Season 1, episode 10: “I Do, I Don’t”

A lot of Lizzie episodes start with the trio all chatting on the phone on split-screen. This is one of them, with Lizzie and Miranda analyzing which X-Men power would make Ethan Craft fall in love with them and Gordo complaining about how they could fall for a guy so intellectually inferior. Drink every time Gordo seems like an insecure asshole from r/theredpill from now on. The whole conversation is dumb and unrealistic and clearly serves two purposes: injecting one of those hip references the writers love to shoehorn in, and establishing Ethan as the main hottie of the school. Whatever happened to Danny Kessler, Lizzie? The closest any of you would get to Brad Pitt? These writers don’t care about continuity and hate their audience.

Matt comes into Lizzie’s room looking for a flashlight and Lizzie is a giant brat about it and screams and hangs up the phone and screams some more and her dad comes in and she screams at him for barging in and then screams that she can’t talk to him because she’s getting MARRIED IN THE MORNING. And her dad looks so confused because he’s a dummy and yells for help from his wife because dads don’t know shit, only moms do. I guess Lizzie is supposed to be so stressed that she’s acting out and so this scene is supposed to play as a joke but it doesn’t work on two levels. First, she was totally calm when talking to Miranda and Gordo. Second, she’s this terrible to be around all the time so this marriage thing is no excuse.

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The marriage thing! What’s up with it? It’s a cliffhanger because that’s the end of the cold open. After the theme song a teacher named Mrs. Stebel explains “the rules for the social studies marriage project”: she’d pair them into couples, they’d all have to choose occupations from a fishbowl, and at the end of the week they’d present stories about their marriages at a mock 20-year reunion. The couple “with the best marriage” won’t have to write a paper. Lotta exposition there. You’d think the students of her class would know they’re in social studies. But what the fuck does this project have to do with social studies? This is a plot device rammed into a school setting.

Lizzie and Miranda both stare longingly at Ethan when Mrs. Stebel says she’ll pair them into couples. You can’t both have a crush on the same guy, you dummies! That’s like Middle School 101. Naturally this is going to be a point of tension for them this episode.

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Mrs. Stebel announces the first couple: Kate and Tudgeman. Kate screams that she refuses to be married to Tudgeman. What a terrible human! Kate is so unrealistically awful. ALSO HERE’S HOW THAT ANNOUNCEMENT HAPPENS. “Kate Sanders,” says Mrs. Stebel. “You’ll be marrying Larry Tudgeman.” The very next line is Cartoon Lizzie exclaiming, “Mr. and Mrs. Larry Tudgeman – Mrs. Kate Tudgeman – Kate Saunders Tudgeman!” SAUNDERS! They fucked up that continuity from one line to the next! I am applying for a job as a Disney Channel screenwriter tomorrow. There’s no way their standards are very high.

Tudgeman pulls a job from the fishbowl and is a mailman and Kate pulls a job and is an anchorwoman. Why aren’t these jobs written in gender-neutral language? Sexism aside, that’s not very practical. These writers don’t think about literally anything. Tudgeman tries to congratulate her on her cool job and she literally slaps his hand away. Fuck Kate!

Lizzie is paired with Gordo. There are only three male characters now that Danny Kessler is gone, so it had to be Ethan, Gordo, or Tudgeman, obviously. They go up and pick jobs and Lizzie exclaims, “A lawyer? Kool Moe Dee!” I had no idea what that meant and had to Google it. After looking it up, I…still don’t get it? I guess the writers wanted a funky slangy way of saying “cool” since this reference seems to have nothing to do with practicing law, but “cool” would have sufficed. 25% of Kate’s lines are “Whatever;” they don’t need to be messing around with “cool.” And would 13-year-old Lizzie really know who Kool Moe Dee was in 2001? Ugh. Gordo picks a job and is a garbageman and complains about it, just like Lizzie complained about being a cosmetologist. Maybe don’t look down on other people’s jobs when you can barely do your own, writers!

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Gordo gripes, “My wife’s a lawyer – I pick up trash!” Drink! Tudgeman says, “Hey! Doesn’t make you less of a man. Trust me, I know – my wife’s a TV personality.” This is supposed to be a joke but Tudgeman’s got his head on straight here! Gordo shouldn’t be threatened by his wife’s success. I had no idea rewatching this series would make me hate Gordo so much, but now I want it to end with Tudgeman learning personal hygiene and everyone falling for him, an actually nice guy and decent human being.

