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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hannah Montana - 2011 Television Finale

So, I'm only eight episodes into the "Jem Reviewed" series, and I will be posting the ninth one tomorrow, but I can't help but think that as I watch this show more and more, I'm reminded by another show.

Mind you, it's a show that aired long after Jem hung up her microphone - so really, one might say that this show copied the plot of the other show I'm thinking of at the moment.  But I'll leave that up to you.

So, basically the plot of Jem is that Jerrica Benton is the head of Starlight Music and the owner of Starlight House, and she basically transforms herself into rock goddess Jem in an attempt to win back the company from evil Eric Raymond.  She succeeds in doing that, but shortly after that, she becomes this big star, and the rest of the series has her trying to be two different people with two different identities.  Some people find out along the way and put two and two together, but for the most part she keeps her secret hidden until the show ends.

Well, in the case of the show that I will be talking about today, this person also has two different identities.  In one, she's just a typical high school student trying to learn trigonometry and algebra.  In another, she's the hottest teenage pop star to break out on the music scene.  And much like Jem, she too has a hard time trying to balance the two personalities.

But unlike Jem, this person actually DOES reveal who she is towards the end of the series...and that revelation played a huge role in how the series inevitably ended.

A series that aired its final episode in 2011.



But let's briefly go back to the year 2006 for a bit - when "Hannah Montana" first debuted on the Disney Channel.



Boy, do I remember that period.  It seemed as though you couldn't go anywhere without seeing Hannah Montana videos, Hannah Montana clothing, Hannah Montana dolls...I even remember the automotive department selling Hannah Montana auto decals and Hannah Montana house keys!



But, to be fair, it was a pop culture phenomenon for little kids and tweens.  And, I have to give Miley Cyrus some credit.  After watching a few episodes of the show here and there, I do admit she has natural comic timing and she always did have a good singing voice.  It wasn't enough for me to go out and buy a Hannah Montana album or plaster Hannah Montana posters on my wall because...well, I was 25 when the show was at its peak.  Do I need any other reason?

I can't help but think that when I watch the show some ten years later, it's kind of a knockoff of Jem and the Holograms.  I mean, no, Hannah Montana didn't have a supercomputer named Synergy to help her out, but she had a hard time trying to keep her professional life separate from her private life as high schooler Miley Stewart.  Some people, such as her best friend Lilly (Emily Osment), pal Oliver (Mitchel Musso), brother Jackson (Jason Earles), and father Robby (played by Miley's own father, Billy Ray Cyrus).  But to the rest of the world, she was two separate people.

Naturally there were some episodes where this was exploited.  Some episodes where Miley Stewart made a date with a guy at a Hannah Montana concert, some episodes where Miley is bullied by people who happen to also be Hannah Montana fans...one episode even had her losing her blonde wig over the side of a cruise ship and contemplating what she should do!

I wish I was kidding about that last one.  I'm not.



Whatever the case, Miley Cyrus rode the Hannah Montana train of success for nearly five years, and the show was popular enough to attract the attention of some well-known celebrities including Vicki Lawrence, Dolly Parton, Jay Leno, Sheryl Crow, and Brooke Shields.  It even inspired a full length motion-picture and concert videos.

But all things eventually come to an end...and the end for Hannah Montana came on January 16, 2011.

Now, when Hannah Montana was renewed for a fourth season in 2010-2011, it was expected that it would be the last one.  After all, Miley Cyrus at that time was eighteen years old and wanted to focus on a recording career of her own - which I'll talk about a bit later in this post.

So, because the decision was made to end the show in early 2011, the creators of the show wanted to make sure it had a solid series finale.  And to plant the seed, they had Miley Stewart reveal her secret about six episodes before the final episode aired.



And what was the event that caused the secret to be revealed?  Well, for one, because Miley was spending so much time as Hannah Montana, it prevented her from taking part in extracurricular activities at school, which in turn had her rejected from every college she applied for.  And there was the instance in which she was interested in a guy named Jesse who begins to date her and he figures out that Miley is Hannah on his own.  The relationship gets complicated and they break up because of it.  So, fed up with how keeping two identities was wreaking havoc on her life, she comes clean on Jay Leno's show where she rips off her wig and plays a song as Miley.

Of course, with the world knowing the truth, Miley's life is forever changed, and when it comes down to the finale, Miley must make a huge choice.  She can fly to Paris, France to film a movie role in a big budget blockbuster which will set her up for life...or she can choose to attend college with Lilly in the fall, and put a hold on her career.



At first Miley tries to convince Lilly to join her in Paris, and put off college for a little while, and Lilly almost agrees to do just that.  But at the last moment, she changes her mind, and the two friends separate to begin brand new chapters in their lives...

...but the twist is that in the last minute of the show, Miley comes back to the United States where she becomes Lilly's roommate in the dorms, basically revealing that at the end of it all, Miley really wanted to experience life as a regular person.

So, the ending of Hannah Montana was quite sweet, and many fans of the show saw it as a perfect ending to the series.

Now, we all know that since Hannah Montana ended, Miley Cyrus basically took a shovel to her alter ego, clubbed her to death, and buried her in the Disney graveyard right next to Shia LeBeouf and Vanessa Hudgens.  She cut her hair short, bleached it blonde, released an album called "Bangerz", and defined the definition of twerking, courtesy of Robin Thicke and a foam finger.



Here's the thing.  Certainly Miley Cyrus is no Hannah Montana.  But that being said, I still think that she is a talented individual who despite the controversy she's found herself in can still rock out a show.  I do think that even though the video had people talking, "Wrecking Ball" was one of her best singles that she's released.  And this upcoming season of "The Voice", she'll actually be one of the judges in the spinning chairs this time around.  And while some may see this as a step backwards for the show, I see it as a good call.  After all, she's grown up in the music industry thanks to her father's country music career, and she's been in the industry herself for a decade.  I think she could be good for the show, but we'll see.

Whatever the case, Hannah Montana had her last hurrah five years ago...but Miley Cyrus still continues on.  No need for her to live in the best of both worlds any longer.

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