“First Kiss”?! “First Kiss”?! Was the Aaron Carter episode somehow noncanonical? At this point you could tell me that they let 13-year-old Aaron Carter write his guest appearance episode himself and that would answer more questions for me than it raised.
This is the first episode of the second season, but I’m not sure how much time has passed in-universe. I know that by the end of the season the gang will have graduated from middle school, so I bet a few weeks from now we’ll get a “we’re in eighth grade now!” episode aired completely out of order. Actually, since they mention Valentine’s Day here, they should be more than halfway through the school year. But I’m probably giving this more thought than the writers did.
Anyway! Our trio is back and boy do they look older. When we last saw them they were in seventh grade, but I guess they’re in eighth grade now. (Note: when I started this project, I definitely thought they were all in sixth grade, but this is apparently one of those middle schools that’s only seventh and eighth grade, which weirds me the fuck out.)
Lizzie, Gordo, and Miranda all freak out because suddenly everyone in school is coupled up.
Matt has a baseball card collection and asks for an advance on his allowance to buy more cards. Jo retorts that he’s already well into next year with advances. It. Is. February! Did they mean for this to be an episode set around September and added the Valentine’s thing later to heighten the stakes? It feels like it could’ve been a back-to-school episode, like everyone found relationships over the summer, and that was changed at some point. Anyway, Sam slips Matt money because why let him learn anything.
Lizzie is on the phone complaining to Miranda about being single when her paperboy shows up for money. Is a paperboy still a thing? Full House asked whatever happened to paperboys in 1987. Lizzie yells to her parents that the paperboy’s there and Jo giggles really weirdly and Sam stops her from paying him and runs in to pay him himself instead. Is Jo drunk? Is she fucking the paperboy? What the fuck was that?
Lizzie continues her rant, yelling that there must be something wrong with her if she doesn’t have a boyfriend. The whole time the paperboy lurks behind her, staring at her, emotionless as a serial killer. Lizzie notices him and yells at him for eavesdropping even though she was standing in front of him yelling into the phone and could’ve moved and he couldn’t. Sam pays him and he leaves, so Lizzie runs out the door to yell at him some more.
Paperboy responds to everything she says with a douchey mumble. This actor is god-awful. Dude only ever had three acting jobs, for very obvious reasons. He’s one of those people who talks without ever fully closing their mouths so everything sounds slurred. Between that and his blank stare he is not exactly a charmer but he tells Lizzie there’s definitely nothing wrong with her and it’s supposed to be cute. Paperboy, this is your first interaction with Lizzie and she’s been screaming at you for all of it, so I’d say there are some things wrong with her. But if you can’t handle her at her worst you don’t deserve her at her best, I guess.
Lizzie told Miranda about it in school and Miranda spills the beans to Gordo immediately.
Matt’s demon counterpart Melina has the card he wants so she starts extorting him. He does a bunch of chores and shit for her all episode. Let’s ignore them all.
Lizzie gets a note from Paperboy, whose name is actually Ronnie, hidden in the morning paper. Hilary Duff is super adorable in this episode when she’s not yelling at people, and she gives my favorite line reading this week when she grabs the paper from her parents and gasps “Isn’t the morning paper the best thing in the whole entire world? YES.” I hope that “yes” was an ad-lib.
At school, Lizzie starts boring everyone by only talking about Paperboy Ronnie. She rambles on and on about how rad he is, citing reasons like “he knows all these cool places on the Internet.” What a catch!
Miranda complains to Gordo about it and Gordo says it’s weird to see Lizzie with a boyfriend when he’s known her his whole life. Miranda asks if he’s jealous and Gordo stammers a lot. Wow, show! Coming in H & H with the Gordo and Lizzie drama this season.
Lizzie and Ronnie go rollerblading together and the show switches to the shitty camera that they use sometimes, usually for flashbacks, and I never understand why. Ronnie asked if they are BF and GF and she’s giggling and cute and he’s mumbling and weird. He gives her a ring and then they kiss! But guess who’s watching! Gordo!
Lizzie just attracts creepy staring weirdos, doesn’t she?
Lizzie’s parents ask if she’s dating Ronnie and she avoids the question and her parents flip a lid and it’s awkward and I hate it.
Lizzie talks to Ronnie on the phone when she is supposed to be hanging out with Miranda and Miranda says that Ronnie is taking over her life. Lizzie says Miranda is just jealous and Miranda gets very offended and said she may not have a boyfriend but she doesn’t have a best friend right now either, and it is played about 25 times more dramatically than it should be. I cringed.
Matt trades his dad’s entire vintage baseball collection to Melina for the one card he wanted so Sam of course gets furious and screams at him with way more emotion than we’ve ever seen from Sam. Then Ronnie shows up and Sam yells “Is this what you came for, Paperboy?” and flings money at him. Boy, Sam is going off the rails. The McGuire parents are cracking up this season.
Ronnie says to Lizzie, “We need to talk.” Jo gasps because she knows what that means but Lizzie doesn’t and she happily bops outside with Ronnie, who tells her some girl at his school likes him so he wants to dump Lizzie. It actually seems like the perfect middle school boy rationale for ending a relationship. Lizzie is heartbroken and it’s actually really sad because Hilary Duff is just too precious and I hate seeing her baby heart get broken. Maybe she was drawing on real emotion, since Aaron Carter had already cheated on her IRL with Lindsay Lohan by this point.
The next day, Lizzie sits alone in the library, sobbing and ripping up of the pages of her notebook where she’d written Ronnie’s name hundreds of times. That’s a super cute middle school touch, too. We never saw this location at all last season, so I think when I first saw this episode, I was actually confused as to whether Lizzie was now in high school.
Gordo shows up for one of the bigger scenes of the series. I will admit that I got mildly – mildly! – choked up seeing Lizzie cry.
This scene is weird because Gordo acts all sad-puppy-like, which we didn’t see the entire first season. It’s a completely different performance from Adam Lamberg. Maybe this is why the douchey Gordo scenes from season one confuse me so much – I was remembering this Gordo going into it.
Regardless, I’m now 25 years old and have had guys inappropriately think that being friends with them entitles them to make me super uncomfortable trying to turn it into something more, so the scene still creeps me out even if Gordo is slightly less of an asshole now. (Slightly! Did you notice him negging her when she asks if she’s smart?) He’s kind of being a good friend to Lizzie, but also kind of considering forcing his feelings on her while she’s in a vulnerable state.
Gordo cheers Lizzie up and she throws all the ripped-up pieces of Ronnie’s name on the floor like an asshole. They walk out and Miranda appears from behind a bookshelf completely randomly and they all hug and it’s very abrupt. Lizzie doesn’t apologize to Miranda for being a Bad Friend, and in the background a janitor appears to sweep up the mess that Lizzie so inconsiderately made.
Something about the show feels super different this season. The show seems a little more polished and better paced, with slightly better acting in places and slightly better jokes. It also handled a super realistic middle school topic – a bullshit romance – fairly realistically, with one person being over-the-top about it and the other being a fuckboy. I guess this isn’t one of the worst episodes.
Weird never-popular youth culture slang: Lizzie describes Ronnie as “coolie-coolie-cool.” Matt exclaims “And how!” which is just anachronistic
Notable fashion moments: Lizzie wears an all-denim ensemble with high boots.
She also wears this weird sleeveless shirt with a baby wearing a piratical headscarf?
She wore this with extremely tight, extremely low-rise deep red pants. It looks like she should be performing a concert. It is an absurd school look.
Miranda wears this preppy camo ensemble that I like for her.
Other interesting tidbits: The McGuire house has been slightly redesigned, with new art and different furniture in some places.