Sunday, October 11, 2015

What's the Deal with Jessie anyway? A superfan describes how he became a superfan of an awful kiddie show


When I first envisioned this blog, it was originally going to be just a Jessie blog, much like how Girl Meets World Reviewed just reviews, well, Girl Meets World. Expanding into other shows really was just a survival tactic for the blog itself more than anything else - even when I first decided Jessie was deserving of a blog on its own the series' countdown to its finale had already begun and more time had just passed in the meantime as I tried to gather up resources and thoughts about how it was going to work and be formatted to the point where that countdown timer expires to zero this Friday. The question I want to address here though, before I get to my The Fear in Our Stars review (which BTW was an awful and horrid episode and just utter complete garbage like the vast majority of Season 4 let alone for the fucking penultimate episode of the whole goddamn series) is why am I such a superfan of a basic cable TV show that features a 17-21 year old actress playing a (barely) comically inept nanny to four spoiled brats, the same show that Deadspin's Drew Magary has called the worst example of children's entertainment of all time, the same show that Cracked.com's Felix Clay has not only called the most disturbing children's show of all time, but further implied that Debby Ryan should quit acting and go into porn (yeah, we can talk about that specific comment and why it's Donald Trump-level stupid more exactly at a later time). As Christian and Sean (either or, I forgot who exactly) back on GMWReviewed noted, yeah, I do have complex feelings for this stupid show and the stupid character that stars in it, all of her weird awkward excessive eyeblinking and awful delivery included. 

Before we get into that though, I want to talk about a completely different show called See Dad Run that premiered on Nickelodeon's Nick@Nite programming block in late 2013 and just recently ended its run very quietly in July or so (and you think Nick treats its headliner shows bad, Mike?) I was even hoping to review perhaps the show's best and most powerful episode, See Dad Downsize as its own blog entry as a lead-up to this post I'm writing now but as it happens to be the episode is damn near impossible to find, so you'll just have to live with this brief synopsis. The show itself is about a character named David Hodges or something like that played by sitcom super-veteran Scott Baio who quit starring in a hugely popular sitcom, awkwardly sharing the exact same title as this show itself, in order to live with his family (including wife and Hodges matriarch Alanna Urbach, who us 90s kids might remember from freakin' Beakman's World, fuck yeah!) I should also probably mention that the show also stars Ryan Newman as one of the Hodges children who, despite the name, is actually a girl, and has an immensely huge fanbase made up in large part of really creepy old men who talk about her in contexts that make you wonder if these creepy guys are going to end up in jail one day.

Anyway, in See Dad Downsize, David is trying to get rid of a bunch of his old See Dad Run (the TV show in the the TV show, not the TV show itself, yeah, it's just too confusing) stuff, hence the episode title. Something with immense sentimental value (forgot what it was) accidentally got boxed with the crap he actually wants to give away and (yes you've seen this plot before) he races down to the donation center to try to get it back, only to find that the item has already been sold. He's able to track its purchase down to a man in a wheelchair who turns out to be a See Dad Run superfan who has meticulously hunted for and collected enough show memorabilia and former set props to just about recreate the main living room set in his apartment. He agrees to hand the item back to David on the one condition that they recreate his favorite See Dad Run scenes, so because this is a multi-cam sitcom of course they do in Hilarity Ensues fashion. 

Again, being that this is a multi-cam sitcom they could've just very well ended it right there and then. Yeah, we get it, the quirky socially outcast near-stalker who has remolded his life to revolve around a TV show nobody else would give a second thought to, let's just get what we came for and move on. So what if he's in a wheelchair, that was just a borderline offensive trait the writers put in to emphasize how quirky, socially outcast and different he is. But not so fast. Before we leave this super-fan forever in the oblivion of expired television, he thanks David and all that his stupid little, silly family sitcom has done for him. As it turns out, he became paraplegic in Iraq when he was in the Marines (or something like that, I forgot exactly) and See Dad Run ended up being the thing that helped pull him out of a very dark place when he was not only left to recover and convalesce by himself but also trying to figure out what to do in a post-combat, post-PTSD world.

