Secret Pleasures #6: Disney Channel Original Movies

18 Jun

They’re corny but oh so addicting.

Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOM) have been airing since 1997.  I was at the ideal age of child almost tween at their premiere therefore the attractive boys (and girls who I hated with a passion), love and friendship themed storylines, and often colorful sets and clothes were like one giant lollipop for the eyes.

This may have started the tween Rollerblade obsession.

Brink (1998) was one of the first DCOM and started the craze off right.  With Erik Von Detten capturing young girls’ hearts with his high pitched voice and oh so dreamy smile it was an instant success.  He taught us that friendship is more important then winning – and then he won a skating tournament with his friends. How sweet.

This is a really crappy promotional poster.

The next big thing was Halloweentown (1998).  At the time this was the bee’s knees.  You weren’t cool if you hadn’t seen this movie.  It was about magic, creepy creatures, and Halloween – the best kids’ holiday ever.

Looking back Marnie and her mom are both way too annoying and bitchy.  Yet, it has been overlooked and Disney has provided us with decent two sequels.


Super fab outer space costumes.

OMG! Zenon (1999)!

Not only were they in space, wore a ton of pink, and had super technology but “Cetus lapetus, guys!” – they had their own slang.  With a hot rock star and Raven to boot, of course this movie rocked.  Zenon was the classic all American girl: loves pink, has blond hair, fights with parents and gets marooned on Earth, saves the world and gets a boyfriend along the way.  I personally wanted to be just like her.

Its “Zequel” was decent too but less glitz and glammer.

Okay, so the beginning years of DCOMs were great, but most everything else to follow was great as well.  Alley Cats Strike made me want to bowl, Smart House got me interested in computers, and Quints made me happy not to have younger siblings.

At the time these were the hotties.

And you cannot forget the Lawrence Brothers.  While Jumping Ship was the only DCOM to feature all three, at least one has been in Horse Sense, The Other Me, and Going to the Mat (Matt also played in Disney Channel’s Boy Meets World).  Andy Lawrence was the master of DCOMs for a few years and we were all happy to let him take that role.

Other memorable moments that make DCOMs so great is Tru Confessions, Tiger Cruise, and The Color of Friendship.  Shia LeBeouf takes on the role of having a mental disability  in Tru Confessions while Hayden Panetteire deals with the events of 911 and gives a high-5 to patriotism in Tiger Cruise.  We learned from The Color of Friendship that not all Africans are black and that the color of your skin doesn’t matter.  So, DCOMs aren’t just about leprechauns, mermaids (technically mermen), and sports; they can be about real issues, too.

I believe this is the same pose for the SAT 'I'm going to college' posters.

In my opinion DCOMs nowdays have become all about the big bucks and have lost their old charm.  While I freely admit to watching every DCOM (old and new) that’s been released the new ones don’t have any zeal and I lose interest.  High School Musical was ingenious as a marketing device but the movie itself is nothing new.  Camp Rock is a movie made just to sell Jonas Brothers merchandise.

The new set of Disney Channel Stars don’t match up to the old ones (maybe I’m biased because I’m an adult now).  No one can surpass the Lawrence Brothers, Erik Von Batten, or even Hilary Duff (Cadet Kelly used to be one of my favorites).

In the end DCOMs have fallen from their very high golden pedestal onto a smaller copper stand, but they’re still something I enjoy for the sheer nostalgia of it.  Plus, I’m not someone who laughs easily, but DCOMs’ corny lines and ridiculous plots always get a chuckle.  They’re so bad that they’re good; therefore, they’ve got to be a secret pleasure.

My Secret Pleasure: nostalgic tween films about friendship and romance


2 Responses to “Secret Pleasures #6: Disney Channel Original Movies”

  1. William Skiles June 28, 2010 at 8:40 AM #

    This list was excellent. I was secretly hoping for a Zenon spin-off staring Protozoa. He would finally get the chance to show how automatic his love really was.

  2. Troy July 17, 2010 at 2:07 AM #

    Brink was one of my favorite movies in gradeschool. I also loved The Paper Brigade and Alley Cats Strike.

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