Starring: Demi Lovato, Tiffany Thornton, and Brandon Mychal Smith
Released: 2009 (Disney Channel premieres)
Sonny Munroe's (Demi Lovato) dream has come true! After winning a contest, she is leaving her home state of Wisconsin, and moving to Hollywood, where she will join the cast of her favorite sketch comedy show, So Random! Upon arriving, she finds that not all is well in Tinseltown; she shares a dressing room with Tawni Hart (Tiffany Thornton), a stuck-up, self-obsessed diva, her two male co-stars are pure goofballs, and there's a major rivalry with the cast of MacKenzie Falls, a teen drama that films in the same studio! In this first season, Sonny and friends deal with the bratty daughter (G. Hannelius, Dog With a Blog) of the studio head, throw an underground prom, make an exclusive Hollywood club in the basement of their studio, and lots more!
Nobody makes a sitcom like Disney Channel; that's just the way it is. Though this show centers around a sketch comedy, the show-within-a-show plot thread is more in the style of Home Improvement than All That. Still, the hilarity is insane; as absurd and goofy as the characters act, it's hard not to laugh. Positive elements also abound: friends sticking together, people uniting for a cause they believe in, respect for one's parents and others' privacy, etc. The lack of profanity, drug use, nudity, and sexual content only augments this inaugural season.
My complaints are all minor, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't address them: Some of the humor is a bit disturbing, but, only in a "PG" way. There is also a bit of bathroom humor, such as using Smelma Pitts as a fake name. The closed captioning was strangely absent until I was halfway through the season; was that an iTunes glitch? Two other issues: The last two episodes were apparently out of order; the penultimate one has clips from the one that came after it. Not only that, but, as most Disney Channel fans know, Demi Lovato's health issues caused this show to end prematurely, which means that it probably won't reach a satisfying conclusion.
I've watched this show in bits and pieces over the years; in fact, all five of the episodes on the Sonny's Big Break DVD were included in this set, which meant I ended up sitting through them for the second or third time. Still, the majority of them were completely new to me, and I enjoyed pretty much all of them. Negative moments aside, this Mouse network creation is a definite winner. If you like Disney sitcoms, and haven't seen this one...what are you waiting for? Go buy it on iTunes, NOW!