Season 2, episode 28: “Great Old Grandma”

Well, shoot. I’ve had a ton of trouble writing the reviews the past couple of weeks because of computer problems, and in my rush to keep getting them out I apparently straight-up skipped a few episodes. Now the reviews are all out of order. I know my readers generally hold me to a higher standard than this, but you guys…if you believe that I’ve got a picture-perfect plan over here…then I’ve got you FOOLED, honestly. I only do the best I can.

So, uh, let’s jump back to the actual episode 28 and I guess I’ll renumber all of these at the end of the project? Life is a mess, man. I don’t know.

This week we get yet another Gordo-centric episode. By my count, this is the 12th episode with Gordo’s problem as the main plot point, and there have only been 3 for Miranda. If I were Lalaine, I would have quit too.

Gordo is pumped for a visit from his grandma, mostly because of her cooking but also because she calls him David, which he loves for some reason. Lizzie says she can’t wait to meet his grandma even though they’ve been friends since birth so this should have happened earlier. Was his Jewish grandma not at his bar mitzvah?

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Miranda and Lizzie come home with Gordo after school to meet her, and she’s played by Doris Roberts. I remember this episode really vividly, and I think it’s because of her. She’s wonderful as always. She tells the girls to call her Gorgeous – “lately everybody does,” she says delightfully – and wears a funky outfit that Gordo doesn’t approve of. Gorgeous thinks she looks “spicy.” I love her and hopes she knocks some sense into her terrible grandson.

Gordo demands her home-cooked brisket, but Gorgeous says she made a meal out of appetizers because she’s always wanted to try that. Gordo is, of course, a total dick about it.


She calls him Gordo because she noticed that’s what his friends call him, which also infuriates him. I feel like the writers should have given him a special nickname from her that she’s dropping, because if he really wants to be called David so bad he can just go to school and hear all of his teachers call him that.

The McGuire parents get super sick for the first time their kids can remember.


At school, Miranda and Lizzie rave about Gorgeous but Gordo remains a total dick about it. Gorgeous shows up to bring Gordo lunch, and he fumes about her walking into his school in “one of those spicy outfits.” Is Gordo slut-shaming his own grandma?

Gorgeous gives Gordo his food but it’s not brisket so he’s not appreciative and he throws it in the actual GARBAGE. She reminisces about a sky-diving trip and leaves to take a singing lesson on time and Gordo acts like she’s joined the KKK. He complains that she’s really changed since his grandpa died. Yeah, Gordo, your grandma not cooking you brisket is definitely the worst thing about your grandma’s life partner dying. You’re the one suffering here.


Gorgeous rearranges the Gordons’ house to be more feng shui and sets up dinner to be eaten on the ground. I feel like there was an actual trend of old people copping Asian decor tips in the early 2000s. Like, my grandparents did things like this.

The McGuire kids wreck their house and eat a lot of junk food.

Gordo brings out old pictures to show Gorgeous how much fun they had when she was a square and her husband wasn’t six feet under, but they only remind her of how she had to take care of everyone while they had fun. Gordo doesn’t seem to internalize any lesson from this. Gorgeous says she booked a snowboarding lesson for them for the next day and that she’ll write him a note to get out of school. Well, here I have to side with Gordo. That’s not responsible.

Gordo declines the invitation because he doesn’t want to miss school, but in classic Gordo fashion, he quickly makes himself the villain again. He refuses to eat the non-brisket food she’s made for dinner and instead storms off to his room.


He bitches about her again at lunch the next day and says his grandma should be knitting or playing bingo or something. Lizzie points out that Gordo is the one who’s always harping on being your own person and going against the grain. Yeah! He is! It’s bananas that that’s an established character trait of his, but the writers seem to have decided that his stubborn selfishness should always trump his more admirable qualities.

Weirdly, at this point I thought angrily, “He’s such a BABY!” and one second later Cartoon Lizzie snapped, “You are acting like such a baby!” WE’RE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE HERE, YOU NIGHTMARE BABY.

Gorgeous shows up at Lizzie’s house looking for Gordo because he didn’t come home after school. Is he boycotting his grandma now? Gorgeous somehow knows where Lizzie lives, but I assume it’s written on a billboard in their town because Frankie Muniz managed to show up uninvited as well.

