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July 2, 2008

The Best Show on TV: Cory in the House


By D.F. Krause

I have found the best show on TV. It’s not on NBC, ABC, CBS or Fox. It’s not even on the WB, the CW or whatever they call those networks no one over 25 watches.


It’s on a network no one over 10 watches – or at least is supposed to watch. It’s on Disney Channel.


The greatest show on television, right now, is Cory in the House. I cannot get through an episode without busting up laughing at least once. And it is true that I would not even know this show exists if I did not have a seven-year-old. But among the many wonderful benefits of parenthood, this is one of the most unsung.


All you need to know about Cory in the House is that they have Benny Hill-style chase scenes in the White House. That’s not the only reason it’s a great show, but if it were the only reason, it would be enough for me. Even so, I will explain the premise for those of you who feel the need to appear sophisticated and demand depth.


Cory Baxter is the younger brother of Raven Baxter, whose own show, That’s So Raven, recently ended an interminably long run for a Disney Channel show. Three seasons. As That’s So Raven was coming to a close, Cory and Raven’s chef father, Victor Baxter, was fortunate to have the president of the United States – one Richard Martinez – visit his San Francisco restaurant, the Chill Grill. The president is so impressed by the food there, he instantly asks Chef Victor to come to Washington and become the White House chef.

It always works that way! The current White House chef is a 17-year-old pimply-faced kid who made George W. Bush a really good serving of Extra Crispy at KFC. Shut up.


So 13-year-old Cory accompanies his dad to the White House, where they have to actually live, because when the president calls at 3 a.m. looking for spinach soufflé, you know who has to get up and make it.


Now Cory, who likes to introduce himself as “Cory Baxter – American Buuuusinessman,” is a schemer par excellence. And of course, his scheming hijinks keep putting the republic in peril. In one episode, he accidentally gives Alaska back to the Russians, only to win it back from Russia’s prime minister in a cut-throat round of a Dance Dance Revolution-type game – all this, mind you, aboard Air Force One.


In another episode, Cory tells a narcissistic White House reporter (sorry for the redundancy) that he is one of the president’s advisors, inspiring her to put together a scandal-mongering story. So Cory schemes with the president’s lackey, Miss Samuels, to distract the reporter by convincing her that aliens have invaded the Earth.


They pull this off with the help of Cory’s friends from Washington Prep School – Newt Livingston and Meena Paroom. Newt and Meena, along with Cory, also make up a band called DC3 that has no bass or keyboard player – just a single guitar – but hey, it’s Disney Channel! Who needs proper instrumentation?


Cory secretly has a crush on Meena, which prompts a philosophical conversation between Cory and President Abraham Lincoln (via the magic of a picture frame) over the value of honesty in a relationship. Cory declines to take Honest Abe’s advice, preferring to attempt one of his schemes at a seafood restaurant, but he does promise to bring Abe home a lobster if everything works out OK. (Abe’s reply: “I’m not gettin’ a lobster!”)


Of course, the greatest scenes in Cory in the House are the chase scenes, and none was ever better than one involving Raven, dressed as a gardener, trying to get away because she had accidentally tackled the president in one of the White House corridors, and they frown on that sort of thing. Then again, the scene in which a seal slaps the president on the butt in the Oval Office was hard to top too.


Cory in the House is one of the most implausible, ridiculous programs ever on television. And that’s what makes it great. They really do have chases in the White House in which President Bush and Dick Cheney lead a stumbling squadron of White House aides chasing some schlump who is there for no reason whatsoever. Or at least I really want to believe that they could.


And Cory in the House gives me hope.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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