Disney Channel’s new show, Andi Mack, centers around 13-year-old Andi (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) who finds out a life-changing secret from her older sister, Rebecca “Bex” (Lilan Bowden). The pilot centers Andi’s 13th birthday in which Bex returns home after traveling the world to settle down. Ignoring her mother, Bex decides that it’s time to tell Andi the truth. She reveals that she’s not Andi’s sister…but instead her mother and that their parents are actually Andi’s grandparents. Andi was, in fact, the result of a teenage pregnancy. The episode ends with Andi beginning her journey searching for her father, a matter which Bex refuses to talk about.
Andi Mack is the type of Disney Channel show that the last generation has hoped for and the younger generation was deprived of. It’s a lighthearted, funny program that covers serious topics and engaging conversations. The show itself is targeted towards older audiences and is already getting praise for the twist no one saw coming. According to the creator, the show won’t as much talk about sex-ed but focus on how their lives and relationships now are shifted.
“… I can’t say for a fact that we’ll never talk about sex, because we talk about a lot of stuff on this show I wasn’t expecting to. We don’t specifically say the words ‘pregnant teenager,’ but we have conversations about invasion of privacy and how she left home. “- Creator, Terri Minsky for TV Line.
Even if the show doesn’t say the words “pregnant teenager”, the topic itself has never been discussed on the network. It’s honestly a topic that’s very taboo in general to discuss, especially on television. According to the CDC, a total of 249,078 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a birth rate of 24.2 per 1,000 women in 2014. Even though the rate of teenage pregnancy has dropped, there are still teens unaware of the necessary ways to prevent pregnancy.The show is offering a brilliant approach to start the conversation and leaves people wondering how they will continue with it.
Aside from that, it’s also the first show on the channel to star a majority Asian-American family. The pilot alone featured jokes about Nickelback and periods. It shows the real world without the crazy antics and glamour. More kids can relate to strict parents and middle school crushes. It’s the start of a new chapter for the Mickey Mouse company, hopefully with shows that break even more barriers. For now, we can all only enjoy Andi Mack and the new light it’s bringing to children’s television.