Oh, snap! It’s this episode! I feel like this is an iconic one. I’m sadly now fairly immersed in the world of online Lizzie McGuire nostalgia and this episode has a scene people love to gif, even though the story itself is not particularly memorable. (You want a memorable Lizzie episode? Tune the fuck in next week, people. We’re about to get to the one episode burned into everyone’s brains.)
But this week we’re on this one, “Bad Girl McGuire,” which starts with some bitch tryna stick bubblegum in Lizzie’s hair. As always, I’m astonished with how cavalierly this show drops characters into this universe and acts like they’ve been important all along. A chick who looks edgy by this show’s standards tries to stick gum in Lizzie’s hair, crosses her eyes at her (which is a pretty lame form of harassment but Miranda looks completely scandalized by this), and calls our heroine “Frizzy McGuire.” On the one hand, that’s fair, because Lizzie’s hair looks insane always, but on the other hand, this week’s antagonist looks like this:
It’s the pot calling the kettle black, is what I’m saying. I have costume complaints, as usual. This girl is supposed to be the polar opposite of Lizzie, and nothing about the costumes suggest that. Lizzie’s wearing a horrible pattern and texture explosion of an outfit with crazy crimped hair and a ton of jewelry, and this girl is wearing a shirt that says ANGEL with a pink fur vest, a hairdo every bit as unattractive as Lizzie’s, and a ton of jewelry. Maybe they felt the need to crimp Lizzie’s hair to make this girl’s lame nickname make sense, but this whole look just ends up linking Lizzie to this weirdo, which is going to make the stupid arc she goes through this episode meaningless.
Their teacher reprimands them both for talking, calling this girl “Ms. Lieberman.” We’ve yet to learn this girl’s first name. Something Lieberman continues to taunt Lizzie while Lizzie makes terrible bratty faces at her until their teacher says, “That’s it!” and introduces a pop quiz as if it’s a punishment for Lizzie and Something Lieberman’s disruption, except she’d been holding the pop quizzes already so clearly that was in the lesson plan all along.
“I love the smell of pop quizzes in the morning!” says Gordo excitedly. Stan Rogow, the co-creator of this show, said in an interview once that he loves working in references kids won’t get. I completely disagree with him and find it lazy, unoriginal, and insulting to the audience, but it shouldn’t shock anyone at this point that Stan Rogow and I disagree on the subject of how to make a show. Something Lieberman calls Gordo “Gor-dork” for his enthusiasm. Ugh. The only thing worse than out-of-touch writers coming up with normal kids’ dialogue is out-of-touch writers trying to come up with edgy kids’ dialogue.
Something Lieberman tries to copy off Lizzie’s quiz, which is stupid because she’s sitting right next to Gordo. Lizzie is a straight-B student and Gordo just creamed his pants at the mere thought of a pop quiz. Seems like Gor-dork would be the better choice. Anyway, Lizzie savagely tears her down, followed by a snarling sound effect. Something Lieberman is more likeable than Lizzie in this scene.
She asks if Lizzie is afraid she’ll get caught and Lizzie is a stupid idiot who’s never heard of reverse psychology and says she is so not afraid and just straight-up hands her paper to Something Lieberman like that’s not going to be noticeable. Obviously they both get caught and both get detention. Something Lieberman laughs and says gleefully, “Well, Frizzy McGuire, welcome to my world!” Cartoon Lizzie wails that she never gets detention because she’s a good girl. Lizzie, your moral compass was just compromised by a dare from someone who means nothing to you. Don’t act like you have values.
Later, Lizzie approaches the “Detention Room” – because apparently this school has a classroom devoted just to detention because this school system wastes resources – as ominous music plays. What streetwise ruffians and rough-and-tumble ne’er-do-wells has the dark criminal underbelly of the school churned out for Lizzie to encounter in this hellscape?
Why, clean-cut boys in puka shell necklaces and Hawaiian shirts! Lizzie recoils in horror.
As always in a situation of distress, she takes it out on her friends, brattily demanding that they comfort her. She complains that she’ll be eaten alive because she’s such a nice person, which makes no sense because she’s a total bitch, but rationalizes that it can’t all be bad people in there if she got detention. Holy shit, Lizzie McGuire is totally Piper Chapman. They are the same person.
