Oh boy, was this episode upsetting. This week, Lizzie goes through a crisis when she realizes she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life and worries that it’s too late for her to develop a talent or interest that will lead to a career. As a 25-year-old unemployed loser who lives with her mom and whose only hobby is blogging about Lizzie McGuire, this hit extremely close to home.
This episode was written by Alison Taylor, who also wrote for Clarissa Explains It All and wrote both Cheetah Girls movies. The script is generally very good, and I’m glad to see that she wrote two other episodes we’ll get to later.
Lizzie shows off a greenish gold nail polish color that she makes herself, which Gordo scoffs at. Miranda and Lizzie both get goofy bits where they sing and dance about the nail polish, with Miranda channeling “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” with her song: “L to the -izzie, Mac to the Guire!” Gordo marvels at himself for keeping up with this conversation and says he should write a dictionary translating “English to Girlish.”
“Maybe that’s not PC,” he muses. “How do you women feel about ‘fembonics’?” This entire exchange made me wonder if the old Gordo was back, but this bit of curmudgeonry ended up being an isolated incident.
Lizzie shows off her nail polish to Ethan but gets interrupted by Kate, who mocks Lizzie for being “economical.” This didn’t really make sense to me until I realized that she was making fun of Lizzie for mixing her own nail polish, even though it wasn’t in the scene when Lizzie established that she mixed it herself. The school’s new celebrity, a student who had gotten accepted to the Olympic diving team, shows up to much fanfare.
Lizzie pretty confidently plays off not knowing this huge scoop about the diving girl, but then trips and falls in a garbage can. At least they’re getting creative with places Lizzie falls for the never-funny falling gags.
That night, on a three-way call, Gordo and Miranda both discuss preparing for big events that weekend. Gordo is hosting a screening of one of his movies, and Miranda has a recital for violin, an instrument we’ve never seen her play or refer to playing. I thought she was a singer. They could easily just make it a singing recital. I wonder if Hilary Duff’s singing career had started to take off at this point and maybe they didn’t want to compete with that.
Lizzie realizes that she doesn’t have any pastimes or interests or anything going on in her life, which was validating to me since I’ve been complaining about that for as long as I’ve watched this show. However, I don’t see how she should feel jealous of her friends. She can always jump back into her modeling career or use her stint as an Aaron Carter video girl to launch a career as a backup dancer.
Matt watches a scary movie called Bonecruncher 2: Chew the Marrow with his parents, who keep worrying that it will be too scary for him. Matt repeatedly scoffs at her for worrying, so it ends up being way too scary for him.
Lizzie flips through TV channels but keeps seeing stories of teen prodigies, which wrecks her self-esteem. That’s exactly how I used to feel when Oprah had those “amazing kid” episodes. It’s freaking me out that I relate to Lizzie so much this week. Lizzie sees a story of a child with a PhD, a young chess champion, and teen internet mogul with a website. Amusingly, that clip is just of a girl throwing cash in the air as a reporter describes her starting a website. That actually kind of was a possibility at the time.
Matt gets nightmares and thinks he hears something outside the house, and runs into his parents’ bedroom to sleep with them. Meanwhile, Lizzie also has a nightmare. In the year 2035, she’s working at an extremely futuristic fast food chain called Burger Planet.
The costume and scene design work here is transfixing. I want to submit this entire scene to the Institute for Y2K Aesthetics.
Future Lizzie sees Future Famous Violin Player Miranda on TV, because people love broadcasts of violin recitals. A limo pulls up to Burger Planet and Lizzie realizes that Gordo, now a famous director, is inside. I can’t tell if Future Gordo’s look is deliberately referencing a famous director – I initially thought of John Waters, which would certainly be a bold choice, but that’s not quite right.
Lizzie wakes up her parents and demands to know why they didn’t force her into an activity that she could have perfected by this point. Her dad points out that they were extremely supportive when she realized her talent for rhythmic gymnastics, but Lizzie gave up on that. He has a point, but we get a weird shot of Lizzie, Cartoon Lizzie, and Jo all admonishing him.
She continues to insist that they should have forced her to stick with something and they continue to insist that she will figure out her talent soon enough, which I’m sure she will. Maybe on a class trip to Italy. Through a series of insane circumstances that force her to become an international pop star. Perhaps.
The next day Melina and Lanny come over to help rid the house of the spirits Matt claims to be sensing. Jo gripes that she’s stuck there with the “Insane Playdate Posse,” a joke I liked, while Sam goes off to his softball practice. Melina and Lanny are both pretty adorable, and scenes with all three of them together often feel more like actual kids playing than the terrifying robots of Disney Channel mischief that most younger siblings feel like on these shows, including this one most of the time.
