Disney Channel in the mid-2000s launched into a new era. They managed to find a new audience, 13-16 year olds. Disney had always been known for Mickey Mouse, their classic animated films, and hating Jews. Since the Jews run the media they had to do something different. And that’s my reasoning behind how Life with Derek got on the air.
Life with Derek was a Canadian produced television show. It’s fairly obvious because they talk about getting “marks” on their report cards rather than grades. It seems silly to refer to grades as marks. Marks are what teachers find on a child’s wrist before calling the cops to question their parents. They’re not letters given out to let you know how poorly you’re doing in math.
The premise of the show since nobody ever watched it was very Brady Bunch. A man with two sons and a young daughter meets a woman with two daughters. Their first spouses are either dead now or were bad partners so they get married and move in together. The opening credits pretty much explain this whole situation. It’s like the old B. Arthur show Maude where they let us know Maude is as great as all these famous women and then there’s her, only not as good.
The stars of the show are characters named Casey and Derek. Casey is an uppity, good marks getting, can-do-no-wrong high school student. Life was perfect until her mom remarried and now she has to deal with the title character, Derek. Derek is basically a young Jeff Winger from Community if that means anything to you. He’s cool, doesn’t care about anyone else, and is always getting into trouble. Do I need to tell you about how much clashing that goes on between these two? I won’t. This formula is too obvious.
(Their wrist bands are anti-cancer ones. Derek’s scarf is clearly anti-fashion. Seriously? He looks like he should be promoting cheese doodles)
Casey also has an ugly younger sister with a very boring face. Derek has a younger brother who has homosexual tendencies. His name is Edwin so it’s not a surprise. He also has an even younger sister who is a terrible actress. Let’s not focus on them. The parents are your typical Disney Channel parents. They’re young, attractive, and always there for moral support. Obviously this show is not based on any reality whatsoever.
Most of the show takes place at home. Sometimes they’re at school because like normal people they don’t just sit around in the living room having adventures. The family is way too perfect in every way which is why it made me sick sometimes. I don’t like perfect happy families with “game night” or “swear jars.” Normal families drop F-bombs when they tell their mothers they don’t feel like playing Monopoly. This was something Life with Derek never could do.
Unfortunately for the reader my only memory of this show was thinking how unattractive Casey was. Then a funny thing happened. The second season started and she got really hot. I’m talking I stalked her on MySpace hot. She was played by Ashley Leggat who had many features I look for in a woman; rich, famous, and wears a little too much makeup. She’s also a year older than me so I never felt creepy having these thoughts about her.
(I shouldn’t say I wish I was a cross necklace but I do)
Derek was played by Michael Seater. I don’t like Michael Seater because he ended up dating Ashley in real life. They did always have a lot of sexual tension on the show, even when Casey’s best friend, a light-skinned black girl was always after Derek’s man-goods. I once went on a date with a girl who told me I looked like Derek from Life with Derek. I guess I kind of did back then when I was more youthful and had longer hair. Now my face is always dry and I look more a crust construction worker’s elbow.
All in all I didn’t really tell you anything about this show. Would I recommend it? Yes. If only for the one episode where Casey tries to be a punk. They really did sexualize her a lot later on in the series. Disney Channel shows like this had two formulas, laugh tracks or silly sound effects to replace the laugh tracks. This show went with the silly sound effects. Considering this show basically gave Community the Jeff Winger character, had its stars in an off-screen non-blood related incestuous relationship before Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall from Dexter did it, I would say Life with Derek is worth giving a shot if you have absolutely nothing else to do.