Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jessie Reviewed: "Green-Eyed Monster" (#2.02)

The plot in two sentences: Jessie's boyfriend Tony gets jealous when her cop friend Petey is spending a lot of time around her. The kids try to deal with a bunch of pet lizards. 

The lizard story is so stupidly insane that I honestly think someone was joking when they pitched it, and their boss was just hung over enough to say "sure, do that." Everyone seems to be okay with having this many lizards in the house. It's too many lizards.
In an abstract, macroscopic view, there are some okay things about this episode, if you completely ignore the lizard story. Tony and Petey are normal guys working shit jobs, neither is close to being a Lucas-level super model, and neither has dreams of being a star, which is the most annoying aspect of many Disney Channel characters. And Tony's jealousy is a generally relatable problem. Granted, it's probably a one-episode problem, like Lucas's anger issues, but it deserves a similar amount of credit. Further, Tony takes Jessie on a date to see Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 

So Tony and Petey are alright in my book. What about Jessie? She, on the other hand, does dream of being a star, and moved here to NYC to become an actress. Normally with these types of characters, they're super talented from day one and just need their big break, or they have to overcome their shyness, or whatever. But in this episode Jessie actually has to take the time to develop her skills, in the form of going to an improv class with Petey.
I did improv in high school, so the improv stuff spoke to me. Petey explains the hyper important core of improv, the "yes and-", to Jessie, which I appreciate, and it turns out that Jessie is bad at this, which I also appreciate. 90% of improv is people fumbling around trying too hard to be funny, and their performance captured the soul of that, I think. I don't know if most people would get anything out of these scenes, but for me personally it was enjoyable insofar as "heh, that's pretty spot on," including the shitty audience suggestions.

That all sounds pretty good. But those good ideas don't automatically materialize into a good script. There was one funny moment where the oldest female kid thought the house's intercom voice was God, but the rest of the humor was a huge miss for me. And it was not aided by every actor's poor delivery. None of the actors are remarkable. Petey's actor is probably the best of the bunch. If you ever saw School of Thrones on youtube, he played Theon. 

Debby Ryan is... okay... worse than the lead girl on DWaB, but better than the voice actor for The Dog. As an aspiring voice actor myself, it makes me angry that someone gets paid to be that terrible. Speaking of voices, that's easily my favorite thing about Ryan. Her voice is excellent, I think she would thrive in a cartoon where her poor body language wouldn't be a problem. 
Worst of all, she's a blinker. She blinks like a hundred times during every single line. Repeat after me: You cannot convey emotion with your eyelids. 

The writing itself was freshman year of an English degree. Everyone sort of talks the same way and uses the same words. You pick any sentence from the show and I wouldn't be able to tell you who said it or how they feel about what they're saying. 

This episode of Jessie gets a D- from me. (With a very secret C- if I'm unashamedly biased over the improv stuff.)

We basically agree on this one. Joey Richter is best known to me as Ron Weasley from A Very Potter Musical which I can't recommend more highly for a Harry Potter fan. Check it out on YouTube, so it was a treat to see him, but he was the only one with even a modicum of talent here and even he was realllllly camping it up. 

In my real life, I actually do improv around Chicago at places like Second City and stuff, so this was also a treat for me for the same reasons it was for you. But yeah, while none of this is too bad in theory, it's all shit in execution. It's got the opposite problem of DWaB which is a horrible idea in theory but its execution was like.... kinda/sorta okay. 

The writing is VERY bad. And I've seen more of Jessie than I have the rest of these Disney shows, because it's usually on before new GMWs, and it seems to consistently be this bad. Say what you will about Dog with a Blog OR Liv & Maddie, but clearly they are written by people at least moderately competent. You're absolutely right that this feels like a Freshman in college wrote this. It's just really bad. 

The one thing I'll say about the actors is that this is the earliest episode I've seen of this show, and I do know they get better. In particular the boys, who are both significantly improved in what I've seen of them. Ravi (who is clearly doing a fake Indian accent) is absolutely awful in this one, to the point where I can barely understand him. In what I've seen of the recent episode, he's still the worst one, but he's markedly improved. So, there is that. 

