For better or worse, Disney's marquee feature film output generally has to adhere to the four-quadrant demographic model that attempts to please as many audience groups at once as possible. The company's TV world, however, is occasionally given the room to produce far more unique and quirky content, such as Disney Channel's new show The Owl House. The horror-ish comedy quickly won over viewers and critics with its richly fantastical realm of oddball characters and situations, but the advocacy group One Million Moms was not nearly as impressed.
The moral-minded One Million Moms is known for going after sexually tinged content such as the Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's recent Super Bowl LIV halftime show, as well as many forms of LGBTQ-friendly content, but movies and TV shows that feature otherworldly evil are just as quick to draw their ire. Here's how the group started off its recent petition campaign against Disney Channel's The Owl House.
Warning for parents! Disney has taken yet another dangerous step into the darkness with its new animated horror-comedy series titled The Owl House. Following the Disney films about the evil Maleficent and the animated Disney XD series Star vs. the Forces of Evil, this new kid-targeted series is also set in a spiritually demonic realm. In The Owl House, Disney introduces kids to a world of demons, witches, and sorcery while inundating their young minds with secular worldviews that reflect the current culture.
In The Owl House, the fantasy-loving teen Luz (Sarah-Nicole Robles) discovers a magical world called The Boiling Isles. Luz meets and befriends a devious witch named Eda (Wendy Mallick), who gives the show its Owl distinction, and her roommate King (Alex Hirsch), an adorable little beast who claims to be King of the Demons. Following Eda's nontraditional teachings, Luz studies to become a witch and inevitably finds the kind of attentive family she no longer had in the real world.
Clearly, The Owl House is cut from a different cloth than a lot of overtly sanitized Disney content like PJ Masks, and brings to mind other shows that adults embraced as much as kids did, such as Gravity Falls (which shares ties to The Owl House), the recent Duck Tales reboot, and even the older live-action series So Weird.
One Million Moms definitely had an issue with this new show's notably different nature from Disney's norm. Here's what else the petition says:
The show makes light of hell and the dangers of the demonic realm. Even the previews and commercials include such content that makes it difficult for families who watch Disney Channel to avoid the evil content completely. This series is rated TV Y7 FV, which means it is recommended for ages 7 and older and contains fantasy violence. The first episode is more than enough for most Christian families to realize that The Owl House, created by Dana Terrace, is not a cute, funny show – rather an extremely dangerous one.
For what it's worth, The Owl House's earliest marketing did lean a bit heavier on the demonic side of things before a softer approach was taken to the magical descriptions. Disney Channel's promotions had no impact on the actual writing or lengthy animation process, though. And while One Million Moms may be semantically correct about The Owl House featuring elements that have traditionally "evil" connotations, the group fails to recognize how often such elements are played for goofy humor, or just as plot mechanics, rather than audience-indoctrinating sorcery. Not to mention the self-confidence the storylines promote.
As far as the petition's impact is concerned, not so many of One Million Moms' followers appear to be concerned with the threats that The Owl House presents younger viewers. The campaign was started after the premiere and has had a few weeks to build momentum, and to date, 15,918 people have signed it. In comparison, the petition against the Super Bowl halftime show has been up for half the time and has attracted over 47,000 signatures. Other relatively recent campaigns include one slamming profanity used in Burger King's Impossible Whopper ad (11,400+ signees), one shaming Hallmark's plan for more LGBTQ content (35,000+ signees) and one criticizing Mattel's gender-inclusive doll line (14,000+ signees).
Created by former Gravity Falls animator and Duck Tales director Dana Terrace, The Owl House airs Friday nights on The Disney Channel at 8:45 p.m. ET, which is right around the time a lot of 7-year-olds are getting ready for bed.