Hannah Montana: Things only adults notice in the Disney show

Hannah Montana shot Miley Cyrus and the rest of the cast to instant fame when the show premiered in 2006. Immediately, the series became intensely popular, and it ended up being one of the highest-rated shows in Disney Channel history, according to USA Today. It followed the life and times of teenager Miley Stewart, who lives a double life as singing sensation Hannah Montana. We watched Cyrus play this character for four seasons as she dealt with everything from paparazzi to pimples, from red carpet events to laps in gym class.

While it was definitely a show that catered to a younger crowd, there were definitely a few little things in there that adults definitely took note of. After all, Disney did a good job keeping everything G-rated for the kid fans of the show, but there were things that adults could also enjoy and relate to as well. Keep reading for everything that only adults would notice in Hannah Montana!

The paparazzi moments on Hannah Montana were a little too real

Fans of Miley Cyrus know that she hasn't always had the easiest time dealing with the press. Like other celebrities, she has been known to flip off paparazzi following her, as reported by sites like Elle. USA Today reported that Cyrus tweeted about the death of a photographer who was taking photos of Justin Bieber in 2013. She wrote, "Your mom teaches [you] when [you're] a child not to play in the street! The chaos that comes with the paparazzi acting like fools makes it impossible for anyone to make safe choices."

It makes sense then why episodes like "It's My Party and I'll Lie if I Want To" and "My Boyfriend's Jackson and There's Gonna Be Trouble" seem to hit a little close to home. In the former, Hannah Montana jumps on the back of a photographer who incessantly harasses her at a party even after she's asked him to back off. Of course, this causes even more people to take photos of her, which eventually spread like wildfire. And in the latter episode, a paparazzi stalker finds out where Cyrus' character lives, prompting her to fabricate an entire story about how her brother is her boyfriend just so her true identity isn't found out.

Hannah Montana episode titles were plays on famous songs

If you were a young kid at the time that Hannah Montana was airing, you might have missed this one cute detail that the show added: Many episode titles are plays on popular songs, as noted by sites like Fanpop. And don't feel bad if you don't recognize some of the song titles, as the episode titles reference slightly older songs that some younger fans might not have known. Titles like "You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Zit Is About You" (the original being "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon) and "Joannie B. Goode" (a play on Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode") were originally written and performed way before the show first started in 2006. But even if you as a kid didn't recognize them, your parents or older siblings probably did.

If you weren't already educated in popular music history or if you didn't grow up listening to some of these songs, then you might not have caught just how clever the show's creators actually were!

Did Hannah Montana's blonde wig foreshadow Miley Cyrus' future blonde look?

Anyone who's ever watched Hannah Montana knows that the main disguise that Miley Cyrus' character donned for all four seasons was a long blonde wig with blunt bangs. Although Miley Stewart's natural brown hair changed from season to season (it started out really curly but then eventually became long and layered), the wig was generally consistent. Fans might not have been too surprised, then, when Cyrus opted to go bleach blonde in 2012, according to CBS. She tweeted out a photo of the new cut and color the weekend before, saying the new 'do made her "[feel] so happy in [her] skin." 

The singer then took it a step further in 2019, when she debuted another new hairstyle that looked exactly like the wig she wore on the show. Entertainment Tonight reported that Cyrus posted several videos of her new look featuring the same blonde tresses and blunt bangs as her former character's alter ego on her Instagram Stories. And, of course, the internet went wild, especially when Cyrus posted a video of herself singing along to the classic Hannah Montana hit "Nobody's Perfect."

The disguises on Hannah Montana weren't that convincing

While the disguises worn by Hannah Montana, dad Robby Ray, and others all convinced the characters on the show that they were other people, those watching weren't so easily fooled. Hannah Montana and friend Lilly's wigs weren't super extravagant, and they never really went farther into creating their alter egos outside of changing their hairstyles and their names. And don't get us started on the slacker disguises sported by Robby Ray and Miley Stewart's brother, Jackson! Robby Ray is usually only seen wearing a cowboy hat and a mustache to hide his true identity of being Miley Stewart's father. Even worse, in "My Boyfriend's Jackson and There's Gonna Be Trouble," Jackson literally just wears a pair of sunglasses as his disguise.

