Hey I remember this one! Didn’t remember it being this fucked up, though.
Gordo is carrying his camera around for one of his lame documentaries. We get a predecessor to and worse version of the cafeteria scene in Mean Girls as Gordo describes every clique at every table. After lunch, Gordo realizes that he left his camera in the cafeteria.
When he goes back to get it, he realizes he conveniently left it on conveniently pointed right at Kate while she conveniently spilled a secret out of the blue in the middle of a crowded room full of her peers! Kate says that she is a year older then everyone else and was held back a year in kindergarten and Claire can’t tell anyone because it would ruin Kate’s image.
Man, I have a lot of questions here. What image? Kate is just known for being mean. Age doesn’t affect that. Getting held back would affect the class brainiac’s image. Does she just mean that people won’t be jealous of her getting boobs first if they knew it was because she was already a year into puberty? When did she and Lizzie meet? When Lizzie went to her 9th birthday party, as they discussed in “Lizzie and Kate’s Excellent Adventure,” was it actually her 10th birthday and her family was tricking all of the attendees? How long has she kept up this ruse? Why does her hair look so fake in this scene?
Lizzie, Gordo, and Miranda all laugh at Kate and make cruel jokes about how fucking stupid you have to be to get held back in kindergarten. Shoutout to all the kids watching this who were held back in school! The characters you love think you’re stupid and worthy of derision. Gordo decides to try to get more hidden camera footage so they can mock more people for the things they’re most insecure about.
Matt decides he wants to be a stuntman. Here’s hoping he gets killed or at least put in a coma for a few episodes!
Gordo hides his camera all over the school and then the trio meets at Lizzie’s house to view the footage. This is so invasive!! Some girl picks a wedgie. Some disgusting asshole picks his nose and sticks the booger under the library table. A girl burps loudly. Two football players in a steamy locker room check to make sure they’re alone in a scene that reads very differently to me now than it did when I was little, but the joke is that one of the football players keeps a pink stuffed bunny in his locker for good luck. So it’s kind of a gay joke but not the gay joke you’d think.
Gordo says that if everyone could see the tape, they’d know what he’s always known: “that even the popular kids have stuff to be embarrassed about.” I guess all of those kids were supposed to be popular, even though all of them except the football players looked nerdy and weird. Why not just stick burping girl in a cheerleader uniform and make Claire pick a wedgie if the point of this was that popular kids have secrets?
Lizzie says, very earnestly, that Gordo has to find a way to get everyone to see the footage. Why?! Just to shame people? I don’t know why we’re supposed to be on their side here. They don’t even play this scene like everyone is just caught up in excitement – it’s a serious discussion about sharing this with the whole school.
Matt tries a bunch of dumb stunts this episode, but, delightfully, they are easy to ignore so let’s do that.
Gordo finds out that the school district is hosting a student film competition, which I guess is a thing that could exist for middle schools in California. He says that his random footage of kids picking boogers is “the ultimate real-life documentary about middle school” and everyone agrees that he’s a shoo-in to win a prize for such a hard-hitting journalistic piece.
Miranda has a terrible day and rants to Lizzie at lunch in a really self-important speech about how bullshit middle school is. Uh-oh! Gordo’s making a movie about how bullshit middle school is! And it turns out he was filming the whole time!
I am so frustrated by Miranda’s characterization. Here they give her a screed about how everyone in school kisses the popular kids’ asses. But MIRANDA DOES THAT. Miranda is the one who always reminds Lizzie not to compromise her social status and seeks opportunities to get in with the popular kids. Miranda insisted Lizzie wear something cool for picture day to cement her popularity early in the year, used Lizzie’s modeling career to get the trio into cool parties, and discouraged Lizzie from going on a date with Tudgeman due to the risk it posed to her social status, and those are just examples I can remember off the top of my head. And yet this same character is always standing up to Kate and stomping around in Hot Topic combat boots like she’s ~2 edgy 4 school~. Why not lean into that? As ever, the writers don’t know how to contrast a character against Lizzie. The list of differences between Miranda and Lizzie is basically one item long: Miranda is more confident. Usually. Miranda dresses a little more punk (by watered-down Disney standards) but it’s not like Lizzie’s style is buttoned up or preppy. Their hairstyles are even essentially identical – same length, both with bangs, always put up in clips and shit.
Why not distinguish them a little, and make Lizzie the one who wants to be in with the popular kids and have Gordo be her nerdy friend who’s philosophically above it all and have Miranda be her edgy friend who doesn’t want to be part of the system, man? I think the answer is that the writers want Lizzie to be so relatable that they’re afraid to give her any opinions or personality traits at all. Thus Miranda has to pull her towards seeking popularity and Gordo has to pull the opposite direction. But while the writers have characterized Gordo with such specificity I feel like I’ve actually blocked his #notallmen tweets in real life, Miranda feels like a complete waste of potential.
Anyway, at another voyeuristic viewing party, Gordo plays the video of Miranda. Horrified, Miranda asks how Gordo could tape her and calls him Big Brother and no one points out how hypocritical it is that she was fine with him taping everybody else in school. Gordo says he’s definitely using the footage of Miranda in his film and, when Miranda protests, he says she shouldn’t care about other people’s opinions. Miranda responds by yelling, “Not everyone is like you! Some of us care what other people think!” and storms off. Do you see why I hate this Miranda? That’s such a weak position to defend week after week, especially coming from a character whose shirts are all covered in safety pins. Stop dressing like you don’t give a fuck if you give a lot of fucks, Miranda!
