Demand previews after parents of diabetic children voiced concern over its representation of diabetes. While it was praised for destigmatizing the diagnosis, parents did not believe the way Oliver’s story was told was realistic - or even safe. A DC spokesperson claimed that experts had been consulted during the script writing process, but many thought they’d still missed the mark. As they headed back to the drawing board, the slot was filled by an episode of “Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream,” which showed how Nick manages his type 1 diabetes .

#4: Monkeying Around
“Dave the Barbarian” (2004-05)


When Strom makes a stop in Udrogoth on his dragon slaying tour, Dave has to protect Faffy at all costs. After Strom turns his attention from the dragon to Dave, he becomes distracted by Fang’s monkey. When Dave asks him if he’s done trying to slay him, he responds. They even leave a beat after the joke for the double entendre to really sink in. We assume kids would take this joke at face value, but it would definitely make older viewers hit rewind. If you still don’t get this joke, take a beat to figure it out.

#3: Zack Pretends to Be Dyslexic
“The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” (2005-08)


Chances are you only saw this episode when it aired the first time. Zack isn’t the most studious kid, so when he meets Bob, who is dyslexic, he has a lightbulb moment. He pretends to be dyslexic too in order to receive special treatment. Adrian R’Mante, who played Esteban has said that he believes the episode only ever aired twice before being scrapped for its insensitive approach to a very real learning disorder. He also implied that the episode was almost scrapped in the first place, proving that sometimes your gut instinct is the one to go with.

#2: Racial & Cultural Stereotypes
“Jessie” (2011-15)


In recent years, the media has been getting scrutinized for the way it handles representation and diversity, and the Disney Channel is no exception. One character viewers took issue with is Ravi from “Jessie”. Joining the family from India, the show uses any opportunity to tease him about being different. This includes his accent, traditional dress, his pet lizard called Mrs. Kipling, and playing the sitar. At one point he even exclaims. We love that television shows are striving to include more diversity, but there is still a right way to do it - and this isn’t it.

#1: Another Eating Disorder Joke
“Shake It Up” (2010-13)


Not long before “So Random!” was called out for an eating disorder joke, the “Shake It Up” season one episode “Party It Up” drew attention for the same thing. In fact, it was Demi Lovato who took to Twitter to voice her outrage about the joke, especially considering that this was the precise reason she left the network. She also questioned what kind of message the channel wanted to promote to its viewers. Disney responded to Lovato with an apology, pulling the episode and later re-editing it for re-broadcast. We hope that these experiences helped them refocus on content that provides a more positive message to their young, impressionable audience.
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