Friday, October 2, 2015

Jessie Reviewed: "The Ghostess With the Mostest" (#4.17...or whatever)


Unknown: Come down and see how pretty I look! Alternatively, pick whatever quote you want from The Ring and shove it in here

What is this? Yeah, I'm not doing this again, read the first Jessie review if you want all that (it's in the September 2015 folder).

Seriously, what's with all these A-B-C plot structures? Good Luck Charlie barely skated by on it on the best of days, I Didn't Do It got wrecked into just about near literal oblivion (more on that between now and the 16th when it airs its final episode - yes, this is it for Jessie and Lindy at the same time, folks!) and Austin & Ally just did a new version of its three ghost stories from last year (oh yeah, they released the Monstober episodes early kind-of sort-of - more on that tomorrow). Girl Meets World went above and beyond that even and just did whatever the fuck it randomly felt like. And now Jessie has an A-B-C plot structure too in this one, though not by much and the C plot didn't really interfere with the other two. I'll cover more of how problematic the A-B-C plot structure is when I review I Didn't Do It's Bite Club tomorrow-Sunday.

Anyway, that didn't stink nearly as bad as I was fearing. Way back in the first Monstober episode, The Whining, there's been a tendency to go way over-the-top beyond the otherwise fairly grounded confines of this show. And then with To Be or Not to Be Me, and Ghost Bummers, and so on, to get even more outlandish. And then it got to the point where it started spilling out into the show period, to the extent that the show just really quit being all that "grounded" altogether and we got stuff like that horrible, horrible Rossed at Sea arc which might as well be called Debby's Suite Life Revenge against her younger castmates who never got the experience the horror of On Deck Season 3 (Party On! is a sin against all children watching television and the adults along for the ride too, I mean it). So it's a nice change of pace for a Halloween episode to seem so damn grounded again at least in comparison. 

I'm also just going to leave this here.

I'm not going to come down because I'll be busy in my bunk (can I make that kind of joke on a blog like this?)

And yeah I know it's blurry, that's the best you're gonna get (it's hard to capture mid-motion still images with cheap streaming video files like this).

Anyway, I'm hitting the bed right now (no, not like that, yeah I already regret making that joke) so I'll see you in the morning and let's see if Mike has anything to say in the meantime.

You know, it puts a little sadness in my belly when these Halloween episodes refuse to try. Call me spoiled, but when The Simpsons was one of the best shows on television, their Halloween specials were oftentimes just as brilliant. Hell, "Treehouse of Horror V" is looked at as one of the best episodes in the history of the series. I should never expect that level of writing from shows like this, but come on. It's a Halloween episode. Be silly, be over-the-top, but at least make sense and be entertaining. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody's Halloween episode? Perfection. That episode of That's So Raven with Pushover Patterson and the cake? Beautiful. Even Degrassi could pull off a good Halloween episode....and they did. 

I used to be a fan of Jessie. I never thought it was a clever show or hilarious enough to tell people about, but it was much better written at one point. One of the reasons I stopped watching was because of how stale and predictable it had become. They kept relying on the same stupid jokes over and over again like there was no other material to use. Jessie is lame and cannot succeed at anything and has had bad relationships? Check. Bertram is fat and hates everything about the kids? You're no Geoffrey Butler, sir. You're not, and I wish writers would stop trying to replicate Geoffrey. Luke is gross and stupid and still has the hots for Jessie? Check. Ravi is a complete dork who will never get ahead in life because he's not cool? Got it. Emma is a complete airhead? A poor man's London Tipton, I tell you. And Zuri is.........is......an asshole? Yeah, let's just go with that. I think the last episode I watched of my own volition was the one where Stefanie Scott guest starred? Nothing in it made me want to follow the show anymore. I really hope the kids get something more substantial than this. They have good acting chops, but they get saddled with this low-quality material every time.

You know what? I think we might underestimate the kid actors/actresses on these shows? Are they really that bad with any material they get, or is the material so bad they can't make it work? I mean, they had to have been hired for an obvious reason. They had to have been the best person for the role. But it's a lot harder to tell these days. Girl Meets World at least aims higher than most shows like it, and Rowan Blanchard, Sabrina Carpenter, and Corey Fogelmanis are like a three-headed monster when it comes to their acting. They really get into their characters and give them life and energy. Then you have something like Every Witch Way on Nickelodeon, which is a literal admission by the network that they chose to try nothing and yet they are out of ideas. 

That Best Friends Whenever episode will get covered by me and the big red guy above me. I'm not missing a chance to see Girl Meets World interact with other shows. But wait, didn't that already happen? No, wait, it didn't. I don't consider it a crossover or a Halloween episode, I don't even consider it an episode. I consider it nothing. 

