March 5, 2013 at 7:17 PM ET
What I really wanted to do the other morning when I spilled coffee all over the kitchen was drop an F-bomb. Because my girls—ages 3.5 and 1.5—were present (as they are with me every weekday morning in our house), I opted for the next-best PG-rated option: "Merlin's mushrooms!"
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in a muzzled moment of rage, this work-at-home dad quoted Cedric the Sorcerer from Disney Junior'snew hit animated show, Sofia the First.
It's not like I planned to get all Sofia that morning; after all, citing princess cartoons doesn't exactly scream manliness. But since the day the show debuted in January, that pseudo-Latina spitfire has dominated my older daughter's interests, taken over our DVR and (because we don't let the big girl watch TV unsupervised) transformed yours truly into a supporter, as well.
Here are some of the things I unabashedly love about So-So:
—The show deals with the all-too-common modern theme of remarriage, as Sofia's mom, Miranda, and Prince Roland both were wed previously (although we haven't found out what happened to their respective missing spouses).
—There's a taste of modern-day urban living, in that Sofia's friends are "Village Girls" who act like most urban teenagers today. (The best example: a rap song titled, "We're at a royal sleepover," which includes beat-boxing.)
—The aforementioned Cedric a) has two-toned hair that my big girl affectionately refers to as "skunk hair," b) invokes Gargamel and Gandalf at the same time and c) is bumbling with magic—arguably a Disney first.
—Production lacks the zip and zing typical of other Disney Junior shows; most episodes of Sofia the First just fade to black, without reviewing the lesson of the day or attempting to tie up storylines neatly.
Most important, as a father of two daughters, I love Sofia the First because it's a different spin on this whole princesses-are-good-and-kind mumbo-jumbo, and it feels legitimately empowering for girls. The gist of every show is that sex, socioeconomic background and even ethnicity (Latina, troll, whatever) are irrelevant if you want something bad enough and you make up your mind to go after it.
These are real lessons that my hard-working wife and I strive to teach our girls every day. It's nice to know that someone over at Disney finally has our backs.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.