Welcome to Jim Hill Media - Entertainment News : Theme Parks Movies Television

Disney XD's new karate-themed sitcom, "Kickin' It" gets off to a promising start

Jim Hill

Jim's musings on the history of and rumors about movies, TV shows, books and theme parks including Disneyland, Walt Disney World. Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Disney XD's new karate-themed sitcom, "Kickin' It" gets off to a promising start

Rate This

Since "Zeke and Luther" proved that there's a fairly sizable young-male audience out there which enjoys sitcoms that mix slapstick & extreme sports, Disney XD is revisiting this theme tomorrow night with "Kickin' It." Which is a brand-new half-hour-long comedy that debuts on this cable channel tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. ET / PT following the Season 2 premiere of "Pair of Kings."

"So how does 'Kickin' It' compare to "Zeke and Luther'?," you ask. Well, given that "Zeke" is a single-camera comedy while "Kickin'" is a more traditional multi-camera sitcom (which is shot in front of a live studio audience), we're kind of in apples-and-oranges country here, folks. But based on the pilot episode that I viewed over this past weekend, I'd have to say that "Kickin' It" has a pretty good chance of connecting with Disney XD's target audience to 6-to-14 year-old young males.

Leo Howard stars as Jack in Disney XD's new series, "Kickin' It." Photo
by Bob D'Amico. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Mind you, most of "Kickin' It" 's appeal can be traced back to 13-year-old martial arts whiz Leo Howard. Whose comedy chops are almost as impressive as his karate chops.

Leo plays Jack, a new student at Seaford High School who's harboring kind of a huge secret. Though he may look like your average skateboarder at the mall, Jack's grandfather taught martial arts legend Bobby Wasabi (who starred in such chopsocky classics as "Kung Fu Cop" and "Nana was a Ninja") all of his moves. And since his grandfather also served as Jack's sensei ... This 13-year-old has some pretty extreme martial arts moves of his own. Which we get to see in "Kickin' It" 's opening moments, when Jack - right in the middle of lunch period - manages to pound the pudding out of four members of the Black Dragon dojo.

(Jason Earles) looks on in shock as Jack (Leo Howard) makes a dramatic entrance at
the Bobby Wasabi Martial Arts Academy by bursting right through the wall. Photo by
Dean Hendler. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Word of this cafeteria smackdown gets back to Sensei Rudy (played by Jason Earles. Who's probably best known for playing Jackson Stewart on that long-running Disney Channel hit, "Hannah Montana"). Given that his dojo (which is actually a franchise of Bobby Wasabi's chain of martial arts academies) is in danger of being closed down, Rudy takes advantage of a run-in that Jack has with some mall cops and then basically tricks this 13-year-old into joining his strip-mall-based dojo.

And since "Kickin' It" is a sitcom, Jack & Sensei Rudy are surrounded by an amusing array of misfit martial arts students. Among them is Milton David Krupnick (Played by Dylan Riley Snyder. Who actually appeared on Broadway as young Tarzan in the Disney Theatrical Group's 2006 production of "Tarzan"). Who is so lacking in physical ability that - when Milton is challenged to karate-chop his way through a wooden board at a tournament - he whines that " ... I can barely cut a well-cooked piece of fish."

(L to R) Milton (Dylan Riley Snyder), Jerry (Mateo Arias) and Eddie (Alex Christian
) look to Sensei Rudy (Jason Earles) for guidance. Photo by Dean
Hendler. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And then there's the gross-but-good-hearted Jerry (played by Mateo Arias). Who - after belching loudly after consuming way-too-much pizza - remarks that " ... You should be happy that it came out the right end." Or - after whacking himself in the crotch with a pair of nunchucks - looks around the dojo and gasps "Everything is purple."

Okay. So obviously "Kickin' It" isn't some sort of sophisticated drawing room comedy. But what this new Disney XD series is is a well-produced family comedy which regularly features some pretty amazing martial arts sequences.  And given that the production company behind "Kickin' It" is It's A Laugh Productions, Inc. (i.e. the folks behind such long-running Disney Channel shows as "Hannah Montana," "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" and "Wizards of Waverly Place") ... Well, these folks obviously have a handle on how to make a TV program appeal to tweens.

