If I tell you that both made-in-Utah “Andi Mack” and “Jane the Virgin” are going to have happy endings, it’s not exactly a spoiler. C’mon, you didn’t expect unhappy endings, did you? Especially not after what happened in their second-to-last episodes.
(No finale spoilers here. But we’re going to talk a bit about those penultimate episodes.) As they conclude, both shows give fans what they’d hoped for ... with a few complications along the way.
“Andi Mack” (Friday, 6 p.m, Disney Channel) • All 57 episodes of this series were filmed right here in Utah, and it has done the state proud. “Andi” has been entertaining and engaging for kids and their parents, and it’s had a lot of important things to say.
This series broke the Disney Channel mold when it premiered. Andi (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) learned as she was turning 13 that Bex (Lilan Bowden) was not her older sister — she was her mother, who gave birth to her as an unwed teenager. The people Andi grew up thinking were her parents were actually her grandparents.
Then she met her father, Bowie (Trent Garrett). And while Andi and her middle-school friends were dealing with young love, bullying, religion, sexism, racism, mental health, death and your everyday teen angst, Bex and Bowie were dealing with each other — a sweet romance that (finally) reached a (surprise) wedding last week.
Which leads to a party in this week’s finale. There’s also big news for Andi about her future, and developments for both Buffy (Sofia Wylie) and Jonah (Asher Angel).
The show made headlines when it introduced the first regular gay character ever on a Disney Channel series — Cyrus (Joshua Rush) came out to his friends and they, without hesitation, gave him their love and support. Which is exactly the sort of good behavior “Andi Mack” has consistently modeled for its young viewers.
There’s a sweet, innocent development in the finale for Cyrus that will give the homophobes heartburn, but ... no spoilers.
“Andi Mack” remains the Disney Channel’s highest-rated show. Despite denials from channel execs, I have a nagging feeling that the series’ end was hastened by the arrest of the actor who had a recurring role as Andi’s grandfather on charges that he tried to arrange to meet a teenage boy for sex. But the folks at Disney are quick to point out that hit shows like “Lizzie Maguire” and “Even Stevens” also lasted just three years. Of course, it’s also true that “Hannah Montana” ran four seasons and produced 41 more episodes than Andi, for what that’s worth.
Whatever the case, “Andi Mack” has reached a natural ending point that doesn’t feel forced. And everyone involved should be proud of the work they’ve done.
“Jane the Virgin” (Wednesday, 8 p.m., The CW/Ch. 30) • Based on a Venezuelan telenovela, this show began with the ludicrous premise that 23-year-old Jane (Gina Rodriguez) was accidentally, artificially inseminated and became a mother before she lost her virginity. And over the past five years, we’ve had everything from love triangles to evil twins, murders to a husband returned from the dead. And it’s a comedy.
Both Jane the character and “Jane” the series have been sweet, earnest and lots of fun. And fans who signed on to Team Rafael (Justin Baldoni) or Team Michael (Brett Dier) became incredibly passionate about who was better for Jane.
Well, we learned last week that Jane and Michael are finished for good — in an episode that also featured the, um, sort of hilarious death of the villain, Rose (Bridget Regan).
Jane and Rafe are finally supposed to get married in the finale. (It follows an hourlong retrospective clip show that airs Wednesday at 7 p.m. on CW/Ch. 30.) I’ll just tell you that there are some surprising developments — along with a lot of laughs.
No, there aren’t a lot of surprises, but it gives Jane and fans the ending they deserve. And, as Jane’s grandmother Alba (Ivonne Call) explains to a young Jane in a flashback early in the episode, that’s the way telenovelas work:
“They always have a ending, but it’s a happy one. The good people get what they deserve. And there’s usually a wedding.”
Oh, and fans are finally going to find out who the narrator of “Jane the Virgin” is. I’d tell you right now … but that would be a spoiler.