Here's my prediction on the kind of crossover jokes we can expect:
"Hey, I'm Cyd and she's Shelby. Are you guys from here?"
"Yes, we are. I'm Riley and he's Lucas. We're from Friday nights so this is a big deal for us. Unicorns and lollipops and rainbows!"
"Hey, you're just like me!"
"OH MY GOD, I CAN'T EVEN DEAL RIGHT NOW, WE'RE THE SAME CHARACTER ON DIFFERENT SHOWS!!! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!!"
"Oh yeah? I CHALLENGE you!"
"To what?"
"A dance-off through time and space, Maya."
"My name is Riley. I'm the main character for God's sake."
"Can we please leave?"
"I'm Lucas and I'm from Texas. My friends call me Ranger Rick. Ha-hurrr."

You get the idea. I don't expect much (or anything) from this episode anyway. I just want to see Riley and Lucas on another show on Sunday night. It's Girl Meets World saying "Hey. We made it." Mike out. 

The whole reason why I made such a big deal about wanting a partner for this blog is so I can get someone who vehemently disagrees with me - that Siskel and Ebert effect I had been talking about before. You'd talk about how Jessie is the worst thing ever conceived and that Debby Ryan desperately needs to quit and find a real job, then I'd swoop in and say Jessie is the greatest cultural achievement of mankind and Debby is the world's greatest actress and makes Sophia Loren look like a sorry wet rag, and we'd go back and fourth, and maybe some fun is had by the reader and something about storytelling is learned. So it's actually a little disappointing that we start off agreeing on everything. Not that I'm telling you to automatically do the exact opposite of what I do because, trust me, we'll find plenty of opportunity for that soon.

But yeah, everything you said about Jessie is exactly the problem with the show, though if you ask me it actually doesn't go far enough. You compare Season 1 and Season 4 and they might as well be different shows just using the same sets and actors. I don't think it's a problem with the talent. I think they're more than talented enough. Though you have people who say the only reason why Debby is on the network or has an acting job is because she's, well, I'll just say "front-loaded" and the only reason why Peyton List is on the show or has an acting job is because she looks like a flesh-made Barbie doll. I'm willing to give them more credit than just that. But the writing has taken a nose-dive as the show has gone on. 

The thing about TV shows is that for all the silliness or blandness we see being captured by the camera they are complex organizational entities and there's a lot going on with Jessie. Did you know there are rumors that Debby herself hates the show now and wants to pull a Miley? Like, she got herself on the guest role on Girl Meets World as Aubrey specifically to get away from Jessie, even for just one time (that episode was filmed right when they were wrapping up the Jessie finale). There's a lot of stuff to cover and I'll do exactly that within this week when I do more reviews of past Jessie shows and retrospectives upon the show's finale countdown. 

As for this episode...hmm, doesn't seem like you were able to willpower your way through it. Which is kind of a shame because compared to some of the stuff put out lately it's a fucking return to form. You can at least add some words about My Babysitter's a Vampire down below even if it is just "I haven't seen it" and you can also quote anything that stuck out to you for this episode, or if not you can put something snarky about a lack of quote (hint hint).

In addition to all of that, Jessie suffers the typical Disney Channel curse of having either the A plot or the B plot be complete and utter trash. This episode is no exception. The A plot was, well, kind of stupid and by far the least interesting thing about this episode. I don't get why the Jessie writers feel such a compulsion to rip off R-rated movies that the core audience is supposed to not have seen given the, you know, R-ratings. They've ripped off The Fucking Hangover,they've basically ripped of 24, and now they're ripping off The Ring. I don't know if they thing they're being edgy or whatever, but this is literally fucking Seltzer and Freiberg territory people. You remember Seltzer and Freiberg right? "Blank Genre Movie" Movies. The guys who finally became Hollywood pariahs for the utter shit they churn out. Cinematic shovelware. 

So yeah, the kids keep disappearing because of this Abby ghost girl, and then it turns out it's really Stewart, and it's not even a trick or a punk as it is just an elaborate Halloween-themed invite to a party and that the kids have been "kidnapped" into this party. Actually, even I have to admit the reveal shows more than a few signs of cleverness and originality. The elaborate punk plotline has been done to death by every network ever delving into kiddie shows, and lately Disney Channel seems to have a thing for guys (or girls) coming up with ever-increasingly elaborate productions on how to ask someone of the opposite sex out (Jessie itself did this with one of its most recent episodes). Surprisingly enough when you combine the two it actually works. Actually, I'd even go so far as to say it might even be a good idea to try out in real life, though you might get a good kick to the shin if the invited party isn't so thrilled about your horror theatrics. Meanwhile, the journey to that payoff is, well, like a walk to the mailbox.

