Saturday, November 1, 2008

Something Rotten in Disneyland

Regular readers will know that we watch far more than our fair share of the Disney channel. Particularly "Playhouse Disney."

Last month they were running a new commercial which included the phrase "Fabuloso Friday." I remembered Ze Frank using the phrase "Fabuloso Friday" a very long time ago, in his series "The Show."

Well, he sent them a letter, and as far as I know nothing came of it... Then, just a few minutes ago we had Playhouse Disney on again (we really need a twelve step program...) and I saw a commercial for this. Ze Fronk. Cooking with Ze Fronk. Immediately after they stole a phrase from Ze FrAnk.

Really? Are they kidding? Is there a Ze Frank fan working for Playhouse Disney? Has this fan caved under the constant pressure to do something new and interesting every month and decided to just lift ideas from Ze Frank?

As a writer, I take plagiarism very seriously. I am appalled that Disney would so flagrantly plagiarize someone whose work I like and respect.

I'd call for a boycott of all things Disney, but I don't think my kids would survive it.

It's particularly ironic that Disney is doing this, in light of their own zero tolerance policy toward people "borrowing" ideas from them... (even though they've "borrowed" and screwed up virtually every fairy tale in history... I doubt they're paying royalties to the estates of the Brothers Grimm).

When we talked about the first "borrowing" incident, someone in Ze's comments posted a link to this video:

It's one thing to borrow a phrase, made up of relatively common words. It's a whole different thing to "borrow" someone's NAME.

Take 'em down, Ze! If I were a lawyer, I'd represent you for free. Since I'm a mom, my contribution will have to be continued careful monitoring of "Playhouse Disney." Yeah, it's research... Not lazy parenting! Research...

(The lack of links to Disney websites in this post was careful and deliberate).

PS - 12 pounds.


meredith said...

you really ought to be just as ashamed of yourself for posting that cleverly spliced video, which in itself, violates a whole host of copyright laws. be careful what you get on a soap box about... it could cost you your livelihood, or someone else's theirs. i happen to personally know the artist who came up with the concept of "cooking with ze fronk" and i can assure you that he is not an evil person with ill intent. but one seemingly insignificant blog, such as yours, could very well destroy his career as a ridiculously talented artist, simply because you felt the need to criticize the company who BOUGHT his idea. i'm not sure what your belief system is, but i believe that karma has a way of biting everyone in the ass who acts on ill intentions. i can't imagine your ranting served any higher purpose other than being a platform on which you bitch and moan about an entity far more successful than your own.

Brian said...

Just to add some perspective, I came to know Ze Fronk BEFORE I ever heard or saw the name Ze Frank. I have small children, and like to know some of the history and detail behind the things they watch, and like many, Playhouse Disney is on the TV in the mornings in my house. I suspect that many people are like me, they know Ze Fronk and have never heard of Ze Frank, so I think the similarities in the names are nothing to worry about. I mean, there is also a character named Tom on that cartoon, do you think anyone else named Tom is out there and getting upset? I heard Tom of Tom & Jerry is exploring his legal options.