31 December 2011 | aimless-46
Holy "Family Affair" Batman
Disney Channel's "Jessie" is essentially what you would get if Danny and Laurie Partridge had come to live with the "Family Affair" cast. With Brian Keith replaced by an Asian Water Monitor named Mr. Kipling and the Cissy character (Kathy Garver) placed in charge of the household.
"Family Affair" ran for 138 episodes on CBS from 1966-1971. Disney decided they could pre-sell their version of this old show by casting "The Suite Life On Deck's" Debby Ryan in the title role while keeping the same mix of characters. Ryan is Disney's second string Bridgit Mendler, although she lacks Mendler's self-knowing charm and effortless likability.
Kevin Chamberlin nicely reprises Sebastian Cabot's "Giles French" character. In "Jessie" the character is called "Bertram". While not quite as dignified as "French", nor as nice, his deadpan reactions and jaded sarcasm are the only consistently amusing elements of the show.
Cameron Boyce does an excellent Danny Bonaduce and Peyton List is a budding Susan Dey; they are the show's truly bright talents and this should be their springboard to a well-deserved Disney style stardom .
On "Jessie", the Anissa Jones (Buffy) and Johnnie Whitaker (Jody) characters get a multi-ethnic makeover, either for reasons of political correctness or as a calculated means to expand the target audience. Skai Jackson plays "Zuri" and Karan Brar plays "Ravi". "Zuri" is a package of the most irritating qualities of both Buffy and Jody; Jackson herself is fine, it is the character that is a problem. As on "Family Affair", the show's solid base is constantly being nibbled away by this unrelentingly sugary character, with decent plot lines getting bogged down by sappy and calculated segments of the hammy tyke and her too cute escapades.
Brar is not as irritating, probably because most of his interactions are with Mr. Kipling.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.