Shake It Up/Good Luck Charlie
Episode 6: Age It Up/The Curious Case of Mr. Dabney
By: Carlos Uribe
Shake It Up is about two best friends who are on a local dance show. Good Luck Charlie is a show about the Duncan family. They both air on Disney Channel.
This episode, Shake It Up decided to explore the controversial world of pop stardom. This is an episode that is a bit of a surprise on what it covered. It features a famous pop star, named Justin Starr, coming to Shake It Up Chicago. He's similar to Justin Bieber, in that he rose from obscurity from the web. He claims to be a normal sixteen year old, which should set off any alarms for us adults. He comes to the show and his manager picks our two main characters to dance with them. This delights Cece and Rocky, but for different reasons. Cece sees this as an opportunity to get rich and famous while Rocky believes that this will lead to her marrying her pop idol. It should come as no surprise that neither of these came to be. I don't think there's ever been a case of a one-time background dancer rising to fame and Rocky's dream will never happen. That's largely because of the large “twist” that the episode has at the end.
I'm pretty sure that kids were shocked by that ending. It's one of the few “twists” that they would encounter on Disney Channel. It is one that adults should have been able to pick up on and predict. That twist being that the sixteen-year old pop star is actually twenty-four years old and is married to his manager. While the twist itself might have been predictable, it's surprising to see that Disney Channel allowed it to happen. While the actors and actresses on this show are generally the age of their characters, it's surprising to see Disney Channel tackling the tactic of casting young adults to play young teenagers. It's even more surprising since Disney Channel is presenting this cynical (if true) take on Hollywood to such a young audience. While the sub-plot is more tradition sit-com fare, the main plot is surprisingly more mature than expected.
The Good Luck Charlie episode also had a plot that isn't expected from a Disney Channel series, although it remains within the boundaries of traditional sit-coms. That plot being that some characters think that their neighbor killed someone, only to realize that it was all a big misunderstanding at the end. This neighbor being Mrs. Dabney, a character that the series has already established as a villain. In this episode, she's presented less as a two-dimensional villain to someone who is merely misunderstood by a few characters. The main plot concludes with one of those endings where Mrs. Dabney explains everything away and the young viewers are left assured that our heroes don't live next to a murderer. It's still pretty surprising to see the series tackle murder, even if it's a fake one. The happy ending isn't a surprise but predictable. There is simply no way that Mrs. Dabney would have actually turned out to be a killer.
The main plot of the episode had to do with texting. Texting is a relative new form of communication and many sit-coms haven't really tackled it. If this show is any indication, then that's probably a good sign. We have the experienced texters, which are Teddy and her best friend. This episode has the best friend teaching Amy how to text, which has Amy doing the most predictable jokes one could come up with. This action makes Teddy annoyed because she keeps seeing her best friend text Amy. The show seems to hint that Teddy might even be a little bit jealous, but this doesn't really work. There is no way that Teddy would feel threatened by her best friend. The main plot is a sign of this very traditional comedy trying to adapt into a more modern world, but failing to actually be clever or funny about these new situations. Modern Family or The Middle this is not.