So what does a completely different show on a competing network have to do with Jessie? Well, if you go back and read that story, and use your brain and all of its what TVTropes refers to as Genre Savviness you can probably already see where I'm going with this. If all you're looking for is confirmation of what your savviness is telling you and want to avoid a bunch of awkward mushiness, blah blah blah I was in a very dark place and this stupid redhead on this stupid TV show helped pull me out of it to the point where I'm now a superfan sitting on one of the screening room chairs recovered from the set with Jessie's "slingshot" bra from the first scene in the first episode hanging from the headboard of my bed (no not really). 

If you're actually interested in knowing exactly what happened - I had been in a relationship with what I thought at the time was an awesome lady with red hair (aha, see, you know where this is going too) during what was otherwise a pretty stressful and intense time in my life. A lot of stress of which, in hindsight, she might've directly contributed to that I wasn't aware of at the time (those details are a bit outside the purview of this blog, to be honest, so you'll just have to keep guessing I guess). Despite all of that, we had a really fun time together, blah blah blah and all that through that summer when out of the blue my doctor informed that I now have cancer. Which needless to say isn't very fun, but it's ok, because I have my awesome redhead girlfriend to help me get through it!

Until she decided to break up with me a few weeks before my scheduled surgery.

So yeah, I was left in a pretty awkward and crappy spot with a lot of time on my hands to watch TV now. And by happenstance I "accidentally" wound up on Disney Channel just like Parker in Kathy Kan-a-Rooney and was immediately sucked in, except instead of the hilarious antics of the older brother I was sucked in by this girl descending the Ross penthouse stairs who was suuuuuuuper-pretty and had the exact same shade of red hair as my now ex and now that I'm typing this out and actually reading it and hearing how it sounds in my head it just occurred to me that this sounds actually pretty damn creepy, fuck, no wonder Debby doesn't return my Twitter DMs.

I really don't know what else to say at this point other than what's as obvious as a straight line pointing at the most forgone conclusion possible, that I became more emotionally attached to this show than what any guy my age should be. I felt like Debby, or Jessie, or whoever was there for me more than my lousy ex was or just about anybody. I ended up watching Jessie, Suite Life on Deck and Debby's half-DCOM (more on the half later) 16 Wishes from a hospital bed. Let me tell you, if you've ever seen 16 Wishes, the scene where Debby/Abby is explaining to her parents that she wants to go back and experience being a teenager again (it makes sense in context) takes on a whole fucking new meaning when you're watching it while they're shoving chemo treatment through your veins. Jessie's song Best Year of My Life from Why Do Foils Fall In Love takes on a whole fucking new meaning when you're basically trying to relearn to interact with people and make friendships again after several months of having certain fragrances causing you to uncontrollably hork up and damn near faint and then looking back at the experience with, huh, that's a new one that didn't happen before. And so on, you get the point.

Again, I don't know what else I can put in here. Other than lately in this final season Jessie is starting to wear even me down, ever since they dumped Suite Life on Deck Bailey but redhead in favor of some bitter, cynical, middle-aged burned-out husk of a person  perpetually stuck at a middle-management position in a Staples store who suddenly found herself trapped inside a Millennial's body. But as we go through our Jessie retrospective through the finale on Friday, we'll get to more of that later.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, i think some people can sympathetic with Tv comforting you, even if it's bad. For most people it's cuz they are nostalgic for it (which happens with me) but it's always sad when it's to this extent. But eh, as Best Friends Whenver taught us, it's okay to like a thing that's bad.

    (The most meta moral ever?)

    Honestly, most of my funks link to TV so it doesn't help too much ...oh, and Fear in our stars was okay. Nothing special, nothing awful. A weaker episode for the Season but meh. Season 4 has mostly been a welcome improvement, so i don't know what you're talking about.

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