Debby Ryan’s Jessie character Jessie Prescott, 22, accepts her boyfriend’s proposal of marriage on the show. Disney Channel VP said: ‘Jessie is an adult, and we felt we could tackle this in a way that still feels appropriate for our audience.’ The Disney Channel focuses on children ages 6 to 11, with “Jessie” also attracting 9-to-14-year-old ‘tween’ viewers among its average weekly audience of 2.9 million viewers.
Debby Ryan stars as the young Texas woman who moves to New York City to pursue acting and becomes the nanny for an affluent family with children adopted from India, Africa and America. The comedy, in its third season, airs a mix of new and repeat episodes at 8 PM EDT Friday.
The budding relationship between Jessie and her new love, 25-year-old Brooks (Pierson Fode), is handled chastely, as befits a Disney project aimed at youngsters. The couple is shown bonding over picnics in Central Park and on movie dates and in other such innocent moments.
‘The way we deal with this romance is very pure Disney fairy tale.’
Ryan, who will turn 21 on May 13, said she is far from tying the knot with her boyfriend of a year, Twenty One Pilots musician Josh Dun. Her focus is on her career, including directing her first episode of “Jessie” this season and finishing an album she plans to release in June.
‘In the last year, we have seen close friends, five of them, get engaged, five. ..One couple is getting married next month and they are both 20, a year younger than me.’ She sees marriage and commitment as ‘delicate’ topics for the young viewers who watch her character for clues to growing up: “Your principal character is deciding whether or not she should start her life with a man.
Our audience isn’t dealing with somebody proposing to them, but they are dealing with choices they have to make in their life, and thinking things through, following their heart and wanting to make the right choice.
It’s not about the dress, it’s not about the wedding. It’s about the marriage. That’s something we lose sight of when we’re so young and all we want to do is dress up and play fairy tale.’