Note: This is a repost from my old blog.
I recently contributed to an article on What’s On Disney Plus regarding Andi Mack’s missing episodes. I felt it necessitated further exploration and here I will expound on it and approach from another viewpoint. First of all, I don’t think the predator should be named and so I won’t. Second of all, there is a very concerning message Disney is sending with its inconsistency in approach to titles featuring predators as well as how they profit off these abusers. Let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter.
Those who are looking to stream Andi Mack on Disney+ have been disappointed to discover that 31 out of 57 episodes are missing, including the entire first season (with exception of 2 episodes). The series was added at launch, but this issue has never been rectified or acknowledged in any way.
UPDATE September 2021: Inexplicably, the entire series is now streaming in Japan. Wow. So these rules only apply to the rest of the world’s Disney+ services?
It is heartbreaking to see the butchering of this pivotal Disney Channel series which meant so much to its young audience and provided Disney Channel with its most mature storylines in history. In the pilot, it is revealed that the person Andi (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) grew up believing was her sister is in fact her young mother. As the series continues, her best male friend, Cyrus (Joshua Rush), comes to terms with his sexuality and is the first character to come out as gay on Disney Channel. He also later gets a boyfriend.
It is abundantly frustrating and problematic that this story has been buried and the show made unwatchable. Due to its serialized nature, each episode plays into the next and builds gradually. This treatment of the show does nothing to discourage talk that Disney and Disney Channel are not good allies to the LGBT community.
At the same time this wonderful “coming out” story was butchered, Disney infamously announced Love, Victor (2020), its Love, Simon (2018) spin-off series which had been planned as a Disney+ Original, was moving to Hulu because it was deemed “too adult.” Many took this to mean that Disney was uncomfortable associating its name with a gay lead. 1 year later, Disney is running a Marvel series called The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) which contains the most use of coarse language and violence of any Disney-made Marvel series or film to date.
Why Are All These Andi Mack Episodes Missing?
There have been articles written about this and there is a constant stream of tweets and posts on Reddit inquiring about the whereabouts of the missing episodes. The answer is depressing indeed. One of the older, male cast members was caught in a police sting attempting to meet with what he believed to be a young boy. His name will not be mentioned here as I do not wish to give power to him, but you can search Google if you are interested. The episodes that are missing are the episodes that feature him.
When The Muppet Show (1979) was added to Disney+ in February, certain scenes were cut from episodes due to celebrity or music licensing and rights issue. This once again fired me up over Andi Mack – why are the missing episodes not streaming with the predator’s scenes cut out? He was never credited as a “Series Regular,” remaining “Recurring” status throughout the 3 seasons of the show. While he was present for a lot of important conversations in season 1, his role was greatly diminished each season afterward until he was barely present in season 3.
Some have pushed back against my suggestion of adding edited versions of the episodes, saying the absence of scenes featuring him in season 1 would make the story too choppy and Andi’s arc less satisfying to which I reply – you gotta be joking me! As it stands, Andi’s “arc” in season 1 on Disney+ is 2 random episodes. How on Earth is the story losing a couple of scenes each episode more detrimental than losing half its episodes entirely? Why on Earth would any prospective new fan choose to binge or give this show their time when the first thing they would notice is a nearly empty season 1? Disney has a good team of editors – I am confident they could find a way to use that Disney magic to remove him and keep the story beats from suffering.
Unfortunately, there are more brambles in this story. I discovered that all episodes are available to purchase individually or as full seasons on all VOD sites, such as YouTube, Google Play, AppleTV+, and Amazon’s Prime Video. This means that Disney is comfortable charging for and making money off a predator, but not allowing people to view the episodes as part of their subscription.
This cannot be seen as anything more than hypocrisy. Allow me to further stir the pot – Glee (2009) is now streaming in most international countries on Disney+ through their Star brand. Glee features a series regular cast member present in most episodes of its run that pleaded guilty to ownership of child pornography in 2017 and ended his own life a few months later, just before sentencing. None of his episodes are “missing.” It is quite difficult to look at these facts and not question what Disney is doing.
For that reason, I reached out to the Disney+ VP of Communications in February informing her I was writing this article and seeking an official comment – while acknowledged receipt of my message, she did not return with a comment and the article has been held back long enough.
Consistency in Disney’s approach is needed. I am not advocating for removing Glee from Disney+ internationally. I also am not suggesting Disney pull the episodes of Andi Mack from VOD. I think Andi should be restored in full on Disney+. My second suggestion is the predator edited out and this new version of the episodes should replace the existing versions that are being sold on VOD.
No matter how you approach this issue, destroying the story of Disney Channel’s first openly gay characters/relationship when Disney is constantly facing criticism for how they handle LGBT issues compared to other companies gives the actor a victory he does not deserve and draws more attention to him than if he was simply removed. Plus, Andi’s storyline is also important as she will not be the only young child to grow up with a young mom who was not prepared to raise them and must “figure it out on the way” (to quote another Terri Minsky show).
Removing the full episodes from Disney+, but continuing to sell this on other platforms is horrible optics. It is time Disney did the right thing and added all Andi Mack episodes to the service, in one way or another.