Kids want to know what life in the White House is really like. Can you order a banana split from the kitchen staff at 3 o'clock in the morning? Does a game of hide-and-seek actually put dozens of secret rooms and passageways at your disposal? Movies and TV shows such as The American President and The West Wing have already offered a somewhat stuffy, grown-up take on life at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Now the Disney Channel is electing to loosen things up with its tween comedy, Cory in the House
A spin-off of That's So Raven, this series finds Raven Baxter's wily little brother Cory (Kyle Massey) living in the nation's most famous digs. With Dad (Rondell Sheridan) working as the president's head chef, Cory gets the unenviable task of babysitting the spoiled-but-cute first daughter, who has the entire staff wrapped around her finger.
If only Cory could land the same quantity time with his not-so-secret crush Meena Paroom (Maiara Walsh), the beautiful daughter of a Bahavian ambassador (yes, it's a made-up country) who befriends him on his first day at Washington Preparatory Academy. She's just one of the many privileged kids with whom Cory rubs shoulders every day. They're the children of senators, dignitaries and Supreme Court justices. These kids arrive at school via limo ... or helicopter. And when they fail to mind their manners, it can turn into an international incident.
Naturally, Cory finds himself at the center of most of those incidents. Sometimes it's by accident. Other times it's a consequence of poor choices, such as when he tricks the president's daughter into letting his rock band play on national TV for her father's fundraising concert. But it's not always Cory in the wrong. Meena disobeys and lies to her father—offenses that get smoothed over after our commander in chief advises Dad to bend a little. There's also name-calling, a few mildly questionable phrases ("shut up," "what the heck," etc.) and the occasional dose of bathroom humor.
For fans of the Disney Channel, this is typical fare. It's silly, illogical, sometimes corny, but ultimately redeeming. Despite a few flubs, the show regularly concludes with clear lessons about telling the truth, working with others and kids being proud of who they are, regardless of their backgrounds or where they live. Even if it's at the White House.
As for those age-old hide-and-seek and 3 a.m. banana split questions, it looks like we'll have to wait for a probing History Channel documentary to know for sure.
Episodes Reviewed: Jan. 12, 19, 26, Feb. 2, 9, 2007