The Shocking Controversy: Disney's Percy Jackson Show Under Fire for Controversial Storyline

The Shocking Controversy: Disney's Percy Jackson Show Under Fire for Controversial Storyline

Disney's Percy Jackson Show Must Confront Troubling Abuse Narrative from the Books, Addressing the Issue Responsibly


Disney's Percy Jackson & The Olympians TV show has the opportunity to rectify the books' shortcomings in addressing the abusive behavior of Percy's stepfather, Gabe.

The books minimize the gravity of Gabe's abuse, treating it as a minor side story, whereas the TV show can approach it with greater sensitivity and delve into its emotional complexity.

Based on the trailer, the show appears to give more significance to Sally's role as a guiding influence in Percy's life, emphasizing the sacrifices she made as a mother to safeguard him.

The main character's narrative in the Percy Jackson books failed to explore a sensitive arc, but Disney's Percy Jackson & The Olympians will not repeat this mistake. Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson novels have created a captivating and imaginative universe that has the potential to translate perfectly into a live-action movie format. Regrettably, the movie series was unable to capture the humor, action, and adventure that Riordan brings to each book. As a result of the movie series' failure, a Disney TV adaptation is currently in progress, and it appears that it will learn from the mistakes of the movies.

In addition to addressing the factors that led to the downfall of the movie series, Disney's Percy Jackson & The Olympians can also address the shortcomings of the books. Riordan's original Percy Jackson books excellently blend Greek mythology with fantasy and coming-of-age drama. However, one particular story arc involving Percy's family is glossed over in the books. The TV show has the opportunity to tackle this narrative issue in various ways.

Percy's Step-Dad Is Abusive In The Percy Jackson Books

The Shocking Controversy: Disney's Percy Jackson Show Under Fire for Controversial Storyline

In Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, upon Percy's return from boarding school, his stepfather, Gabe Ugliano, immediately demands he empty his pockets and give him money for a poker game. This initial encounter paints a clear picture of who Gabe truly is. Throughout the series, Gabe displays little concern for Percy and his mother, Sally Jackson. He reeks, indulges in drinking and gambling all day, and contributes nothing to the family. Perhaps most dishearteningly, Gabe also physically and verbally abuses Sally, treating her more like a servant than a wife.

In The Lightning Thief, Percy also comes to realize the extent of Gabe's mistreatment towards his mother. After inadvertently destroying Gabe's Camaro during a crucial moment in their overarching adventure, Gabe threatens to press charges against Percy. And when Percy's mother tries to intervene, Gabe silences her by raising his hand in a menacing manner. This particular incident serves as a glaring example of how Gabe consistently mistreats Percy and his mother. Unfortunately, despite shedding light on Gabe's disrespectful behavior and his unwarranted exploitation of their kindness, the books treat it as a minor subplot in Percy's journey, failing to give it the significance it truly deserves.

The Percy Jackson Books Never Really Address Gabe's Abuse

The Shocking Controversy: Disney's Percy Jackson Show Under Fire for Controversial Storyline

The initial Percy Jackson book only briefly touches on the impact of Gabe's behavior on Percy. Rather than addressing the gravity of the situation, the book almost trivializes it towards the end of Gabe's story, as he transforms into a stone statue and is sold as a grotesque "super-ugly" artwork. The book also reveals that Percy's mother remains with Gabe solely because of his foul smell, which helps shield Percy from detection by monsters who can otherwise sniff out a demigod. In subsequent books, there are fleeting mentions of Percy's stepfather, but only in jest about his noxious odor.

For instance, in The House of Hades, Percy compares the stench in Tartarus, the darkest realm of the Underworld, to Gabe's odor. Considering the young audience for the books, it is understandable why Gabe is portrayed in a comedic manner. However, given Gabe's celebration with Sally's insurance money upon her presumed death and his renewed mistreatment of her upon her return, the books should have delved into Gabe's behavior and its profound impact on Sally with more seriousness. Disney's Percy Jackson and the Olympians now have an opportunity to rectify this by highlighting Sally's hardships and conflicts as both a mother and a wife.

Disney's Percy Jackson Show Needs To Take This Storyline More Seriously

The Shocking Controversy: Disney's Percy Jackson Show Under Fire for Controversial Storyline

Sally's side of the story is often overlooked in the books, but it is crucial to Percy's development. She enters a marriage with an abusive alcoholic, Gabe, solely to ensure Percy's safety and keep him hidden from the monsters. In the Disney adaptation, it is important to emphasize the sacrifices Sally makes for her demigod son and the impact it has on both of them. The show can still incorporate humor, but it must also address the emotional depth and sensitivity of their situation. The trailer for Disney's Percy Jackson and the Olympians hints at the significance of Sally's role in Percy's journey, portraying her as a guiding force as he learns about his past. This suggests that the show recognizes the importance of her narrative and the sacrifices she made as a mother. While the trailer does not reveal how Gabe's side of the story will be handled, it appears that Disney's Percy Jackson and the Olympians is dedicated to portraying Percy's family dynamics with greater seriousness.