Matt skates by on rollerblades inside the house and Gorgeous muses about how she’s not young and carefree anymore but wants to do all the things she always wanted to do when she was young. There seems to be a point about women of her generation having to care for families instead of being independent that could be made here but isn’t quite.

Lizzie says that her grandma also likes doing crazy things, which surprised me because I thought that would be one of those details that gets ignored whenever convenient. I’ve never been able to consistently nail down which of Lizzie’s grandmas is the wild one. I thought it was her Gammy McGuire, but here she says it’s her “Winnie Pooh Baba,” which is what she calls one of her grandmothers because she couldn’t say “Grandma” when she was 4. So you’d think she meant her mom’s mom, but it was established before that she calls that grandmother “Nana” so there’s at least one continuity error here.

Anyway, the point of Lizzie’s speech is that her Winnie Pooh Baba is still always there for her and they have traditions and it makes her feel good to do the things they always do together. Sure, it’s fine to rein Gorgeous in a little bit, but I wonder if Lizzie will also have a heartfelt talk with Gordo about how things change and people don’t exist solely for your benefit and you should be SYMPATHETIC TO OLD WOMEN WHEN THEIR HUSBANDS DIE COME ON.

In case you were wondering if Gordo is dead in a ditch right now and that’s why he never made it home, the answer is unfortunately no. At this point he peers into Lizzie’s window like a goddamn serial killer. I guess he was just stewing in her backyard writing in his diary that a woman’s place is in the home, baking brisket for her menfolk and avoiding spicy outfits that could attract a man’s lustful gaze.


Lizzie continues telling Gorgeous that Gordo is upset by her living her best life, and Gordo smiles like he can hear what she’s saying though I would imagine he actually could not.

Jo comes downstairs and looks like hell, so Gorgeous goes into domestic mode and makes soup while commanding the kids to clean up the house. It’s a similar scene to Jo cleaning up Kate’s party. This show is big on moms doing everything and dads being useless idiots.

That night, Gordo gets the brisket he was so hellbent on shoving into his demanding mug and he doesn’t acknowledge that his grandma might have feelings or needs or a life outside his eating schedule. Gorgeous asks if he wants to go on a roadtrip with her that summer so they could have adventures together and he’s hesitant but says yes, even though that seems like it’ll be a real scheduling conflict when he’s got a big trip to Italy coming up too. It’s played like Gordo is a real good guy for agreeing to go on a free roadtrip with his awesome grandma, but I’m not convinced that he learned the actual lesson he needs to here.

Lizzie lies about cleaning up the house when Gorgeous did it and Matt lies about also catching his parents’ flu to get out of a test. The McGuire parents ground their kids for lying and for having fun while they were sick. At this point I don’t know why they bother disciplining their children at all. Sunk cost fallacy, I guess.

Sitcoms are so weird. Sometimes, as in this episode, intersecting plots are necessary to bring about the desired resolution. Like, if Jo and Sam hadn’t gotten sick, I guess Gorgeous wouldn’t have been inspired to be grandmotherly again and Gordo would have probably just cut off all contact with his grandmother.

Also, this show is weird because Gordo is a main character and we’re supposed to feel for him. I remember watching this and being happy for him that Ray Romano’s mom finally gave him brisket! We were all, as a generation, deceived.

Unnecessary references: By far, the most common reference on this show is to Britney Spears. Here Gorgeous says she always wanted to learn to dance like Ginger Rogers, and explains that she was her generation’s Britney. Season 1 had nonstop pop culture references, but in season 2 we seem to only get sporadic Britney jokes thrown in.

Notable fashion moments: Lizzie wears an outfit that I thought was pretty cool, if massively over-accessorized, until I noticed the GIANT SPIDER ON HER HEAD! WHAT ON EARTH!


Miranda wears a cross twice this episode, which I find noteworthy because I think Disney tries to steer away from being too specifically Christian.chill-outfit-miranda----lizzie-mcguire-reviewed.jpg


That second outfit is wild, and Lizzie wears an edgy one in that scene as well.


