Thursday, October 8, 2015

Jessie Reviewed: "Gotcha Day" (#1.25)

I can have cake in my mouth in under two minutes!

What is it? ...again, just refer to the first Jessie review back in Sept '15, I really don't feel like doing this over and over again.

The last time we visited Jessie's penthouse, we kicked off the Jessie retrospective with the series' very first episode (New York, New Nanny) and the Monstober 2015 premiere (Ghostess with the Mostest). As the show winds down to its last two new episodes ever, let's go back and continue the retrospective with the very first episode of Jessie I ever saw - Gotcha Day. In fact, the premiere of this episode (August 24 or so 2012), along with Good Luck Charlie (T-Wrecks), Wizards of Waverly Place (My Two Harpers) and yes even A.N.T. Farm (ConfinemANT) and especially and perhaps most importantly perhaps the most classic Disney Channel series of all time, Phineas and Ferb (Meepless in Seattle, arguably one of the most classic episodes of that show) were the very first things I ever saw on Disney Channel and, as pathetic as it might sound, convinced me that the network was worth watching (yeah Phineas and Ferb might've contributed a lot to that notion). 

Not only is this a Zuri episode, but it's a Season 1 Zuri episode, which means we've still got a whole 'nuther solid season in between this and when Zuri becomes a horrible mouthpiece for insufferable sass. Season 3 was a real watershed moment for awfulness but that's for a later blog entry. Right now we can enjoy Zuri being precocious without being insufferably so. 

Right off the bat we have...typical Disney Channel little kid antics of the second variety - that is, kids are just acting like slightly exaggerated versions of kids and not the off-the-wall bonkers little dipshits where the everyday behavior of everyone inhabiting this universe might as well indicate these people are really Martians emulating humans (ala A.N.T. Farm on its worst of days - yes I'm looking straight at you Gibson). This is also a Morgan and Christina episode (one of the very few, rare ones with Morgan in it at all) which really shows off Chip Epsten's comedic timing. Other than that, there's nothing from the first third that's really going to separate it from the rest of the network, even if it's still at the time sitting at the higher tier of the network with Good Luck Charlie. What's really remarkable is how restrained the show is - in fact it's not really that far off from Good Luck Charlie at all. The actors are frankly better now than they will be later on (including Debby) and they act more like real characters and a part of a real family. Even with the stupid lizard. It really is like watching a completely different show compared to Seasons 3 and 4 or even Season 2. 

This is a family episode through and through, and it's probably the very last one Jessie will ever do as seriously as this (no, Lizard Scales and Wrestling Tales does not fucking count unless you also think the Adam Sandler movie Blended is a serious examination of the effects of colonialism in Africa). Everybody here actually acts like they're part of a family and Jessie actually acts like what's in effect a big sister-for-hire. The A-plot is about Zuri's "Gotcha Day" celebrating her arrival in the Ross household in lieu of her actual birthday, and then it pretty quickly transforms into being about Ravi instead (yeah, Zuri's just being way too self-centered making her Gotcha Day all about, you know, her) as Jessie blurts out that the Rosses were expecting a baby younger than Ravi when he arrived, making Ravi think that they got him as a mistake instead of someone else. So Jessie does her big sister-for-hire thing (really, it's a lot more accurate a title than nanny as it fits Jessie's [lack of] qualifications better and it's closer to the concept the series itself was actually sold on) and makes everyone feel better and the family whole again, and then they go off and celebrate Zuri's Gotcha Party. Yay! Oh, and Zuri gets a pet zebra that Morgan has to explain will live in the zoo and not the penthouse and this will not in any way effect the future of the series particularly in a 1-hour special episode where Zuri decides she should live in the penthouse after all while Jessie plays stuntwoman to Mack from The Teen Beach Fosters.

The B-plot is a bit, um, unnecessary and really takes up maybe only 4 minutes of runtime anyway as this episode is waaaay A-plot dominant (and for the best). It just turns out that there are a bunch of messes popping up randomly everywhere without reason and it's all caused by Bertram sleepwalking in his nightmares, or something. To be honest I've seen the episode literally several dozen times at least, maybe into the triple figures (if I had a life I wouldn't be watching Disney Channel in the first place, now would I?) and every time it's at least a little confusing. The explanation and resolution is so brief and fast-paced, as if the writers figure they can present the absolute bare minimum needed to communicate some plot progression and the audience will just take the presentation at face-value and fill in any holes themselves. There's a part where at first I thought it might imply that it's actually Mr. Kipling who's causing the messes and then immediately dropping that plot point out of total existence, but I later realized it was just a gag of Mr. Kipling defying Ravi's orders and just knocking a plate of treats over so she can eat them when Ravi's away. This episode aired over 3 years ago now and I just figured that out a few weeks ago.

