The Suite Life of Zack & Cody is a shallow commentary on Capitalism

I was sitting at home and bingeing old shows on Disney Plus just the other day, like a responsible and privileged citizen when I realized something—Disney's The Suite Life of Zack & Cody might be a shallow commentary on Capitalism!

A rational critic would argue everything under this system is a commentary on it and I cannot disagree. The thing is, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody has had such a special connection with a whole generation of kids across the world (because of, you know, Capitalism) that this realization fundamentally changed how I look back at the show. In an ideal world, I wouldn't have to have such a strange realization while watching a kid's show but unfortunately, Wakanda is fictional. Here are the reasons why I think what I think about the show:

1. Most of what the twins do revolves around earning a quick buck to make their mom happy because she seems overworked.

2. The manager of the hotel makes the twins and their mom feel obligated and guilty for any mischief, just because they provide them with free housing at the hotel. The family internalizes this.

3. Zack, the mischievous one, is seen as lazy and useless just because he isn't inclined towards math, science and traditional academia the way Cody is. 

4. Maddie, the underpaid candy girl at the hotel, is identified as "the candy girl" and the twins' mom as "the hotel singer" in more than a few episodes; none of their identities matter in this scenario.

5. The trope of the lazy worker looms large: case in point, Muriel, a hotel maid, is often dismissed as a prop in many scenes.

6. Jobs of everyone on the staff are always at risk, and London Tipton's dad (the hotel owner) rarely, if at all, drops by at the hotel. Esteban, an immigrant, is afraid of his boss, the hotel manager Mister Mosby, and feels constantly endangered because of a lack of job security at the hotel.

7. London Tipton enjoys her father's immense wealth and doesn't feel accountable to anybody, but instead orders everybody in the staff around like they owe something to her because she is he owner's daughter.

8. The idea of "Working hard to earn your money" is brought up whenever the twins end up not doing something they wanted to in order to make their mom happy.

9. Arwin, the hotel plumber/mechanic, who constantly invents new machines, is made to feel like his inventions don't matter and will lead nowhere. Although the need for such machines emerges as a result of technological advancement under Capitalism, as someone from a "lower" social class, he's constantly made to feel like he's "crazy" and as though he has to participate in the mainstream market to validate his inventions.

10. London constantly brags about her immense wealth without fully realizing that she is, in fact, bragging about something she has because of an unjust system. She is often criticized for just doing "rich people things." Even when she can afford to help out Maddie in her pursuits, like when they participated in the battle of the bands, she usually helps only when she's getting something in return, which in this case was the opportunity to sing.

 

The show, despite bringing up these important points in my head, is still only a shallow commentary since, very obviously, that's not the agenda the makers were pushing. It serves as a reminder that the concept of childhood, that seems so pure to so many of us, might just be thought of as pure because of how little we understand the world around us.