At the movie rental store the other day I found a DVD of some Hannah Montana videos which included an extra of Miley Cyrus’ audition tapes, which I had to rent. Partially because working with the wonderful Miguel Gutierrez last year turned me on to the strange wonder of audition tapes and screen tests and partially just because I have way too much time on my hands to research the hell out of this show.
I’m glad I did America, because I got to see one of the weirdest, most ultra-contemporary series of interconnected storylines of all time.
Miley originally auditioned for the role of Lilly, the friend, then switched over to auditioning for the lead role (which was named Zoe until they changed it to Miley once she and her dad was cast).
She’s terribly young in this video (well, she’s still terribly young, really. Hence the Perez Hilton controversy of late which Adrienne Truscott, American Choreographer just caught me up on) which makes me want to point out that to the adults out there that one has to remember that this whole fame thing for her started, like, 5 years ago tops.
But, the main thing I noticed in all this is seeing her audition scenes they later used in early Hannah Montana episodes, especially the song she sings with her dad late in the audition tape. That song actually begat an entire episode where Miley realizes her dad must miss performing and she encourages him to go back out on the road with his new song, “I Want My Mullet Back” (a one chord extravaganza not unlike her new song “I Can’t Be Tamed“). Billy Ray points out in one of the other DVD extras on the DVD I rented that the writers liked that moment in the audition process so much they wrote an entire episode around it.
Which is interesting, see, because the episode in question was part of a three episode, three series wide arc called THAT’S SO SUIE LIFE OF HANNAH MONTANA, which rank in my mind as maybe the most postmodern thing ever.
It begins with an episode of That’s So Raven, on which teen twin stars Zach and Cody somehow become models for psychic clothing deisgner Raven, then Raven checks into the hotel that is the setting for Suite Life of Zach and Cody and then ends when Hannah Montana checks into the hotel and buys one of Raven’s designs. The final episode of the three is a Hannah Montana one that has her checking back out of the hotel but ends up being the “Mullet Back” episode.
I don’t think I need to expound too much more on what is so very interesting about all this. I just want you all to know that aside from turning kids on to the supposedly dead sitcom format, Disney has also been introducing people into interfolding plot lines, multiple identity, psychic powers, the presumption of fame, meta narratives and nonsensical comedy.
Just, you know, next time you start complaining about the tedious pablum of popular entertainment.