Disney Channel debuts new television series ‘Jessie’

By Kristen Maldonado,
Jessie has her hands full as a nanny for four kids and a lizard!
Actress Debby Ryan arriving at the premiere of 'Justin Bieber: Never Say Never' at the Nokia Theater L.A. Live on February 8, 2011 in Los Angeles,

The Suite Life on Deck’s Debby Ryan heads from the high seas to the big apple in her new show, Jessie. She stars as Jessie, a Texas-native who moves to New York City to fulfill her dreams. When she doesn’t have the money to pay for her taxi, an adorable little girl named Zuri discovers her in front of the hotel she lives in. She persuades Jessie to become her nanny and ushers her into the multi-million dollar penthouse she lives in. Jessie thinks it’ll be easy to care for one sweet girl, until she realizes that Zuri is just one of four children. And their parents? Famous movie director Morgan Ross and his supermodel-business mogul wife, Christina Ross!

Jessie gets the nanny job and is thrust into the lives of the Ross children: 13-year-old fashionista Emma (Peyton R. List), 11-year-old mischievous Luke (Cameron Boyce), 10-year-old Ravi (Karan Brar) with his giant Asian Water Monitor lizard, Mr. Kipling, and the imaginative 7-year-old Zuri (Skai Jackson). She also meets Betram (Kevin Chamberlin) the lazy and sarcastic butler and the cute doorman Tony (Chris Galya) who may become a love interest for Jessie in the future.

The series creates a different kind of family, with most of the children being adopted. Zuri is adopted from Africa, Ravi from India, and Luke from Detroit. Emma is their only biological child. Even with the interesting new take on family, the formula of a typical Disney Channel show is still there. Luke reminds the audience of a young Zack from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody with his girl-crazy antics and crush on his new nanny.

Debby Ryan gives Hollywood Crush a little insight into her character, “[Jessie] grew up near a military base, her dad was in special ops. So she's kind of tough. She's got this inherent toughness, but she doesn't need to scream or flaunt it around because she knows she's strong, and that's what the kids respect about her.”

She’s also a softie and loves jokes though, says Ryan. “Sometimes she is the only one who laughs at her own jokes. I think she's funny. That's something I like about people. I saw it as a quality about my favorite people in the world.”

The first episode, “New York, New Nanny,” focuses on Jessie getting situated in her new home and getting the kids to like her. After a disastrous first family dinner where Emma would rather work on her science project, Ravi doesn’t want to leave Mr. Kipling alone, Luke thinks he’s on a date, and Jessie mistakenly tells Zuri mermaids aren’t real, the kids run away. In the words of Zuri, that’s the “last time I pick a nanny up out of the guttah.” She enlists Tony’s help and finds the kids on the roof playing in their dad’s helicopter. She gets them back and takes control of the house, demanding respect. She shares her video gaming expertise with Ravi and tries to help Emma with her science project. Jessie accidentally breaks the project and stays up all night trying to fix it. Mr. and Mrs. Ross tell Emma they won't be able to make it to the science fair because of the movie they are working on and even though she says its fine, Jessie realizes just how upset Emma really is.

Because her dad is in the military, she knows how to fly a helicopter and takes it to the set of the movie the Ross’ are working on. She tells them how upset Emma is about her parents not coming to the science fair. “Haven’t you guys ever wondered why you have revolving nannies? Your kids chase them away because they want to get your attention. They miss you!” she pleads. “And even if you fire me for saying this and I lose the best job I’ve ever had, you need to start being there for them.” Of course, they fire her. But Jessie comes back and goes to Emma’s science fair anyway because she cares about them.

The Ross’ realize that Jessie is right and skip their movie to go to the fair. The science judges are very impressed by Emma’s project about the gravitational pull of the planets. When Pluto pops off the rotating diorama, Jessie blames herself for the projects failure. However, everything works out when the judges announce that Emma is the winner because of her genius example of the scientific discovery that Pluto is not a planet anymore. By the end of the episode, Jessie doesn’t lose her job and becomes a pro at being a nanny.

New episodes of Jessie air Fridays at 9 p.m. on the Disney Channel.

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