Hannah Montana: Keeping It Real
Tweens used to be the forgotten demographic for films and television. These kids who are not quite children but aren’t really teenagers yet seemed to always fall between the cracks when it came to programming. Well, this is no longer the case. The tween market is one of the most lucrative around making up a multibillion dollar a year business. When it comes to quality television programming that is inclusive enough to encompass this group there is one name that has to come to mind; Walt Disney. For over sixty years they have been leading the way with family faire first in movies and now with the Disney cable network on television. Perhaps their most popular program is one with a simple little premise yet it has captured the imagination of millions of tweens around the world. This program is ‘Hannah Montana’ and it has become more than a TV show; it is a phenomena. This series has propelled its young star Miley Cyrus to become one of the most recognizable people on the globe. Her concert tour sold out huge arenas in a matter of minutes. Parents would have to camp out overnight just to try to get tickets to appease the tweens at home. Like most young stars that come out of the world of Disney her material is not objectionable and very family friendly. In the last year there have been a lot of attempts in the media to tear this girl down but this does seem to be more of a case of sensationalism than anything else. I am a long way away from the target age group and my daughter is over a decade away from the typical Hannah fan but there is something so enjoyable about this show that it is truly enjoyable for everyone in the family.
Disney has been releasing this series in single disc DVDs typically with four episodes on it. So far there has been about half a dozen and if you have a tween girl as part of your family you most like have a few if not all on them in your home. The latest release is ‘Hannah Montana: Keeping It Real’ and it has four episodes from season two of the series. Like most of these sets there is a central theme to bind the episodes together; in this case the problems of a teenage girl in the spotlight remaining grounded which ties into the central premise of the show. In it Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) is a girl of about 15 who is a singer who has hit it big. She wants to pursue her fame and career but also wants to have a normal life. Her father and manager Robbie Stewart (Billy Ray Cyrus) comes up with a way for his daughter to have it both ways. In public she dons a blond wig and is known by Hannah Montana but at home and in school she remains Miley. The only ones who know about the dual identity are Robbie, her brother Jackson (Jason Earles) and her two best friends Lilly Truscott (Emily Osment) and Oliver Oken (Mitchel Musso). This is actually a great foundation for a tween show. Thanks to the media’s infatuation with celebrity kids dream of being a rock star. At that age there is also incredible pressure to fit in. Mylie has come upon a way to have, as she notes in the title song, to have the best of both worlds.
The Test of My Love
Season 2 episode 26 May 5, 2008
Although he is short and younger than the rest of the kids Ricco (Moises Arias) is hated by Miley and her friends. He runs the local snack shop at the beach and is elated when he finds out a billionaire is building a playground nearby. This will greatly increase his revenue and Ricco is all about making money. The billionaire just happens to have a teenage son and there is an immediate attraction between Trey (Michael McShae) and Miley. Miley goes over to talk to Trey and after she makes a remark about how snooty the man is finds out that the boy is his son. Trey likes her and wants to go on a date with Miley. Trey is a really nice, down to earth guy and they two initially get along well and make plans to go on a date. Unfortunately, things do not go as Miley had hoped. Miley dresses up to the nines to impress Trey’s upscale parents but things take a bad turn when they insist on going on the date with the kids. There is a big culture clash when Miley, proud of her country roots is deemed not right for the son of a wealthy man. Although the parents are awful to Miley she makes every attempt possible to take the high road until they push things too far and she ahs to stand up for who she is.
Don't Stop Til You Get the Phone
Season 2 episode 17 September 21, 2008
Even though Miley is a successful pop star her father doesn’t give into every whim she might have. She wants the new ‘Z-Phone’, the latest technological rage that all her famous friends have. This episode is an example of one of the better recurring themes in the show; just because Miley is famous as Hannah her father is still the parent and the boss. He represents a strong parental authority and doesn’t let Miley become a little brat. Miley is also on a strict allowance and is limited as to what she can buy so she and Lilly have to come up with a hair brain scheme to get the money for the new phone. When they find out that the tabloids pay big bucks for embarrassing photos of celebrities all they have to do is have Lily take a photo of Hannah in a silly situation and sell the photo. In a lot of ways there is a similar dynamic to the classic combination of Lucy and Ethel from back in the day.
Yet Another Side of Me
Season 2 episode 26 August 3, 2008
Hannah is about to be honored by the Sunshine girls as role model of the year. While at her fashion designer’s studio she runs into music legend Isis (a parody of Madonna) and Miley feels that she needs a more cutting edge image in her career. Miley is filled with self doubt but Lilly and Robbie are as supportive as possible. Still Miley feels the need to change from her good girl image so she invents the anti-Hannah much to the shock and dismay of all. Eventually with the help an guidance of her father Miley comes to accept who she is.
We're All On This Date Together
Season 2 episode 29 October 12, 2008
Hannah is offering a date as part of a charity auction and hopes that a boy she has a crush on makes the winning bid. Unfortunately Ricco tops the offer and she is obligated to spend the evening with heinous boy. In this episode Miley has to learn something about keeping her promise no matter how unpleasant.
Ready, Set, Don't Drive (Bonus Episode)
Season 3 episode 1 November 9, 2008
When Miley fails her driving test she hopes that if she goes back as Hannah her celebrity will help her pass. Here she has to discover that fame may have some perks but it is no excuse for not applying herself.
There is also a featurette showcasing the new fashions and looks that Hannah will sport in this new season. This is wholesome fun for the entire family that combines slapstick, music and playful antics.