Lizzie walks in and is greeted by an effeminate man in an ascot. Wait, an effeminate man? In an ascot? OH BOY, I BET I KNOW WHAT HE TEACHES!
WHOOMP, THERE IT IS. Now THERE’S a theatre stereotype for you. I mean, it’s horrible and cliche, but at least he’s not dressed like he’s in the Matrix like the rest of the theatre people in this universe.
Something Lieberman stomps up to Lizzie and yells at her for getting her into detention when she wanted to buy the new Eminem CD that afternoon. Um, Something Lieberman thought it was totally hilarious when they both got detention. That happened less than three minutes ago on this stupid show. Also, I am not getting “Eminem Stan” from her look but since when do the costume designers care about anything?
Lizzie is afraid of pissing Something Lieberman off more, so she says she can always copy off her papers in the future. Lizzie, you’re a spineless little weasel. Something Lieberman thinks she’s totally cool now and says she might be able to join her band one day and Lizzie thinks that’s totally cool. Everyone is off the mark here in terms of judgement of coolness. Especially the writers. Something Lieberman says she’s gonna be a big musician one day and get to “L2,” or “live large” and complains that everyone else in detention is a “Double E” – a geek or dweeb. Lizzie finds this HYSTERICAL.
At home Lizzie gets reprimanded for coming home late. Cartoon Lizzie rationalizes that she could tell her mom the truth and she’d understand – which she would, I guess, since the cheating wasn’t Lizzie’s idea – but she decides to lie instead and Cartoon Lizzie expresses guilt about that. Her mom is completely irrational and screams her head off at Lizzie regardless, and Lizzie snarls a comeback at her like the brat she is and Cartoon Lizzie doesn’t express guilt about that. Matt comes home seven minutes later than he was supposed to and Mrs. McGuire screams her head off at him too and he screams back and she screams some more and I hate this family so much. Mrs. McGuire ends up almost in hysterics. She’s being next-level unreasonable this episode, and I guess that’s because Matt’s subplot this episode starts with him accusing her of being too strict. Mrs. McGuire turns on a dime here and cheerfully says Matt can have no bedtime if he promises to always be home on time.
Lizzie talks to Gordo and Miranda and tells them detention was fun. They are shocked, I tell you! “This is Lizzie, right?” asks Gordo incredulously. “Lizzie ‘Good Girl’ McGuire?” It cuts to a montage of Lizzie helping an old lady cross the street, bandaging an injured dog’s paw, and recycling. Not pictured: Lizzie sneaking out of the house to see Aaron Carter, Lizzie eavesdropping on a teacher’s conversation, Lizzie belittling and insulting everyone she’s close to. Gordo says Lizzie is “the good girl prototype.” Lizzie complains that being a good girl is boring and Angel isn’t boring at all. Angel? The girl in the shirt that said ANGEL on it is named Angel? Could these costume designers BE any lazier?
Matt gets on the other line to scream-chant “I don’t have a bedtime! I don’t have a bedtime!” and Lizzie “Good Girl” McGuire hangs up, runs into his room, and chases him offscreen, where we hear the sounds of her beating him and him screaming. She storms away and we hear him crying. This is this show’s idea of the “good girl prototype,” y’all.
The next day Lizzie saunters in with Angel Lieberman and she’s dressed even more terribly than usual. We’re supposed to ignore the fact that her mom would never be okay with this.
Through the most exposition-packed dialogue imaginable we learn that Lizzie forged a note to get her out of class so she and Angel could go off-campus and get pizza. Presumably they walked since they’re thirteen. Gordo and Miranda chastise her for this and she screams at them and this is supposed to be unusual and disturbing behavior for her and not how she treats her friends every episode. Lizzie says it’s “no BD” (big deal) and that Angel “puts the double O in cool” and that they’re going to a high school party. I hope it’s exactly like the college party scene in Heathers and that she barfs on Angel’s shoes. I’m ready to barf on someone’s shoes at this point.
Later that night in the McGuire household, an old-time rock and roll song that is not quite “Old-Time Rock and Roll” starts blasting and this happens:
I was not kidding about Stan Rogow liking to work in references kids wouldn’t understand. I hate Matt and you can probably see where this is going, so I’ll spoil it now and say Matt gets really tired and realizes he should have a bedtime by the end of this episode.
