[UPDATED WITH RATINGS POST-PREMIERE — see below]
Starring Debby Ryan of The Suite Life on Deck fame, Jessie revolves around an 18-year-old Texan who moves to NYC and becomes the nanny of four children living in a penthouse — Emma (Peyton List), Indian adoptee Ravi (Karan Brar), American adoptee Luke (Cameron Boyce), and African adoptee Zuri (Skai Jackson).
People are already talking about Disney’s newest multiracial family, particularly the portrayal of Ravi. Some think that the promos for the show downplay Ravi’s accent and suggest that he’ll be more than the token South Asian.
Others feel that, especially with the recent success of South Asian American actors/comedians (see this great Slate article on the rise of Indians on TV), we’re long overdue for a South Asian American child star who doesn’t have to play an Indian adoptee or speak in an accent. (BTW, in case you were wondering, Karan Brar, who is best known for his supporting role in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, does not have an accent in real life.)
What do we think at Wide Lantern? Well, we’ll reserve judgment till after we’ve seen the show.
PS Glad you found Wide Lantern — please look around a bit before you go!
UPDATE: So far so good — looks like a fun show (full review soon), and the ratings were good! From TVbythenumbers.com, quoting Disney Channel’s press release, the first episode was the most-watched Friday premiere in three years:
Disney Channel’s original comedy series “Jessie” launched as the network’s most-watched Friday series premiere in three years in Total Viewers (4.6 million), Kids 6-11 (2.3 million/9.2 rating) and Tweens 9-14 (1.8 million/7.6 rating) – since “The Suite Life on Deck” set sail in September 2008 – ranking as TV’s No. 1 telecast at 9 o’clock in the target kid demographics. “Jessie” also delivered an impressive 887,000 Adults 18-49, further augmenting Disney Channel’s kid-driven, family inclusive strategy.