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10 Disney Television Shows I Don't Mind Watching

At the Howerton home, watching TV is not something we just do without thinking. Mark and I are serious about limiting our kids’ screen time, and I’ve blogged in multiple locations (Rage Against the Minivan, Huffington Post, here at Babble) about how we negotiate screen time. The point is, we don’t just want our kids watching any TV show whenever they want. Part of it is because we don’t want them staring at technology all day rather than interacting with each other or us. The other part of it is that lots of children’s television is just intolerable. It makes me stabby.

But as most parents know, kids’ television has come a long way from Thundercats or the Smurfs or whatever passed for Saturday-morning TV when we were kids. When my kids stream or watch a Disney show, I often find myself getting roped into it along with them. So rather than another parenting post railing against kids these days and TV, I thought I’d offer something more positive: a few of the Disney shows I happen to like. We don’t watch any of these religiously—the kids don’t watch anything religiously—but if they happen to choose one of these for their screen time, I don’t really mind.

  • 10 Disney Television Shows I Don’t Mind Watching 1 of 9
    10-disney-television-shows-i-dont-mind-watching

    Click through to find out which shows don't drive me crazy...

  • Phineas and Ferb 2 of 9
    PhineasandFerb

    I'm not stepping out on a limb when I say that Phineas & Ferb appeals as much to its adult viewers as it does its younger audience. I get a kick out of their creativity and resourcefulness. I appreciate the guest voices cast in almost every episode, from Jack McBrayer to Ben Stiller to Tina Fey. There's something about the visual of Ashley Tisdale (who voices the boys' sister, Candace) screaming her lungs out, several times an episode, in the recording studio, that makes me laugh. And the music? Genius. If there's ever been a kids' show adults love to watch, too, it's this one.

    (New episodes Fridays on the Disney Channel)

  • Good Luck Charlie 3 of 9
    GoodLuckCharlie

    Now in its 4th and final season, this show is centered around video diaries from Teddy Duncan (Bridgit Mendler) giving advice and telling stories to her little sister, Charlie (Mia Talerico). What could have been another grating show centered around a quippy cute kid—the second coming of Full House—it turned into something much more family-centric in which the other kids' story lines are just as important. It shows real-life situations about growing up, going to school, and discovering family roles without being just another show about a bumbling dad and shrill mom and too many sassy kids under one roof. And for what it's worth, I enjoy seeing two working parents who get along, and older kids who don't mind taking care of younger siblings.

    (New episodes Fridays on the Disney Channel)

  • Gravity Falls 4 of 9
    GravityFalls

    One of the funniest animated kids' shows on the air right now, with Jason Ritter and the hilarious Kristen Schaal (Hazel Wassername from 30 Rock) as the main voices. Gravity Falls had me when it named Mabel's great uncle "Grunkle Stan." Then it kept me for the other amazing names of its side characters: the insane Old Man McGucket, the journalist Toby Determined, popular girl Pacifica Northwest, the lumberjack Manly Dan... The absurdist boy-band "Sev'ral Timez" episode had my husband rolling, and any cartoon that employs Jennifer Coolidge ("Lazy Susan") as vocal talent is worth something.

    (New episodes Fridays on the Disney Channel)

  • Lab Rats 5 of 9
    LabRats

    Completely unrealistic, silly, sci-fi for kids. And I pretty much hate sci-fi anything. But this show has a lot of humor to it, with great one-liners, physical comedy, and enough hilarious facial expressions (thanks to Tyrel Jackson Williams' Leo) to keep my boys laughing. Plus, it stars former Talk Soup host Hal Sparks! And Will Forte as the sarcastic voice of the smart-home computer system that controls the house...and hates the kids. I'll always give sci-fi silliness a pass when you add Will Forte to it.

    (New episodes Mondays on Disney XD)

  • Marvel Universe 6 of 9
    MarvelUniverse

    Yes, the whole Marvel universe is a giant money-making machine. Yes, it stars a bunch of comic book characters. But it's a nice, moral good-vs-evil world I don't mind my kids entering every so often. And like many great animated shows, the vocal casts are fantastic. Avengers Assemble (Sundays on Disney XD) starts Adrian Pasdar and Chi McBride. Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. features Seth Green and Elisha Dushku. Ultimate Spiderman brings along George Takei, Steven Weber, and freaking Mark Hamill.

    (New episodes Sunday nights on Disney XD)

  • Doc McStuffins 7 of 9
    DocMcStuffins

    The creator of this series, Chris Nee, once referred to it as "Cheers for preschoolers." Besides featuring an African-American lead character, which I adore, it covers much more complex emotions, characters, and stories than you usually get with preschool programming. I love the imagination behind the series, as well as the heart of the show itself: that the lead character "fixes" her sick toys because she wants to be a doctor like her mom. When Karis wants to watch this? Totally cool with me.

    (Weekday mornings on Disney Junior)

  • Little Einsteins 8 of 9
    LittleEinsteins

    Easy: This show was designed to teach classical music and great works of art to kids. It's educational and visually rich without being pedantic or boring. The music is fantastic and singable, and it encourages kids to move along with the main characters. Want to introduce grown-up culture to your kids in small, manageable doses? Little Einsteins is an ideal place to start.

    (New episodes Sunday nights on Disney XD)

  • TRYathlon 9 of 9
    Tryathlon

    This isn't a regular show, but a Disney summer event that brings its young stars together in fun competitions that promote exercise and healthy living. It encourages kids to try new foods, too, which is always welcome at my house.

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