That leaves Miranda, so of course she’s paired with Ethan. She picks the job of homemaker (seriously, half of these cards seem gender-coded) and Ethan picks “surgeon” but doesn’t know what the word means. Oh yeah, Ethan’s dumb as a rock now. RIP wannabe gangsta Ethan. You were hilarious. “He’s a doctor, and I’m a garbage man?” gripes Gordo. Drink!

At lunch Miranda runs up and flaunts a big ol’ rock and says she’ll be eating lunch with her husband. Lalaine is very adorably obnoxious about waving his enormous ring around.

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But like, why would she have a ring? This project isn’t real. And how would Ethan even have had time to get this for her? Gordo makes a comment later in this scene that they’ve been married “less than a period.” Tudgeman tries sitting with Kate and she gives him the silent treatment, then barks in her stilted terrible acting style that she can’t write a paper this weekend so she needs the perfect marriage so he can’t be in it. Do none of these people realize this project isn’t real? Everyone should just announce “We love each other a lot and rarely fight” if their end goal is getting out of the paper.

Gordo vows to be more than a garbageman and outlines his plans for starting a garbage empire (good, Gordo! You’re garbage!) while Lizzie stares jealously at Miranda and Ethan. Gordo SNAPS HIS FINGERS in her damn face and demands, “Are you even listening to me?” and she responds brattily, “Yeah, you’re talking about trash.” You’re both trash! You deserve each other. “You know, Lizzie,” Gordo says. “I know we’re best friends, but sometimes I feel like you take me for granted. Like now?! How do you think that makes me feel?” Drink! Drink! Drink!

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At home Matt runs around covered in dirt, who cares, and Mrs. McGuire confides to Lizzie that she’s worried about him because he’s been too good lately. It’s crazy that the McGuire parents are so open about how shitty their kid is.

Lizzie rants to her mom that “Miranda gets to be Mrs. Dr. Ethan Craft, and I get to be married to Gordo, the trash king.” Lizzie is classist as hell. However, her mom then says seriously, “I don’t know what your teacher is telling you, but marriage is not about how much you earn or what you have, it’s about love and trust and communication.” Damn, what has the McGuire marriage gone through? They seem to have a pretty good life with Mr. McGuire’s job that somehow involves Aaron Carter and Mrs. McGuire’s job that I guess exists. (She joked in the babysitter episode that their usual babysitter “makes more in an hour than I do” but I’ve yet to see any other evidence that she works.) What hard times have the McGuires weathered that made them realize love is all that matters? That is an interesting digression, but I’m an imbecile for caring because the whole sentence was a setup for her to ask Mr. McGuire to back her up so he can go, “Huh?” and she can say “Just say yes.” Ha ha! Husbands are dummies and wives are demanding harpies.

Mrs. McGuire tells her dummy husband that she’s worried about Matt and concludes “I think you should go follow him.” Yeah, cuz that worked out so well last time, when your kids almost murdered their own father thinking he was a psychotic predator. Mr. McGuire learns that Matt is building an underground cave in their seemingly enormous (for this episode) backyard. Sure.

He asks Matt what the fuck is up with that, and Matt says, “Haven’t you ever wanted a place that is your own? A place you can just hang?” Mr. McGuire responds, “Each and every day of my life, son.” Who is this man? What horrors has he seen? Why does he seem so disconnected from his family? How does he know Aaron Carter? We may never unlock his mysteries.

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Cut to the Digital Bean, where Lizzie gets a tray of food like it’s the school cafeteria and I get even more confused about this weird establishment. She spots Ethan and Kate sharing a smoothie and creeps up to spy on them, but naturally drops her tray of food then slips on it then gets her hair caught in gum under their table. Ethan and Kate notice none of this. Lizzie happens to be there right when Kate is announcing an evil plan, which is leaving Tudgeman at the reunion for Ethan. THIS PROJECT! ISN’T! REAL!

Are Kate and Ethan dating? They made eyes at each other when their teacher announced the marriage project but nothing about this episode indicates that they are. So none of this makes any sense. This plot point only exists because Kate decided that she can’t win the best marriage award if she’s married to someone as despicable as Tudgeman, but it’s so obvious that leaving him in front of the class isn’t going to fulfill the requirements of this stupid assignment. For this to make any sense, she should be dating Ethan, and then this bullshit project making her blind with rage would stem from jealousy because Ethan had to spend time with Miranda. And then she could be trying to embarrass Miranda out of spite. As-is, this is yet another episode that depends on Kate being an unrealistic monster of a character to drive the plot forward.

