Friday, 2 December 2016

Stuck In The Middle - Review (Disney Channel)

Disney Channel's shows reach an audience of multiple ethnic backgrounds.  Current shows include KC Undercover which stars Zendaya as a teenage spy and also happens to be an Africa-American centred sitcom, much like That’s So Raven. For the first time since 2011, Disney Channel has introduced a Latino family into the DC family with Stuck in the Middle.

This is quite impressive when you take America’s political and racial climate (yes that includes Donald Trump). Obviously there is no trace of that in this kid’s show although the mere fact that there is a normal, everyday Latino family on TV who face the same problems as every other family is refreshing.

 Not only is the show an achievement for racial equality on television, it is also a great step creatively for the channel. Stuck in the Middle marks the first single-camera sitcom (meaning it is not filmed in front of a live studio audience and does not feature a laugh track) to air on the channel since 2009’s JONAS which was terrible so it is technically the first single-camera show since Lizzie McGuire, which was a huge hit when it premiered during the early years of the new millennium. However, since That’s So Raven’s premiere in 2003, Disney Channel has focused largely on multi-camera shows. This appears to changing (DC also has a new comedy from the creator of Lizzie McGuire in development called Andiland which is currently in the pilot stage).

Stuck in the Middle is set in Massachusetts, and tells the story of the Diaz family, specifically focusing on Harley, the middle of the seven children. Harley makes her way using her abilities as a prodigy in engineering to deal with the problems of being in a large family.

In the pilot episode which is eponymously titled, Harley (played by Jane The Virgin’s Jenna Ortega) struggles to get her brothers, sisters, and parents to the park, where she is to receive a young inventor's award. She looks to Ethan for help and encouragement that they will make it to the park, but Georgie has a basketball game and Rachel is serving at a soup kitchen. Harley worries the basketball game will not finish on time. Rachel decides to spend time with her boyfriend Cuff after her volunteer work, against her parents' admonitions. The Diaz family does eventually arrive at the park, though late for Harley's award.

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