Hannah Montana: Season 4
Most television series come to an end. Often the conclusion comes suddenly without an opportunity to wrap up the story line for the loyal fans. Occasionally a dramatic series is afforded such a boon but when it comes to sit-coms a formal and orchestrated finale is unheard of. Recently the Disney television channel did go this extra mile when it came time to pull the plug on their flagship series, ‘Hannah Montana’. The series premiered four years ago instantly becoming widely successful. This show was a global sensation that resulting in one of the most lucrative franchise in the field of tween entertainment. Between the series, merchandising, music sales, DVDs and world concert turns the Disney organization earned over a billion dollars for this simple story of a young girl who wanted to sing. Considering the amount of revenue this franchise has generated it is only fitting that Disney show the rabidly loyal fans the respect of tying up the loose plot threads. There was some buzz around the various corners of the blogospheres that Ms Cyrus’ recent escalation in negative press may have precipitated the cancellation of the series. While there may be some truth to this the fact is little Miley has grown up. She is no longer the fourteen-year old that began the series. Like it or not Cyrus has grown up in a highly sexualized media and while as the parent of a daughter I would have preferred to see someone so admired by young girls to dial it down she is an adult and this is how she chose to further her career and distance herself from the Hannah character. As a side note she did some self deprecating humor on a Saturday Night Live hosting gig. In any case the fourth and final season of ‘Hannah Montana’ is done and the Disney DVD is released and ready to add to your family collection. In typical Disney style this release is packed with extras and sports a collectable packaging.
During the last four years Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) has been leading a double life. Most people know her as Miley, a well adjusted teen age girl hailing from rural Tennessee. Her secret identity known only to family and very close friends she is the international pop singer sensation, Hannah Montana. Now that she is growing up and college with its usual departure from home is looming Miley is beginning re-evaluate her life. The globetrotting and lifestyle of the rich and famous is great but inside that down home country girl is struggling to get out. At the end of the previous season her father Robbie (Billy Ray Cyrus) sold their Malibu home and purchased a larger property that made it possible to bring her favorite horse, Blue jeans, from back home. Her brother Jackson ((Jason Earles) his facing major changes in his own life. he begins attending community college and rethinks the lack of career potential his job at the snack shack holds. Adding to the changes, Miley’s best friend, Lilly (Emily Osment), has moved in while her parent are away and her boyfriend Oliver Oken (Mitchel Musso) has hit it big as a singer and is away on tour. Many sit-coms undergo drastic revisions like the ones here but rarely are they incorporated into the story as naturally as done here. All of these changes are perfectly normal for a teen approaching their eighteenth year. Many fans of the series now find themselves in a similar situation readily identifying with their favorite character.
Every fan knew coming into this season that at some point Miley was going to unmask herself in public doing away with her dual identity. The question was when and precisely how. This may have diminished most of the suspense but it is the journey and its conclusion that matters most.
To reach the end everyone is waiting for the writers allow Miley to spread her wings, although not in the sensationalistic fashion depicted in her infamous music video. She starts out slowly with Miley wanting to update her childhood bedroom giving it a look more appropriate for a teen girl. Miley and Lily become noticeably concerned with their fashion and the application of make-up. Speaking from experience this is a frightening time for a daddy. The perks of being both Miley and Hannah intrudes in her life when Miley misses senior year registration but there would be no problem for Hannah, this also comes up when Miley doesn’t get into the college of her choice because she can’t list her Hannah accomplishment as extracurricular activities. The double identity threatens to come between here and her boyfriend causing yet another push in the direction of leaving her Hannah wig in the dressing room. In another surprising move on the part of the writers the ultimate revelation of Miley as Hannah was not pit off to the last episode. It was done in episode ten, as a special hour long episode. This left three episodes to show some of the consequences of her decision and to pull the last loose thread together. I couldn’t help but notice that Disney did manage to leave the door open enough for a sequel movie, or two.
No matter what you might think of the real Miley Cyrus and her growing pains I have to note that this young woman is talented. She possesses a strong, well honed singing voice and has a natural flair for comedy. This manifest in her ability to deliver her dialogue in a witty fashion and a knack for physical comedy that is quite a talent in itself.