PTC Says “Good Riddance” to Once Upon a Time

Written by PTC | Published February 8, 2018


PTC research showed ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” was part of a disturbing TV trend of marketing grisly violence to kids.

The Parents Television Council welcomed the news that Disney-owned ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” has been canceled, given that the show’s child-friendly characters were routinely used in graphically violent scenes, including dismemberment, death, and other grisly violence. One episode of the PG-rated series showed Snow White surrounded by corpses, while she crushed human hearts in her hands. “Good riddance to ABC’s ‘Once Upon a Time,’ the last in a wave of fantasy franchises that marketed grisly violence to young children. To the great detriment of children and families, ABC and other broadcast outlets ‘reimagined’ a number of beloved fairytales with historical appeal to kids, twisting child-friendly characters into dark, violent and explicit fare. Every single episode was rated by the network to be appropriate for children,” said PTC President Tim Winter. According to recent PTC research of fantasy-themed prime-time broadcast TV shows, viewers of “Once Upon a Time,” saw supernaturally-themed violence (such as people being magically tortured) on a regular basis. Viewers saw four instances of dismemberment, 37 deaths, and a total of 261 acts of violence during the February, May and November “sweeps” periods alone from 2011-present. There were 155 profanities used. “Decades of scientific research proves children can be harmed from consuming graphic sex, violence, and profanity in entertainment. When it comes to inherently child-friendly franchises that they grew up on – for instance, Snow White – parents naturally expect that programs featuring those characters would be appropriate for their kids. When the TV networks rate these shows as being appropriate for children – and in this case, ‘Once Upon a Time’ was given a PG rating – that expectation is only reinforced. As licensees of the publicly-owned airwaves, ABC and the other broadcast networks must do better to serve the interests of children and families.”

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