19 October 2013

DVD Review: "Shake It Up": Mix It Up, Laugh It Up

Rated: TV-G (US) / PG: "Not Recommended for Young Children" (Canada)
Starring: Bella Thorne, Zendaya, and Roshon Fegan
Released: November 7, 2010 - August 12, 2012 (Disney Channel premieres) / June 18, 2013 (DVD release)
Synopsis: Cecilia "CeCe" Jones (Bella Thorne, Little Monk) and Raquel "Rocky" Blue (Zendaya, Dancing with the Stars) are two BFFs who decide to audition for their favorite show, Shake It Up, Chicago! They're ecstatic when they end up on the show...but fame ends up bringing some unwanted consequences.  Between a stalker fan (Kerris Dorsey, Moneyball) who wants to replace CeCe on the show, a modeling agency that wants Rocky to leave all her friends behind to start a career, and the two of them both having embarrassing moments on live television, things are bound to get crazy! Add to that their sworn enemies and fellow dancers Gunther (Kenton Duty, Amazing Love: The Story of Hosea) and Tinka (Caroline Sunshine, Marmaduke), as well as their insane siblings Flynn (Davis Cleveland) and Ty (Roshon Fegan, Dancing with the Stars), and you've got a recipe for both laughter and dancing!

Artistic Merit

Plots: 5/5
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: No one knows how to make a sitcom like the Disney Channel.  Even Nickelodeon's best efforts only come somewhat close at best.  Though some of the plots are what you'd expect from such a show, they end up working quite well, and it's all-around fun.

Production Values: 4/5
The actors and actresses, especially the two leads, are awesome, and the dancing is great.  Where it fails a bit is the music.  Though the tunes heard in the actual episodes are moderately good at worst, the background music on the DVD menus is terrible, so much so that I was glad I watched the majority of the episodes on my iPad.  Don't be surprised if you get the urge to select your menu options as soon as possible so you don't have to hear any more of that garbage than necessary.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
As you'd expect, positive morals abound in this series.  Rocky and CeCe learn the meaning of true friendship, and constantly look out for and encourage one another.  Lying and profiting from others' embarrassment are both vilified.

Sexual Content: 3.75/5
There are a few "PG"-level quips in these seven episodes.  For example: When CeCe describes an embarrassing moment that took place before the events of the show that caused her to lose her shirt, Rocky tells her, "CeCe, you were ten; no one even knew you were a girl." CeCe quickly replies, "I knew!" When a mom is asked if she is expecting, she says, "That factory's closed." A discussion on how to avoid stage fright involves picturing everyone naked, which leads to quips about "more clothes" on an unattractive guy, and, when CeCe is in the spotlight, Rocky repeats her advice, and CeCe says that she is picturing someone naked, "but it's me."

Nudity: 4.25/5
Occasional short skirts and off-the-shoulder tops are as bad as it gets for the most part; however, one scene has a random magazine with a lady--not any of the characters from the show--in a bikini.

Language: 4.5/5
A character says, "Oh, my Godfather!" twice in one episode.  (She ends up being a villainess.)  There is also some name-calling.

Violence: 4/5
Typical sitcom slapstick; no blood, no gore, all played for laughs.

Drugs: 5/5
None.  (This is Disney Channel, folks!)

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 4/5
The stalker fan in "Copy Kat It Up" is a bit creepy.

Other: 3.5/5
The final episode of the set, "Embarrass It Up," references and shows the girls' flatulence and sneezing.  An intentionally exaggerated scene for each one features people being "blown away" in one and covered in goo in the other.  Jokes are made at their expense, though they end up realizing the error of their ways.


On June 18, 2013, DVDs of four Disney Channel Shows were released: Austin & Ally, Good Luck Charlie, Lab Rats, and, yes, Shake It Up.  Of those four, only the latter one had received the DVD treatment previously; ten episodes were released with the Disney Channel Original Movie Geek Charming.  Though the entire series is likely available on iTunes, fans who prefer to have a physical copy should definitely check out both DVDs.  If you're someone who doesn't have cable, this would serve as a good primer to see what the series is all about.  If you're not into Disney Channel shows...why are you even reading this review?
Unfortunately, with Disney Channel's track record, we may never get an entire season set on DVD or Blu-Ray of any of the network's shows; this very likely may be the closest we come, other than on iTunes or Amazon Instant Video.  Though the episodes contained within are fun and entertaining, some fans may rather stick with watching Rocky and CeCe on TV; you'll have to decide for yourself whether this is worth purchasing or renting.

Score: 4.5/5

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