Hannah Montana: Camp Icon for the Tween Set?

Well, it’s safe to say that we all knew that this was coming, yet I’m not going to put on my sour-grapes face over this because, honestly, I’m not particularly invested in the financial success of any of the major Hollywood pictures out in theaters right now.  Come back to me in two weeks when Obsessed has had its first weekend in theaters, and we can talk then.  

Added to that, up until a week and a half ago, I only knew of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus as the tween-pop sensation with a television show and soon-to-be-released-in-theaters.  She’s not targeted to my generation, and while I do find the brand of pre-packaged multimedia branding to be offensive and insulting to anyone with a modicum of intelligence, I refuse to fight the cultural battle against her.  Yes, she represents the worst in corporate-constructed and test-market-tuned pop culture, but she’s another generation’s problem.

Another generation’s fabulously campy problem, might I add.  I get that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a teen pop sensation is just a teen pop sensation, but take a gander at this absolute insanity and tell me that twelve-year-old boys of a certain predilection are not squealing their way through this movie:

Hell, it kinda makes me squealy, but I’m an utter joke like that.  Let’s discuss, though, as to why this trailer somehow manages to wrangle the giggles out of me.

So I guess the premise of Hannah Montana is that an ordinary, brown-haired teenage girl from Tennessee puts on a blonde wig, a gaudy outfit, and some makeup to live as her alternate persona, whic is an international-pop-superstar named Hannah Montana, yes?  And, under the influence of her wig, she is given to performing extravagant song-and-dance numbers and has a tendency to act like a diva and get into shoe fights with Tyra Banks?  Hrmm.  Why does this concept seem so entirely foreign yet also so familiar?  Wigs…performance…international stardom…I’ve got it!  Hannah Montana is Hedwig and the Angry Inch for tweens with a whole lot less botched sex-reassignment surgery!  I mean, seriously, do you think I’m joking?

‘Cos I’m so not joking for one second:

I’m hardly claiming that Hannah Montana ranks at the same level of quality as Hedwig and the Angry Inch; I haven’t see Hannah Montana, and I don’t even need to see it to certifiably say that it’s no Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  I’m not going to even suggest that the role of the wig in the dual personalities of Miley and Hannah is some complex, coded discourse on drag and gender performance (though I wouldn’t be surprise if one day Hannah Montana is the inspiration for a new generation of drag queens).  

I am willing to say, however, that Miley Cyrus’s arch performance as Hannah Montana seems to be veering incredibly close to camp, and that intrigues me to no end.  Added to that, this movie is ostensibly about a character who performs celebrity drag.  Like Hedwig, Miley/Hannah is a performed identity; the lifestyle and behavior are entirely wound up in the artifice of a look; personality is built around and influenced by the surface appearance.  Hannah Montana probably isn’t plumbing the depths of these ideas by any means, but there’s just enough texture to make me willing to not simply scream, “THROW HER IN THE GARBAGE!!!”  

And, really, given how damn grating I find her music to be, that’s saying something.  Hell, I might even Netflix this movie for a rainy day.  Carry on, Miley Cyrus, and keep on unintentionally camping it up for the tween set.  You’re practically Showgirls with training wheels, and I can be okay with that.

2 Responses

  1. B.Ho-I just watched a few Hedwig clips on youtube after this post… you make my life through your blog.


  2. […] could probably come up with something more batshit a bender of turducken gravy and a screening of the Hannah Montana movie.  Added to that, the whole “MY BIRD IS A METAPHOR” thing is […]


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