The gags they do when they're playing Zuri's Gotcha Party and flashbacks are kind of cute too. It's a lot of successful little details like everybody looking into a certain direction when going into the flashback, only Luke's looking in another direction and Ravi has to turn his chin to face the same way everyone else is; or Peyton List's delivery of Stop telling everyone you threw me into the sun! Otherwise this episode is way down on the see-what-sticks style of cheesy dialogue gags and snark humor the show would later be infamous for, and it's a better episode for it. Good Luck Charlie is considered one of the most classic live-action series in the network's history and it rarely had to resort to the type of pulled, obligated and tired pun-based or pop culture-referential humor that writers for some reason think kids will automatically find funny. Seltzer and Freidberg humor, and I'm not trying to make a clever analogy to referential pop culture humor myself, I literally mean it's both the type of humor style Seltzer and Freidberg are known (and hated) for and more or less the type of quickhand name that's given to that type and quality of humor now. Seltzer and Freidberg humor isn't good humor, it's barrel-scraping humor, it's the type of humor people who are crazy-skilled can pull off but lazy people do it because it requires zero effort to make a person shout Kim Kardashian! Khloe and Kendall Jenner! LOL! or Bacon donuts! What's up with that, amirite! (that's more or less an actual joke from Jessie, BTW) than it does to actually derive humor from a genuine character moment. The type of thing Girl Meets World can do. Or the type of thing Liv and Maddie can do. Or the type of thing Good Luck Charlie or Wizards of Waverly Place can do. Or the type of thing Jessie used to do back in Season 1 and 2. Ugh, and that stupid bacon donuts line actually was from a Season 2 episode, a good Season 2 episode no less, that actually did do all that character moment crap I was just talking about!

Anyway, that's kind of the gist of it, I can let Mike take over from here. Speaking of which his Bella and the Bulldogs/Thundermans review should be pretty close to forthcoming right now. Anyway Mike, if you're reading this, I can give you a link to Gotcha Day if you've never seen it (hint: you can crank it up to 1.5 speed to save on time). In case he never gets to this I'll just throw out the episode scores now because I kind of want to hurry and push through this retrospective series especially with...Fear in our S..t...ars (sorry, as a John Green fan I find the episode to be utterly, utterly horrible...and Debby is a John Green fan too, she's the one who freakin' introduced me to John Green so WTF Debby?) airing tomorrow and the series finale, no, that title is just so friggin' stupid I can't even fucking type it. Fuck it.

And the way E! describes it basically sounds like Disney Channel, Debby Ryan and Pamela Eells O'Connell are just about ready to give the whole fucking fandom the giant goddamn fucking middle finger. Thank you so much for rewarding our dedicated viewership and loyalty through four goddamn fucking seasons. And then you let Micheal Jacobs fucking walk all over you with this goddamn fucking Girl Meets Texas Rucas canonized fanwank that would get rejected from motherfucking right during your, YOUR series finale. Yes, the night of the series finale of Jessie, a series that has scored 3.5-4 million dedicated viewers and 101 episodes will be all about motherfucking goddamn Girl Meets Fucking Lucas In Her Goddamn Fucking Prepubescent Wet Dreams and Fucking Goddamn Shitty Texas Stereotypes From a Bunch of Goddamn Fucking Comedy Writers Who Have Probably Never Been East of The 210 Through Pasadena. But then again from the way this E! report and the preview looks like, maybe you fucking deserve it. 

And oh great, we get to watch the next Jessie premiere with the Invisible Sister countdown ticker covering up a quarter of the screen. I fucking hate this network sometimes.

Goddamnit and fuck this shit. At least I still have Season 1, fuck.

Episode Grade: B+ because it's better than what this show will fucking become. If you don't believe me you can watch it yourself. Really, the transformation that this show has gone through is so thorough you just need to see it to believe it. Fuck Bunk'd, this show has become its own spinoff. But seriously, it's also a really solid family episode on its own merits and really shows off all the potential this show had to be as strong a family show as Good Luck Charlie or Girl Meets World before it fucking squandered it all.
Episode MVP: Goddamnit I'm still so pissed off about the finale that I don't even want to give it to anyone knowing what they'll become. I could give it to Ravi, Zuri or Jessie because the episode is just as much about any one of them as it is about either one of them (if that makes sense). You know what? Screw it. It's a three-way tie between Karan Brar, Skai Jackson and Debby Ryan. It's before they became a snarky personification of an Indian accent, a personification of just snark, and when Jessie was still basically just a cute redhead version of Bailey and not an extremely bitter, overly cynical, completely and totally burned-out beyond all salvageable repair Staples store middle-manager who's regretted every waking moment of her miserable life trapped inside a Millennial's (oh, I'm sorry, "Becomer's") body.


