Saturday, October 3, 2015

Henry Danger/Game Shakers Reviewed: Henry and the Woodpeckers (#2.04) and Mego the Freakish Robot (#2.05)

Unknown: Quoting these episodes implies plot and action happened, which would be blatantly misleading.
Mike: Here's a stupid quote from a stupid episode I barely saw of a stupid show I hope dies out before it overstays its welcome even more. No, wait, that implies it was actually welcomed and I never welcomed this. Game Shakers: "My dad's a pelican." "Your dad's a dentist." "Well, either way, this is a good pretzel." This was an actual attempt at a joke. Someone got paid to write this. 

What is this? Yeah I'm seriously not doing this for two shows at the same time, I'm sure you can figure it out for yourself.

Yeah if we're going to be reviewing every premiere on Disney and Nick we're going to have to pick and choose what we want to primarily cover and just compress the rest. Jessie and I Didn't Do It have enough episodes left combined that you can count them on one hand even with a few fingers shot off, and the last of both are due to air on the 16th, so we might as well do them proper treatment and review them in full. Girl Meets World has their own blog so we only need to cover it as we feel like it. We might give Bunk'd its own treatment at first at least, and we'll certainly give Liv and Maddie its own treatment since its good enough to justify it. Austin & Ally only have a small handful of episodes left as well plus they're stretched way the hell out on the schedule so again we might as well fit them in. Best Friends, I think we'll just have to give a trial basis. K.C. Undercover is usually so straightforward and generic we can probably just roll it into something else from the start. The current Schneider's Bakery productions, again, I've found to be pretty generic enough we can probably just roll them in, we might even roll Thundermans and Bella and the Bulldogs together too. W.I.T.S. Academy and Talia in the Kitchen? Forget it - we might just do a weekly retrospective or maybe even every two weeks (those shows might be a challenge for you to watch anyway, Mike. No, that is not a good thing).

So, Henry and the Woodpeckers. Once in a while Dan will sneak in an episode that's clearly a disguised rant against...something? By "something" I mean a social issue but the social issues end up being so soft to begin with, and are handled with kid gloves to the point I'm amazed why he's bothering. He did it in Sam & Cat with the Blue Dog Soda episode. and he does it again here. Another thing about Henry Danger is that so often the superhero premise doesn't even factor in at all. That's a problem Mighty Med has too, while the more "mundane" and "grounded" shows on Disney Channel often veer into more fantastic directions. This weekend on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, Riley and Maya travel back in time and fight ghosts, Jessie saves outer space, Liv becomes a space werewolf, while bionic superheroes Chase, Adam and Brie plan how to handle a sales rush at the electronics store and Kid Danger coaches a peewee basketball team while Captain Man is in a beard-growing contest. These are all actual episode plotlines, people.

So yeah, Henry and the Woodpeckers is about Henry coaching a peewee basketball team and Captain Man is in a beard-growing contest. It's exactly as lame as it sounds. Henry gets in trouble because he's being unfair to his team by being too encouraging and making other players feel more special than others by giving them rewards (so yeah, it's a kid-glove swaddled "rant" against helicopter parent society). Then he figures out a clever way to give the peewee basketball team oversight board their comeuppance, and I didn't pay attention because at that point I abandoned my reviewer civic duties to see who's on Periscope instead. I guarantee you I didn't miss much. There's almost nothing in this episode whatsoever from a valid entertainment standpoint. I can't even call it pure empty calories because that still implies I got something resembling flavor out of it.

Grade: I'm tempted to give it a big fat F but I have the feeling I should reserve it for something that might end up being truly offensive, not for something that just utterly bores me. So I'll take a page from Mike's blog and give it a D-.
Episode MVP: The actors playing the board people who agreed to be on this show specifically to play evil cardboard cutouts and receive some lame half-baked humiliation in the end. Also the actors playing the little kids in order to show pity for them not being old enough to know better than to be on an episode like this.

Moving on to Game Shakers - there's a robot called Mego that has an unhealthy obsession with...what's his face? Hamlet or something? So he tries to frame Trip and then he tricks Trip into coming up to the roof where he (oh, I'm sorry, Mego has no specific gender assignment) it tries to throw Trip off the roof but Dub comes up and throws Mego over instead. And, uh, stuff. Stuff happened. At least stuff happened.

Grade: C. At least stuff happened.
Episode MVP: Like hell it's going to be some short person in a clumsy PVC "robot" suit. I'm giving it to Benjamin "Lil P'nut" Flores because .1.) he has actual range beyond cardboard and 2.) I miss The Haunted Hathways.

As you can tell there isn't much to talk about these episodes. Take it away Mike, and if you can come up with some pretty good insight I'll add from there.

Thank you for referencing my blog, first off. It definitely reminds me of something else I should be doing along with this........soon enough.

