If you are looking for a good movie to watch with the kids this weekend, try one of my favorites. It’s about a young girl who falls into prostitution after finding herself alone in a new city. By selling her body to the night, she and her drug addict roommate are just barely able to make ends meet. But things are looking up when she takes on a new client; all she has to do is pretend to be his girlfriend and occasionally bathe him and have sex with him in hotel dining rooms! They strike up a bond and in the final moments of the movie she discovers if he can stop treating her like a hooker and finally accept her for who she is.
Sounds good, right? The best part is, you don’t have to Netflix or Redbox it. It is probably playing on ABC Family this very moment! Right up there with Harry Potter and Toy Story is another beloved children’s classic: Pretty Woman. A movie about the luckiest prostitute in the world. And don’t forget Dirty Dancing, another ABC Family Classic, which takes place at what is essentially summer camp for adults. If summer camp is a place where your dance instructor will sleep with you for a wad of cash and where traveling doctors give botched abortions. Don’t get me wrong, I think these are fine movies…just not for an eight-year-old.
With a name like ABC Family, I had always assumed this channel was directed toward children and families. If I were a parent and asked my kid, “Hey, what are you watching down there?” and she answered “ABC Family!” I’d think, Oh okay, with a name like that it’s gotta be wholesome, never suspecting that my child was watching Julia Roberts give Richard Gere a blow job. Even if the network edits out that part, or the part where Jason Alexander forces himself on her, the movie is still always going to be about a prostitute. Which in itself is mature content. Until children’s books and Disney movies feature a strong female lead that is a hooker, I am not going to buy that this is a children’s movie.
Out of curiosity, I went to the ABC Family website to learn more about their mission and read that they “air movies that we think fit our audience’s tastes: all kinds of comedies, plus love stories, fantasies, select classics, and more.” Who is your audience that Richie Rich and Pretty Woman are on par with each other? I guess the answer is in their tagline: A New Kind of Family. The kind that wants their kids to learn about the fairytale of prostitution early on.