I have written before that I know more about 1521 C.E. Europe than I do about pop culture in America today. But this magazine of ours has prompted me to look around. I even wrote a post on Lindsay Lohan. Hannah Montana’s name came up recently because she was selling out a concert in Kansas City, close to my hometown. Your niece, my granddaughter, is twelve and she is a big Hannah Montana fan – so I was motivated to learn more.
As I flipped through the cable channels the other day I noticed that Hannah Montana was on the Disney Channel. Until that moment I did not realize there was a TV show of that name. I tuned in for two episodes.
Corny. But corny in the Andy Griffith Mayberry sort of way. The program is definitely aimed at adolsecents, and probably adolescent girls. But I watched two half hour programs. I found myself chuckling at the humor. The premise is clever. A school girl is normal in every way – but she is secretly Hannah Montana, a rock star at night. Her friends at school do not know who she is. She has to keep the secret and keep her cool, even when her classmates are talking about ‘Hannah Montana,’ not knowing that she is amongst them. It is the story of an adolescent Clark Kent.
The essence and strength of the program rests squarely on the shoulders of Miley Cyrus. Her charm reminds me of Kirk Cameron or Michael J. Fox in their teen family sitcoms. There is a natural charisma that follows her around, creating natural beauty, much like snow falling on a forest. In this case it is more like watching early spring blossoms, realizing that new life brings warmth and freshness.
Her Dad, Billy Ray, does a good job – he plays the role of her TV father – but he lets her have the stage. That is a good father – ambitious in his own right – but stepping back for the benefit of his daughter.
2007 saw Hannah Montana rise to the top of concert sales – no one sold more than her brand name. Our local paper had an article on Miss Cyrus, and the October 15, 2007 Time Magazine noted her as well. Both articles commented on the rumors of her pregnancy – both discounted the audacity of the gossip mill, and both articles flattered her with commentary on concert ticket sales. 2008 has seen a rise in her popularity and a parallel rise in the audacity of the gossip mill. Miley Cyrus, however, is still around – and now she has her face on a lunch box.
This character, Hannah Montana, has staying power. A new generation is arriving on the scene. And we are fortunate to have Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter Miley to lead the way.