This is who dreams are made for

How class and income affect who will enjoy Lizzie McGuire’s return

Lizzie McGuire, the beloved 2000s TV show, is back in business. In August, Disney announced that a new installment in the series, again starring Hilary Duff, would return to screens over the new Disney+ platform. But who is this reboot for, and what income level is required to access and appreciate it?

Lizzie McGuire, which ran from 2001 to 2004, was shown on the Disney Channel in Canada, a paid cable channel like HBO.

Lizzie McGuire, which aired from 2001 to 2004, has a new reboot premiering on the new Disney+ streaming platform.

Jade DeFehr, a University of Winnipeg (U of W) alum, says  “I liked watching this preteen girl having this ideal life but basic struggles ... Looking back now, the things that frustrate me about those kinds of shows is part of why I loved watching (them) ... She has this perfect life.”

DeFehr says the show was “geared toward a white, middle-class, preteen-girl audience,” whose parents could afford the subscription price of a premium channel.

Matthew Flisfeder, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Communications at the U of W who specializes in film, television and popular culture says with premium channels, “you pay for access to the channel, so that is different to the traditional broadcast model, which is free and open to anyone.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation is also seeing a new installment with Picard, which premieres in January 2020. While Picard will premiere on the CBS All Access streaming platform in the United States and Amazon Prime Video internationally, Bell Media earned the series’ exclusive Canadian broadcast and streaming rights. New episodes will premiere on Bell’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel (formerly known as Space) and be available to stream on Bell’s Crave platform the following day.

Star Trek: TNG was a syndicated show, which meant it ran first on more general channels like CBS and CTV, allowing for a larger viewing audience of a broad range of incomes, whereas those who will see the new Lizzie McGuire are more likely to come from a higher income bracket.

“If we’re talking about a program which was still only available to an upper-middle or upper-class audience 20 years ago, it is going to be a different type of nostalgia that’s going to come back. There is going to be a different type of audience that is going to remember,” Flisfeder says.

“When we add on the premium feature of (Disney+), (only people who can afford it are) given access to their own nostalgia, so (it) almost appears (as if) there is almost a classed barrier.”

DeFehr says she is tempted to watch the new Lizzie McGuire but feels like she’ll hate it.

“(It’s) like Gilmore Girls,” she says. “I’m still going to watch it for my own curiosity and nostalgia. I heard that they will still have the little animated Lizzie character, and I loved that growing up. I would watch it just for that.”

Published in Volume 74, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 31, 2019)

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