Sunday, October 11, 2015

Jessie Reviewed: The Fear...in...Ou...c'mon, you can do it...no, I can't, the title is so stupid just like the episode itself I can't even type it out for the purpose of this header (#4.19)

If 18-year old Jessie Prescott saw what she would turn into at age 22, she would punch her 22-year-old self in the face and move back to Texas.

What is it? Yeah, this is a back-to-back review of the same show so you should know by now. Also, that opening quote still holds so friggin' true to this day. I think even Debby herself admitted it at one point.

I just figured it out, guys. I take back everything bad I said about Jessie S4. You see, there's a certain genius to it that I never noticed before until I actually started typing this review. But now that I see it, now that I've typed things out, I recognize the utterly brilliant switcheroo that Jessie has pulled right before our eyes.

Jessie has become Disney Channel Girls. No not as in the star pop princess-factory that is Disney Channel itself, I mean as in the Lena Dunham show on HBO.

Jessie isn't about a young teenage nanny eventually ending up at her dreams of stardom, it's about a young teenage girl trying to make it big in the world of stardom and then slowly having her dreams crushed by the reality of responsibility and patriarchal white privilege dominance. 

I mean, think about it. Both Jessie and Girls takes place in New York which, like LA, is as much a place where dreams go to get crushed and die as it is a place where dreams come true (sorry 18-year-old Jessie, but then again 22-year-old Jessie already knew that). Both Girls and Jessie are about struggling auteurs who are so single-minded in their stardom dreams that they become almost oblivious to their own daily suffering. Both main protagonists are suffering imbecilic gits who at this point contribute almost nothing positive to society, and in absolutely both cases, both protagonists came about that way by sheer accident because the writers themselves are somewhat blind to how insufferable they are, or at least miscalculated how that insufferability will be interpreted by the audience. And both characters tend to abide by the adage that Millennials/young people just suck and the world is going to hell as predicted foretold by that paragon of truth and moral responsibility, Bill O'Reilly (in case you think I'm being serious, that was sarcasm). 

Anyway the Fear in Our...I just can't do it...#4.19 is just an atrocity to children's entertainment. The Luke and Ravi subplot is the only redeeming feature in this. Oh, yeah, subplots, was the Luke and Ravi subplot the B-Plot? The A-Plot? The C-Plot? The Fucking D-Plot? I don't fucking know. There were so many different separate plots running around. It made Good Luck Charlie and I Didn't Do It look bare-bones in their plot structures. Luke and Ravi were in a stargazing club together and Ravi got pissed off that Luke was hitting on "his girl" (yes, because you can claim ownership of a different person from afar based entirely on the fact that she has a vagina. Remember, Disney Channel is the network of girl empowerment and Debby Ryan wants to remind you that no man can own you plus some LGBT stuff!) Zuri and Bertram were trying to watch some sort of LOST rip-off that had a halfway clever joke in it but other than that was completely throwaway. Emma was trying to do exactly the same plot she did in Badfellas and in Punched Dumped Love, both far superior episodes to this turdbucket of an excuse. Even with the fact that Punch Dumped Love probably has the worst B-plot in this show's history. Jessie was...almost literally - I really mean it, I'm not exaggerating, I am using the word "literally" in accordance to its actual definition - spending the entire episode standing in the exact same spot where she was just trying different random talent things for some commercial we will never ever get to see or even know what it's about, and Mrs. Chesterfield complaining about the noise she's making. That's four separate plots happening all at the same time. They had to throw in a recurring character just to make sure three out of the four had two characters to go along with.

Luke and Ravi work off each other pretty well and it's always a hoot to see Ravi trick Luke (more on that at the end).Everything else just sucked. The Zuri/Bertram and Emma plots just served to set up the punch line to Luke and Ravi's. I'm assuming Jessie's thing is going to relate to the finale, which thank God has an alternate title than "Ooray for Ollywood" (what kind of dumb motherfuck came up with that one?) Other than the Luke/Ravi storyline everything was either useless or garbage.

So, anyway, once upon a time there was this episode called Used Karma where Ravi tricked Luke into bathing outside where he admitted to Jessie that yes, he can be quite impish. The highlight of this episode is Ravi tricking Luke into wrapping himself up with used tinfoil in order to protect himself from an asteroid (or meteorite as someone on Twitter pointed out) and then Luke remaining convinced that everyone needs to be wrapped in tinfoil one it seemed like there was actually going to be a meteorite heading towards Central Park. Fun fact: Used Karma, despite being the third episode to air, was actually the first episode the Jessie cast and crew filmed and was the first episode where Debby, Peyton, Karan, Cameron, Skai and Kevin all worked together. The Fear...#4.19 is also Episode #100, with Ooray...Jessie Goes Hollywood being #101, only the second live-action Disney Channel show to go beyond 100 episodes after Wizards of Waverly Place with an ultimate total of 108 (not counting both Suite Life series as one episode, in which On Deck's Maddie on Deck would be #100, a fact they used to commemorate with having Maddie in that episode in the first place [with Uriah Shelton as the little prince!]).

