The Disney Channel openly admits that its target demographic is six to eleven year old children, despite the propensity of many adults tuning in to the channel as well. Because of this target demographic, however, there are certain concepts Disney Channel shows have not been able to explore. Surprisingly, one of those issues has been marriage. This year, things will change, however, as the Disney Channel plans to air its first wedding of a lead character in one of its shows.
Jessie centers around the life and adventures of 22-year-old Jessie Prescott, played by Debby Ryan, who has moved from a strict, military family in Texas to the great state of New York in order to pursue a career in acting. While there, she manages to land a job as a nanny to four kids for a filthy-rich family. The comedy does a good job at introducing children to diversity as the four children are adopted from India, Africa and America.
— Disney Channel PR (@DisneyChannelPR) August 10, 2013
In a four-episode arc this fall, however, Jessie’s priorities will be rearranged as she focuses on her up and coming wedding to 25-year-old Brooks, played by Pierson Fode. Disney Channel executives assure its audience, though, that the relationship and wedding will be handled in a chaste manner: “The way we deal with this romance is very pure Disney fairy tale,” stated Adam Bonnett, Disney Channel executive vice president of original programming.
When asked if marriage is an appropriate subject for the show to be progressing toward, Bonnett was confident that Disney was making the right decision.
“Jessie is an adult, and we felt we could tackle this in a way that still feels appropriate for our audience… Our audience isn’t dealing with somebody proposing to them, but they are dealing with choices they have to make in their life, and thinking things through, following their heart and wanting to make the right choice,” Bonnett defended.
When asked of her own opinion on Jessie’s marriage, Debby Ryan made sure to reiterate what the importance of the occasion is really all about: “It’s not about the dress, it’s not about the wedding. It’s about the marriage. That’s something we lose sight of when we’re so young and all we want to do is dress up and play fairy tale.”
— Debby Ryan (@DebbyRyan) April 16, 2014
While the Disney Channel executives and actress Debby Ryan may believe that the wedding of the lead character is the right move to make for the show, their actions seem to display a sense of hypocrisy. With the Disney Channel’s admitted demographic being children ages six to eleven and Ryan herself believing that children often lose sight of the main message of life events when they are young, it seems odd that Disney is making a marriage the focal points of one of its main shows.
Bonnett has suggested that the wedding will come with a surprise ending, though, perhaps hinting toward a mature decision to delay the marriage at the end? Tune in this fall to find out.
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