The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

81° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Series finale of ‘Hannah Montana,’ Sunday on Disney Channel”

    REASON TO WATCH: The finale, after (nearly) four long and very packed seasons.

    CATCHING UP: An incredibly successful product of the Disney machine, “”Hannah Montana”” bowed March 24, 2006, as a lead-in to a repeat of another sensation (“”High School Musical””), and Disney Channel suddenly had one of the biggest hits in its history and the long-sought dynamo against rival Nickelodeon.

    Within a year, star Miley Cyrus — one of five kids of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus — was among the biggest teen idols on the planet. In the pilot (“”Lilly, Do You Want to Know a Secret””), Miley Stewart (Cyrus) had to tell her best friend, Lilly (Emily Osment) that she was, in fact, Hannah Montana, a teen singing superstar.

    From then on, she had the best of both worlds — a normal kid by day and a singing star by night. Then, during the final season, bit by bit, Miley’s secret comes out. In a December episode titled “”Can You See the Real Me?”” Miley Stewart tells ABC News’ Robin Roberts — yes, “”Hannah Montana”” has long played with the fourth wall — why she carried on the double life so long: “”I wanted friends who loved me for what I was.””

    WHAT SUNDAY’S ABOUT: A review copy was not available by deadline, but in the episode, “”Wherever I Go,”” Miley/Hannah has a big decision to make: college or a full-time singing career.

    MY SAY: There has been so much sound and fury around Miley Cyrus the past couple of years that it’s easy to forget how this all started — as a TV show named “”Hannah Montana.”” Was this a good show? The better question is: Was “”Hannah”” a shrewd show? Affirmative: very shrewd.

    Disney, of course, wrote the book on double identities (well, actually Shakespeare did, but that’s another story). Hayley Mills became a superstar to a whole other generation of kids in 1961’s “”The Parent Trap,”” remade nearly 40 years later with Lindsay Lohan. As a story artifice, the double identity is very powerful — the idea that one person can be two entirely different people is especially intoxicating to kids who are just beginning to explore their own identities.

    In the early days of “”Hannah,”” Miley Cyrus, er Stewart, was a sweet, raucous, funny, scrawny kid — just like fans in the audience — who magically morphed into a glamorous singing star. (And all it took was a blonde wig!) Seasons passed, and the magic disappeared. Miley Stewart grew up and the real girl who played her made some astoundingly poor decisions. The audience howled, but it did not disappear — 5.6 million viewers on average this season alone.

    Donny Osmond, another kid star, predicted this rough passage in an essay he wrote about Cyrus for the 2008 Time 100 issue: “”There will be many bumps in the road ahead (for her) and one of them, especially for somebody who acts and sings on her own TV show, is that your image becomes cryogenically frozen into a specific stereotype.””

    Indeed, there was something plaintive — and pleading — in Miley Stewart’s words to Robin Roberts last month, as if Cyrus herself were talking: “”I hope fans will embrace me for who I am. Everything was coming from my heart.””


    ‘HANNAH MONTANA’ FINALE

    7 p.m. EST Sunday

    Disney Channel

    More to Discover
    Activate Search