Yeah at this point I'm just trying to distract myself by remembering the good old days. I hate the title because I actually like John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and I hate it when they go for pop culture-reference pun titles because that's the laziest form of comedy imaginable (that Seltzer and Freidberg thing I keep talking about). 

Your turn Mike, but since you guys can already imagine what grades and scores I'm going to give so I might as well give them now.

Episode Grade: Ravi and Luke's subplot is the only thing preventing this steaming pile of crap from getting a big fat F and title of Worst Episode of the Whole Damn Series, or even a D- for that matter. It gets a flat D. What a way to close out the series. Fuck.
Episode MVP: I am so tempted to give it to Jace Norman actually despite the fact that he's on a completely different show on a competing network, because Henry Danger was actually pretty good this week and most of all didn't suck. But I need to give it to Cameron Boyce because he made his part not suck so much it would be disingenuous to give it to an actor who's on a completely different network just out of spite for everything else.

I tuned in at the last minute because I was contractually obligated to work on Invisible Sister. It just looks like standard Jessie fare to me. Next week......what do we have? The kids getting stuck on the Hollywood sign and Jessie has to save them. Just to make sure, this is a live-action show, right? And writers/producers/Disney Channel, great job with making this a big event. The series finale of one of the longest-running shows in network history is 22 minutes. I would expect Nickelodeon to screw this up, but as the old saying goes, iron sharpens iron, am I right? In this case, bronze sharpens bronze but I digress.

Does anyone else feel like Debby Ryan's destiny is voice acting? I mean, on live-action shows, she has gotten a lot less motivated and seems to phone in a lot of her stuff, but with voice acting, she wouldn't have to worry about that. She can do kids shows because her voice is friendly and inviting, but also adult shows because her voice is deep and sultry. Yeah, I can imagine her in a voice role on Family Guy or American Dad.

I have been looking for a way to express my appreciation for Jace Norman. He's no Josh Peck or Jerry Trainor in any sense of the word, but he does very well with Schneider's brand of comedy. One reason why these shows tend to fail these days is because the actors have to understand the material and a lot of them don't. Norman just gets what he is supposed to do. His line delivery, his facial expressions, his mannerisms.......he is the perfect Schneider's Bakery actor. Hopefully, he improves since he still comes off as very plain but he is at the very least, one of the reasons why Henry Danger isn't as bad as it could be. Hell, I even got some good laughs out of Game Shakers. Watching the show with my sister this week made it ten times more enjoyable. I was even laughing at Hudson, for crying out loud. Matt Bennett's guest appearance was wasted though. I have no idea why they had him go by his real name since that was pretty much Robbie Shapiro and everything that happened to Matt is exactly what would have happened to Robbie. No difference, no interesting plot direction, nothing. 

Eh, I'll have more time for Nickelodeon in my Thundermans review. But a special treat for readers: This Friday, as one final blowout, I will be reviewing the Jessie series finale alongside Unknown. It only seems fitting and the respectful thing to do. Plus, some Girl Meets World pregame and postgame analysis all weekend. Hopefully. If they want to make this Texas event the greatest adventure ever, then I'll meet them halfway. But the pressure is on for them to deliver. Disney Channel, consider yourself put on notice. 

It's funny you mention voice acting for Debby since she'll be featured in a CGI Disney Junior show as one of the stars, it premieres December I believe. I'm not sure what the show's called, I don't remember, I'm too lazy to look it up right now. She'll be playing a fairy godmother or something, but it's not a spin-off of Sofia the 1st (I think).

Yeah, it didn't even occur to me until you mentioned it but Debby definitely has been phoning it in since sometime in the middle of 2014. She used to have a lot of energy and even, dare I say, passion for this show. What the hell happened, Debby?

Spongey444 in the comments says I'm too harsh on this episode. I think what turned me off and set me up determined to give this a D no matter what was the beginning, especially when Jessie told Zuri and Bertram that she doesn't care what they do. What the fuck, Jessie? Since when did you turn into a bitter, Lena Dunham-style burned-out Millennial hateball of cynicism? You used to be the anti-Girls, full of actual optimism and hope and an attitude of not giving up to achieve your dreams. This is exactly what I mean by, if 18-year old Season 1 Jessie Prescott and 22-year-old Season 4 Jessie Prescott ever met, 18-year old Jessie would punch her 22-year-old self right in the face and move back to Texas. Even 17/18-year old Bailey Pickett, who basically went through the same cynicalization in the last season of SLoD as Jessie, would be wondering what the fuck happened to Jessie.

