As some of you recall, I dived into Andi Mack after a strong word of mouth convinced me to check it out. Since then, I became a fan of the show thanks to its strong writing, relatable characters, and thoughtful discussions on real life issues, familial or middle school related. These qualities made Andi Mack a cut above the rest as far as kids' shows went, and it set a bar for quality entertainment for kids.
As I dug through the second season, I noticed the bar being raised even higher.
I noticed a huge difference with the show not only in how well it matured inbetween seasons, but also in how it came rich with one eye opener after another, which ultimately added volumes to the experience I felt watching the show. But how exactly did it pull it off the way I said it did? Well, first off, what I remember about the first season is that it was mostly about Andy’s struggles to readjust herself to life after discovering that Bex, who she thought was her sister, was actually her mother, and that, by extension, her parents were actually her grandparents. In this season, however, it was no longer just about Andy’s personal struggles; the show took a leap and provided us a taste of almost everyone else’s personal struggles, from Cyrus to Buffy to Jonah to Bex & Bowie to Cece & Ham to even Amber.
Before I get into that, let’s talk about what many consider to be potentially the most memorable moment in the entire show – so memorable that even the news coverage went crazy over it – Cyrus coming out to Buffy and telling her that he likes Jonah, or, to put it another way, that he’s gay. This was seen as a monumental moment in promoting diversity in a kids' show, especially in a Disney show. Never mind that this wasn’t the first time Disney’s had gay characters in a show at all – shows like Good Luck Charlie, Star vs. the Forces of Evil and especially Gravity Falls beat Andi Mack to it – this was the first time a gay main character was introduced in the mix, so this was a huge step forward for children’s programming, almost as great as, if not greater than, what Andi Mack first started off with.
But how about the rest of the season? Is there anything I can remember about it other than Cyrus coming out? Well, believe it or not, this season was packed with more memorable (to me anyway) moments than I can count, and almost all of them, in some way, tie into some of the struggles that the secondary characters go through this season.
Andi Mack herself, so far, was still continuing her journey of self-readjustment to life, only she will have also dealt with an extra heap of romantic drama. It started when she met a caricature artist named Walker. At first, Andi saw him to get a drawing of herself from him. But soon, she and Walker became more friendly with each other, much to the worry of Jonah, but I'll get to him in a minute.
Cyrus, in addition to his coming out, and being Jewish, was also getting set for his incoming Bar Mitzvah, as he was about to reach the age of thirteen. Along the way, he started to become more social and helpful with other people – and let me tell you, it ain't just with Jonah – resulting in him possibly finding his true calling in the form of performing therapy methods, just like his parents before him.
I knew Buffy as something of a control freak from the first season. Here, however, she was tested more then she expected, starting with when she met her new basketball mate and basketball rival, TJ, who was disappointed that there was a girl in the team. But it got better; the reason why she such a control freak came from the fact that her mother was overseas in the military, and, because of that, she barely saw her. She did finally get to see her, however, and in the middle of her big basketball game, no less. But this caused a rift between her and her friends, as Buffy's mother wanted to take Buffy with her, and will both consequently be having to move away. Without giving anything more than that away, let's just say that this was a neatly realistic overview on what it's like for kids to deal with issues that came with his or her parents serving in the military.
Jonah, as we may know by now, was the boy from school that Andi liked. In the first half of the season, he was still portrayed as the likable cool guy who tried out for sports. In the second half, however, we saw a more human side of him that we almost didn't expect to see. He started to have panic attacks, part of which stemmed from his ever-mounting worries about Andi seeing Walker. And yes, both of these instances occurred during Cyrus's Bar Mitzvah. Jonah, at first, was afraid to tell anyone about his stress conditions until he brought them up with – of all people – Bowie, Andi's father. From there, he helped Jonah out with his problems by teaching him how to play guitar not just for art, but also as sort of a therapeutic method, especially as far as his feelings toward Andi were concerned.
Cece and Ham, Andi's grandparents, were at first seen as comic releifs and/or thorns on Bex's side for her acquaintances in the past with Bowie and her early pregnancy with Andi. This season, though, they have shown off a variety of methods that established them the same way that grandparents would normally have been established. For starters, they told Box and Andi that they wanted to sell the Mack house, not just because it was too big for them — they would've preferred to live in a smaller house, anyway — but in the hopes that they would have enough money to travel around the world. Of course, both of them, especially Cece, knew the risks of selling the house, as it would have also meant giving up the AndiShack, and the news evidently broke Andi's heart a little. Things got more complicated though, when Cece admitted to have purchased The Fringe, the fashion shop where Bex worked, because she wanted to help Bex in being more responsible. Yet, she also did this without telling Ham about it first, and it made him a little mad at first. He ultimately decided to take the leap and start off on the proposed world vacation for a little while – starting with, as he put it, a retreat in India – on his own, much to the shock of his entire family.