The real meat of the episode, and the real buzz - it's even got a good shot at crowding out Rucas on Twitter, finally - is Tessie. Nobody was expecting a Halloween episode or an episode this late in the series' entire production order to be a Tessie episode, especially with all of Debby's BTS talk of Jessie "not needing a man in her life" (this from a woman who Periscopes her boobs). And then wham out of nowhere Jessie and Tony are a thing again, and the fandom rejoiced. Tessie has been a major part of the bonding force of the whole series and I think it's no coincidence that the show went down the shitter the moment they broke up. Plus, the show shows its strengths when it comes to relationship moments like this. It's the one thing they do better than the GMW staff.

The crossover element was probably about as well-integrated as you're going to get on something this scale. Jessie actually interacted with Logan and Delia which is more than what we can say for certain other episodes and Delia and Luke started dating each other. In the Disney Channel universe, which is now apparently the same as the St. Elsewhere-verse which means all of this is an elaborate figment of a sick kid's imagination, Delia and Luke are supposed to be the exact same age or very close to it, but you can tell Sarah Gilman is way older than Cameron Boyce to the point where in real life she'd be spending 5-10 in jail and permanently banned from Hollywood as a registered sex offender (there's actually a discussion on this on IMDb where at first people thought the big reveal was Jessie and Logan dating). 

That's pretty much all there is to talk about. Really it was standard Halloween plot with a lot of Tessie fanservice thrown in, a lot of it literally too given that getup Debby was wearing (absolutely I'm not complaining). If you're into Tessie fanservice then you're spending hours on Twitter squeeing about it and filling up your friends' timeline with OMG TESSIE RUCAS  GIRL MEETS TEXAS I want to punch someone in the face now. If not, you probably changed the channel 8 minutes in.




Episode Grave: B-. And yes that's an intentional misspelling. Holiday spirit, ya'll!
Episode MVP: Chris Gayla, the man behind Tony/Tessie. He actually got to do something beyond dumb jock Mr. Goodhair Doorman.

8 comments:

  1. This blog is a sad attempt at recapturing the magic GMWReviewed did

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    1. It's a little too soon to start writing this blog off. We're having trouble getting everything fine-tuned, but once we do, things will start running more smoothly. Plus, if nothing else, you can definitely expect some quality commentary.

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    2. Thanks for making me seriously rethink the whole notion of anonymous posting.

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  2. I haven't seen this yet, but Jessie tends to be do some of the more fun Halloween episodes, so it should be good. The Whining was a fun homage, and Ghost Bummers, while not as good, was solid too. The 3rd one was okay but was dragged down by being part of an arc. I should have bagged a place as so co-owner before Mike because with stuff i like this, i would have been a fine asset, but i suppose it would just be more work for me to do.

    Oh, and Rossed at Sea was good, especially part 3, and Suite life Season 3 while flawed was good 2, with some great episodes. As for the ABC plot structure, i think it works if you want to split time between the characters (if you have a cast of at least 4) so no one gets left out. I Didn't Do It was pretty good at that, even in the bad episodes. (Lindy Nose Best may be terrible, but it's well paced)

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  3. Just watched it, and yeah it was good. I think the Tony thing needed it's own episode, but it was used well here. It's one of the better Halloween episodes, although your review didn't go into detail on anything, even the (weak) crossover aspect.

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    1. It's really weird that they didn't do more for Tessie. Did I mention that in the review? I mentioned that in the review, I think, I don't remember. It doesn't look like it's going to be touched upon anymore until the finale. Weird.

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    2. You didn't mention it orginally, when i made that comment. I like that they didn't dwell on it too much (compared to when suite life did the same thing) and it's fine to wait til the end but this very episode was not the best choice.

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  4. Okay, you added more so i can say more. Honestly, i perfer the newer Halloween peisodes. Yes, the older shows were good but their Halloween episodes while good were just normal, while the newer ones go crazy, and as a result, stand out and are usually funny. There are some normal ones (Kang-a-rooney) but most of them are crazy fun. (don't get me wrong, some early ones were crazy, like the hannah one).

    Christmas is the opposite, but i'll adress that come December.

    You might over exaggerating when it comes to Jessie. It did go downhil, but in a way i expected given it's nature. it stil feels the same, just worse. (It's no modern family guy). And sometimes it was still good, and as a said Season 4 is a return to from.

    I dig the spoof stuff in the Jessie episodes, since they go crazy and are funny. Not exactly airplane but not Meet the spartans either.

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