When the Fedex guy came round my nest of vipers with the latest DVD offerings, he handed me a copy of “Wish Gone Amiss,” a three episode set of Disney Channel sitcoms. I looked at them and thought, “Oh good, I needed a coaster.”
I’ll admit it. I’m not supposed to have preconceptions about the movies and TV shows I’m hired to review. I’m supposed to go in it with a clear head and view it and review it based on my response to it and whether or not its mix of story, characters and direction made me forget I was watching something and immersed myself in it.
I watched all three episodes of “Corey in the House,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and the ever popular “Hannah Montana” and wouldn’t you know it, I still ended up using the disc as a coaster.
To be fair, these three Disney Channel sitcoms aren’t made with me in mind. The director of “Hannah Montana” didn’t sit around the set thinking, “You know, we’re not reaching the 25-40 overweight guy who’s still angry that ‘Watchmen’ hasn’t been made into a movie yet’ crowd’ with this episode.” It’s clearly for very young to early teen girls and even very young boys in the case of “Corey in the House” or very hormonally active boy in the case of “Hannah Montana.” But even when you dismiss that, it’s really nothing more than very broad, dull, slapstick humor that seems too general to be really interesting.
This “special” DVD set, these three episodes take the route of the crossover episodes. In each episode, the main characters see a shooting star and make a wish that their lives would change. Corey, a money hungry kid who lives in the White House where his Dad works as the chef, wishes he was president. Miley Stewart, better known as Hannah Montana, wishes she wasn’t living the life of an ordinary teen AND a pop superstar and wishes for the latter. Zach and Cory wish they had super powers. This is the most frustrating thing about these sitcoms. Each of these kids have lives that most kids would kill a stranger to have and yet that’s not enough. They want more, more, more!
Far be it from me to preach about teaching our children right from wrong (I taught my best friend’s kid how to hide house keys), but what exactly is this kind of wishful thinking telling our children? Predictably, each of their wishes go horribly wrong, but they don’t go away from the episode learning a lesson or realizing that wishing you had more than you actually do is selfish and irresponsible. The only lesson they seem to be teaching here is that shooting stars are very evil.
It’s also filled from top to bottom with flat and stale jokes that either resort to slapstick, farting or both. There’s nothing wrong with either, but you can tell when the writers run out of steam and just had a “fall down on his bottom” or “lets one rip” added to the script to keep your attention. Hannah Montana, played by Miley Cyrus, did have an occasional one liner that with the right amount of sarcasm can occasionally be funny.
It just doesn’t seem like a good buy in general. Why spend the money to get all three episodes when you can just buy the season sets instead? It’s clearly designed for Hannah Montana fans so Disney can hook them on the other two, less popular sitcoms in the process.
It’s not that kids don’t deserve to have their own sitcoms. Some of the best children’s programming have fit into that category such as Nickelodeon’s early hits like “Clarissa Explains It All” and “The Adventures of Pete & Pete.” The difference those shows took the time to add some imagination and originality to the characters that made them so quirky and funny.
I wish that Disney gets some in the future.
The Upside: Miley Cyrus, AKA Hannah Montana, mixes the right amount of sarcasm to otherwise stale jokes and saves them from being completely unfunny.
The Downside: Three episodes of a basic cable sitcom for $15?
On the Side: Rondell Sheridan, who stars on “Corey in the House” and another Disney Channel hit “That’s So Raven,” is actually a pretty funny stand-up comedian. This isn’t as good as his Comedy Central “Lounge Lizards” special but it doesn’t suck. Check it out here.