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10 Reasons To Watch Disney’s Andi Mack

From Wizards of Waverly Place to The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, I think we could all agree that “Old Disney” will always be superior to “New Disney.” Coming from someone born more than halfway through 2000, even I am willing to accept that. However, there is ONE show that just might make you think if “New Disney” is really all that bad.

Andi Mack, from Lizzie McGuire’s own creator Terri Minsky, tells the story of a teenage girl whose life turned upside down on her 13th birthday. I would mention why exactly, but that might just spoil the first episode for you. If you really want to find out why Andi Mack has become Disney’s new IT show, then check out the following. Just a warning though, watch out for spoilers.

The Mack Family celebrating Chinese New Year

1. Asian American Family Lead

As sad as it is that this is a Disney first, I personally think that this is something worth celebrating. Throughout the show, we get to see the Mack family celebrate their culture by participating in events like the Chinese New Year and the Harvest Moon Festival. Both being things Disney doesn’t show on its platform often – or ever. Compared to other Disney shows, I think it’s nice to finally see a family truly embrace their culture and heritage.

2. Teenage Pregnancy Plot

A teenage pregnancy? In a Disney show? Andi Mack is just full of firsts. In the first episode, Andi finds out that her older sister is actually her biological mother and the people she believed to be her parents are actually her grandparents. The show itself doesn’t necessarily acknowledge the fact that Andi was the result of a teenage pregnancy but it’s there. Plus getting to see Andi meet and bond with her father is probably one of the cutest things in the world.

3. Mental Health

Believe it or not, the portrayal of mental unhealthiness is portrayed in more than one character on the show. Jonah Beck, who is portrayed as a perfectly happy boy, actually suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks. After his first panic attack, he begs Cyrus’ dad (who is a therapist) to not tell any of his friends about what had happened because he believes that they will think differently of him. Cyrus Goodman, the son of 4 therapists, also suffers from minor panic attacks. His type of panic attacks are a little less obvious as opposed to Jonah’s but they’re just as valid and deserve to be mentioned. And lastly Amber – the mean girl wanting to change for the better – attends therapy because of her parents constant bickering. When Cyrus finds out Amber is attending therapy, she begs him to keep quiet. Wanting to keep therapy a secret is common among most people but it’s something that should change. Shows like Andi Mack could truly spark that change.

Cyrus during his bar mitzvah

4. Jewish Lead

Maybe this is just me but seeing Cyrus Goodman’s bar mitzvah being shown in full detail wasn’t something I knew I needed until it happened. Cyrus is one of the show’s main characters (and a total sweetheart) and so to see him proudly own his newfound manhood is extremely heartwarming. I’m sure a lot of Jewish kids feel the same. Also fun fact: Joshua Rush (who plays Cyrus) is actually Jewish himself! He told TabletMag that he practically nagged Terri Minsky about adding Cyrus’ bar mitzvah until she caved – and I’m really glad she did.

Cyrus coming out to Buffy

5. Openly Gay Lead

Not only is Cyrus Goodman Jewish but he has also made history as Disney’s first ever LGBTQ+ storyline. As someone who has seen the show since the very beginning, watching Cyrus’ journey has been really special. From admitting he had a crush on a boy to his best friends in season 2 to living his own truth in season 3, I kind of feel like a proud parent whenever he shows up in a scene. In regards to parents, Cyrus’ coming out has evoked many conversations between parents and their children which is actually extremely crucial. It has also allowed LGBTQ+ kids, just like Cyrus, feel as if they have someone they could look up to. Joshua Rush, who plays Cyrus, recalls working with GLAAD, LogoTV, and other organizations in preparation for this scene. He wanted to do the scene justice and honestly I think we could all agree he, Sofia Wiley, and Peyton Elizabeth Lee clearly did just that.

