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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.

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