Her shirt says “ATTACK OF THE 50 FT. WOMAN” on it. #feminism #iguess

Lizzie also wears an outfit that I assumed was her pajamas until she wore it to school. I do not approve. Last season’s outfits were so over-the-top, and this season we still get outfits that go hard, with every accessory screaming at you for attention. The dressed-down look just feels weird for this show, especially for Lizzie. Miranda pretty much wears anything the costume designers can think of (that polo above looks like she’s going to play golf, but in this scene she wears yet another shirt proclaiming that she’s a rockin fiery rebellious REBEL), so I guess I can’t be mad that she’s in sweats here too. But Lizzie cares way too much about her appearance to wear sweatpants to school. Even in the age of Juicy tracksuits.

REBEL-PJS---lizzie-mcguire-reviewed.jpgSam wears a suit while sleeping in bed. I guess the point is that he’s really mixed-up. Or maybe he’s such a dad he can never shed his Dad Suit and if he does he loses his deck-building powers.


Other interesting tidbits: In researching this episode, I discovered that this was not the first time Doris Roberts starred in something with Robert Carradine. Apparently this exists:

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Gorgeous says feng shui is “all the rage in Japan,” but feng shui is a) Chinese and b) a pretty old practice and not a new trend like KonMari or shabby chic. I guess I’ll let this mistake slide because it’s definitely an old people thing to mix up. Let’s all just be glad she’s not calling them “Orientals.”

Where do they live that Gorgeous can book a snowboarding lesson in the area? Also, how did she book a one-off singing lesson in a town she doesn’t live in?

Gorgeous makes kugel with the brisket. Miranda, Lizzie, and Gorgeous all pronounce kugel like it rhymes with “Google,” but Gordo pronounces it like it rhymes with “muggle.” Doris Roberts and Adam Lamberg are both Jewish, so I don’t know who’s right (though I’ve only ever heard it pronounced the first way).

Lizzie McGuire seems to be really into the lesson that adults are people too. Remember Lizzie freaking out that her Nana might get divorced? The show was originally supposed to focus more on Lizzie and Jo’s relationship, and it seems like the writers really wanted to teach lessons about parents and grandparents having lives. But Gordo definitely didn’t learn that lesson here.


16 thoughts on “Season 2, episode 28: “Great Old Grandma”

  1. I assumed that either the disney player was out of order or you were mixing up the order so the Christmas episode lined up near Christmas so I didn’t say anything. And I’m glad someone noticed how freaking creepy Gordo was lurking unknowingly in Lizzie’s backyard. Seriously what the neck was he doing back there.


    1. Noooo, I just messed up! The Disney player is wildly out of order, but I’ve been trying to go in the original airing order. However, the Christmas episode WILL still line up near Christmas! It’s a Christmas miracle!


  2. The cross thing is odd considering Disney tries not to appear religious, but in the Christmas float episode I think I literally remember Matt quoting scripture, talking about Christ’s birth. That was really interesting considering how Disney wants to avoid anything that might ruffle feathers.

    Also, Doris Roberts was just adorable in this scene. She was so sweet that it almost made me forget about Gordo’s, well, Gordoness.


    1. Weird! I wonder if Disney just cared less then. I’ve also mulled over the fact that two of Hilary Duff’s first singles referenced Christian imagery (“An angel’s gonna smile on me/
      When it’s meant to be” in “I Can’t Wait” and “You’ll never get to heaven or even to L.A./If you don’t believe there’s a way” in “Why Not”) – neither one is actually religiously explicit, but it’s still strange.


  3. I don’t get the not wanting to be “too Christian” thing? There’s a Christmas episode for almost every single Disney Channel show. That’s a very Catholic/Christian holiday, obviously. haha. If it’s that touchy of a subject, it would make more sense for them to steer clear of religion all together. But… They don’t. I mean, they had a whole episode about Gordo’s bar mitzvah, an entire Even Stevens episode about Hanukkah, and a DCOM “Full Court Miracle” all about being Jewish. Disney seems to love representing the Jewish faith. What’s wrong with a cross necklace or a few lyrics with “Christian imagery” in comparison?! It’s a very popular/common religion. Idgi.

    Also, random.. but the green track jacket with the varsity stripe Gordo wears here is the same one Matt puts on as “Lizzie” in the body switching episode as part of the initial random/embarrassing outfit he came up with. Idk why but I thought it was cute imagining them casually sharing clothes lol don’t mind me.