You miss The Haunted Hathaways too? God, I thought I was the only one. Nickelodeon did that show like a criminal and was moving it around constantly. It was one of the very few shows on Nick that I actually had no problem watching. Lil P-Nut is one of the very, very, very few positive attributes that Game Shakers has. And that's only because.......well, because he can act. He fits Dan Schneider's style of humor well and he can bounce off of his cast members pretty well. Oh yeah, and Kel Mitchell. Man, I love Kel. It's a shame him and Benjamin have to be saddled with this dumpster fire of a show. 

Oh yeah, the blonde kid is named Hudson. And he is one of the worst characters Dan Schneider has ever had anything to do with. Everything he says or does is based around his stupidity, and when that's not the case, he just giggles like an idiot. The sad part is the characters themselves know they don't need him around, but I guess when you're going to grow up with special needs, your friends are going to have to show you what it's like to live with someone with basic competence. A lot of writers think that because the character is supposed to be stupid, we'll laugh because we're in on it. No, I don't want to be in on it. That's not the way it works. I'm annoyed by stupid people in real life, why would I want to see them on TV? Patrick Star, Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin, Eric Matthews.......there's a reason why these characters became so beloved in spite of them being stupid. I don't think Dan really cares, though. He only does this because Nick probably forces him to or he wants quick cash.

You know what could be entertaining? A Henry Danger/Thundermans crossover! That makes actual sense and gives both shows a sense of purpose as they shine a light on the whole superhero thing. If one show ends without having ever crossed over with the other, that will be a huge disappointment. 

But yeah, you just made me realize how demanding this job is going to be. It means going through shows that are very.........challenging. I actually like The Thundermans and Bella and the Bulldogs gave me a little something to chew on as well, so I might cover those. The fact that they are being shuffled to Wednesdays is infuriating, but I already put that in my State of Nickelodeon Address. Henry Danger gives me almost nothing to talk about. I don't hate it, but it rarely ever does anything interesting or engaging. They had a chance to give us some real drama with Henry dating that girl from the Walldogs, but nope. Nothing. It's just Henry is going to continue dating the girl because......well, she is hot. I can't lie. Anyway, I might have something more to say about Game Shakers because unlike HD, it really does frustrate and confound me. How do you have multiple stupid characters on a show? Most shows can't even do one correctly, you want to try three? That's just an admission of giving up. 

I wouldn't touch W.I.T.S. or Talia in the Kitchen with a ten-foot pole. I'll give them a few sentences each to acknowledge their existence and never discuss them again. 100 Things to Do Before High School? I don't know, Unknown, we might have something there. It's a Scott Fellows show and he doesn't have Dan Schneider Syndrome yet, so I have hope. And if nothing else, Isabela Moner carries this show. You just want to like that chick. I might hold down the fort there.

I'll do what I can with the Disney Channel stuff, but I have become very disillusioned with the network as a whole. At least Nickelodeon gives me material, DC just has a lot of mediocre live-action stuff. If I see a Girl Meets World episode that gives me something to talk about, I'll definitely go for it. I think I'll keep my thoughts to myself until the Texas episodes because it's not like the show is going to have anything valuable to say until then. Austin & Ally has never been a problem for me, but if it has declined like Unknown says, then we're in for a treat. Jessie......screw that, when it finally ends after 956 episodes, I will happily talk about why it never should have been on this long. It's an old dog that needs to be put down. I don't know what Disney Channel is getting out of Bunk'd. The summer camp thing already has lost its meaning and no Cameron Boyce means you have to rely on new characters even more. New, potentially worse characters..........I feel sorry for kids sometimes. Animation in 2015 is thriving like it's the golden age, but live-action still has a painfully long way to go. 

Everything else? Dear Lord, show me the way. At least Best Friends Whenever has Landry Bender. Not bad to look at. ;)

Yeah, this job is going to be very demanding especially since we're doing it absolutely for free, not just on the quality but on the sheer quantity. There's just so damn many of them. They're multiplying, like cockroaches. Or hangers. I've pretty much pissed away all my weekend morning (including Friday) going back and fourth just on the reviews of these shows. We're really absolutely going to need to pick and choose our battles.

Oh yeah, you're definitely going to be doing Jessie. I'm dragging you along for that show whether you like it or not. 

This might come as a big shock, but I legitimately love Every Witch Way and Talia in the Kitchen, and I'm being completely serious and non-ironic about it. They're really shitty in the beginning but if you're a glutton for punishment like me and stick through it they turn into series actually worth investing into. I'm pretty stoked about W.I.T.S Academy. I especially like the girl who plays Valarie on Talia because she pretty much looks like the second coming of Jessie Prescott and if you can't tell already I really, really have it bad for redheads and am willing to tolerate a lot of shit for them (which pretty much describes my personal relationships). But it's a total of 40 episodes(!) run through October, and there's no physical way we can do that and all the other shows and peel ourselves away from the keyboard for any meaningful time. I'm barely keeping my head above water just with the Disney premieres. I haven't even touched I Didn't Do It yet. I say we roll K.C. Undercover and Best Friends Whenever together unless either comes out with an episode that justifies its own review. We'll probably roll Bunk'd into Girl Meets World. Fortunately Jessie, I Didn't Do It and Austin & Ally are coming to an end and Stuck in the Middle isn't until next year. We're going to have to roll Henry Danger and Game Shakers together both on a quality and quantity standpoint, and even then maybe do it optionally. The nice thing about 100 Things - the nice thing from a review standpoint, certainly not from a fan standpoint - is that its ratings are completely in the toilet so there's a big question how long it's going to stick around. That means there might be potentially few episodes to review in the future, and it means we damn well better enjoy the show while it's still around. I think I'll just let you handle Bella and Thundermans and chime in, that's probably going to be the most practical way. 

