Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
This photo released by Disney Channel shows Debby Ryan, left, and Jillian Rose Reed, in "Acting With the Frenemy," a new episode of "Jessie," airing on Friday, April 27, 2014, (7:30 PM - 8:00 PM ET/PT), on the Disney Channel. The title character of Disney Channel's "Jessie," starring Ryan, becomes engaged in a four-episode arc that will conclude the season this fall. (AP Photo/Disney Channel, Tony Rivetti)
Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’ breaks romantic ground
Television » The title character is getting married this fall.
First Published Apr 23 2014 11:45 am • Last Updated Apr 23 2014 05:51 pm

Los Angeles • The title character of "Jessie" heads in an unprecedented direction for a Disney Channel series: toward the altar.

In a four-episode arc that will conclude the season this fall, 22-year-old Jessie Prescott dives into a whirlwind romance and accepts her boyfriend’s proposal of marriage.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

It’s the first time a lead character on the children’s TV channel has become engaged, said Adam Bonnett, Disney Channel executive vice president of original programming.

"Jessie is an adult, and we felt we could tackle this in a way that still feels appropriate for our audience," Bonnett said. The Disney Channel focuses on children ages 6 to 11, with "Jessie" also attracting 9-to-14-year-old "tween" viewers among its average weekly audience of 2.9 million viewers.

It ranks among the top five series for children and younger teenagers, according to Nielsen company figures.

Debby Ryan stars as the young Texas woman who moves to New York City to pursue acting and becomes the nanny for an affluent family with children adopted from India, Africa and America.

The budding relationship between Jessie and her new love, 25-year-old Brooks (Pierson Fode), is handled chastely, as befits a Disney project aimed at youngsters. The couple are shown bonding over picnics in Central Park and on movie dates and in other such innocent moments.

"The way we deal with this romance is very pure Disney fairy tale," Bonnett said, and one with a surprise ending.

Ryan, who will turn 21 on May 13, said she is far from tying the knot with her boyfriend of a year, Twenty One Pilots musician Josh Dun. Her focus is on her career, including directing her first episode of "Jessie" this season and finishing an album she plans to release in June.

But Jessie’s decision to marry young is not out of step with her and Dun’s social circle.


story continues below
story continues below

"In the last year, we have seen close friends, five of them, get engaged, five. … One couple is getting married next month and they are both 20, a year younger than me," Ryan said.

She sees marriage and commitment as "delicate" topics for the young viewers who watch her character for clues to growing up: "Your principal character is deciding whether or not she should start her life with a man."

Although romance is not something young viewers necessarily can relate to, Bonnett said, there are elements of the story that can have meaning for them.

"Our audience isn’t dealing with somebody proposing to them, but they are dealing with choices they have to make in their life, and thinking things through, following their heart and wanting to make the right choice," he said.

Jessie and Ryan were the right combination to break ground for the channel, he said. Viewers have watched Jessie "blossom" and have seen the actress grow up over the past half-dozen years on Disney Channel programs including "The Suite Life on Deck" and the TV movie "16 Wishes."

The actress has her own firm views on what saying "I do" represents.

"It’s not about the dress, it’s not about the wedding. It’s about the marriage. That’s something we lose sight of when we’re so young and all we want to do is dress up and play fairy tale," Ryan said.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.