  1. This might me my actual favorite episode because it's so...nice. It's, fun, sweet and has good decptions of Zuri and Betram, characters they often get wrong. And i still think you exgratting just a tad. It got worse, but in a way that i kind of expected, or at least am not surprised to see.

    Some aspects still stayed enjoyable and good, even the worst episode at least isn't as broken as something like Review it up or the A plot of Lindy Nose Best. At least it's not like IDDI which may as well have become it's own reboot.

    Also, i keep seeing sources calling the finale Jessie goes to hollywood instead of that dumb title. Does that make you feel slightly better?
    Anyway, my grade may as well be A-. MVP is Kevin Chamberlin because of his nice moments here, before i started to wonder why he didn't quit and then go on a killing spree. (The writers of this ep did episodes that contributed to that, huh?)

    As for the finale, sounds about typical given they already have a spin off on the air. Looks decent enough, although it reminds me a bit too much of GI Jessie with it's plot.

    And as for Girl Meets Texas, i think it could be good. If it they want to do 3 Parts for it, it has to have some kind of materiel. They've been a few of these 3 part weekend things lately. Double Crossed, Rossed at Sea, and now thsi. (And before, we have Twister)


    1. Yeah, everything you said. Especially Zuri and Bertam. I don't know what the fuck happened but goddamn fucking chucklehead writers who should be banned from TV for all of eternity including the afterlife got a hold of them. Now I can't really confirm who these writers are without backstage info I don't have but I'm willing to bet that these writers' names start with, eh, for example, let's just pick the very first letter of the alphabet, "A." And then we'll follow up that letter with some other letters, namely "-hren, Valarie and McLaughlin, Christian."

      And the thing is even those laughing joking numbnut chuckleheads weren't always that bad either. They wrote a number of really good Season 1 and 2 episodes, including Green-Eyed Monsters which hey I liked. But eh, whatever, I'll do that one later, I'm getting pissed off again.

      Yeah, what you said about Lindy Nose Best and IDDI becoming its own spinoff. Regarding the title, I have two theories: 1. media news outlets are always in a rush and essentially in "grapevine" or "telephone" mode so they can get minor details wrong, because they don't give a damn. Or 2. they also agree the title is so fucking stupid so they probably figure, this is probably a joke, let's auto-correct it for them.

      MPV: yeah, Kevin Chamberlain, why not. He really wasn't in the episode, though that hasn't stopped actors from getting MVP on related blogs or even here. On the other hand Karan, Skai and Debby really put their A-game or close to it here,especially given other factors like age.

      Ugh, I don't know - it's just that all the previews and over-hype and everything have thoroughly convinced me that Oct. 16 is going to fucking suck and I should stock up on PBR, between Debby Ryan's and Pamela Eells O'Connell's Big Giant Fuck You to the fandom and Girl Meets Lemon Fanfiction. Also I think you're thinking more Jessie's Big Break than G.I. Jessie, or maybe a combo of the two. Those were BOTH 1-hour episodes, I don't know how they're going to boil down the fucking series finale into 30 minutes unless that's also a part of Debby's and Pamela's Big Giant Fuck You to the fandom, and I think it is.

    2. I hesitate to blame certain writers on these shows, since these aren't exactly the most creator driven shows ever, although i have noted certain trends among certain writers. As for the writer you mentioned, i look it up and while there is a trend with Betram (they seem to have started the whole Chesterfield creeper thing) they seem fine up until Morning Rush. (Although thye did have the recent whoodunnity episode, which had a happy-ish ending for him)

      (Regarding the finale title) The odd thing is, that highlights thing is the only place where i've seen it called that.

      I'm not sure how the finale is a fuck you to the fandom. Seems like a normal episode to me, although it seems finale-ish. I'll blame into problems on Bunk'd. I think they boil the finale to half an hour depending on what happens. Although the examples i thought of (Shake It Up and ANT Farm) were not written to be finales at first, while this was so...we'll see.

      Oh wait, Kickin' It was able to have a good half hour finale. So yeah.

    3. We'll have to see, I've just become rather quite jaded since the mess that was Morning Rush.


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