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Diary of a Future President Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Stars: Tess Romero, Selenis Leyva, Charlie Bushnell
Opening Shot: We see the offices in the West Wing, right outside the Oval Office, on the first day Elena Cañero-Reed (Gina Rodriguez) is in office as President.
The Gist: On her first day in office, Elena receives a special, top priority package from her mother. It’s the diary that she kept, starting when she was 12 years old. Her mom’s idea is that Elena remembers what it took to get her to the highest office in the country.
The diary starts, “Hello world, or should I say, Dear Diary.” We go back to the present day, with 12-year-old Elena (Tess Romero) getting ready for school. She’s a Cuban-American girl that lives in a Miami suburb with her brother Bobby (Charlie Bushnell) — named after their father, who died three years prior — and her mother Gabi (Selenis Leyva). She’s in the middle of sixth grade, and as she says, it’s a “jungle” out there. But, she’s a smart kid, who learns and uses new words every day, and her BFF Sasha (Carmina Garay) has her back.
She used to have two BFFs, but Jess (Harmeet K. Pandey) turned against her when she met a cool kid named Melissa (Sanai Victoria) at the beginning of sixth grade and aligned herself towards her and away from the “nerdy” Elena and Sasha; she even decided she wanted to be called “Jessica.” Though she’s distressed about this, Elena has other things to worry about; her social studies presentation is due today, but she wrote the wrong date down and isn’t prepared. This never happens to Elena!
She tries to call her mom at work to see if Gabi can take her home early, but Gabi sagely tells her “life is going to throw you curveballs; it’s how you handle them that matters.” Gabi manages to solve her problem, and thaw relations with Jess a little bit, when she finds out that Jess has been telling Melissa that she’s had her period when she really hasn’t.
Gabi has her own curveball to throw her kids, though; she’s dating Sam Faber (Michael Weaver), a colleague at the law firm where she works. This is the first serious relationship she’s had since her husband died, and she’s scared of introducing him to her kids. He’s willing to take that aspect slow, but when they sneak back to Gabi’s house for a sexy lunch, they accidentally encounter Bobby; he came home to get a sack full of pennies (long story). Can Elena handle it if she finds out?
Our Take: Diary Of A Future President is based on the childhood of the show’s creator Ilana Peña; Rodriguez is also heavily involved with the show as an executive producer and director, as well as playing President Cañero-Reed. It’s a show that would have worked well on the Disney Channel not all that long ago, with smart writing and a young lead that is easily able to handle whatever Peña and her staff throw at her. What being on Disney+ might allow, though, is some more room to roam and explore more important issues of being a smart middle schooler, as well as a little bit more daring of a comedy voice.
The show isn’t supposed to have an edge, considering it’s geared towards preteens and teens. But so many shows of this kind, whether they’re single-cam or multi-cam, depend on outlandish gags and silly music cues to tell its young audience whats funny. Diary doesn’t do any of that; it’s just there to tell Elena’s story, one of a normal girl that would eventually become president. The relative normalcy of her story is what’s fascinating, because Elena is not some sort of genius, she’s just a kid who loves her friends and has her father’s work ethic. She has no idea what’s ahead of her, but she knows she has to work hard to get to wherever she wants to go.
And while their heritage isn’t swept under the rug by any means — Gabi mentions to Elena how her family came from Cuba all the time — it’s not a central point to the show. Could we see 12-year-old Elena as president? No, but that’s because she’s 12. But 35-year-old Elena? Absolutely. And that’s the power that this show wields, albeit in a subtle fashion. We hope to see more glimpses of Rodriguez as future Elena, looking back on her childhood as the leads the country.
What Age Group Is This For?: Everything going on here is pretty innocent, so 8 and up would be appropriate.
Parting Shot: Elena walks into her living room after writing in her diary, and sees her mother kissing Sam. “Wait. What?” she says.
Sleeper Star: According to the show’s press materials, Bobby is Charlie Bushnell’s first acting role. Wow. He plays the laconic male teenager who says “Chill” to everything like he’s been doing Disney shows since he was in elementary school. We’re serious.
Most Pilot-y Line: When Elena is called on to do her presentation, Melissa loudly mocks her name. “More like ‘Canerdo’!” Not that we never heard stuff like that in middle school, but we expect better burns coming from someone as supposedly sophisticated as Melissa.
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