I really don't see what the big deal of this Debby Ryan is. Perhaps "Unknown..." who seems to have rather complex feelings about her can shed some light. She's not bad or anything, but what's the big deal here? How did this become Disney's flagship show? Am I right in thinking it is, it seems like it is, what with all the Debby Ryan attention and then that it's getting a spinoff?

I dunno. This is clearly the worst of the three. Also, do these kids not have parents? I've never seen their parents. Do they legitimately not have parents? Is Jessie their legal guardian?

Oh, and one more thing:

Wohoah! At long last, the man himself, a face for a name! Look at that, Christian was a hundred times funnier in 40 seconds than Jessie was in 25 minutes. 

That's good about the boys. The one with freckles stuck out as having potential, several tiers above Ravi, but we didn't get to see him a lot in this one.

I was thinking the Debby Ryan hype might be contractual, like she blew her audition out of the water and negotiated the flagship-ness into her contract. It's a solid explanation for Disney Channel continuing to put their eggs into this consistently lame basket... but then why the spinoff? The spinoff doesn't even have Debby Ryan, or the kid with freckles. Freckles is doing "Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything" instead, which is likely the most valuable career choice of his young life. So... I dunno, what is Disney Channel investing in? It's weird.

Also wanted to add that Jessie had the worst theme song that we've seen so far. I know how important that is for everybody.

The redhead girl... man, I'll just have to watch it again, I'm clearly missing something. Maybe if I mute the audio whenever the dog shows up...  

You guys, he deleted, it, but before Sean made SUCH A MISTAKE. I won't tell you about it. But OH BOY, was there EGG ON HIS FACE.

Yeah, you're right, though, Jessie's theme song is garbage. I remember thinking how bad it was. It's bad. 

Yeah, I actually ended up watching the first half of the Michelle Obama episode too, and the freckle kid isn't bad. He's going to be in your Descendants movie as Cruella DeVil's son, I think, so, look out! 

Episode Rating: D+ 
Episode MVP: Joey Richter (who, IMDb tells me, hasn't been in an episode of this show in years) 

Next time we'll do Austin & Ally for real. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dog with a Blog Reviewed: "Avery Dreams of Kissing Karl" (#3.08)

Our one-off episode reviews of non-GMW shows continues! Next up, Dog with a Blog. 

I wonder how fair doing this episode was, because I would assume it's actually not all that indicative of the basic premise. Stan (the titular dog with the titular blog) is a pretty small part of this episode, just around to crack a few jokes. You could have taken him out of this entirely and no part of this show's basic premise ("This family has a dog that can talk and writes a blog!") even matters so much. The dog himself is kind of obnoxious, and I don't like that this is a show about a talking dog, but I suppose once upon a time I did watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and really enjoyed the character of Salem. So, I could see where that would appeal to people. My guess, though, is that the more an episode would focus on Stan and his talking dog-ness, the less I'd be into it.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Liv and Maddie Reviewed: "Cook-a-Rooney" (#2.16)

Jumping up front here to explain what this is about for those confused: We're not starting to actually review Liv & Maddie too. We're just going to review one episode each of all the current Disney Shows and compare/contrast them with GMW and one another. This is the first!

Every episode of this show is structured xxx-a-Rooney, which... is dumb, if I'm being gentle about it. But this was one of the higher rated episodes and the description sounded fun. 

Indeed, fun is right where we start. Two young male characters are destroying a card board rendition of their town, dressed as a giant robot and a dinosaur. That's awesome man, that's some shit I'd want to do in real life. Liv, the "girly" sister, and her mother join in too. It's a little over-done with the slow motion shots, but overall it's a good time.

Girl Meets World coming to Netflix!

Good news, folks! Season 1 of Girl Meets World will be coming to Netflix on August 23rd. Now your friends who liked Boy Meets World but aren't diehard enough to try to watch a Disney Channel show can check out GMW too! 

And with the ease watching a show on Netflix provides, maybe I'll go back and review those first couple episodes I never reviewed.

Also, maybe this'll settle that "Which Season is 'Girl Meets Demolition' in debate once and for all?" I can't imagine they don't include "Demolition"

But they won't include Girl Meets Fish, and you're adamant that it's a season 1 episode, so maybe inclusion on Netflix isn't sufficient criteria~

Yeah, but, like, Fish they can't do. It, like, just aired. I'm cool with that. I mean, they're the ones that decided to throw that Season 1 opening on the episode, not me! But, I'll cop to the possibility that it, somehow, bizarrely, counts as Season 2. But Demolition doesn't. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Fish" (#1.22)

Yo. As this is a retro episode we're getting, we're doing this retro style - me all by my lonesome.  Actually, we're doing it because Sean is off the grid this weekend, but if he has any thoughts, he'll share them at the end of this review come next week.

