Lydster: Andi Mack finale

Shut up, Jonah!

Andi Mack
Buffy, Cyrus, Andi, Jonah
My daughter and I often watched the Disney program Andi Mack over the past three years. Given some of the painful programming I deigned to watch with her over the years, this wasn’t bad.

The premise was about a girl (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) who finds out that her older sister Bex (Lilan Bowden) is actually her mother, and Celia (Lauren Tom), who she thought was her mother, was her grandmother. Very soap opera, admittedly, but the evolution of the relation of Andi and Bex was pivotal. The other focus was the relationship among Andi’s best friends Cyrus (Joshua Rush), Buffy (Sofia Wylie) and Jonah (Asher Angel) .

I love watching the show with my daughter. She grouses about various characters, most notably Jonah, who was well meaning but totally clueless when it came to attempts at romance, with Andi, seeming mean girl Amber (Emily Skinner) and deaf girl Libby (played by a deaf actress, Millicent Simmonds).

I’ll admit Jonah could be clueless, most notably when the core four salvaged designer clothes from a dumpster and gave them away. when confronted by the police, he said way too much. Shut up, Jonah! My daughter also complained about Andi, when it seemed like the typical teenage behavior I was seeing at home.

In the penultimate episode, Bex has finally married Andi’s dad Bowie (Trent Garrett). For the final episode, more storylines are resolved. My daughter was pleased when Cyrus started a relationship; she was so surprised, though, that she literally fell off the sofa. When Cyrus came out as gay to Buffy, and eventually the others, the group One Million Moms wanted the show cancelled. It obviously didn’t work. Andi Mack was Disney’s most-watched series over the past three years.

My daughter was bemused/confounded by her mother. My wife thought the boyfriends of Buffy (Garren Stitt as Marty) and Cyrus (Luke Mullen as TJ, named for two musicians) were the same character. She didn’t understand why we weren’t appalled that he was two-timing with Buffy and Cyrus. The two young men ARE both white and fairly tall.

As the article notes, the breakthroughs in the storylines for Andi Mack were fairly modest. But for an entity as Disney, it was progress.

V is for Victory blindness (ABCW)

The battle against bigotry and inequality continues.

ANDI MACK – Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack” stars Sofia Wylie as Buffy, Joshua Rush as Cyrus, Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Andi and Asher Angel as Jonah. (Disney Channel/Craig Sjodiin)
In any civil rights struggle, it is natural to want to celebrate the victories, the accomplishments. Yet when I first heard writer Michelangelo Signorile talk about “victory blindness,” probably on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, I knew immediately that it was fundamentally true, and not just with regard to LGBTQ justice.

In this 2015 HuffPo interview, Mike says, “Victory blindness is …a term I use to describe the phenomenon in which we focus on the wins, so starved for validation, that we allow them to blind us to the continued bigotry we face. We become enthralled, intoxicated — spellbound by even a little bit. The effect is that it obscures our reality — literally our vision — and it makes us lose our gumption, not wanting to rock the boat, fearful that we’ll lose what we’ve gained and not get what little bit we think we need, when in fact we need a lot and we should be strong and confident knowing our allies will stay with us.”

I would add that engaging in victory blindness often leads to great surprise and disappointment when there is the inevitable backlash. Signorile was speaking specifically about LGBTQ rights. After the victory of marriage equality being confirmed by the Supreme Court comes a county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue some marriage licenses, e.g.

More recently, the US attorney general was asked if federal workers blatantly discriminate against LGBTQ people. Jeff Sessions wasn’t sure.

I think America suffered victory blindness in another arena, BIG TIME, when it elected Barack Obama. Racism is solved! We’re in a “post-racial” society! That did not quite turn out to be the case.

I suspect that the optimism following the November 2017 not-evil election results won’t lead to overconfidence. The battle against bigotry and inequality continues. Perhaps November 8 will, in someone’s words, empower and excite, not satisfy and placate.

Still, I was oddly pleased to see the so-called One Million Moms announce a Disney boycott over a gay character. My family happens to watch Andi Mack regularly, and the one boy’s feeling of jealousy that his male friend is interested in the girl who’s the title character rather than himself is just a small part of the texture of the series. The boycott seems to have had little impact on the enthusiastic fan base of the program.

For ABC Wednesday