30 May 2012 | Ddey65
More than just a standard Disney sitcom that clings to music orientation
In my reviews of "Hannah Montana" and "Big Time Rush," I mentioned that notion that the programming executives of both the Disney Channel and their competitors at Nickelodeon were the only reason teen pop musicians still have a market. The rise of Justin Bieber from YouTube should make me eat those words, but I can't because Disney's still relying on this formula.
Austin Moon(Ross Lynch) is an extroverted fun-loving wanna-be teen pop musician, sort of a combination of Bieber and either David or Shawn Cassidy (I'm really showing my age with those references, aren't I?). His favorite hangout is a music store in the "Mall of Miami," called Sonic Boom run by a man named Lester Dawson(Andy Milder) and managed by his daughter Ally(Laura Marano), a brilliant but excessively shy songwriter with a severe case of stage fright. One day, Ally finds that Austin has become an overnight sensation by making a music video of one of the songs she wrote and posting it on the internet, and she wants his head on a platter. He realizes how good she is, and talks her into being his main songwriter, and the series takes off from there. Do they fall in love? Not necessarily, or knowing the track record with Disney shows, at least not yet. Be that as it may a lot of fans want it to happen, and are looking for signs of romance between the two of them everywhere. But the third episode seems to have established that their relationship is completely platonic. There doesn't even seem to be a hint of jealousy when the two of them seek other girlfriends and boyfriends, as you found with Kim Possible & Ron Stoppable.
Ally's best friend is Trish(Raini Rodriguez) a short Latino girl who can't hold down a job and is proud of it, yet somehow becomes Austin's manager. Austin's best friend is Dez(Calum Worthy), an aspiring film maker, who shoots Austin's music videos, including the one that made him famous.
Two songs make this show worthwhile. The first is "A Billion Hits," from the second episode "Kangaroos & Chaos," which has a killer hook and was written in response to some fear that Austin would quickly become a has-been who is mistaken for a kid in a dog food commercial. The other is the ninth episode "Deejays & Demos," where Austin overhears Ally working on a few bars of song called "You Don't See Me," which she writes just for herself, and is just as impressed by it as I was. I don't care if the song was written by some of the staff, or by Marano herself, I want to hear more of it. Plus, I'm convinced that the song made the Disney executives give the green light for a second season, and they're keeping a full-length version from the rest of us which they will release whenever they see fit. There are episodes that make shows more worthwhile, and while for "Less Than Perfect," "Sonny With a Chance," and "Victorious," it was the fourth episodes, in this case it was the ninth.
Something about the two protagonists reminds me of a classic 80's sitcom, albeit without the romance; You know, the one at a bar in Boston where everybody knows your name. Add some romance between the songwriter and the pop-star, and subtract Ally's frequent failed efforts to act cool, and you've got a contemporary teen-aged Diane Chambers right here on this show. And though Austin Moon is hardly the womanizer that Sam Malone was, he still likes having fun, a fact that he repeats often. The network has found it's heir apparent of Hannah Montana, and it's here rather than either "Shake It Up!," or "A.N.T. Farm," not that either of those two shows are necessarily repulsive in any way.