    1. There’s nothing wrong with them wearing crosses – it just seems like Disney generally doesn’t want to delve into using Christianity as an actual topic, presumably because Christianity is the dominant religion in America and there’s more precedent of TV networks getting pushback for explicitly endorsing it. Disney’s Jewish tradition plotlines – like the Kwanzaa plotline on The Proud Family – seem to be in the spirit of exposing kids to different religions (i.e. Gordo explaining to Miranda what a bar mitzvah is, and her countering with an equally expository description of quinceañaras), seemingly with the understanding that their audiences would already have an understanding of Christian traditions. But you don’t see kid actors ever going on about actual religious beliefs, because the network doesn’t want to seem like they’re endorsing a particular religion.

      Christmas is a mainstream holiday – it’s technically religious but it’s also nationally recognized – and most Disney Christmas episodes tend to focus on general holiday hijinks or Santa if necessary, but not on Jesus’s birth. (Hence my confusion hearing that Matt actually quotes Scripture.)

      Disney bought ABC Family in 2001, and that network used to be owned by an actual televangelist. Under Disney’s control, they cut back on explicitly religious programming. They’re still trying to diversify their programming with their recent “Freeform” rebrand ( It seems to me like their marketing strategy is to try to appeal to everyone as broadly as possible – which would explain Christmas episodes that don’t mention Jesus and plotlines nodding to other religions or traditions without getting into theology.


  4. “Lizzie says she can’t wait to meet his grandma even though they’ve been friends since birth so this should have happened earlier. Was his Jewish grandma not at his bar mitzvah?”
    ^ I thought the same thing regarding the bar mitzvah while watching this episode. Why wasn’t she there? Maybe it was around the time her husband died and she was grieving. Or maybe her husband died that week and Gordo and his family of shrinks decided that giving Gordo a bar mitzvah at age fourteen that very week due to Gordo’s crisis was much important than being there for his grandmother who lost her husband… who I’m assuming is Mr. Gordon’s father.
    ALSO … if Gordo & Lizzie have been friends since infancy, you’d think his grandmother would at least recognize or be aware of the name “Lizzie McGuire”. But I guess not.

    “Gorgeous says feng shui is “all the rage in Japan,” but feng shui is a) Chinese and b) a pretty old practice and not a new trend like KonMari or shabby chic.”
    ^ I interpreted it as her telling Gordo that the Chinese practice was a new trend in Japan.

    “he’s hesitant but says yes, even though that seems like it’ll be a real scheduling conflict when he’s got a big trip to Italy coming up too.”
    ^ A free trip around the United States… versus a paid trip to Rome, Italy. But I think it’s pretty clear Gordo just straight up called her, told her he was cancelling on her so he could go to Rome, and demanded a brisket. No, wait – he forgot about his promise, called her right before summer vacation, and while his grandmother initially interpreted it as him calling to discuss their plans, he probably just asked if she could make some briskets he could pick up later.

    ^ Wow. I always perceived Robert Carradine as one of the least successful members of the Carradine acting family – mostly because the generation knows him for his work on Disney Channel’s “Lizzie McGuire” and “My Mom’s Date With a Vampire” (sp?) but hey, he did a movie with Lando Calrissian/OG Harvey Dent Billy Dee Williams. Whaddya know.


  5. ‘I guess he was just stewing in her backyard writing in his diary that a woman’s place is in the home, baking brisket for her menfolk and avoiding spicy outfits that could attract a man’s lustful gaze.”

    This line here actually made me laugh.


  6. Could it be that Gordo is autistic?

    I am autistic myself and am often being lectured about not taking other people’s feelings into consideration when I really do not intend to be that way. I just am socially awkward and have trouble seeing things from everyone else’s perspective.

    It makes me very upset when people treat me like I’m a bad person, because I honestly do try, but I still mess up sometimes.


    1. Interesting theory! I wouldn’t say that he’s coded as autistic. He’s certainly supposed to seem more socially competent than Tudgeman, for instance, so I don’t think the writers intended it that way.


  7. Read this last night. Yeah it was interesting. Rather than playing it as Gordo simply fearing that she was simply going to exert herself or could get hurt, they have him basically going Veruca Salt on Gorgeous.


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