Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack” Breaks the Mold


Disney Channel

“Andi Mack” is the first Disney Channel to feature a homosexual character, among other progressive themes.

Disney Channel

Caitlyn Truong, Photojournalist

Disney Channel is famous for its humorous, iconic sitcoms, such as Hannah Montana, That’s So Raven, Lizzie McGuire, and more. Disney Channel is also famous for staying safe with non controversial storylines, characters, and themes. However, with its first homosexual character and discussions about teenage pregnancy, Disney Channel’s newest series Andi Mack strays away from its usually rigid mold.

The protagonist of Andi Mack is young teenager, Andi herself who discovers that her older sister is actually her biological mother, and the mother Andi had been raised by was truly her grandmother. This discovery is the plot of the first episode and season, immediately distinguishing Andi Mack from the typical Disney Channel sitcoms. Although teenage pregnancy is not explicitly stated, it is undoubtedly a serious theme present throughout the first season. It is even a message often avoided by other networks, let alone by Disney Channel with its youthful audience. From the beginning, Andi Mack established itself as a unique approach to the reality of life without stereotypical families or bland jokes. This risk, however, was met enthusiastically by its critics and 1.2 million viewers.

Andi Mack additionally features several usually underrepresented familial aspects; Andi’s family is Asian-American, and Andi has a single mother who refuses to disclose information about her father. Asian actors are extremely inadequately represented in Hollywood; a few Asian-American characters recur in Disney Channel’s other shows, however this is the first sitcom which focuses on an entirely Asian-American family. Single parenthood is also a new aspect for Andi Mack; nearly all of Disney Channel’s previous shows feature a dysfunctional yet complete family. Andi Mack introduces a new type of family dynamic unmatched with previous shows on the network.

Season 2 of Andi Mack began with the development of the homosexuality of a main character, Cyrus. Cyrus, one of Andi’s best friends, spent Season 1 helping Andi attract the attention of her crush, Jonah. In Season 2, Cyrus realizes that he has feelings for Jonah as well, and tearfully confesses to his friend, “I feel weird…and different.” His friend responds, “Cyrus, you’ve always been weird. But you’re no different.”

This coming-out scene is unquestionably a first for Disney Channel and moved several of its viewers, who praised the show for being modern and addressing the LGBTQ+ community to its young audience. However, it has also been met with criticism and was banned from airing in Kenya, according to Deadline.

Nonetheless, Andi Mack has become one of Disney Channel’s most popular shows and was ranked as one of 2017’s top television series for young girls, according to the Huffington Post. Angelina Nguyen (10), a viewer of the show, remarks, “Andi Mack is really making history with its first gay character. I’m proud of Disney Channel for making such a huge step.”

To watch as Andi Mack continues to progress Disney Channel in a new direction, new episodes air every Friday at eight o’clock.