Blog Post

Mixed Messages In Disney's Sophia the First

sophia the firstPB asks: “I noticed the Disney Junior TV series called "Sophia the First." She becomes a princess when her mother marries a king. There is a royal sorcerer and Sophia wears an amulet around her neck. There are also Sophia dolls, etc. Could you let me know if this show is harmless and okay to view or should we discourage this for our children.”

No television show is completely harmless and Sophia the First has received its share of criticism for sending mixed messages to children.

For those who are not familiar with the story, Sophia the First is a Disney series that revolves around an 8-year-old girl who becomes a princess after her mother marries the king of a fairy tale land named Enchancia. The adventurous Sophia becomes the bearer of the mystical “Amulet of Avalor” which gives her the ability to communicate with animals and also summons the Disney Princesses to help her when needed.

The sorcerer referred to in PB’s question is named Cedric and is considered to be the “royal sorcerer of Enchancia”. He is somewhat of a fumbler with most of his spells backfiring along with his repeated attempts to steal the amulet from Sophia.

There are so many mixed messages in this series it’s hard to know where to begin.

First, Christian reviewers have criticized the show for not making it more clear that single motherhood is to be avoided because of the detrimental effects it has upon children.

Because of Sophia’s situation, it would be easy for the producers to reinforce family values in the young children (ages 2-6) who are drawn to this show.

Cedric the sorcerer Cedric the sorcerer

“Children raised by their natural parents are far less likely to live in poverty, quit school, use drugs, commit crimes or spend time in prison,” writes the Christian MovieGuide’s David Outten.

“If Disney actually cares about the long-term well-being of children, it would promote the traditional family rather than the ‘modern family’ . . Few single mothers marry a king who can turn their daughters into princesses. More often the daughter of a single mother becomes a single mother herself. The havoc wreaked on children is immense. The economic impact is severe.”

but that's only one of the mixed message I see in this series.

The  manner in which the series presents sorcery is equally grave. First, the wearing of an amulet that harnesses powers who come to Sophia’s aid certainly encourages superstition in children who will also want to wear “good luck charms” with the hopes of getting what they want. Not a good idea.

Then there’s the troublesome presentation of Cedric, the sorcerer, who is depicted as a kind of “nervous Nelly” who actually solicits pity from the audience. Instead of portraying him and his dark arts as evil and something to be avoided, he endears himself to this young audience. True, his “magic” rarely succeeds, but this is also a mixed message because young minds will easily mistake this to mean that Cedric’s potions and spells are “harmless”.

I’m not a big fan of Sophia the First, or of many other Disney productions for that matter. Disney needs to lay off the sorcery and “alternative family” plot lines and do something intelligent and constructive for society like teaching children what matters most – faith, family and country.

Click here to learn more about how tell the difference between harmless children's fantasy tales and those that contain dangerous occult themes.