The next morning Lizzie waltzes in and steals Matt’s toast from him – again, I think this is supposed to be shocking behavior on her part but they just had her pummel him earlier in this episode so that doesn’t land – and she’s wearing a nose ring. This is that scene everyone gifs!
She has a dumb hairdo, is rude to Matt, and yells at her parents for expressing concern for her. That’s every single day in the McGuire household and yet this time her parents are horrified. They demand to know what’s gotten into her and Matt says, “She looks this gross every day!” I hate him but he has a point. But he’s not supposed to. That’s supposed to be a joke. It’s not! Lizzie is a monster. Of course the nose ring turns out to be fake. Lizzie’s god-awful personality is real, though.
At school Lizzie skips PE, Miranda is horrified, and Angel wears another shirt that says ANGEL on it. Lizzie brags that her parents TFO’ed (“totally freaked out,” ugh) when they saw her new “jewels” (fake nose ring, ugh) and Angel raves about the high school party they’re going to. She says there will be no parents and the music gets intense. She says there will be lots of high school boys and the music gets more intense. I hoped fervently that she’d say there’d be drugs and booze and hookers and needle-sharing and the music would go crazy but I guess that’s too much for Disney Channel.
Miranda and Gordo plan an intervention for Lizzie to “scare her straight” and remind her she’s a good girl at heart.
After a terrible Matt montage, we see Miranda hide in a classroom while Gordo explains to her that Lizzie is meeting him to get the answers to the algebra test. This is confusing since the beginning of this episode clearly established that they both have algebra the same period so Gordo would have had to steal an answer key for this to be plausible. He should be letting her copy his homework. No detail, big or small, is worth these writers’ attention.
Gordo asks Lizzie to follow him into the classroom, where Miranda has set up a TV showing one of Gordo’s terrible videos documenting her downfall. Instead of asking her parents how they felt about it, which would have been legitimately touching, totally feasible, and a good way of guilting Lizzie, they have clips of Miranda and Gordo in her house doing impressions of her parents talking about how good Lizzie used to be.
There’s a lot of stuff that’s dumb about this but I have to table it because my real takeaway here is HOT FUCK DOES GORDO ACTUALLY LOOK EXACTLY LIKE HER ACTUAL DAD:
I AM UNCOMFORTABLE!!!!!
He doesn’t do a good impression of her dad, though, because he talks about what she’s like and voices concern for her, whereas the real Sam McGuire would give the camera a baffled look, struggle to remember he had a family, and disappear to work on something related to Aaron Carter. Anyway, this stupid video ends with Gordo and Miranda worrying that she’ll end up in jail and Lizzie finds this touching and says she guesses she’s still a good girl at heart, which was Gordo’s verbatim stated objective for this intervention so that’s convenient.
At this point she should tell Angel that hanging out with her has been fun but she’s a little uncomfortable with her parties and rule-breaking and is not going to be hanging out with her anymore. That would be a decent move after the time she’s spent with her and would reinforce that Lizzie is truly a good person at heart. But of course she instead storms up to Angel, who’s wearing a third outfit emblazoned with her own name on it, and rudely berates her for no reason. Angel responds by saying Lizzie can’t be in her band anymore and yells, “You, Lizzie McGuire, are never going to L2!” Someone calls her by her full name at least once an episode.
Later that night, Matt muses about needing some boundaries after all and Lizzie wisely says she realized that too and Matt calls her stupid for no reason so Lizzie grabs the food he’s eating and runs away with it. This time they’re both laughing so we’re supposed to think their relationship is fun and forget that it’s toxic and abusive. This is a dumb way to end this episode but every episode is dumb and ends on a pretty lame note so I can’t say I’m surprised. I am surprised that Lizzie didn’t apologize for ditching Gordo and Miranda to hang out with Angel and that Kate never showed up to call her a loser and sigh “Whatever” when Lizzie had a comeback to that, but otherwise this week was business as usual.
Tune in next week, though, because next Monday’s review is “Between a Rock and a Bra Place!” I’m exasperated already. It’ll be great.