Suite Life Of Zack & Cody
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Suite Life Of Zack & Cody: Lip Synchin' In The Rain

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Recently I got a chance to review a DVD that featured hours of television programming from when I was a kid. It was exciting to see these old shows again after, I’m sad to say, a number of decades have past. Still, I have to notice that the shows where lame. Perhaps it was watching them again as an adult or maybe it was the fact that back then children’s TV programming was only just starting. These primitive series have given way to a new generation of shows that are not only great for the kids but we adults can actually enjoy watching them. At the vanguard of this new style of programming is Disney. This should not come as a surprise since they have been constantly reinventing TV programming for younger audiences since, well I was a kid. I can well remember the whole family gathering around the TV on Sunday night, after diner, to watch ‘The Disney Wonderful World of Color’. Each week was a combination of live action shows, animation and little behind the scenes short featurettes. Technology certainly has changed over these years but Disney is still the best around for family programming. They also take into account the fastest growing demographic around, the ‘tweens. No one around pays attention to the kids roughly between the ages of eight thirteen like Disney does. If you have any doubts about how powerful this part of the market is just look at how fast the concert and movie for Hannah Montana sold out. Any adult rock star would have their tattoos sandpapered off to get the kind of sales that Disney got there. Currently Disney is still using the same basic philosophy behind their ‘tween programming. They have a rotation of live action and animated series. Instead of the usual commercials they have little behind the scenes bits, music videos and other entertaining ways to promote their shows. The series under consideration here is a very good member of this brotherhood; ‘Suite Life Of Zack & Cody’. Disney has released a DVD of a few choice episodes that the whole family will enjoy time and time again.

The basic premise of ‘Suite Life’ is a set of twins, Zack (Dylan Sprouse) and Cody Martin (Cole Sprouse) who live in the upscale Tipon Hotel with their mother, Carey (Kim Rhodes). The only way a divorced mother of two can afford to live is such a nice suite is she works there in the lounge as a singer. The high spirited antics of the twins are a constant source of annoyance for the primer, proper and uptight hotel General Manager, Mr. Mosbey (Phill Lewis). Also working at the hotel is a high school student Maddie Fitzpatrick (Ashley Tisdale) who runs the candy counter in the lobby. Her best friend and friend to the boys is the daughter of the hotel owner, London Tipton (Brenda Song). Usually in on the general mischief they get into is the bellhop, Esteban (Adrian R'Mante). The twins could be more different. Zack is out to have as much fun in life as possible. He is usually the source of any and all trouble that pops up. In contrast his brother Cody is fastidious, studious and rule oriented. This type of contrast is echoed with the girls here. Maddie is from a poor family. She has to work at the candy counter to help her family out. The only reason she is at a private school is she is on scholarship. London, on the other hand is the prototypical heiress. She is flighty, self centered and has never been denied anything in her life. Despite her lack of common sense she has a good heart. As with the other DVD releases of the live action ‘tween series Disney has packaged four episodes with a common theme. As the title of this set, ‘Lip Synchin' in the Rain’, indicates the theme here is music.

Lip Synchin' in the Rain

Season 3 episode 9 August 12, 2007

This is one of my personal favorite episodes. Yes, I have actually watched this series without having to review a DVD. The high school is going to put on a production of ‘High School Musical’. Maddie loves to sing and dance and feels she will be a natural for one of the leads, Sharpay. She even thinks she looks like Ashley Tisdale but no one else sees it. Of course the inside joke here is Maddie is Ashley Tisdale. She is very angry when the role goes to London. Although London couldn’t carry a tune in truck and has two left feet her father is financing a musical play, ‘Floss’ for the production’s director. Maddie is forced to work behind the scenes. When it becomes painfully obvious that the show will flop because of London’s lack of talent Maddie reluctantly aggress to sing behind the curtain while London lip synchs. Since Zack is once again in trouble at school he has to serve detention by helping with props and sets for the production and becomes very jealous when Cody gets the lead part of Troy.

The Arwin That Came To Dinner

Season Three episode 8 August 5, 2007

Awin (Brian Stepanek), the hotel’s maintenance man is not the brightest bulb around but he means well. Everyone in the hotel likes him but for Carey and the boys this is put to the test when Awin’s mother gets re-married and he has to suddenly move out. The boys tell him that he can stay with them overnight and look for his own place in the morning. The morning comes, the days go by and Awin is still living with the Martins much to the annoyance of Carey. In the second plot line London is dumped by her boyfriend Lance (Aaron Musicant). This is unimaginable to the heiress she plots to make him regret leaving her.

Orchestra

Season Three episode 14 November 10, 2007

Cody has a girlfriend in the school orchestra, Barbara Brownstein (Sophie Oda). Things are going well between them until a new student transfers in and joins the orchestra, Sergei (Max Bugrov). He is a protégée on the violin and immediately makes a move on Barbara. Cody is overwhelmed with jealousy and tries to show up the new boy. London is cut off by her father who feels that she needs to know how to hold down a job. Reluctantly she tries one job after another at the hotel ruining everything she come near.

A Tale of Two Houses

Season 3 episode 15 November 15, 2007

When the twin’s father, Kurt (Robert Torti) has a play in town, he’s an actor; he decides to take an apartment in town. The boys each try to set him up with a different young woman. The problems start to arise when both of the boys bring their pick over to dad’s place on the same night. Meanwhile it looks as if Esteban has inherited a country to rule. London sets out to try to teach him how to be rich.

As always each of the four episodes presented here is fun, upbeat and even has a little moral lesson hidden in it. Disney also included a couple of extras. First there is a featurette on what it is to be a twin. Next there is a blooper reel that is extremely funny. This is a keeper and something that the whole family can watch and enjoy together.

Posted 06/10/08

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