Jan 7, 2014

Jessie: The Disney Channel's Worst Show

I've reviewed a lot of Disney Channel programs, and there are usually ample gay subtexts, whether accidentally or by design.  But I've found nothing on Dog with a Blog, and Jessie (2011-)  is so bad, it's offensive.

The premise: country girl Jessie (Debby Ryan) moves to Manhattan to become an actress, and ends up a nanny to a wealthy couple with a biological daughter and three adopted kids: the diva Emma (13-year old Peyton List), the teen operator Luke (12-year old Cameron Boyce, left), cringeworthy black stereotype Zuri (9-year old Skai Jackson), and cringeworthy Indian stereotype Ravi (12-year old Karan Brar).

While negotiating their problems and her acting career, Jessie falls for guys, notably doorman Tony (Chris Galya), and is the object of crushes, notably from...Luke, who harasses her with sleazy come-ons.

The other kids, meanwhile, date and fall in love.  Emma gets a boyfriend. Ravi and Luke compete over girls. Even little Zuri gets a boyfriend (but at least they wait until the actress is 11).

I hate it when a tv series or movie depicts horny preteens.  It seems to be saying "Yes, heterosexual desire is innate, universal, rooted in biology, present from birth -- gayness is something that happens to you later in life, an addition, an event."

And I hate it when there are no gay subtexts to counterbalance the oppressive heterosexism.  Maybe Luke, who has a slightly gender-atypical interest in dance, and in one episode competes with Emma over a guy (Jack Griffo of The Thundermans).  Maybe his sleazy come-ons are a cover.

But that's all.  And it's not much.

I can't figure out what the problem is.  The producer, Pamela Eells O'Connell, has credits including not only the subtext-heavy Suite Life of Zack and Cody but Ellen, with its explicitly lesbian character.

Debby Ryan, who plays the focus character, is a devout conservative Christian.  Maybe her influence is keeping the heterosexism high in order to keep the gay subtexts out.

See also: Cameron Boyce.

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