04 May 2013

DVD Season Set Review: "True Jackson, VP": Season 1, Volume 1

Rated: TV-G (US) / PG (Canadian Home Video Rating)
Starring: Keke Palmer, Ashley Argota, and Danielle Bisutti
Released: November 8, 2008 - October 24, 2009 (TV) / September 9, 2011 (DVD)
Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old True Jackson (Keke Palmer, Joyful Noise) just landed the job of a lifetime: being the vice president of Mad Style, one of New York's top fashion companies.  Unfortunately, not all is as it seems.  Her boss Mr. Madigan (Greg Proops, Whose Line Is It Anyway?) is insane, and her nemesis and former VP Amanda Cantwell (Danielle Bisutti) is out to get her at every turn.  Thankfully, she has her best friends Lulu (Ashley Argota) and Ryan (Matt Shively) by her side.  Whether she is fixing up her heartbroken boss with her crazy art teacher, being the queen in a life-sized game of chess, or escorting the snooty teenage model Dakota North (Nathalia Ramos, House of Anubis) during a visit to Mad Style, craziness and hilarity are sure to ensue!

Plots: 4.5/5
Sure, we've all seen this kind of thing before, but it works very well in this case.  Every episode is enthralling in its own way.  Sitcom haters may scoff, but everyone else will find plenty to love here.  The only reason I'm not giving it a perfect score is because Lulu and Ryan had a time or two where they were just annoying.

Production Values: 4.5/5
The sets, costumes, and such are all well-done; however, where it really shines is the acting.  Though everyone here did great, Danielle Bisutti really caught my eye as villainess Amanda Cantwell.  With the right amount of silliness and seriousness, she does amazingly with the role and gives Lizzie McGuire's Kate Sanders a run for her money.  Unfortunately, some errors in the closed captioning, poor music during the closing credits, and a opening title sequence that could have been done better prevent me from giving it a perfect score in this department.

Moral Content: 6+
  • Sex: In one episode, Amanda's dress falls off during a meeting, and, though she is only seen from the shoulders up, it is implied that she is naked; later, a couple of mildly suggestive remarks are made about that incident.
  • Nudity: Along with the implied nudity listed above, Amanda wears some low-cut outfits.  Other ladies, including True, wear off-the-shoulder tops and dresses that show a lot of leg at times.
  • Violence: Mostly slapstick and played for laughs, though an online animation that shows a head exploding--in a cartoony way--and drops of blood is slightly creepy.
  • Drugs: None.
  • Language: Other than one d-word, as bad as it gets is some mild name-calling and occasional slang words for bodily functions.
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: The web animation mentioned in the "Violence" section.
  • Other: It's unrealistic...but, hey: It's television!
Conclusion: As someone who likes family-friendly entertainment, I often find myself drawn to Nickelodeon and Disney Channel productions; though they are sometimes forgettable, I know that I don't have to worry about the kind of offensive content that gets bandied about on most other networks with abandon.  Part of the reason I like sitcoms from those "kiddie" channels is that they remind me of old-school shows, such as Growing Pains or Mork & Mindy.  Well, I'm here to tell you: True Jackson, VP splits the difference between classic TV and the Mouse network, and doesn't resort to the crudity or inanity that iCarly and VICTORiOUS tended to have.  This is the kind of television we need more of; are you listening, Tinseltown?
Score: 4.75/5

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