The next day at Lizzie’s, Gordo talks about his trash kingdom again then yells at Lizzie for not paying attention to him. That one’s fair, so no need to drink. Gordo says she puts zero effort into their marriage and she says he keeps nagging her and he says he wouldn’t have to nag if she paid attention to him and she says she’d pay attention if he talked about something other than garbage. Mr. McGuire and Matt run in all covered in dirt and Mrs. McGuire asks what’s up and her dummy husband lies to her. He runs back off with Matt and she yells, “You know I’m gonna find out!” because wives are demanding harpies. I think the writers want to make a point about marriage in this episode but between the fake couples and the McGuire parents, all I’m getting is that marriage is hard if both parties are idiots.

Lizzie shows up at the Digital Bean somehow (did her Mom drive her?) and Miranda’s luckily already there (did Lizzie know she would be?) and Lizzie tries to tell her Ethan is going to dump her at the reunion but Ethan shows up. Gordo shows up and Lizzie leaves Miranda and Ethan to freak out with him about Miranda’s upcoming humiliation. Did Gordo and Lizzie not arrive together? They were both just at her house. Why does the Digital Bean exist?

There’s a brief montage of the McGuire men hanging out in the underground cave set to ska music and then Mrs. McGuire finds them and yells at them and says they can’t hang out there anymore. Demanding harpies, I tell you.oh-jo-mcguire-you-deserve-better---lizzie-mcguire-reviewed

And now it’s time for the 20-year reunion! Everyone is dressed in occupation-specific costumes and Lizzie worries about Miranda getting dumped in front of everyone. That’s misguided and overdramatic. She should worry that Miranda’s partner would tank their project grade, since their grade matters and these bullshit relationships do not.

Kate and Tudgeman are first, and Kate grabs the mic and announces “I left Larry the day after our wedding” and rambles about her accomplishments. Good luck winning the marriage project with no marriage, moron!

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There’s a convenient 5-minute break in between presentations, so Lizzie tells Miranda what she heard Ethan and Kate say in the Digital Bean. We get more very sad serious acting from Lalaine again and then she runs up on stage and makes a scene. She yells, “Ethan was gonna leave me for Kate, but you see, Doctor, that’s not how I operate!” and clearly doesn’t realize that’s a joke. She yells that he can take the car and all the stuff but can’t take her dignity and says Ethan wasn’t treating her like a friend. Mic drop! Actually mic throw. She hurls the mic on the floor. It’s hilarious and I wish I could gif it. She looks like a 5-year-old.

Then Tudgeman pours punch on Kate’s head for being such an asshole to him and says “Now this marriage is over!” None of these people grasp anything about this project.

In the end none of the main characters win for their marriages and they all gripe on the phone. Miranda apologizes for ditching them for Ethan Craft so much lately. Miranda, Lizzie just apologized to you for the same thing last episode and before that in the pilot you apologized for ditching her for Kate. You’re both flaky idiots. Just get used to it. They complain about having to write a paper and Lizzie says she learned a lesson about not taking people for granted and being lucky to marry her best friend and they all agree they’re too young to even be thinking about marriage. That got kind of heavy.

This episode was dumb. The marriage project was both completely unrealistic and completely ineffective as a dramatic device. I guess it was supposed to introduce some Boy Drama but Lizzie and Miranda never aired their jealousy and competition issues regarding Ethan. We just got another episode that boils down to Kate being cruel and petty. This also was a great opportunity for making me care about Lizzie and Gordo ending up together, but they were both terrible to each other in their fake relationship. Lame all around.

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7 thoughts on “Season 1, episode 10: “I Do, I Don’t”

  1. I remember this episode pretty vividly! You can tell it was definitely made pre-recession because now all the kids would be thrilled to be assigned to garbage or mail duty, since they’re steady paying jobs.

    Also, I find it so sad that poor Ethan is so easily manipulated. Miranda kind of goes off at him, but it’s not his fault that Kate tricked him. He might have the IQ of a grapefruit, but he’s a decent person.

    Like

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