Back to Henry Danger, yeah, this episode was a borefest. Give me Debby Ryan very awkwardly talking about her home life and ensuring her fans that no she's not going to disappear from TV now while she points the camera so that you can barely see her face but clearly see how deep the neckline on her barely-fitting Tee goes any day (that's the Periscope thing I keep referring to). 

Just putting this out there so you know I'm not just projecting. And if I'm coming off as a hater, it's just my trying to be overly snarky for the sake of this blog - you keep doing what you're doing, Debby, and we'll still love you for it.

Back to Henry Danger (and bringing this blog back to its mission statement and away from creeper This-Actress-Is-Going-To-Get-A-Restraining-Order-Against-You territory), this show had a pretty funny episode just a week ago. It was a clever twist on the dating triangle plot (even lampshading that plot) and it was funny. Schneider is good at raw physical comedy. It's the one thing that really separates Game Shakers from Henry Danger. It's what kept Mego from being a complete borefest. If Game Shakers can keep good physical comedy it will be worth watching for a chuckle but not really worth blogging about. And that's on a reall good day. Unless you want to continue seeing just how weird I can be over Debby I think that's about the maximum I can say on this issue. 

I really need to carpe this diem-morning. 

We're at war, man. We're at war with Nickelodeon, Disney Channel. But most of all, we're at war with ourselves. :)

I can't wait to give Jessie a well-deserved thrashing. I need at least one show that I constantly come back to for good reviewing material. Mr. Enter and PieGuy both have SpongeBob, and I need something too.

You know, when I was younger, I was a big fan of Marvin Marvin. I probably still am, so I shouldn't judge people. Yeah, I think rolling a bunch of shows together will help take some of the load off. Besides, not many of these shows really need multiple reviews anyway. It depends on what they do and how they do it. I plan to just review Thundermans and Bella in the same post to save time. The sad thing is that 100 Things will probably never get a second season and in two years, Dan will have a third show in production. If he's allowed to have Henry Danger and Game Shakers on the same night, then Scott Fellows better be allowed to keep his own freaking show. Even if it does remind me of Big Time Rush..........the memories.

We'll be happy to support Debby Ryan in her continued use of the camera to suit her......physical assets. I like redheads too.

My favorite thing about Dan Schneider's shows is that they tend to have dialogue you wouldn't even hear on other kids' shows. His style of writing is purposefully awkward but with the right actor or actress, the lines become brilliant and hilarious. Take Josh Peck for example. He wrote the book on how to do Schneider's Bakery humor. Like in the episode where he grows a mustache and Drake says that Josh's grandmother has more hair on her upper lip than that. The response? "You will not speak about Grammy's hormonal IMBALANCES!!!" The line is so deliciously awkward, which makes it perfect for Josh to say. There are lots of Schneider-type lines running around these shows, like when Carly tells Sam and Freddie, "Don't nonchalantly sip your drinks!" The best part about this type of comedy is that it is almost impossible for a lot of other writers to replicate without coming off as trying too hard. But when Schneider does it, it becomes gold. 

Well, at least I can always pawn off W.I.T.S. and Talia on you because there's no way I'm going to sit there and watch for the sake of a review. I might chime in every now and then, however. 

Yeah Debby and I have a...complicated...relationship (can you call staring at an actress on a kiddie TV show a relationship? Yes, yes you can, if you want to be super-creepy. So no) as the guys on GMWReviewed even pointed out. I'll actually explain that one very soon in the Jessie retrospectives I'll put up (man I am so running behind). I'll probably just cover Talia and W.I.T.S. occasionally.

You're dead on about peak-era Schneider. There's a reason why he has so much cloud and power as it is. You can Google articles about how he managed to create the impression of being more in-touch with what kids got, or look up on TVTropes about "Schneider Speak" (it's on the Dan Schneider page, not its own separate article). Henry Danger and Game Shakers especially seems like a leftover corpse of all that. 

And, um, that's pretty much it. 

1 comment:

  1. Henry Danger is okay. The antics make it tolerable, and it's less mean spirited than Dan's over works, so it's better than Sam & Cat. The superhero at least sets it apart, although i perfer Mighty Med. How does a show about TREATING heroes work better as a superhero show than actor hero show?

    Game shakers is....a thing. I can't hate it but it's just the same stuff we've seen before, even Sam & Cat gave us more new things.


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