TV Series Review
They were ruthlessly separated for six minutes at birth.
But then Liv and Maddie Rooney were joyfully reunited in the maternity ward … and remained two peas in a pod all through their childhood. The twins shared everything: a room, clothes, friends, interests. We can only hope they drew the line at toothbrushes.
But then tweenage Liv had to zip off to Hollywood to become all famous and stuff, and a lot happened in the four years she was away. Now, fresh from her completed gig on Sing It Loud, Liv's back in the familial fold—but things aren't quite like they used to be. Liv is now all sequins and lip gloss; Maddie is high tops and hoedowns.
And yet for all their differences, the two find that they still have at least one thing in common: their love for each other.
Yes, Disney's Liv and Maddie is the sort of show that triggers exactly that kind of sappy, Hallmark-style recap. It's that nice. This is Mouse House television at its Splenda best—sweet and even occasionally satisfying.
Infrequent moments of ever-so-slight crude humor do little more here than weirdly prove that this show isn't at all about pushing the envelope. This is a family show that shows family in a flattering light. Liv and Maddie clearly care for each other. They listen to their well-meaning parents and shepherd their younger brothers. And while that care and shepherding can take some fairly outlandish sitcom turns at times, the heart of every episode is predicated on shared love and understanding. The comedy is gentle, not mean. And while the characters have their quirks and faults, those oddities make them more lovable, not objects of ridicule.
But it may be the way this series pushes back at the typical Disney TV clichés of fame-seeking teens that makes it interesting. Hannah Montana, Austin & Ally, Sonny With a Chance, Shake It Up and The Cheetah Girls movies all go gaga over walking the red carpet. Not Liv and Maddie. See, Liv is trying to leave the world of fame and celebrity, not trying to enter it. She breaks up with her pro skater boyfriend. She struggles with people confusing her television character with who she really is. And, most importantly, she's trying hard to adjust to life after the spotlight—fitting back in with a family she loves. In other words, she's headed home, not to Hollywood.
It's an interesting and gratifying twist. Instead of a regular kid trying to become famous, here's a famous kid trying to become regular—whatever "regular" looks like in the wacky Rooney tribe.
Disney's always encouraged young people to follow their dreams, but the implication is often that those dreams need to be coated with far-away stardust. So it's kinda nice to watch Liv and Maddie show us that sometimes dreams can be found and fulfilled right inside your own home.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Dove Cameron as Liv and Maddie Rooney; Joey Bragg as Joey; Tenzing Norgay Trainor as Parker; Benjamin King as Pete; Kali Rocha as Karen; Jessica Marie Garcia as Willow; Ryan McCartan as Diggie
Paul Asay Paul Asay