If Hannah Montana was a real person and was also a teenage girl trying to hide her identity so she could also live a normal life, a wig definitely wouldn't be all she wore! Something as simple as Hannah Montana's slightly sparklier look wouldn't cut it today.

Hannah Montana wasn't afraid to talk about family issues

Paparazzi run-ins and red carpet events aside, Hannah Montana actually did a good job dealing with real topics kids have to deal with in everyday life. One of the recurring themes in the show was dealing with parents who got divorced or who had passed away.

On the show, the Stewart family was missing one major piece: their mother. The Stewart matriarch, played by Brooke Shields of The Blue Lagoon and Pretty Baby fame, appears a couple of times throughout the show and acts as a sort of guardian angel for Cyrus' character. The show didn't shy away from showing that it can be really hard to deal with the loss of a parent, even years after they're gone. 

In addition to parents who passed away, Hannah Montana also showcased what it's like living with divorced parents. This was presented in "The Wheel Near My Bed (Keeps on Turnin')" when Lilly, played by the stunning Emily Osment, moves in with her father, who lives in a small apartment, after he and her mom get divorced. The episode really showcased how difficult and sometimes awkward living with divorced parents can be. 

There were a bunch of future celebrities who appeared on Hannah Montana

It's a rite of passage for many actors to appear on random TV shows before hitting it big with their own work. While usually they'll appear on a crime show like Law & Order: SVU or CSI, actors who haven't yet become famous have also made appearances on Disney shows like Hannah Montana. And although there were a lot of already-famous actors and performers who made guest appearances, such as Dolly Parton and Larry David, many guest stars on the show didn't become truly famous until later. 

J-14 published a list of some of the Hannah Montana guest stars who eventually went on to have big careers. Actress China Anne McClain, who later starred in A.N.T. Farm and the Descendants franchiseplayed a fan of the pop star. Before The Vampire DiariesKat Graham played Jackson's girlfriendAustin Butler took on the role of one of Miley's love interests before starring in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, and GLOW's Alison Brie had a small part as someone Rico paid to mess with Jackson before becoming a popular actress on the small screen.

Hannah Montana songs had some good messages behind them

Even though Hannah Montana ended in 2011, there's no question that the show's soundtrack was huge — and for good reason, too. If you sit down and listen to each song, there are some really good messages behind a few of them. The show was produced by Disney after all! 

"Nobody's Perfect," for example, is one of the best and most well-known hits that came from Hannah Montana, according to a ranking penned by Entertainment Weekly. However, in addition to being a total bop and being super fun to listen to, the lyrics also talk about why it's important not to be too hard on yourself and why you should always try again. It definitely has a good message for fans of all ages to remember from time to time! 

Other songs like 'Make Some Noise," "Who Said," and "I Got Nerve" were feminist anthems before many of her viewers knew what feminism was! They were all about knowing your worth, not being afraid to stand out, and how it's more than okay to dream big.

Hannah Montana's Stewart family had to be really rich to afford a place in Malibu

Living in California is already incredibly expensive, according to CNBC, and living in areas like Malibu, where the fictional Stewart family lived, is even pricier. Because of this, adults might have noticed that Cyrus' character and her family had to be pretty loaded to afford their two-story Malibu home that was literally steps from the beach in Hannah Montana. Of course, having a famous pop star in the family means affording a house like this likely wasn't an issue, though it is surprising that they chose such an expensive house while trying to live a normal life...

For reference, Best Places took the average cost of living and housing in the entire United States, and put that number at 100. Anything higher than the 100 score meant the place is more expensive to live and anything under 100 meant the place is less expensive. Malibu's housing score was 1303.8 — over 100 times the amount of housing anywhere else in the United States. On average, according to Best Places, a house in Malibu costs around $3 million — but that's just an average. In 2019, for example, someone sold their Malibu beach house for $110 million, breaking two real-estate records, as reported by Business Insider. 

