With Disney+‘s launch earlier this month and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, there’s never been a better time to binge old favorites. This week, we’re looking back at Disney hits and catching up on movies we missed the first time. Join us for a walk down memory lane.
In the realm of Disney Channel movies and series, the bullying redemption arc is well-trod. You’ve got your Jerks with Hearts of Gold, your Lovable Alpha Bitches, and your Sour Outsides/Sad Insides — with a few Noble Demons thrown in for taste.
What Disney hoped these tales of villains reborn would teach audiences wasn’t always clear (All’s fair in love and cyberbullying? Terrible people are sometimes fine, I guess?), but they stuck with us, guiding our identities, judgment, and relationships for years after viewing.
Looking back on it, we all have a Disney Channel redemption arc that sticks out in our minds. Maybe it was Kate’s Hail Mary effort to help Lizzie and Isabella take down Paolo, Phil Diffy’s cordial gifting of a rabbit to the sandwich-loving Myron, or Raven and Alana’s truce in the name of stylish, individualized uniforms for Bayside High.
So, what does your favorite redeemed bully say about you? We looked inside our souls (and Disney+’s nostalgia-filled archives) to find out. Don’t see your very favorite tyrant? Well, then hunt down your second or third favorite. Whoever speaks to you will have the answer you seek.
You’re a romantic.
Sure, you’ve probably never fallen for a teenage girl whose family you were cruelly pranking on national television — but you get the sentiment. She’s out there with her deranged parents and brothers looking for “food” and “water” and “shelter.” And you? You’re just a struggling actor trying to make these puka shells work for you. Somewhere in there is… love.
While Ren and Mootai/Jason probably weren’t meant to be, you still believe in soulmates. Someday, somehow, you too will find a beautiful damsel to torment forever and always. Have faith.
The Even Stevens Movie is now streaming on Disney+.
You’re a people pleaser.
When it comes down to it, you want the students, teachers, and Italian pop stars that surround you to like you — at least a little. With her perfectly curved bangs and freshly pressed blouses, Kate Sanders was sending a message of likability throughout her middle school years (despite the various tortures she unleashed on Lizzie, Miranda, and Gordo), and that persistence resonates with you.
Eventually — after Lizzie taught Kate to do a one-handed cartwheel and Kate helped Lizzie participate in widely publicized identity theft — Kate and Lizzie became friends, taking Kate from fake likable to really likable. You’re happy for her, you’re happy for you, you’re happy for everyone really. It’s aspirational.
The Lizzie McGuire Movie is now streaming on Disney+.
You’re a softie.
Although Phil Diffy’s violent bully Myron appeared in only a handful of Phil of the Future episodes, his tragic back story haunts many to this day. Imagine having your beloved pet rabbit Cookie run away, then when a kid you’re threatening to dismember gets you a replacement rabbit also named cookie, that rabbit runs away too! It’s more than most can bear — in a creepy Of Mice and Men kinda way.
This heartbreaking tale pulls out your most sympathetic tendencies. You’re a warm, kind soul with an appreciation for rodents and the emotions of others (although not always their bodily safety).
Phil of the Future is now streaming on Disney+.
Captain Jennifer Stone of Cadet Kelly
As far as bullies go, Captain Jennifer Stone was a fountain of wisdom. Not only did the young cadet /blanket destroyer/hater of scarves see the value in hard work, she also knew the importance of a well-rounded paramilitary education. (Who here did not learn the word “maggot” from Jen, hmm?)
You appreciate someone with so much to give, even if they are unapologetically awful. You look back on the truly bonkers story of Cadet Kelly and sympathize with how much bullshit Jen really had to put up with. God’s work, really. You wish her well.
Cadet Kelly is now streaming on Disney+.
You’re all about family.
Michael Woods, a spoiled Beverly Hills brat who learned a thing or two about farm living in Horse Sense, wasn’t a proper bully per se — just a really, really crappy family member. After ignoring his cousin Tommy (who flew all the way from Montana to Los Angeles to see him), Michael has to make up for being such a jerk by going to visit Tommy at his house. Once there, Michael gets kicked off a horse, falls face first into some poop, and otherwise grapples with the trials of ranch life.
Few people who go through all that for a cousin they barely see, but not you. You see the value in keeping your family and friends close, sticking to your word, and appreciating the loving world into which you were born. Also, you probably like horses. Well done, cowboy!
Horse Sense is now streaming on Disney+.
You’re a star.
Look. One cannot truly love East High’s premiere diva without fully appreciating their own shining qualities. Sometimes you hide your talents from others (and yourself), but when it’s show time, you’re all in. The lead? Yours. Troy Bolton? Yours. An underwhelming stand-alone story? Yours.
You’ve got a bright future, full of pink, sparkles, tiny dogs, and weird talks with your brother. Make the most of it, gorgeous. Cause you’re gonna… bop… bop… bop… bop… to the top, etc.
High School Musical is now streaming on Disney+.
Any That’s So Raven fan can tell you, Alana and Raven had one complicated relationship. With Raven’s psychic powers and [shudder] the cheese incident between them, it was hard to believe these two could ever really be friends. Their allegiance in protesting school uniforms was nothing short of inspiring.
Although Alana’s story remains somewhat unresolved, she was an important part of Bayside High — and the fact that you remembered her says a lot. (After all, she was replaced with Bianca in Season 3 and her henchmen, Loca and Muffy, hardly seemed to notice.) You’re a friend to those not even worthy of friends, and that says a lot about your faithfulness. Good for you!
That’s So Raven is now streaming on Disney+.