Meanwhile, Miranda and Gordo console Lizzie, who is crying about her prophetic dream of failure. Lizzie makes them pull career options out of hat a hat to help her commit to one possible path, and we get a lot of fantasy sequences of her in those imagined futures, like being a racecar driver or a famous scientist who’s also dating Ethan.
Matt and his friends destroy the entire downstairs trying to make it feng shui to ward off evil spirits. Jo calls Sam and tells him he needs to come home and fix the problem with Matt since he was the one who wanted to watch the scary movie with him, so Sam enlists the Two Big Guys to help him.
Lizzie’s final fantasy sequence is of her as a stay-at-home mom. This one is definitely the most interesting. Lizzie dresses exactly like Jo and is the mother to identical versions of herself and Matt. As she describes waiting every day for her husband to come home, her husband appears in the fantasy, and it’s… Gordo. I was pretty surprised by this after Ethan’s cameo in her scientist fantasy. They’re really committing to the Gordo/Lizzie ship at this point.
Lizzie doesn’t say out loud what she was thinking about Gordo, and again Gordo complains about having to listen to girl talk. Go back to being easy-going, Gordo! You’ve been so unobjectionable these past few episodes! Lizzie realizes that it’s insane to try to commit to a career right then but complains that Miranda and Gordo have it easy, since they’ll be set with music and filmmaking. Yeah, they’ll definitely be able to coast with their passion for the arts. Nothing is more profitable than that and it’s not like the country is five years away from a recession or anything.
Miranda says Lizzie is constantly evolving, pointing out how confidently she talked to Ethan and how she doesn’t even fall as much as she used to, which is false on both counts. Lizzie has talked to Ethan pretty consistently for the entire series, and she has been falling so much more recently. Check my “Lizzie Takes a Tumble” tag. Gordo tells Lizzie to just keep doing what she loves, which isn’t exactly helpful because I’m still not sure if Lizzie cares about anything, but Miranda says they’ll always have her back and that’s nice I guess.
Sam comes home with the Two Big Guys dressed in intentionally cheap-looking versions of Ghostbusters uniforms as a legally safe soundalike version of the Ghostbusters theme plays. I actually love every appearance by the Two Big Guys. They’re really funny. They do some kind of dance to rid the house of ghosts, I guess just to trick Matt into thinking something is happening and put his mind at ease, but then one of them falls and busts through the porch. Everyone freaks out when they realize that something is actually living under there, but it turns out to just be puppies! And that’s the end of the episode. Everyone just plays with puppies. That’s cheap as hell, but I’m suckered. I like puppies.
This episode wasn’t bad. I certainly identified too much with Lizzie this week. And everyone was generally likeable and kind to each other. I don’t feel like we’ve seen enough done with the idea that Lizzie is unexceptional compared to other people, so this was a really good application of that aspect of her personality.
Weird never-popular youth culture slang: They’ve been lightening up on the teen slang this season, but we get some examples this episode! Gordo and Miranda exit the phone conversation by saying “I gotta jet!” and “Ciao for now!” respectively.
Cartoon Lizzie calls Gordo and Miranda her “road dogs.” It’s super strange, and it doesn’t sound like Hilary Duff even knows what she’s saying, because she says the phrase very carefully like she’s trying to get it right. It was pretty weird.
Unnecessary references: They straight-up call the Two Big Guys ghostbusters.
Notable fashion moments: This week Miranda expresses her Anglophilia with a shirt that says “Fish & Chips” on it.
Lizzie is playing with a tongue scraper she got at the dentist there. I’m clarifying because when I uploaded the screenshot it kind of looked like a pregnancy test and I want to point out that it sure was not that.
Miranda expresses her love of camo with this look.
I remember her having a few Asian-inspired outfits in season 2. I guess this is the first example of that.
Kate wears another outfit in a color scheme that can only be described as “vomitous.”
Lizzie hasn’t worn too many noteworthy outfits lately. It’s a shame that some of her basic looks couldn’t have been saved for the episode where Ethan rejects her and they specifically state that it was probably because she was too boring.
Other interesting tidbits: Again Kate is weirdly possessive of Ethan, as if they’re dating – she pulls him away from a conversation with Lizzie by linking arms with him.
Gordo’s limo driver is the same actor who played the security guard in the Aaron Carter episode!
Have you been wondering whatever happened to the chimp that came into the McGuire house? No? Well, there’s an answer anyway! He hangs out with the softball team.
This entire episode was a goldmine of Lizzie McGuire Disney commercial moments. I never saw this one when it was on the air, but I remember SO many bits from it from commercials for the show. These include:
- Miranda’s “L to the izzie” bit
- A close-up of Matt screaming
- Jo listing Lizzie’s talents (“You’re smart, you’re talented, you’re…a little insecure right now”)
- Gordo yelling “I am sick of your girl talk!”
- Gordo saying, “Are we here to talk crazy, or are we here to help Lizzie?”