The fashion on Hannah Montana was peak mid-2000s

Nothing beats a throwback mid-2000s look. It was a time of gauchos, sparkly tops, finger gloves, and extreme side-swept bangs. And no show had a better example of the trendiest fashion of the times than Hannah Montana! Of course, because they were super on-trend at the time (who didn't want to copy Hannah Montana's on-stage looks?), the outfit choices didn't exactly stand the test of time. 

We have to remember that, in addition to this being a 2000s show, this iwas also a Disney program, which meant all fashion choices were bright, bold, and sometimes animal print. As Bustle pointed out, this show had every outfit that would have inspired you in middle school, but might have you cringing a little bit today. From the cropped neon green bomber jacket to the sparkly zebra mini-skirt to the ruffled dress-over-a-t-shirt look to the belts that never actually held any pants up, Hannah Montana had every early aughts fashion trend on display — and only adults today would probably notice just how iconic these looks were for the time.

Jason Earles was almost 30 when he played 16-year-old Jackson on Hannah Montana

Actors play people of different ages all the time, especially on Disney Channel shows, and Hannah Montana was no different. While many of the main actors were fairly close to the younger ages that their characters were when the show premiered in 2006, one actor in particular was not: Jason Earles. Earles, who played 16-year-old Jackson Stewart for all four seasons, was around 29 when the first episode premiered, making him over a decade older than his on-screen counterpart.

Earles' youthful appearance and short stature has allowed him to play roles years younger than he actually was, according to his IMDb page. And honestly, he does a really good job! In addition to his appearances as a teen on Hannah Montana, he's also had gigs playing teens on shows like Malcolm in the Middle and Phil of the Future.

The titular character on Hannah Montana must have been ridiculously smart

If you thought Hannah Montana was just another dumb blonde, think again! Miley Cyrus' character was ridiculously smart, as evidenced by her eventual acceptance into Stanford. For reference, the acceptance rate for the university is only 4.3 percent, and it's considered one of the hardest schools to get into in the country, as reported by ThoughtCo.

Miley Stewart initially gets denied from the university, the main reason being that she doesn't have a lot of extracurriculars recorded on her transcripts. It's mentioned that she had the same grades and nearly the same test scores as her best friend Lilly — but she didn't have enough extracurriculars. However, once Stewart reveals she's been a famous pop singer for her entire teenage life (hence why she couldn't participate in any outside activities), Stanford decides to let her in.

Getting into any university is hard nowadays, but getting into Stanford is something only the best of the best end up doing — it's amazing that young viewers got a chance to see how hard work and focusing on school can get you places!

Miley Cyrus grew up before our eyes on Hannah Montana

One thing adults might notice now is that the show only aired for four seasons over a five-year period, but Miley Cyrus' look (and personality) changed drastically over those few years. She was on the show from age 13 to 18, and, even though the character's core personality didn't change that much, her look definitely did. We watched Cyrus mature from cute teen to edgy teenager, and many of us now realize that it must have been hard to grow up like that. 

Cyrus is one of those actors who have grown up with their entire lives on display for the public, and most of those formative years were spent on a clean-cut Disney show. She's gone on record saying that she wouldn't be who she is if not for the show, but she recognized that it had a huge effect on her mental health (via Elle). "I definitely look back on it as a good time. I think what was hard for me was balancing everything," Cyrus told CBS. "I think it got harder when I started touring as both — I toured as Hannah Montana and as myself."

Hannah Montana's Miley Stewart was super mature for breaking up with Jake

TV shows and movies don't often depict what it's actually like being in a relationship, but Hannah Montana recognized that not every relationship is perfect. So when Miley Cyrus' character was confronted by her boyfriend, Jake, cheating on her, it was great that they showed young viewers that you shouldn't put up with someone cheating on you — and that sometimes the best thing to do in that situation is break up with them. Even adults have trouble with these types of relationship issues, so the fact that Miley Stewart was so sure of how she felt and what she deserved must have served as an inspiration for Hannah Montana fans everywhere.

It was disappointing to have Jake (played by Cody Linley), who had been Hannah Montana's love interest for most of the show, go out on such a low note. But at least Hannah had a new love waiting in the wings!