Dad’s Guide to Hannah Montana

[This article originally appeared on AOL Shopping in September 2008.]

Hannah MontanaOkay, dads. Your daughter’s been running around the house wearing a blonde wig, singing songs you don’t know, and trying to get you involved in witty verbal banter. You may think she’s just being a typical kid, but she’s really a Hannah Montana fan.

The bad news is you probably don’t know who Hannah Montana is. The good news is that you’ve just discovered a great way to bond with your daughter.

“Hannah Montana” is a television show on the Disney Channel about a young girl (Miley Stewart) who lives an ordinary life by day, but is secretly a big, huge pop star (Hannah Montana) by night. Kinda like Batman – but instead of doing something cool in the evenings like fighting crime, she lip sings pop songs to kids who adore her.

Given the current state of teenage pop stars, it’s hard to imagine any young girl (fictional, or not) wanting to become one. But let’s assume that childhood fame is not a destructive force in reality and that Hannah Montana is a unique example of a child star gone good.

Hannah Montana is played by Miley Cyrus – real-life daughter to country music star Billy Ray Cyrus, who not-so-coincidently plays her dad on the show (sans his signature super-mullet). Their single-parent family also includes Miley’s brother Jackson (not played by a Cyrus family member). The bond that Billy Ray shares with his daughter onscreen is very endearing. He is a strong father figure (which is rare on television these days), who’s tough enough to tell his daughter “No” and is humble enough to admit when he’s wrong. Pretty much your ideal father.

Instead of being a super-snob, Miley remains humble at school and with her friends. Few know her secret identity, and she’s not interested in letting anyone else know. I don’t quite understand the reasoning behind this decision, but can appreciate the humility involved. Fame and fortune aren’t everything. Personal privacy and an incorruptible family life are more important to Miley.

Other than these life lessons, there is plenty to keep your interest while watching “Hannah Montana” with your daughter (which you should start doing). There are guest stars galore – including The Rock, Heather Locklear, and Dolly Parton (probably appearing because their own kids are fans of the show). And, believe it or not, Miley is actually quite funny. After a couple episodes, you’ll grow to love her silly behavior and Tennessee drawl.

Possibly the least enjoyable part of the show is when she’s actually on stage as Hannah Montana. You probably won’t like the music, and you’ll probably think she looks better as the brunette Miley. As Hannah Montana, she looks like every other teenage pop star you’ve grown weary of. But stick with the show until the end. Your daughter will love you for it.

And that’s what it really boils down to. Spending time with your daughter and developing the same kind of loving relationship that appears on the show.

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