As far as the relationship between Bex and Bowie was concerned, this was still on shaky grounds, even though it was obvious they were both doing their best to smooth it out and make it work. From Bex's end, it was shaky because when Bowie finally proposed to her in the season premiere, all she could say in response was "Um...", like she didn't know if she was ready for this kind of commitment. This threw Bowie and especially Andi in a loop and left them dumbfounded over this decision. Later, it became shaky on Bowie's end when Bex and Andi found out that Bowie was seeing someone else: a woman named Miranda and her 7-year-old daughter, Morgan. Not helping matters is the fact that, the first time Andi, Bex, Miranda, and Morgan tried to get acquainted with each other, Bex and Andi both became suspicious when they found out that Morgan stole a priceless artifact and bracelet that Bex was going to give to Bowie. This made for some interesting revelations and quarrels between them, but I thought the way Miranda and Morgan were as characters seemed a little...weird the first time around. Originally, I thought that these two stole the artifact intentionally so they could put the blame on Andi and Bex and quote-on-quote 'win' Bowie over. Apparently, it was revealed that Miranda orchestrated the theft, albeit in the hopes that it would allow Morgan and Andi to be good friends, which still felt weird. In hindsight, though, I think this was a good example of how no matter what good intentions one may have, askew parenting and underestimating one's own children can have pretty substantial consequences.
Remember back in my Season 1 review how I thought that Amber was just a shallow personified obstacle that Andi had to deal with in the battle for Jonah's affections, and that, should she be brought back in the next season, something should be done with her to make her as interesting as the rest of the characters in the show? Well, I'm happy to report that that's exactly what happened to her this season, and then some. It all started when Amber told Jonah outside The Spoon that her father lost his job and that it has not only put her family in slight turmoil, but that it made her the one, for the time being, to provide for her family. From that point on, I started to gradually sympathize with her and her plight, and given how she was first introduced as some rich valley girl I was supposed to despise, this was no easy task. Amber told Jonah the news in the hopes that he would keep it a secret, but it soon got to a point where Andi and the others knew just a hint of what Amber was going through, and this made Amber try several times throughout the season to turn over a new leaf and make friends with them. At one point, she even went to see a therapist about her problems, who just happened to be one of Cyrus's parents. Once Amber realized that about Cyrus, she put him on a test concerning one of her darkest secrets, which she did tell him, but only to see if she can trust him with it just as much as she could have trusted his therapy parents.
And that reminds me, I ought to also talk about TJ, Buffy's basketball rival. Just like Amber, I was supposed to originally see him as someone to despise, but once I saw him have a heart-to-heart talk with Cyrus and struggle with math homework, I started to see a more vulnerable side to him. And even though Buffy didn't take kindly to the idea of being TJ's math tutor when asked to do so, this eventually started to catch her attention, too, leading her to conclude with TJ that he might have a learning disorder. This came as quite a surprise, as he was not even on screen for very long before I learned that about him, and it goes to show in the long run that if someone I despise was acting the way he or she is, it's possible there may be more going on with them than meets the eye.
And those are all of the individual struggles that came to my attention as I dove into season 2. But...the memorable moments don't stop there! There are plenty more moments that come to mind when I think of season 2 of Andi Mack, so I'll try to keep them short and direct for you.
There's one moment where Andi invited Jonah over to her house to celebrate Chinese New Year with her family and extended family.
There was also a defining moment where the show took me back to the past when Andi was born, and Cece made an agreement with Bex that she would look after Andi before Bex left home and fended for herself for the next 13 years.
There's another moment where Andi tried — key word being TRIED — to make friends with Amber, in spite of her friends' warnings about her being, as they described her, a 'snorpion'.
When Andi and Cyrus learned about Buffy moving away, they tried to re-create the perfect day of their lives with the little time they had left. But it got a little crazier than they anticipated when their bikes, and even Andi's phone, went missing.
After Jonah perfected his guitar playing under Bowie's guide, he tried to perform a song that he wrote specifically for Andi. Not only did he win her over this way, but she even repaid him with a kiss. You can imagine how excited the entire fanbase was when this happened.
And, of course, the season finale. It was proposal time all over again, this time with Bex doing the proposing. She and Andi had everything set for the big announcement with Bowie in attendance, but things start going out of balance when Bowie's bandmates from the Renaissance Boys arrived to propose to him if he would join them on a six-month world tour as their rythym guitarist. And this was part of the major cliffhanger that this season ended on!
Oh, what else can I say about it that I haven't yet? You can already tell that I am loving the show more and more and that this is a huge improvement over the first season.
Everything that was done with Andi Mack this year took it to directions I would never have expected it to go, and the revelations of many of the characters in the show made them feel more human and relatable than ever before. It made the show go from being an above average kidcom about a young girl finding her place in her family and in the world into one of the most surprisingly thought-provoking children's shows that is on the air today, period, and in the process it broadened its horizons and its outreach to the general public.
Personally, I worship kids' shows that either speak to both kids and adults on an equal measure or push the envelope on what kids' shows are capable of. And I am becoming more and more convinced that with shows like Andi Mack being out and about, the future generations of America are about to be in good hands soon enough.
Andi Mack - Season 1: A-
Andi Mack - Season 2: A+