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Does a Dose of Controversy Help An Animated TV Show?

Does a Dose of Controversy Help An Animated TV Show?

This past week
there was a bit of a hubbub
surrounding the latest
show to be broadcast
on The Hub. Entitled SheZow, it
revolves around a
12 year old boy
named Guy who acquires
superhero powers that
also have the effect
of turning him into
a girl.

The show has
been broadcast in the
home states of the
production companies
(Australia and Canada)
without incident,
but in the week
prior to its US
premiere, concerns
were raised regarding
the nature of the
show’s content.

This (naturally)
raised the show’s
profile even further
(what’s known as the
Streisand Effect
) and led to the
Hub releasing the
first episode online for free
to potentially aid
parents in their

When all is said and done though, did the controversy help
or hinder the show? Do controversial shows really have an edge when it comes to
their success?

Looking back at The Simpsons and the controversy
that that show went through in its early years, they clearly did it
no harm at all. In fact, the show went above and beyond by actively poking fun
at their detractors and engaging with them too. Two Bad Neighbors remains a
favourite of fans a critics alike and a highwater mark of animated political

On another level, SpongeBob Squarepants has been on the receiving
end of criticism multiple times
for supposedly indoctrinating kids with
immoral messages. That show too, has suffered no ill-effects and continues to
make billions for Viacom. 

It’s understandable that once a show becomes a hit, there
can be plethora of voices clamoring to bring it down for all sorts of reasons.
However, given that a show like SheZow with next to no broadcast history in a
country can be a target based on its premise alone, is the attention paid to it
a good thing, or ultimately a scar and detriment to its long term success?

Charles Kenny writes prolifically on his own blog, The Animation Anomaly.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged



Would this show have been just another completely ignored cheaply produced flash cartoon if the element of cross dressing had not been a part of the basic premise? Yes.

People need to get over their issues with cross dressing and this show needs to be called out for using it as a just a cheap gag.

Roberto Severino

Pete, I found this show to be pretty tame especially for the kind of subject matter that it's been getting heat for. The real thing that should be pissing off people and making them change the channel is the terrible Flash animation and lame designs.

Pete Emslie

I seriously wonder who the real target audience is for this show. If the creator was honest, I think he'd have to admit that it's really aimed at the ultra-liberal teen and twentysomething crowd, not young kids. Maybe young girls might like it, but I'd suggest that most young boys would be very much put off by the premise, as it's got a high degree of the "Ick" factor. Frankly, if I'd stumbled upon this show when I was a young kid, I'd have switched the channel over to "The Flintstones" real fast!

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