What’s On: Wizards of Waverly Place

Wizards of Waverly Place Starring Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, Maria Canals-Barrera, and David Deluise

Disney Channel, Fridays at 8/7c

Synopsis: Once upon a time, a wizard fell in love with a mortal woman. He married her, gave up his powers, and they had three wonderful children: Justin, Alex, and Max Russo, all of whom have wizarding powers like their father. However, when they complete their wizard training, they must compete in a wizarding competition and only one of the three will be able to keep their powers. Alex’s friend, Harper, is the only other mortal who knows that the Russo family has magical powers. Their father, Jerry, tries to get his children to not rely on magic since they will not always have powers, but to no avail. The family lives in New York City where they run a sandwich shop.

The show combines humor with family and personal dynamics to create a comedy about life that appeals to both younger and older viewers. Alex is clearly the main character, but various episodes will focus on other family members as well. The cast works well together and the chemistry between the characters is fun to watch and experience. Most of the stories center around someone in the family getting into some sort of trouble or predicament – trying not to use magic for mom’s birthday, tutoring delinquent wizards, tracking monsters, making friends with vampires and werewolves, or using magic to win mortal competitions – and then by the end of the episode, the problems or troubles have magically (no pun intended) resolved, all is forgiven, and life as normal resumes. The situations may not be applicable in the real world, but the show does speak to the sibling rivalry dynamic and the desire to have it all. It shows that while it is important to make friends, it’s okay to be able to rely on your family even if it is not at the top of your list. I admire Justin’s smarts, Alex’s self-reliance, and Max’s antics, but I think my favorite character is Harper, just because she combines her zaniness with her belief in always doing the right thing. Since the show is in its last season, I am definitely looking forward to the new episodes and seeing how it will all end!

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