Gordo tell Lizzie that Miranda is being a hypocrite, because the writers wanted to acknowledge it without dealing with the task of making Miranda defend the terrible position they put her in, because writing real conflict is hard. Gordo asks Lizzie if she’s on HIS SIDE or MIRANDA’S SIDE, because writing over-simplified cartoon conflict is easy.
Gordo’s film is accepted by the film festival, of course, and all students in the whole school district are going to view all of the films, of course. Miranda says that everyone is going to judge her for the extremely dramatic speech she made on a bad day but at no point extends her feelings towards empathy with everyone else who will be mortified by this film.
Matt ceases his stunts and starts making candy instead and the McGuire parents rave that maybe their terrible kid will make something of himself and they can stop being ashamed of him.
Lizzie begs Gordo to cut Miranda out of his film on the day they’re showing the film, which is obviously impossible, but that doesn’t matter because Gordo refuses anyway on principle. He tells Lizzie to watch it before judging it. Kate and Claire excitedly ask Gordo if they will be in his movie. Do they know it’s a hidden camera movie? Because otherwise they should assume they’re not, since he never cast them in any roles or interviewed them as themselves. Kate smiles and says, “Good luck! I’m sure it’s going to be great!” I don’t get this bit at all. It’s completely out of character for Kate. She wasn’t doing her high-pitched fake voice either, so as far as I can tell, this was a genuine moment of kindness from her. I think the show was actually trying to set up real excitement from Kate and Claire so it would be extra humiliating when Kate’s secret is spilled on camera. How unbelievably cruel! It’s insanely unpleasant that the show wants us to side with Gordo for intentionally embarrassing Kate and presents the inclusion of Miranda’s clip as the only problem here.
Matt set up a giant stunt track in the backyard. Turns out he hadn’t given up on stunts after all and the candy he was making was actually a big fake glass sheet to smash through. Jo asks where he got the wood to build the skate ramp part and we get a quick cut to the front of the McGuires’ house with the siding all chopped off.
How do you even raise a kid as horrible as Matt McGuire? Sam comes out to see what’s up and falls onto the skateboard then flies through the whole track until he crashes through
a perfect square cutout trap door in the hedge. Dads! They be fallin’.
At school, everyone gets ready to see Gordo’s movie in what is clearly an auditorium even though Gordo had said it would be showing in the AV room just two scenes ago. Miranda doesn’t want to watch it but Lizzie says she’ll still be her friend even if everyone hates her for what she says in the movie, so Miranda agrees to watch it even though Lizzie’s statement didn’t address why she should sit through that humiliation.
Gordo’s film starts and SURPRISE TWIST: he blurred everyone’s faces and changed their voices! So no one could possibly determine who was doing all the embarrassing stuff! Except come on, they totally could. Look at the outfit on wedgie girl.
You think anyone else in school wore a brown and yellow diagonal-striped suit recently?
And look at this shot.
We’re supposed to believe that no one would be able to tell who that was? And even when her voice is pitched up, Kate’s awkward line delivery is completely recognizable.
Luckily for Miranda, then, Gordo doesn’t even feature her face. He uses her rant as narration so her deep musings lay out the film’s raison d’être. He spaced it out over all of the footage he took and also some footage from the episode “Election” even though Gordo didn’t film anything in that episode because the show likes to pad out its characters’ videos with footage shot for this TV show and hope its audience won’t notice. Here’s Miranda’s full rant as a monologue for those of you looking for a good audition piece:
Why don’t they just slap a big sign in this school that says “Loser Farm” and be done with it? Everyone looks up to the jocks and the cheerleaders, who are a bunch of stuck-up dirks who are gonna end up working at the drive-through at Burger Buddy. It’s this whole place! It’s the way people say one thing to your face, and another behind your back. It’s the way that the cafeteria serves retired circus animals. I just get the feeling that nobody’s being honest here, that everybody’s afraid to let everybody else know the truth about them. Let’s face it…it’s a school full of fakes. But it’s not so bad if you’ve got really great friends.
Why do you think she ended her rant about having a bad day with a really corny line about friendship? That sure was convenient for Gordo’s movie. (Note that on the IMDb memorable quotes page for this episode this quote is hilariously wrong. Miranda does not say that the popular kids will end up working at “Burglar Button” one day.)
Everyone laughs at and applauds Gordo’s movie. Miranda asked why he didn’t just tell her that he wouldn’t use her face or voice and Gordo says that she should have just trusted him. Gordo is manipulative and abusive and I don’t think Miranda has really great friends.
Wow! I did not like this episode at all! We’re going to file this one in the “Gordo being the worst” tag because I find the entire premise of this one so disturbing.
Unnecessary references: Sam yells “Bam!” when talking about Matt being a famous chef one day.
Notable fashion moments: Lizzie wears….I don’t even know how to describe this, actually.
It’s camouflage made out of rose vines? Like….feminized camo? It’s a crime against humanity.
Miranda has been wearing this style of necklace a lot lately. I believe it is a Mexican necklace, but I can’t find a name for it.
Jo changed her funky mom hairdo to a different, worse funky mom hairdo.
Other interesting tidbits: I think Haylie Duff might have been in the crowd scene when the whole school watched Gordo’s video! At some point she’ll have a real part but for now I guess why not stick her here.
Miranda finds out that Tudgeman is using a pic of her as his computer desktop background, which is both legitimately creepy as shit and realistic as hell for an awkward middle schooler.
Cartoon Lizzie is sometimes trippy as fuck.
Gordo’s movie was called The Gordo Files, which would have been a better name for this episode.