The former ABC Family network is pushing boundaries yet again.
ABC Family was never truly a family-friendly channel, as witness its devotion to the series The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which featured high-school students who, even before graduation, were pregnant, married, divorced, and more sexually experienced than a Las Vegas call girl. But since the network changed its name to Freeform two years ago, it has been positively aggressive in shoving “edgy” and “transgressive” programming at its audience of teens.
Recently, Freeform debuted a new logo and tagline: “A Little Forward.” Accompanying the rebranding is a trailer showing off the network’s new attitude and programming. Featuring profanity, explicit references to genitalia, sexual assault, bloodshed, and graphic violence (including murder), the trailer exemplifies Freeform’s newfound philosophy throughout.
Of special note is a scene of a woman pointing a pistol at a man at a gun range. The man’s crime? Offering to help her. “I didn’t ask for help!” sneers the woman, after threatening the man with a loaded pistol. Such an action is a complete violation of the rules of gun safety, which would get the woman thrown off every gun range in the country. But, hey; it’s a WOMAN threatening a MAN, so that’s totally acceptable, right? At least, that’s the implication of the video.
The ad concludes with a trio of teenage girls stripping to the waist, then parading naked hand-in hand-through a public park. This is presented as a brave, defiant act of resistance to…something. (Actually, it’s a shallow attempt at titillation targeted at the teen viewers who are Freeform’s target demographic.)
The attitude of the trailer – and, presumably, of the entire Disney-owned Freeform network – is summarized by one line from the ad: “Forward. It’s the direction one hurls an a**hole through a windshield.”
Unfortunately, Disney is hurling every cable and satellite subscriber in America through a windshield by forcing them to pay for this network…and that’s without even considering the effects of such programming on the teen viewers who are the network’s real victims.