Good Luck Charlie: Appy Days

Good Luck Charlie: Appy Days (March 13, 2011), TV Program. Producer: It’s a Laugh Productions and Disney Channel Original Productions for the Disney Channel.  Actors: Bridget Mendler, Jason Dolley, Bradley Steven Perry, Mia Talerico, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Eric Allan Kramer, Raven Goodwin.  Series dates: 2010 – present.

Plot Summary:  Good Luck Charlie is the story of the Duncan family.  The Duncan’s are parents Amy and Bob, teenagers P.J. and Teddy, 10-year-old Gabe, and new addition, baby Charlie.  The program is a comedy about life for each family member and how it is affected by Charlie’s presence.  This particular episode centered around Teddy and her best friend, Ivy, and their use of a cell phone App that allowed them to fake phone calls in order to trick their mothers into allowing them to attend a senior’s party.  Also in this episode, oldest child, P.J. finds out that his father praises all his children to his co-worker and that his father considers him, “nice,” which P.J. takes as an insult, as compared to his father’s descriptions of the other 3 kids.  Will Teddy and Ivy make it to the party?  Will the duped moms find out the truth?

Review: Good Luck Charlie is a cute family comedy, with likable characters and realistic, if somewhat superficial, storylines.  Part of Teddy’s role is as videographer and narrator of videos made of and for Charlie in which Teddy speaks to the Charlie of the future.  This provides a vehicle for some commentary and reflection at times, as well as adds a fun perspective.

Genre(s): Comedy, Family

Viewing/Interest Level: 8 – 13 years

Available in: Cable TV Disney Channel and online at http://tv.disney.go.com/disneychannel/goodluckcharlie/

Similar Programs: That’s So Raven, The Wizards of Waverly Place, iCarly

Subjects: friendship, perfectionism, jobs

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iCarly: iSell Penny-Tees

iCarly, Episode # 74, iSell Penny-Tees (October 2, 2010), TV Program. Producer: Dan Schneider for the Nickelodeon.  Actors: Miranda Cosgrove, Jennette McCurdy, Nathan Kress, Jerry Trainor, Noah Munck.  Series dates: 2007 – present.

Plot Summary: The premise of iCarly is that the main character, Carly Shay has her own online video show that she creates with her two best friends, Sam and Freddie.  Sam is her co-host and Freddie produces, directs and does all the technical work for the show.  Gibby, another friend, is also featured in the program performing odd stunts.  Carly’s older brother, Spencer, cares for her while their dad is away on military duty.  Carly was a tween when the program started in 2007 and is now a young teen.  In the iSell Penny-Tees episode, Carly and Sam realize that they can make money by selling “penny-tees” to the iCarly show fans.  The tees are basic tee –shirts with quirky sayings on them.  The photo to the right has an example of a penny tee on the mannequin with Carly on the left and Sam on the right.  Carly and Sam had heretofore made the penny tees themselves, but when orders start rolling in, they realize they need help to fill them Sam creates a sweatshop-like factory in the basement, while Carly and Freddie create a fun and supportive work environment for a group of fourth graders from a neighborhood school.  Who can get the fourth grade workers to produce more shirts?  Will the workers protest their harsh conditions or will they do anything to make a buck?  Will the iCarly show be able to fulfill ALL of the penny tee orders?

Review: This program is cute.  The plot was simple, without much depth and fairly predictable, but it was presented without a heavy hand and was funny and entertaining.  Carly is goofy, but clearly confident, smart and kind, a strong female character of the ones available on tween TV, and not a bad role model.  Sam is also a strong female character, though her behavior on the show and references to her visits to juvenile hall suggest she is not necessarily a great role model, though she is talented on the iCarly show and seems dedicated to the show.  Freddie is nice, smart, technologically savvy, and a great team member.  Spencer is a shallow character, a young man in his 20’s, interested in the superficial qualities of women.  In this particular show he is shown kissing his latest love interest, a stereotypically beautiful blonde woman, with whom he is unable to communicate, as she only speaks Uzbek and he only English.  An interactive website for the program parallels the interaction that fictional fans of the fictional iCarly show engage with, so tweens have the ability to do more than simply watch the program.  This particular show presented brief lessons about labor conditions for workers, leadership, the power of numbers, and entrepreneurialism.

Genre(s): Comedy, Family

Viewing/Interest Level: 8 – 13 years

Available in: Cable TV Nickelodeon, DVD, online at http://www.nick.com/shows/icarly

Similar Programs: That’s So Raven, The Wizards of Waverly Place, Good Luck Charlie, Hannah Montana

Subjects: Internet, online social networking, friendship, team work, labor rights, ethics, leadership, business skills, entrepreneurialism


Hannah Montana: Got to Get Her Out of My House

Hannah Montana, Episode # 83, Got to Get Her Out of my House (January 10, 2010), TV Program. Produced by: It’s a Laugh Productions, Michael Poryes Productions, and the Disney Channel for the Disney Channel.  Actors,Miley Cyrus, Emily Osment, Mitchel Musso, Jason Earles, Billy Ray Cyrus.  Series dates: 2006 – 2011.

Plot Summary: The premise of the Hannah Montana series is that main character, Miley Stewart, leads a double-life as a school girl by day and famous pop star, Hannah Montana, at night.  Miley’s hair is brown, and she wears a blonde wig when she is Hannah Montana.  This episode is about Miley’s best friend, Lilly, who is trying to work to earn money to buy a car with her boyfriend.  Lilly knows about Miley’s secret life.  Lilly’s perfectionism causes her to lose her job at a local sandwich shop, and she ends up becoming the housekeeper at Miley’s house.  Miley’s dad is thrilled with Lilly’s perfectionism with her housekeeping duties, but soon her rigid ways become more than Miley and her brother, Jackson, can bear.  How will they get Lilly out of their house without hurting her feelings?  Will Lilly earn enough money to buy the car she wants?

Review: OK, I have to admit that I could not stand this program.  Maybe I picked the wrong episode, but I found the plot irritatingly vacant of any substance.  The acting was way overdone.  This was the first episode of Hannah Montana that I had seen.  Before this, I had only seen a spoof of the fictional “Miley Cyrus Show” on Saturday Night Live.  When I saw the spoof I assumed (incorrectly) that the actress who was portraying Miley Cyrus was going over the top with exaggerated facial expressions and ridiculously over emphasized words in her speech.  But, it turns out that Miley Cyrus playing Miley Stewart is really that much of an over actor.  In fact I have a new appreciation for the SNL actress who portrays Miley Cyrus.  I am far from my tween years, and, maybe, I would very well have watched and liked this program if it been on when I was the target age, but I just can’t seem to find anything redeeming about this particular episode.  I know it’s supposed to be funny and over the top, but it just seemed cheesy.  I found it inane, predictable, totally unrealistic, simplistic, and parts of it, when Miley and Jackson pretend to be mobsters, were offensive and ill conceived.  I plan to watch another episode to see if I can “get it,” because right now, I just don’t.

Genre(s): Comedy

Viewing/Interest Level: 8 – 13 years

Available in: Cable TV Disney Channel, DVD, online at http://disney.go.com/videos/#/videos/&content=1085765

Similar Programs: That’s So Raven, The Wizards of Waverly Place, iCarly

Subjects: friendship, perfectionism, jobs