Cory In The House: Newt And Improved Edition
Children’s television sure has made some advances in the many decades since I was part of the target demographic. Back in those days all there was to watch after school and before diner were a few cartoons and maybe a show featuring puppets. Okay, Howdy Doody was fun but most of the stuff was fairly mindless drivel. The highlight of the week was Sunday after dinner. This was the time for the Disney Wonderful World of Color. No matter what a Disney show was enjoyable, entertaining and great for the whole family to watch together. It is now just about fifties years after those days and still Disney maintain their dominance of the children’s television market. Now the kids are called ‘tweens, somewhere between small children and older teenagers. This is now one of the fastest growing groups around and Disney knows how to keep them entertained. One of the newest in the Disney line up is ‘Cory In The House’. This series is one part of a group of shows that are part of an entire universe that Disney has created. Using the old school studio system stars from one series will frequently cross over to the others. This is a type of marketing that works extremely well and provides a sense of continuity to all the shows. ‘Cory’ is actually the first show to be a true spin off. The main character of Cory Baxter, played by Kyle Massey, began on one of Disney’s mot popular ‘tween series, ‘That’s So Raven’. While it is not as well produced as the original show it does have that certain Disney charm and is overall a nice sample of family friendly entertainment. Now the second ‘Cory in the House’ DVD is being released by Disney; ‘Cory In The House: Newt And Improved Edition ‘. Like other DVD releases of this group of shows it contains four episodes. Three are from the series’ second season while the forth is a never before aired episode.
The premise of the series is simple and typical of a sit-com spin off. Cory’s father, Victor (Rondell Sheridan), is a chef. He gets the chance of a lifetime too become the head chef at the White House working for President Richard Martinez (John D'Aquino). This means uprooting their lives and moving to Washington D.C. By this second season Cory has pretty much settled in to living in the most famous house in the world. He normally hangs around the White House with his two best friends; Newton "Newt" Livingston III (Jason Dolley) and Meena Paroom (Maiara Walsh). Newt is the son of the Chief Justice and a Senator while Meena is the daughter of the Bahavian ambassador to the United States. Newt is not the brightest bulb around but sometimes is able to come up with a solution for the current problem at hand. He enjoys playing guitar and has a little rock group. Meena is trying her best to fit in as an American teenager. Her new tastes in music and clothing are a constant source of problems with her old world parents. Always managing to get underfoot is the President’s daughter Sophie (Madison Pettis). She is as close to being a dual personality possible in a series of this sort. In front of adults, particularly her father or his personal assistant Samantha Samuels (Lisa Arch) she is a perfect little darling. When they are out of the picture is sly, constantly plotting and a source of much difficulties too Cory and his friends; just imagine the little girl in ‘The Bad Seed’ only without the perchance for murder. Samantha tries to keep the kids in line and out of the President’s hair but Cory’s habit of trying out get rich quick schemes are a constant source of trouble for her. The tie in to Raven is Victor is her uncle and was a chef at the family owned restaurant. Now he is constantly worried that Cory’s antics will result in his dismissal but the President is always in a kind and forgiving mood. After all getting canned would be bad for the series.
Like too many spin offs this series is too close to the format of the original. There is just about the same mixture of friends resulting in many of he same types of story lines. There are the constantly changes in who has a crush on whom which may be bothersome for the adults but it is actually just part of what goes on in the ‘tween world. When looking at this series the adult has to realize that it is intended for the kids. You cannot apply grown up sensibilities or over analyze it. It is fun, harmless and actually teaches a little lesson every so often; most notably when the adults and their advice prove correct. This is a silly show that the kids will like and we adults have to just let go and try to enjoy it with them.
The Presidential Seal (November 17, 2007)
While having lunch at school Cory gets the idea that Newt and he need girlfriends. Newt is more concerned at the moment that his spoon has holes, he is using a fork. They make a pack to both find someone special. For Cory the young lady who becomes the object of his affections is Nicole. At first he tries to impress her with his drumming abilities but she is more interested in American history. Cory decides that living in the White House would be an advantage and offers to take her to see the Oval office. While there he spills ink on the Presidential Seal. Meanwhile Victor is faced with having to cook an extremely expensive fish and a real seal gets loose in the White House.
Through the Roof (December 1, 2007)
In this one Alexander ((J.R. Nutt), the owner of the local juice bar called the ‘Liberry’ needs the kids’ group DC3 to come up with a new song by sundown. He claims that they are playing the same four songs over and over and unless they have a new song he will hire a new house band. Just as they try to settle in to write the song Meena is called away to help Sophie with her Sunshine Girls project. The boys are lost without her and are soon busier with fighting to write the song.
Lip Service (January 19, 2008)
Cory and Meena are completely confused as to why Newt refuses to kiss a girl. They keep digging and discover that awhile ago Newt made a promise to have his first kiss with a girl he met in summer camp. Meanwhile Victor is having a rough time of it always losing every possible game to Sophie.
Peace Love and Misunderstanding (Unaired)
Cory is once again trying to impress a girl, a foreign exchange student. Her father is an ambassador and she is impressed when Cory offers to show her around the White House. I guess he forgot what happened the last time he tried that move. He introduces the new girl to Meena and they are both upset that their bracelets are made from an animal sacred in their respective countries. It turns out their countries are eternal enemies. The feud goes back 800 years to an incident revolving around a sacred fig tree. This is Disney, they can be silly. Cory finds himself between his best friend and the girl he wants to romance.
The series is not the best offering from the House the Mouse built but it is entertaining. The extra provided is a behinds the scenes tour of how an episode of the series is made.