Yeah, I can definitely talk about Jace Norman here. He and his co-star Riele Downs are probably the best things on the network right now. Yes that includes Brec Bassinger, yes that includes everyone on Thundermans. Both of them make Henry Danger rise on their strengths. And stuff. The funniest thing will always be Henry having that crazed look to him when he was brainwashed - it either looks like someone who's been stressed and frightened out of his mind, or perhaps a Schneider Zombie - and then giving Captain Man a wedgie. Fun fact: the kid brother who brainwashed Henry is played by Gus Kamp, who's now Barry on Best Friends Whenever. 

I have so little hope for Meets Texas because the previews pretty much give me the impression that, for their first three-parter, the writers went trolling on Fanfiction.net and just found whatever they felt like they could rip off without the original author noticing and suing for. I agree with Shipping Wars are Stupid, or at least with the basic message of that user name. The idea of Lucas getting amnesia is actually a really intriguing idea - and then they piss it away by having it turn into a shipping pissing contest between Riley and Maya. Which might as well be a proxy for being a shipping pissing contest between Riley and Maya shippers in the fandom itself. Unlike Liv and Maddie, Girl Meets World is pretty much turning into a bad example of listening to your fandom, or rather, having the inmates run and consequently fuck up the asylum. 

But other than that I'll do my best to give the pre and post-game analysis for both Meets Lucaya and Ooray for Alternate Episode Titles. I've already spent a good amount of time preparing:



8 comments:

  1. I take back what i said before...this is over exraggating. I mean jesus. As far as Jessie episodes go, this was pretty tame stuff. like i said before, nothing special, nothing terrible. My biggest issue actually came in Luke's plot since they sort of dick-ish but it had a decent ending.

    The other plots were just normal. Bare bones yes but normal. Zuri's plot was my favorite since it was kind of releatableT. If i were to rank the episodes, this would not come close to touching the bottom. It would be in hte middle.

    It had some amusing bits, although the plots did sort of feel weird. Luke's had the most meat, but it competed with Jessie's plot which was weird. Emma was useless, she may as well not be there.

    But character wise, it's normal. Not as good as other episodes in the season, but not as bad as Season 3. Ravi tricking luke is hit or miss, but this did it okay at the end.

    I wouldn't have reviewed this episode myself since what i just said is about all i can say. a very typical episode. The finale should be nice since it did have that nice bit in the ad. Although like i said, the plot looks like Jessie's big break meets Gi Jessie.

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    1. i said you over exraggating when it comes to Jesse in general. But anyway, as odd as it is, the change in her character isn't the worst. She's mostly just become beaten down from so much abuse. It's weirdly fascinating0

      As for Girl Meets Texas, i have hope. The ads jut show them doing crazy Texas things (i live in Texas so i can tell up front how much they fucked up there) and yada yada. They haven't shown all the shipping parts, but i have hope that they staff can pull this off, being a 3 part even after all. .

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    2. I'm absolutely certain it's accidental, but it is interesting in that it perfectly explains Jessie's evaporated optimism. Should've stayed in Texas, girl (then you can meet Riley and Lucas!)

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  2. As of this writting, Debby only has done one voice role, and that in a Tinker Bell movie. She barely got anythng to do, so i can't judge her voice acting from that. She's fairly good at normal acting...sort of.
    I noticed she is way better at subtle/dramatic acting than over the top comedic acting. Compared an average Jessie episode to her Girl Meets World episode, for example.

    I really don't see the 22 minute finale as a big deal. Dog with a blog had one, and it managed to be a fitting send off. And that knew it would be a finale, unlike Shake it Up. Kickin' it Also managed it...twice, since Season 3's finale fit as a finale despite not being the actual finale.

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  3. Also, got any proof or info about htis Disney jr Debby ryan thing? Cuz i have never heard anything of this until just now.

    Oh, and she has another voice acting credit i forgot about: That Jessie/Ultimate Spider Man thing...which somehow happened.

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    1. http://www.m-magazine.com/posts/debby-ryan-joins-disney-junior-s-animated-goldie-and-bear-53155

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    2. oh, i heard about that...thought it had aired already. didn't know it was watch disney leak thing for on. I also heard nothing about debby taking part in until now. Great, i had no interest in it but now i have to watch it.

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