Something to Talk About: “Andi Mack” is Back on Disney Channel

October 27, 2017

Parents, Popular Culture, Teens

One of the best new shows on TV in 2017 is one you may not have heard of, unless you have tweens in your life. “Andi Mack,” Disney Channel’s hit series about a middle school girl who finds out that her big sister is really her mom, debuted this spring and has become the #1 TV series in its time period among 9-14 year-olds.  The show has generated 33 million total views to date on digital platforms and has had an overwhelmingly positive response from viewers, critics and pro-social organizations. 

Why all the accolades? Created and executive produced by acclaimed writer Terri Minsky ("Lizzie McGuire"), "Andi Mack" is a funny, relatable coming-of-age story that’s full of surprises. Andi’s world is turned inside out when her free-spirited big sister Bex reveals that she’s really Andi’s mom, and that Andi’s parents are really her grandparents. Along with her loving but complicated family, best friends Cyrus and Buffy and her friend/crush, Jonah Beck, we follow Andi as she tries to figure out where she fits in and who she really is.

We are so proud to serve as expert content advisors to “Andi Mack” and Disney Channel, and applaud the network and the creative forces behind the show for bringing such complex and authentic portrayals of young people and family relationships to life.

The show is the ideal conversation-starter for tweens and their parents, mentors and champions. It has the perfect mix of comedy, plot twists and depth to keep viewers--adults and the tweens in their lives—guessing, talking about it, and coming back for more. Andi is easy for young viewers to relate to: she’s quirky, crafty and always figures out how to handle the disappointments that come her way.

The show dives into some of life’s most important topics, but always with optimism, kindness, and humor: what is the true definition of family? What does it really mean to be a friend, a sibling, a parent, a daughter? How do you tell someone you love the truth if you know it’s going to hurt? How do you stand up for who you really are? Why did Bex cry when Andi finally called her “mom” last season?

In season two, Andi continues to figure out friendships, family and how she really feels about Jonah. Cyrus begins to realize that he, too, has feelings for Jonah. Cyrus’s story arc is the first time The Disney Channel has depicted a character's journey to self-discovery as a gay individual.

When a favorite TV character deals with complex situations on screen, it helps viewers think and talk about how they would handle similar situations–before they’re in it. It’s also a great jumping-off point for honest conversations between young people and the supportive adults in their lives about trust, communication, relationships, future goals, identity and family.

The National Campaign has spent two decades supporting media leaders in telling stories that matter. There have been historic declines in teen pregnancy over that time.  Part of the credit for this national success story belongs to TV shows that inform, entertain and spark meaningful conversations that help give young people the power to decide their futures.

Tune in tonight and start talking! New episodes of "Andi Mack" premiere each Friday (8:00 p.m. EDT) on Disney Channel. Catch up on the DisneyNOW app, which has the entire first season. On Saturday, October 28, the premiere of season two will be available on Video on Demand at 12:01 a.m. PDT.

Authored by: Marisa Nightingale

As The National Campaign’s Senior Media Advisor, Marisa Nightingale leads key partnerships with entertainment media executives to help harness the power of popular media to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy. She and her colleagues provide expertise, information, and hands-on help to media decision-makers whose content is most popular with teens, young adults, and their parents.

Marisa joined the Campaign in 1996, shortly after its founding, and is the architect of its nationally-recognized Entertainment Media program. She served as the program’s Senior Director for 12 years and continues to advise on strategy and cultivate message integration partnerships with outlets including NBC, FOX, ABC, The CW, Hulu, Marie Claire, Family Circle, Essence, Latina and more, with a special emphasis on reaching Latino audiences. Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaigns developed under her direction have won multiple awards and garnered millions of dollars in free placements. She played a leadership role in the conception, development and launch of "Thanks, Birth Control," a social media effort that engages individuals and organizations in a positive public conversation about all that birth control makes possible.

Prior to joining The National Campaign, Marisa was the Communications Director at Share Our Strength (SOS), a leading national voice in the fight against hunger. At SOS, she worked with journalists, chefs, corporate partners, and community organizations to address the causes and consequences of hunger and poverty. Marisa is a guest lecturer at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and is a seasoned speaker on the role of media in preventing teen and unplanned pregnancy and promoting social change. She has served as a Campaign spokesperson on The Today Show, The View, The Ricki Lake Show, NPR, USA Today, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. Marisa graduated with honors from Yale University and lives in Washington, DC with her husband, two children and a lively mutt.

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