Since the existence of the network, the Family channel has engaged in and scoped themselves around the provision of wholesome family oriented shows that intended to gather the family as a whole to enjoy clean and tolerable programming without worry of tardy and distasteful content.
In today’s world of television however, wholesome family entertainment seems not to be the case anymore. Instead, programs filled with drama, heartbreak, scandal and deceit seems to fill the airways and for a “good” cause. Ratings! Today’s society has become encompassed with the thrill of another’s misfortune. It is entertaining to tend to television programs featuring conflict and the misery of others, and the ABC Family channel seems to be just as in the loop as some of the more aggressive networks. The conglomerate to ABC Family, the Disney-ABC Family Group, hosts this networking station as it does other proclaimed family oriented stations. The theme for many years in fact, of Walt Disney has been oriented around wholesome family entertainment. However, with certain programs that are aired via the ABC Family channel, it leaves the question to just how wholesome are some of its programs? Perhaps the number one hit show on ABC’s Family channel right now is a show called Pretty Little Liars. Just as with the title, this show instills predetermined thoughts and factors about the substance of such a program even before one even engages in viewing it.
The theme of the show Pretty Little Liars is based around four teen girls with very drama filled lives ranging from issues with compulsive shoplifting to a scandalous affair with the school professor. This is set off to the disappearance of a former friend, or acquaintance of the four main characters, to where it was later discovered that the missing girl was dead and buried. A fifth party whom knows of this dead girls ill fate is threatening the bunch with disclosing their indiscretions, thus making for a show filled with much drama and “excitement” for today’s television viewer. As this type and similar types of television programs are very typical, for ABC’s Family channel, it may seem a bit out of place. This however is not the reality, as the show is thriving with growing viewers by each debut and has followed up viewers of other perhaps inappropriate shows on the television network including, Ten Things I Hate About You, The Secret Life Of an American Teenager and Gilmore Girls.
These other ABC Family shows are also contaminated with much conflict and distasteful acts that the families in reality steer toward protecting their children from. In the very titles of some of these shows there is an illustrated theme as to the mischief caused within it. Ten Things I HATE About You! Clearly, or perhaps subliminally there is the message of hate, rejection and conflict here. Surely, as other networks have proven that this form of programming is what sells in today’s industry of television viewers, ABC’s Family channel has tended to pride itself to the contrary. Veteran programs such as American’s Funniest Videos have proven this, but clearly have not been able to keep up in the run for ratings with such airings. As such, it seems that the family oriented television network that is ABC Family has joined forces amongst the distasteful for personal monetary gains.
Surely those that may be in disbelief and even offended by such disclaimers may state that these type of shows merely bring to reality the dangerous world our kids live in. “It is but awareness of such horrific acts that are revealed by these programs to teach and show our kids how NOT to be, how NOT to be act and what NOT to do”, some may state in defense. “This is reality, and we shouldn’t hide the truth from ourselves”, may be other thoughts, but the fact remains that themes surrounding these programs are filled with things that are opposite of what families teach their children with reference to conducting themselves in the real world. It has already been proven by experts and studies that television has a major impact on our youth and their actions, and repeated programs of any kind can have a lasting impression that leads to true actions be taken.
Getting back to the show Pretty Little Liars, the question would be of what significance does this program serve, with relevance to wholesome family oriented entertainment, when the plot and theme of the show seems to only portray betrayal, deceit, mischief making, death and of course lying? Initially, Pretty Little Liars was to be a part of a novel series, as stated in Wikipedia, consisting of other stories of which contained titles such as; Killer, Wicked and Heartless. Clearly, with titles such as these, the illustration was of something deep, dark and full of ill will. As being the basis of such a novel series, is it appropriate of such a family oriented television network to support and entertain such themes? In the heart of ratings, the question may be rhetorical, but for a wholesome family oriented network, what clean and wholesome answer is there to support such actions? Perhaps the answer lies in the very motto of ABC’s Family channel: “A New Kind of Family!”