Season 1, episode 15: “Lizzie’s Nightmare”

This episode starts with a 5-second shot of Matt cackling over a honeypot. That’s the beginning of an episode. I assumed the playback was fucked up, but nope. That was how they wanted to start this one.

It cuts suddenly to Lizzie, Gordo and Miranda on a three-way call. Gordo has something to tell Lizzie but he can’t remember it, and Miranda cuts in with a very unkind screech, “Was it about her outfit?! Cuz, you know, it’s not her fault. Red’s not her color.” What a shady bitch! I expected Lizzie to protest this, but instead she ups the screaming-ante significantly and yells “MAYBE BECAUSE IT CLASHED WITH THE GREEN SPINACH THAT WAS IN MY TEETH ALL AFTERNOON!!!!” and we get a brief flashback of Lizzie’s spinach in her teeth. Her outfit isn’t red.

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Matt bursts in and laughs stupidly then disappears. He’s so, so punchable, guys. Gordo remembers his message for Lizzie: Ethan Craft said she should eat lunch with him today. Today? I thought this was a nighttime scene. I assumed she was venting after a bad day. They’re all starting their day shitting on Lizzie’s looks from the previous day?

This is one of those episodes where hours seem to pass before the McGuire kids head off to school, as if they wake up at 5 a.m. habitually. Miranda is painting her nails during this conversation. These kids should be getting ready for the day.

Lizzie realizes Matt’s put honey all over her phone. Oh, that explains the random 5-second snippet at the beginning. Plot-wise, not as an editing choice. That’s still confusing. Lizzie pulls the phone off her hair so vigorously she tumbles right off her bed. Fall Count: 1.

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Seemingly a fair amount of time later, Mrs. McGuire says they’ve finally gotten all of the honey out of her hair and tries to calm Lizzie down. Hurry up and go to school, Lizzie! It seems like it’s got to be at least 10:00.

The whole family hears Matt boast to Lanny on the phone about the honey prank and they all flip out as if they couldn’t have assumed he was responsible. Mrs. McGuire says he’s grounded and he totally scoffs at his punishment like the disrespectful twat he is. Lizzie says he should be sent away forever and Mrs. McGuire snaps, “That’s not a bad idea.” Do it! Do it! I chant in desperation, running out of ways to describe how much I hate this smug, obnoxious asshat. She tells Matt to go to school and she’ll have his punishment decided when he gets home and he sarcastically replies, “Ohhhhh, I’ll rush riiiiiiiight home.” For once the McGuire parents seem legitimately angry at Matt, so much so that Mr. McGuire even participates in family life for once. He sternly tells Matt to “cool it.” A for effort, Sam.

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Matt ends up missing his bus because of this debacle. Finally! Some consequences for the McGuire household’s lackadaisical morning routine! He accidentally gets on the bus for the middle school. Mrs. McGuire is taking Lizzie to school for some reason (further honey removal?) so Matt goes off to her school without her knowing.

Lizzie arrives having used one of her signature terrible hairdos to compensate for the honey, which bizarrely crimps all sections except the part that had honey in it, but she’s still worried about her hair looking bad for her lunch with Ethan. She should be worried about her outfit, because she’s chosen to wear what is hands down her worst look yet for the biggest day of her middle school life.

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Oof. Lizzie. Love yourself!

On the bus Ethan finds Matt in his seat. How long does this bus ride take? Lizzie had time to crimp and style her hair and get to school in the time this bus has gone one stop. Ethan calls Matt names and threatens to beat him up. Ethan started the series as a wannabe gangster, rapidly transitioned to being so dumb he didn’t know what a surgeon was, was briefly a fun lovable goofball, and now I guess is a bully. Matt cracks a bunch of truly terrible jokes and Ethan finds them so hilarious he decides to befriend Matt instead of pulverize him. There’re a lot of threats of violence on this show that I do not support.

Gordo runs up to Miranda and Lizzie with news of some new guy everyone’s flipping out about. They share rumors they’ve heard – kid has a recording contract, his parents are spies, he goes to Disney World twice a year, he skipped three grades, and he made a movie with Spielberg – and Lizzie walks right into a door for no reason. Fall count: 2. Matt walks by boasting about how he came up with the idea for making the Harry Potter series into a movie and that now there were plans to make a Harry Potter movie someday, but Lizzie misses it because she’s a heap on the floor. Get it? Matt is the new kid. Matt is the new kid and man are these episodes old. The Harry Potter series is some future concept here.

At home Mrs. McGuire has a meltdown and her husband tells her to hold on cuz he’s selling her old records in an online auction. Sam does not care about her needs. We get a flashback of Young Jo cradling her records back in the day and the actress they cast looks SO MUCH LIKE HALLIE TODD. I think it might be her actual daughter, since her daughter acts, but I can’t confirm. It’s good casting regardless.

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She tells him to pay attention because the school called and Matt is missing. She worries that he ran away because she was so mean to him. As if Matt has feelings. Mr. McGuire reminds her of all the other times Matt has disappeared. God, they’re raising a shitty kid.

He reminds her that Matt snuck off to meet Tarzan at the mall and she mumbles that he didn’t sneak out, she took him. Mr. McGuire explodes, “I knew you liked that guy! It’s the way he was hanging from the rope, right? And the loincloth?” WHAT is going on in their marriage? The sad lonely nights Jo must have, being stuck with this inattentive vanilla dude.

At school Lizzie gets all psyched for lunch with Ethan and Miranda is happy for her and Gordo whines about how Ethan is lame and Lizzie is “pathetic” for wanting to hang out with him. The McGuire women choose such harmful men.

