OK, got it: Hannah Montana’s dead and buried
Posted: September 5, 2013 at 3:11 a.m.
Calm down. It has happened before and it’ll happen again.
I’m talking about all the fuss that followed Miley Cyrus and her “skanky” R-rated performance Aug. 25 at the MTV Video Music Awards.
That’s right, boys and girls, Miley’s not our sweet little Hannah Montana anymore.
The 20-year-old Cyrus hit the stage with her tongue hanging out lasciviously, grabbed herself, cavorted in a sprayed-on two-piece beige outfit with a stage full of giant teddy bears, “twerked” up against Robin Thicke in a duet and generally bumped, grinded (ground?) and flaunted her sexuality.
(If you don’t know what twerking is, look it up online.)
The Los Angeles Times called it “Cyrus’ coming-way out party,” and labeled the performance “an aggressively bawdy, thrillingly garish assertion of self that used the tools of a big-budget TV production to say something unexpectedly raw.”
Exactly what was Miley saying? She was saying farewell to Hannah and hello to her adult career.
It was probably not such a surprise for local parents who took their giggly ’tweens to the October 2009 Miley concert at North Little Rock’s Verizon Arena. Miley was already in twerk training.
The paper ’s Jennifer Christman was there among the 14,000 and observed that the 16-year-old Miley “is still contractually bound to sometimes play Disney’s demure diva Hannah Montana but feels intrinsically moved to strut around in short shorts … and swivel and shake her business seductively.”
That was four years ago. Now unfettered by Hannah, Miley is free to strut, swivel and shake with impunity. She did, and the usual media watchdogs howled.
The Parents Television Council took the opportunity to point the finger of shame primarily at MTV.
“Which is not to say that Miley Cyrus is not responsible for her performance,” aPTC press release said, “and it’s not to let her off the hook. But at any point MTV could have pulled the plug on the performance, and they didn’t, which means they are equally complicit and equally culpable for what aired.
“What is more, it was MTV, not Miley or any of the other performers, who chose to rate the program as appropriate for a 14-year-old child, it was MTV that sold ad spots for violent, R-rated movies and condoms.”
It’s all publicity. And that plays into the hands of Miley and her goal of shedding any remnants of Hannah Montana in her quest to begin the next phase of her career - sexy young pop diva.
I’m reminded of a 19-year old Britney Spears and her appearance on July 13, 2001, at the TV critics’ summer press tour in Pasadena, Calif. She was there to tout a forthcoming HBO concert.
I was in the front row and those around me were amazed that Spears, sporting a clingy purple dress that barely reached the length of legality, was able sit down without flashing us.
When Spears was asked if she was ever concerned about 12- and 13-year-olds mimicking her bumping and grinding dance moves, she said the sexy, provocative stage Britney was just a persona she assumed for concerts and videos and that the “real” Britney goofed around in sweats and hung out with her girlfriends at the mall.
Her 55-hour wedding, shaved head, Kevin Federline, meltdown, pantie-less party hopping, rehab and nude cover of Harper’s Bazaar would not begin until four years later. It took Spears six or seven years to slog through all the personal muck.
I’ve got the feeling that Cyrus won’t go the Britney Spears route. She seems to be in complete control of her image and is probably a lot more savvy than Spears. I’d be surprised if we see anything approaching what happened to other child stars such as Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes.
Meanwhile, Cyrus used the awards show to officially debut her all-grown-up phase. She has gone from “Party in the USA” with the lyrics, “Got my hands up, they’re playin’ my song / And I know I’m gonna be OK,” to this summer’s big hit “We Can’t Stop.”
Sample lyrics: “So la da di da di, we like to party / Dancing with Molly/ Doing whatever we want.” (Molly, a drug reference, was censored at the show.)
The difference? A whole lot of booty-shaking, lascivious tongue lolling and provocative hand gestures in the video.
Bottom line: OK. You’re no longer Hannah Montana. Yes, you’re fit, trim and sexy. Yes, we see the 19 tattoos. And yes, you can twerk ’til the cows come home. Good for you.
Time to start planning the next phase for when all that gets old. Like when you’re 22.
No word yet. I got an urgent email from a reader wanting to know if her new favorite show, TNT’s King & Maxwell, had been renewed.
“I love the show, so it’s probably doomed,” she said. Isn’t that always the way?
King & Maxwell ended on a sort of teaser cliffhanger Aug. 12. It seemed to perfectly set up a second season, but so far TNT hasn’t said.
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Weekend, Pages 34 on 09/05/2013