Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile
One thing that is really great about the plethora of cables channels is there is quite literally something for everyone. I was a kid back in the dim days of little black and white televisions and back then pre-teen programming was restricted to a couple of hours in the afternoon and Saturday morning. Older teens and adults had the beginning of prime time, 7 PM back then, but there was nothing specifically for the so called ‘tweens’. This powerful and plentiful demographic includes pre and early teens. Thanks to the Disney channel there are programs that we as parents can feel safe letting them watch; more important than that, these are shows that they will enjoy watching. One of the flagships of these Disney series is the wildly popular ‘Hannah Montana’. Instead of offering this series as a season box set which would be beyond the allowance range of most of the demographic, Disney had a brilliant marketing idea. They offer a set with four episodes that comprise a complete story arc within the first season. In the case of the set under consideration here, ‘Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile’, the focus is on young love. In the four episodes presented here Hannah has to face her first crush with all the angst that such a time involves.
Basically, the series revolves around young Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus). To all outward appearances she is a normal girl of thirteen who lives with her widowed father Robbie (Billy Ray Cyrus) and her weird older brother Jackson (Jason Earles). The thing is Miley has a secret identify. No, she is not a superhero; she is something many would think is a lot better, a rock star. When Miley is not at school or hanging out with her friends she dons a blonde wig and becomes Hannah Montana, pop princess. Her father has given up his dreams of being a country singer in order to care for his family and manage his daughter. No one outside the family knows Miley’s alter ego, except for her two best friends Lilly Truscott (Emily Osment) and Oliver Oken (Mitchel Musso). Lilly also manages a dual identity as Lola Luftnagle, Hannah’s friend. While this premise may seem overly contrived, even silly just remember you shouldn’t approach watching this series as an adult. This is for kids and within that venue it works, even works well. This is fantasy for the young set and if you can’t imagine having a wonderful double life as you enter your teens you aren’t a true teen. The series deals with problems that may also seem minor to adults like zits or in this case a first crush but these are major life issues for the audience here.
New Kid in School
Lilly is all excited when she learns that the young television star Jake Ryan (Cody Linley) will be in their school. Miley initially seems less than enthused but things soon change. Jake stars in a zombie slayer show that is just about the most popular series in the school. Miley is turned off by how full of himself Jake is and how even the friends who know her secret fawn over him. Every where Jake goes the sycophants are crowding around. Even the school janitor gives Jake a double wide locker complete with lights and a television. To do so Miley had to have her locker moved to the basement. Miley gets in trouble for something started by Jake and decides that perhaps its time to tell the world who she really is. She winds up blabbing to an entertainment report and finds herself regretting her hasty decision. Jake tries to make amends for the trouble he got Miley in and begins to show a softer more down to earth side. Of course this is the start of a major crush for Miley.
More Than a Zombie to Me
In this episode both of Miley’s identities interact with Jake. Hannah gets a guest staring appearance on Jake’s television show Zombie High as Zerronda the zombie princess. Miley at that stage in a crush where she still denies even likes Jake. Lilly may not be the brightest student in the school but she is able to see right through her friend’s protestations. The word gets out that Jake will ask one lucky girl to the up coming seventies dance. To everyone’s surprise Jake picks Miley to ask only she gives the school a bigger shock by saying no. Jake tries to get Miley jealous by telling her that he will be kissing Hannah Montana on his television show. On set Jake tells Hannah that he really likes Miley but she won’t go to the dance with him. Before Miley can tell Lilly that she really like Jake he comes over and asks Lilly to the dance.
Good Golly, Miss Dolly
Miley gets a sympathetic ear when her godmother Aunt Dolly (Dolly Parton) comes to visit. Miley inadvertently commits her true feelings about Jake on a tape left on while having a personal talk with Dolly. There is a mix up and that camera is switched with one that has a video tribute for the retiring principal. In zany sit-com style Miley, Lilly and Dolly have to get the camera and tape back before Jake sees it.
People Who Use People
This is the final episode of the Jake crush arc and although predictable it is fun. Miley sees Jake with another girl and immediately gets jealous. She decides to turn the tables on him by being seen with another boy, Willis (Drew Osborne).
Miley Cyrus certainly has the talent to make this series a young teen hit. She has a natural delivery that comes across well. Miley combines a normal teen with a professional and talented actor. Her comic timing is far beyond her young years with her expressive face and ability to do some physical comedy. She also has the singing chops to pull off the persona of her alter ego, Hannah. She also has a real chemistry with her onscreen father with is no surprise since she is the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus. The scripts in the four episodes here do not give them too much screen time together which is a shame. Hopefully Miley can avoid the bad decisions some other famous Disney alumni have mae and have a nice, wholesome career and life. Emily Osment is also from a talented family as the sister of actor Haley Joel Osment. She has the side kick role down and sets things up nicely for Miley.
Disney may be judging the market with little story arc sets like this. Hopefully they will make a whole season available soon. There are a couple of entertaining extras provided here. One is a video diary type behind the scenes featurette. It gives a peak of a day in the life of Miley and show cases interviews and footage of her supportive family and cast members. There is also a live concert performance of the song ‘Nobody's Perfect’ in her Hannah persona. In all this is a nice show. It’s something that adults can watch with their kids and really enjoy.