Those of us who had Disney Channel grew up watching “Lizzie McGuire.” We all wanted to dress like her when we entered high school and also have an animated alter ego speaking our internal dialogues. And when Disney+ announced that they’re rebooting the show with the original cast and a plot around 30-year-old Lizzie’s life, a lot of people were excited.
Sadly, that excitement died down when news came out that the shoot was stalled after filming two episodes.
It started when the TV writer and creator of the original “Lizzie McGuire” Terri Minsky stepped down from the reboot last January. A Disney spokesperson told Variety that they “need to move in a different creative direction and are putting a new lens on the show.”
A month later, “Lizzie McGuire” lead actress Hilary Duff threw shade at Disney when she reposted a headline about the “Love, Simon” spinoff series being pulled out from Disney+. According to reports, it’s allegedly not family-friendly because of its “adult themes,” including alcohol use, marital issues and sexual exploration. Disney also has a history of censoring same-sex themes in the past, so we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s one of the reasons.
“Sounds familiar,” wrote Duff on Instagram Stories.
Hilary Duff appears to be delivering a late night Disney+ dragging, possibly suggesting the real reason why the ‘Lizzie McGuire’ reboot stalled… pic.twitter.com/m9cwPLGzf5
Duff later spoke out on Feb. 29 and confirmed that Disney+ wants to give “Lizzie McGuire” a PG rating, which is one of the reasons why filming was stalled. “Was incredibly excited to launch ‘Lizzie’ on D+ and my passion remains! However, I feel a huge responsibility to honor the fans’ relationship with Lizzie who, like me, grew up seeing themselves in her. I’d be doing a disservice to everyone by limiting the realities of a 30-year-old’s journey to live under the ceiling of a PG rating,” she said in a statement posted on Instagram.
Duff ended the statement by asking Disney to let “Lizzie McGuire” move to Hulu. If it happens, they will have more creative freedom to give Lizzie the adult character a show that matches her age.
Like what Duff said, fans of “Lizzie McGuire” are all adults now. We understand that Disney+ also has younger viewers, but they’re also the generation who probably didn’t watch “Lizzie McGuire” growing up. So, it doesn’t make sense to keep the series PG (in Disney terms) with the intention of introducing it to the new generation, especially if the initial reason for the reboot was to capitalize on fans’ nostalgia.
We also have a problem with Disney’s definition of “family-friendly.” Yes, we know the production company is known for its children’s shows and movies, and there’s nothing wrong with having such image. However, Disney has been criticized in the last few years for not displaying LGBTQ+ stories or downplaying them. And in the case of the “Love, Simon” spinoff, only alcohol use and possibly explicit sexual topics are the only excusable reasons for it to lose the PG rating. But why are normal topics and problems like being LGBTQ+, exploring one’s sexual orientation and marital issues considered not family-friendly?
Disney+ also has a lineup of Marvel series and we still have a bunch of Marvel films coming. All of them have some form of violence in them which, in reality, shouldn’t be family-friendly either. There’s even a “Moon Knight” series on Disney+, which is based on one of the most violent characters in the Marvel comics. But Disney isn’t pulling them out for whatever reason.
Although we don’t know what kind of topics “Lizzie McGuire” will have (or wanted to have), but we wouldn’t be surprised if it involves literal adult themes sans explicit sexual topics. At the same time, we’d rather watch the reboot on a platform where it can give justice to Lizzie and be relatable to the adult fans who have been waiting for this for years. We just hope that Disney doesn’t scrap everything because it didn’t get its way.