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