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TV Series Review

Talented kids? Lame jokes? Singing, dancing and a strong thirst for fame? It must be time to review a Disney Channel show.

Austin & Ally is the story of two cute but over-the-top teens who become an unlikely team determined to find fame, fortune and fun. They're talented. They tell lame jokes. They sing, dance and crave stardom. They fall in and out of love.

The initial setup is this: Ally is a talented but shy songwriter. Austin is a bodacious wannabe singer/performer. His steals one of her songs, records it and posts it online. Voilà! Instant fame, fortune and fun.

On another channel, this is where things would go awry. On CBS, Ally would likely sue or possibly kill Austin, turning the show into either a court or crime procedural. On MTV, she would pound him over the head with a guitar while screaming (semi-bleeped) expletives, and later the two would make up in bed, triggering vehement protests from the Parents Television Council. And on the History Channel, we'd discover that the stolen song in question was actually written by an ancient alien whose descendants are now determined to suck all the water out of the Bermuda Triangle and dismantle the Great Pyramid of Egypt.

But this is Disney (even if this particular show has a bit of a Nickelodeon twist to it). And on the Disney Channel, everyone gets along and—eventually, or at least more often than not—does the right thing. For four seasons already, these two on-again-off-again lovebirds have found a way to make beautiful music together, and almost always with a chummy hug before the credits roll. It might not be the most magical place on basic cable, but it's certainly the least objectionable.

A few storylines can make Austin & Ally feel relatively deep for Disney. Ally has struggled with stage fright. Austin has suffered from his sudden fame. But, really, this is still a Disney show, not a Mouse House version of Mad Men. Those who love Disney sitcoms will find much to like in Austin & Ally. Parents who've come to trust Disney, for the most part, will find few new quibbles here. What are the old quibbles? Infrequent interjections of off-color or bathroom humor, and characters sometimes engaging in lighthearted tweaking of authority.

Austin & Ally feels, in essence, just like almost every Disney show that's aired in the last 10 years. So whether that's a good or bad thing has more to do with the viewer than it does with the channel.

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Episode Reviews

Austin & Ally: May 3, 2015
Austin & Ally: May 19, 2013
Austin & Ally: Jan. 8, 2012



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Ross Lynch as Austin Moon; Laura Marano as Ally Dawson; Raini Rodriguez as Trish; Calum Worthy as Dez; Hannah Kat Jones as Carrie






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