Buffy reuniting with her mother

6. Military Family

Let me just say that watching Buffy Driscoll reunite with her mother made me bawl like ababy and I’m not even sorry. As a military daughter who goes through the challenges of having her mother overseas, Buffy also happens to be one of the most inspirational characters on the show. This strong-willed girl takes nothing from no one and I think everygirl out there watching (or anyone really) could really use a role model like her. Throughoutthe first two seasons, we see Buffy be the competitive girl she is but we don’t exactly find out why until the tenth episode of season two. When her friend asks her why she always wants to prove she’s strong, she says she does it because of her mother. I’m sure a lot of military kids feel the exact same type of responsibility and determination as she does.

7. Sexism

Because Jefferson Middle School has no girls basketball team, Buffy Driscoll has no choice but to try out for the boys basketball team. As the only girl on the team, she has to deal with the sexist team captain (who is in the process of getting redeemed). In a society where girls are still sometimes told they can’t do certain things, this storyline could not be anymore perfect. Throughout season two, we see Buffy trying to adapt to this new environment. Things aren’t necessarily going great for her, but it’s her perseverance that truly stands out. She’s a natural born leader and I’m really excited to see more of that in season three. Especially considering the fact that she has taken the responsibility of starting her own girls basketball team.

Buffy, Andi, and Cyrus wearing prison uniforms to challenge the school dress code

8. Standing Up For What You Believe In

No one could beat Terri Minsky at creating perfectly timed storylines. As today’s youth learn to find and use their voices, the Andi Mack kids do as well. From challenging the unfair dress code to the ignorant comments about Buffy’s curls, it’s relieving to see kids standing up for what they believe in. Because kids are so young, adults tend to overlook their opinions and shove them aside. This results in kids not voicing their opinions on topics that are important to them which does good to no one. Teaching kids to challenge ignorant and unfair systems is a good way to help them be independent.

9. Learning Disabilities

T.J meeting Cyrus for the first time.

Remember the sexiest team captain I mentioned earlier? That’s T.J Kippen for you. The so called confident jock is actually a not-so-scary basketball guy who just so happens to have “math dyslexia” a.k.a dyscalculia. Like most kids with learning disabilities, T.J is ashamed of something he simply cannot control. He blames himself for not understanding and thinks he’s stupid which is far from the truth. People with learning disabilities are totally capable of understanding the subjects in which they have difficulties with. It simply takes learning that said subject in a different way that works for them. One of my favorite scenes in the whole show is definitely the one where T.J confides in Cyrus about his feelings. As T.J tells Cyrus he “needs a new brain”, Cyrus tells him that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with him. Cyrus’ words are exactly what everyone struggling with a learning disability needed to hear.

Cyrus with 3 out of his 4 parents

10. “Non-Traditional” Families

I don’t know if it’s just me but I’m kind of tired of seeing picture perfect families on tv. Don’t get me wrong. I think every type of family is valid, but I also think most “broken” or “nontraditional” families don’t get much representation. This is another reason why I love Andi Mack so much. First of all, Andi was literally raised by her grandparents after being a result of a teen pregnancy. Most people would think that their relationship would be a mess after trying to adapt to a new change – and trust me it was for a while. However, the Mack family has got to be one of my favorite families in all of television history.

Cyrus’ family is another one of the “nontraditional” families on the show. Cyrus’ biological parents are divorced and since then have remarried. He mentions a couple of times how he’s practically being raised by four individuals. We don’t get to see many divorced families on Disney Channel – or anywhere – so I think it’s sort of nice seeing this change.

And lastly, back in point three I mentioned Amber, the girl attending therapy because of her parents. Because Amber’s parents are not currently in a good place, Amber has to suffer some of the consequences that come along with that. I think it’s important for kids to know that not all families are as perfect as they seem – and that’s okay. These “broken” and “nontraditional” families as as valid as all the others and need to be represented.

You can watch Andi Mack every Friday at 8pm et/pt on Disney Channel

Also, on a little personal note:

Quick appreciation for the cast of Andi Mack: Peyton Elizabeth Lee, Joshua

Rush, Sofia Wylie, Asher Angel, Emily Skinner, Lilan Bowden, Lauren Tom,

Stoney Westmoreland, Luke Mullen, and Trent Garrett. Also a quick

appreciation to the

writers, producers, directors, and everyone involved.

Thank you for creating a series that means so much to me.

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