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Friday, October 27, 2017

Something Important Is Happening On The Disney Channel

This is not going to be your usual post about hot guys with their shirts off. Instead, I'm going to talk to you about something that is happening on The Disney Channel. Something that you probably haven't heard about unless, like me, you are a (figurative) 12 year old girl.

This past spring the Disney Channel debuted a new show called Andi Mack, about a 13 year old girl, the titular Andi Mack, her 13 year old best friends, Buffy and Cyrus, and the the 13 year old boy, Jonah Beck, she has a crush on.  Also her Mother and her Grandmother.  Andi Mack made a ruckus right out of the gate in the first episode when Andi's cool older sister revealed that in fact she is Andi's cool young Mother, and that the people Andi grew up believing were her parents were really her grandparents.  Headlines hailed the "New Disney Show About Teen Pregnancy!"  Well, it isn't actually about teen pregnancy at all, but for The Disney Channel that was pretty hot stuff. And it gained attention for other reasons, the diversity of its cast, its generally progressive values, the fact that it seems to take place in a world that is something like the world we live in and not in the bizzaro fun-house mirror version of the world where most Disney/Nick shows occur, and its over-all lack of suckitude. Good things, which quickly propelled the show into quickly becaming the top-rated kids' show on American TV.  But I'm here to talk about something else.

I'm here to talk about Cyrus.

Cyrus Goodman, played with great charm by 15-year-old Joshua Rush, is one of Andi's two best friends. He is unathletic ("I'm more of a wheezer."), a tater tot aficionado, and all of  his friends are girls. Merry-Go-Rounds make him puke. He attributes his own nervousness to the fact that his parents, both psychiatrists, divorced and remarried other psychiatrists, and therefore he is "being raised by four mental health professionals."

Before I go on, though, I have to mention Jonah Beck, who (outwardly at least) is everything that Cyrus is not. He's is athletic, confident, popular, and is dating a high school girl- the toxic Amber, who we aren't going to talk about. Jonah is played with great charm and great dimples by 14-year old Asher Angel, and yes that seems to be his real name.  Do you remember that I said that Andi has a crush on Jonah Beck? Yeah, she's not the only one. Because you would have to be intentionally obtuse to not see that Cyrus is 100% percent in love with Jonah.

And in tonight's episode,  Cyrus puts it into actual words.  He has "a crush" on Noah Beck. And that is everything.  Because this is the Disney Channel, y'all, a channel for kids.  And there are people who will say that there is a bunch of gay representation on TV now, so why is this important?  After all, there have even been gay teens on TV shows,  going back to the 1990s. True. But this is a a show for kids, aimed right at the very people who need it the most.  And take it from someone who grew up when there was no positive representation for queer kids:  this makes a difference.  This will save lives.  

I can promise you, I've already seen it,  that the forces of hate,  the people who start their sentences with "I'm not a homophobe, but..." are losing their shit and forming their circles.  I hope that the Disney Channel can see that it is in their corporate interest to ignore the bigotry of the angry minority and to embrace a future where all people are loved and excepted. And to the people who created Andi Mack, and Cyrus and Jonah, thank you. You can't be thanked enough.