(Disney Channel/Eric McCandless)Lilan Bowden, Peyton Elizabeth Lee
By Ed Diokno
We were overjoyed with the arrival of Fresh Off the Boat
and its portrayal of an Asian American family on television. When Dr. Ken
debuted last year, we were absolutely giddy.
A program with a third Asian American family is set to debut in 2017. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches. I don’t know how to react!
The Disney Channel has picked up the family series Andi Mack starring newcomer, 12-year old Peyton Elizabeth Lee, in the title role.
“The story introduces Andi [Mack] as she’s about to celebrate her 13th birthday,” the synopsis reads. “She’s eager to have just a little teenage fun and adventure, but that may never happen because her strict mother is doing everything in her power to keep her from turning out like her older sister, Bex, who dropped out of school as a teenager and left home and now, in her late 20s, still doesn’t know what she wants out of life.”
In other words, it’s basically about a young teenager living in the shadow of her older sister’s failures, which is a breath of fresh, relatable air for all the pre-teens with older siblings.
It has great DNA. Terry Minsky, who created the cult classic Lizzie McGuire, put the Disney Channel on the map and helped shape today’s young 20-something’s who grew up with that hit show that starred Hillary Duff.
Veteran actress Lauren Tom will play Celia, the mother of the family, and Lilan Bowden will play the older sister Bex. In the early press releases about the show, no mention was mentioned about a father. Will Celia be a single mom?
“Andi only existed as words on a page until Peyton Lee walked into the room,” said Minsky. “I will never forget the magic of that moment – to meet the character I wrote. Actually, it wasn’t until I met Peyton that I really knew who Andi was.”
With FOTB based in Florida and Dr. Ken out of California, Andi Mack will be produced in middle America — Salt Lake City — not exactly a place with a lot of AAPI. I hope that fish-out-of-water aspect will be part of the storyline as young Andi tries to fit in as a teenager.