And, yeah, that's right. I'm calling this a Season 1 episode. Season 1 opening? Corey Fogelmanis credited as an "Also Starring" after the opening credits is over? Season 1 episode. That's how we do. Also, the physical differences between the cast then and now (particularly Rowan and Corey) is so egregious that I can't try to pretend this actually follows the events of "New Teacher" without quitting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Boy Meets World MVP

As you guys may know I choose an MVP for each episode. I was wondering who what the ranks were of who's gotten that the most (I suspect it's Sabrina Carpenter, but I actually haven't even gotten around to counting that yet) which got me thinking about what the ranks would be for BOY MEETS WORLD. So... I went through the episode list and chose an MVP for every episode where the answer was clear to me without a rewatch. There's still a LOT of holes in here, episodes I feel I need to rewatch before I can choose an MVP, but here's the initial list. The responses surprised me

Friday, July 17, 2015

Episode Review: "Girl Meets the New Teacher" (#2.10)

See... there's really not a whole that matters in these short lives of ours. But one thing that does matter is being happy. And so everything that Christian or I can write about this episode is entirely secondary to the fact that watching it made me uncontrollably happy. 

LOOKATTHAT! Never thought I'd get to see that again, Turner calling on Cory in a classroom. "Cory, you were listening!" I really wish you were all here for a big group hug after that classroom scene, it was so wonderful. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

GMW Reviewed Editorial: "The Theoretical Eric Matthews Spinoff"

Since around the time Season 2 premiered, and even maybe since it was announced Will Friedle was returning, there've been rumblings of a theoretical Eric spinoff. I tried to find one of the things I'd read about it, but when you Google "Will Friedle Girl Meets World spinoff" or anything like it you're too flooded with articles about how Will Friedle is coming to Girl Meets World, which is itself a spinoff, to find anything else. But the talk, though BY NO MEANS OFFICIAL, exists and you've probably seen it yourselves.

Girl Meets World nominated for Outstanding Children's Programming at the 2015 Primetime Emmys!

Not too shabby, Girl Meets World. It will be duking it out against fellow Disney Channel show "Dog with a Blog", "Degrassi: The Next Generation" from our friends up north, Nickelodeon's "Nick News with Linda Ellerbee" which has apparently been going strong for 23 years even though this is the first I'm hearing of it, and an HBO series called "Masterclass" which is also news to me.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Mr. Squirrels Goes to Washington" (#2.09)

Hey guys! Episode Review time!

So, I'm going to try not to focus so much on how completely absurd almost all of the political stuff was. Obviously, this isn't a political drama, and it's not supposed to be, so they're not going to be all that concerned with mirroring what an election actually looks like. Yes, in real life, nobody's campaign team would be made up almost entirely of children, that's stupid. I can maybe buy that they'd do a debate in the gymnasium of a middle school (as some sort of "Children are our future" gimmick) but said debate would certainly not be moderated by a middle school teacher who also happens to be the brother of one of the candidates, said debate would also not only consist of one question and would not end because one of the candidates had an answer so good that everyone applauded and the other guy just left. That's all dumb and stupid. And it was also unnecessary - it didn't need to be Cory who was moderating it, just hire somebody. Have the news lady do it! TV journalists moderate those all the time. And it's not like the kids even did anything as campaign managers, once Tommy showed up he more or less was the only guy running the campaign. They could have just been like, hanging out, and you could still have had them encouraging Eric and stuff. But, again, whatever, this isn't The West Wing, it's fine. Honestly, I'm just surprised they remembered elections have primaries.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Independence Day from Girl Meets World Reviewed!

For all my American countrymen, a Happy Fourth of July to you! No new episode this week, but we'll be back next week. In celebration, how about you give 1776 starring William Daniels as John Adams a watch! It's where John Adams High gets its name!


Or, if you're just not willing to make that kind of commitment, you can also find William Daniels in Season 1, Episode 21 of Scrubs. That has less to do with Independence Day, though.