Review: The magic behind “The Owl House”

By Percy Mohn

Elm Staff Writer 

If you are a fan of cartoons or looking for a new show to watch while staying at home, Disney’s “The Owl House” is likely the show for you. From its charming characters, great representation, and genuinely touching story, “The Owl House” is a show that truly anyone can enjoy.  

The story centers on a young human girl, Luz Noceda, who is eccentric and overly imaginative which can occasionally get her in trouble at school and around her peers. In the first episode, when she is about to be sent away to a summer camp called Camp Reality Check, she accidentally falls through a magic portal leading her to a fantastical world called The Boiling Isles. Here, she meets Eda the Owl Lady, a on old witch and a criminal who agrees to train Luz in the art of magic, and the dog-like King, the self-proclaimed king of demons. 

This first episode highlights the persistent theme throughout the show which is that weirdos stick together. While the pilot lacks the consistent story that appears in later episodes, it does an excellent job introducing the main cast and the excellent chemistry that these characters have with each other. Luz, Eda, and King develop a strong bond through being “weirdos” as they describe themselves. 

“The setting, and set-up, maintains a fun vibe if not particularly novel, but as Luz, Eda, and King start to interact, their unique and strong rapport becomes more evident, even though there’s a hint of peril here … But still, you can tell this is a strong, stronggroup of weirdos, bonded together by a sense of isolation and longing — even if some of it in their heads,” Kevin Johnson of The A.V. Club said. 

What really drew me to “The Owl House” was this sense of belonging that the show cultivated in these characters, especially with the found family trope that is present in every episode. This show assures you that whatever quirks you have, you are not as alone as you think, and that there is always somewhere you can fit in. 

“The Owl House” has gained a lot of attention for having Disney’s first bisexual protagonist in Luz. 

Luz is not the first LGBT+ character on the Channel, but she is notable in that her story is handled very well. She is shown to have interest in several side male characters and asks one of her female friends to dance with her at prom. Her narrative is a happy one, and it’s not often LGBT+ characters have such happy narratives on TV.

Dana Terrace, the creator of “The Owl House,” said in a tweet that she wanted to write a bisexual character as she too is bi and that she “was very open about [her] intention to put queer kids in the main cast” and that she was “told by certain Disney leadership that [she] could not represent any form of bi or gay relationship on the[Disney] Channel.” However, Terrace then goes on to say that she was successful in convincing Disney leadership to allow her to include openly queer relationships. 

Luz is not the only LGBT+ character in the show, as another character of the main cast, Amity, is intended to be a lesbian, explicitly shown to have a crush on Luz. This budding relationship was introduced later in the season, but Terrace has revealed that there is more planned for their relationship in the show’s second season. 

Terrace’s inspiration for Luz does not only include herself, but her roommate, Luz Batista, who also works on the show as a storyboard artist. Batista’s one stipulation for allowing a character to be named after her was that Luz had to be Dominican American. 

“More diversity in fantasy, I think, not only helps audiences see themselves in these stories but I think it could help diversify the kind of fantasy stories we’re telling. New perspectives and new stories. I think it helps the medium itself as well,” Terrance said in a Los Angeles Timesarticle by Tracy Brown.

With its charming and witty dialogue, “The Owl House” is a fantastic series that displays aninteresting take on the magic school trope and the coming of age narrative. It has a touching overarching theme in that, no matter who you are, there will always be someone there to accept you, even if the rest of the world does not. While this show is directed at children, I found its message a mature and comforting one, and I even teared up on occasion. 

So, if you need a feel-good cartoon, consider checking out “The Owl House.” 

You might just find yourself right at home.

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