Leo Howard and Jason Earles show off their martial
arts moves back in May at the 2011 Disney / ABC
Television Group press junket. Photo by Richard
Harbaugh. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

More to the point, given that Jason Earles regularly shined in his supporting role on "Hannah Montana," it's nice to finally see this talented young performer with a TV showcase of his very own. And then when you marry Leo Howard's amazing martial arts skills to the breezy way that he handles punchlines (not to mention how Howards plays off of Olivia Holt. Who plays Kim, the only female high school student in the Bobby Wasabi dojo. Who may or may not have a crush on Jack) ... This sitcom is off to a very promising start.

So if you'd like to kick the tires on "Kickin' It" ... As I mentioned earlier, the series premiere - which is entitled "Wasabi Warriors" - will air on Disney XD tomorrow night from 8:30 - 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Kim (Olivia Holt) faces down three ninjas in an upcoming episode of Disney XD's "Kickin'
It." Photo by Craig Sjodin. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And then - on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night in that exact same time slot - this cable channel will be airing additional episodes of this new series (to give as many viewers as possible the opportunity to sample this new martial arts-themed comedy). After that, "Kickin' It" will settle back into its usual Monday-nights-at-8:30-p.m. timeslot.

So why not check on this new sitcom when it debuts on Disney XD tomorrow night after the Season 2 premiere of "Pair of Kings" and then come back on over to JHM & let us know what you actually thought of this TV show?

Disney XD's "Kickin' It" stars (L to R) Alex Christian Jones as Eddie, Olivia Holt
as Kim, Leo Howard as Jack, Jason Earles as Rudy, Dylan Riley Snyder as
Milton and Mateo Arias as Jerry. Photo by Bob D'Amico. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Your thoughts?

Blog - Post Feedback Form
Your comment has been posted.   Close
Thank you, your comment requires moderation so it may take a while to appear.   Close
Leave a Comment
  • * Please enter your name
  • * Please enter a comment
  • Post
  • Ick.

  • Ickin' It?   :)

    Yeah, I agree with the first commenter. Ick indeed...

  • i know the kim gilr

  • Why do all of these shows look exactly alike? Seriously, everything being produced for the Disney Channel/Disney XD adheres to the same basic template. Do young tween viewers not get tired of seeing the same format with similar looking casts over and over again, ad nauseum? I realize that I am not their target audience, but I sure do miss the original Disney Channel offerings when they started back in 1983. There was so much more variety in their programming, with most of it that could be enjoyed by all age groups. Now it's all the same sitcom drivel featuring "cool" school kids and doltish adults. Thanks for nothing, Anne Sweeney...

  • thats the best show now

  • Bring on the asians for once.

  • I love that  show

  • that is now one of my favrote show on disneyXD.

  • The people ick is wrong.

  • i love Kim she is hott

  • Okay, I apologize to you all, as it is now quite obvious how this show has had a major impact on the grammatical skills of its loyal viewers!

  • Is there a reason that the african american child was not mentioned in your article?  Is he not a part of the show? Is there a level of prejudice here?

  • her name is Olivia Holt and she HOT !!!!!

  • Mannymom --

    "Is there a reason that the african american child was not mentioned in your article?  Is he not a part of the show? Is there a level of prejudice here?"

    Alex Christian Jones certainly is part of the "Kickin' It" cast. Which is why -- if you'll take another look at Sunday's article -- you'll notice that two of the photos that I used for this piece prominently feature Alex. More to the point, please note that I mention both his character's name as well as  Mr. Jones' full name in those photo captions. Hell, if you'll take a closer look, you'll notice that I even include an external link which -- if you click on it -- then takes you directly to Alex's official Disney XD bio.

    The only reason that Alex doesn't get any additional attention in my "Kickin' It" review is -- to be honest -- the jokes that his character was given to perform in the pilot weren't all that funny. So there was nothing for me to use as a pull quote for Mr. Jones.

    So -- to answer your question, Mannymom -- nope, no prejudice.

  • Ickin' It.

Page 1 of 9 (134 items) 12345»