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?
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.
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.
Sam 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:
LOOK AT SAM MCGUIRE, THIS IS AMAZING
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.