Lizzie walks over to Ethan’s table, and of course Matt is over there, obscured by a crowd, dancing a stupid dance. He and Lizzie make eye contact and both scream at the top of their lungs for ten seconds. It’s unrealistic but ayyyy! It’s the image from the cover photo on the Lizzie McGuire Reviewed Facebook! (Which you should like!)

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Lizzie drags Matt out of the cafeteria and tells him to leave but he says he loves middle school, listing a bunch of reasons why it’s better than elementary school. “The playground’s bigger” is one of them. Have any of these writers even seen a middle school? There’s then this very weird moment where Gordo asks what she’s gonna do about Matt and Cartoon Lizzie says threateningly, “I’ll do what any other red-blooded sibling does. I’ll go to Mom and Dad.” I looked up “red-blooded” to see if I was attributing an implication to it that’s not in the usual definition, but nope. Quoth the dictionary: “adjective: red-blooded. (of a man) vigorous or virile, especially in having strong heterosexual appetites.” So basically never use the phrase “red-blooded sibling” ever.

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Lizzie is having lunch, so it’s probably around noon, but at home the McGuire parents are interrogating Lanny as if he wouldn’t be in school right now. This episode gives no fucks about time. Naturally Lanny doesn’t say anything because that’s his thing. But I gotta say he is an adorable kid actor and I appreciate him more when Matt’s not around to talk for him.

Miranda tries to convince Lizzie to let Matt stick around so they can use him to get more popular, but she refuses. She decides to use the school phone to call her parents and runs to the office but gets smacked by an open locker and falls to the floor. Fall Count: 3. She sees Matt and races towards him, slamming a kid in the locker, and Miranda looks at it, shrugs, and walks away. Is….is that kid going to suffocate? Did Lizzie and Miranda just murder a dude?

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The principal – played by Phill Lewis, a.k.a. Mr. Moseby from The Suite Life – catches Lizzie using the office phone and reprimands her while gushing about how great Matt is. Lizzie says he doesn’t belong there and the principal is a total dick and finally says condescendingly, “Just a tip, Lizzie: jealousy isn’t pretty on a girl.” Well that’s sexist as hell, Principal Mr. Moseby! This is even more insulting considering there’s a giant poster in the background that says EXCELLENCE KNOWS NO GENDER.

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But he ends up calling the McGuire household to thank them for Matt or something.

At home the McGuires are freaking out and the cop they’ve called for help is totally useless. Fuck the police, man. “Wait a second!” says Mr. McGuire. “I turned the phone off when I was online!!” Whoa, that’s the twist of this episode? Did not see THAT coming as a person watching this in 2015! They have two messages: one from Jo’s mom (which is clearly Hallie Todd doing an old lady voice, a detail I enjoyed) and one from Lizzie’s school. “Lizzie’s school, I don’t have time for you – my baby’s missing!” Mrs. McGuire yells, deleting it immediately. Imagine if they were calling to say Lizzie had been hit by a bus and she didn’t even care because she was worried about their monster of a son.

Lizzie ends up calling the cops on Matt and they show up in the middle of a class and arrest him. She’s thrilled until everyone starts badly ad-libbing “That’s cool.” Apparently having him get arrested in class made him even cooler.

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That night the trio talk on the phone and Lizzie says Matt is in a lot of trouble, which is disappointing, because I want to see him really cruelly punished after all that obnoxiousness I just had to watch. Lizzie gets an incoming call and it’s Ethan! Ethan’s room is absolutely amazing. I sure hate the costume designer on this show, but whoever the set designer is just earned my respect forever.

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Notice that Ethan is holding a basketball. In the background is another basketball and a football. On one side of Ethan is a basketball hoop, and in this scene he walks a foot forward and another basketball hoop comes into frame. It’s like they told the set designer “he’s a straight guy” and the set designer rolled with that as aggressively as possible. Anyway, Ethan is just calling to ask to hang out with Matt, and Lizzie hangs up on him. There’s a good lesson in here somewhere: Matt didn’t ruin her chances with Ethan, her unlikeable personality did. She groans so hard she falls off the bed. Fall Count: 4. “Matt ruined the best phone call of my life!” Cartoon Lizzie growls. “It’s not over. I’ll get him!” And credits. What?

(Notable: the show is finally called Lizzie McGuire for the first time! Up until now the clapperboard has read What’s Lizzie Thinking in the blooper reel.)

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Man, that ended on a lame note. I wanted way more comeuppance for Matt. This episode was pretty awful across the board. Matt is such a truly terrible character, so a whole episode about him charming the whole school is pretty grating to watch. Plus he brings out the worst in Lizzie, which is really saying something. After the last two episodes I was afraid I was starting to like this dumb show, so this one was at least a relief.

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5 thoughts on “Season 1, episode 15: “Lizzie’s Nightmare”

    1. I do remember an episode where they referenced her wearing a unicorn sweater. I think her grandmother knitted it for her. Her mom thought it was cute for Lizzie to wear on picture day – of course Lizzie did not agree lol.

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  1. I don’t know if you noticed or not, but there’s a part where Gordo gushes how the “new kid” got a role in a Spielberg movie despite being younger than him and through out the whole episode, Gordo keeps mentioning him and Spielberg.

    This is a reference to the movie “A.I. (Artificial Intelligence)”, that came out in 2001, that was directed by Steven Spielberg; Jake Thomas worked on that movie right before starting his work on “Lizzie McGuire” (or I guess as it was called then, “What’s Lizzie Thinking?”).

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