Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Where Things Stand Right Now

Hey everybody! It's Mike here and I believe now is the most appropriate time to address a couple of things.

If you haven't noticed recently, I became an absolute ghost after "Girl Meets the Texas Movie" wrapped up. I had no idea that the show not being on would decrease my interest in writing about anything else. The reason for that is mostly school-related, because as a high school senior, you have to worry about a number of pressing engagements. Homework, college applications, scholarships, financial aid, Honor Society, the senior committee........it takes its toll on you at some point. You want to know why kids walk into high school looking like Michael Jackson at age 25 and wind up looking like President Obama? Everything between those walls of education becomes a major source of stress, confusion, and frustration. I'm not going to divulge my high school experience at this moment because it involves long-winded explanations and seems gratuitous to an extent so I will spare you the details. One thing I will say is that school has started giving me a short-term memory, at least when it comes to this blog and a few other things. 

I know what you're thinking. You probably know this scene. This is the scene where I tell you that I'm quitting the blog to focus more on school and my other huge personal project which I will share with you shortly.

See, that's the thing. I'm not quitting this blog. If you really want to know why my output has been absolutely nothing lately, it's because of school. But I still have more downtime than some of my classmates can afford for one reason or another so when the time comes, I want to start mapping out my blog posts and then drafting them here before I officially post them. I have heard some of the things that have been going on in my absence and it's a little disheartening. Unknown is a great guy who gave me the opportunity I have been craving for a while: To have my writing out in the world for a built in audience to check out. I don't want to give up that opportunity so easily. I might not be able to devote as much time to this blog as before, that's just not feasible right now. But I'm not going anywhere. Girl Meets World is back on Friday and we are going to get one of those episodes. You know the one I'm talking about. The one that gets heavy promotion in online circles and has that "OMG THIS IS ABSOLUTELY BANANERS CENAWINSLOL" feel to it. I'm not really expecting much from that episode. Just because Maya's dad is in it, doesn't mean this show will not drop the ball. The Texas episodes changed the game and flipped the script entirely, but from what I hear, a lot of the episodes that will be aired in the coming weeks were filmed before the Texas stuff so I don't really expect much from some of them. But still, Maya's dad. I will be reviewing that.

I also plan to make up for lost time with a review/retrospective/rant of one of my favorite Nickelodeon shows of all-time. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but this is what you should know: The chipmunk has pneumonia. ;)

So the point of all of this is to let you know where I'm at in my life right now and why I might not always be as present as Unknown, who really does not deserve any of the attacks he has been getting. These anonymous comments are ridiculous and I can see why the blog is migrating soon. It will be like starting over, but Unknown will not be starting over alone. Christian and Sean didn't become a success story overnight, and if we work hard and do exactly what they do, we'll never have any success at all.

Haha, I fooled you! Make your own path as I always say.

Alright, let's address one very important thing. This is something that should have been done a very long time ago. I just recently thought about why I haven't seized this opportunity yet, but now The Undertaker is a battered mess in the ring, and I have the Money in the Bank briefcase. I'm cashing in on the World Heavyweight Champion right NOW!

None of you guys watch wrestling, do you? Anyway, I have my own show. And by show, let me elaborate before you guys start thinking I have South Park Studios in my bedroom. In eighth grade, about three years ago, I came up with an idea for my own adult animated comedy series. I'm a huge fan of a lot of adult cartoons so this was perfect for me. I named it Thank You, Heavenly after a line in "Another Me" by Jeff Hardy's band Peroxwhy?gen. Please don't ask what the title has to do with the show itself, it doesn't. I never changed it because the title just......stuck, you know? Anyway, I came up with the main characters and the plot for the pilot episode in one period of science class. At the time, Thank You, Heavenly was meant to capture the essence of my three favorite cartoons: Family Guy (pop culture references, cutaway gags, random humor), South Park (satire/social commentary), and Arthur (educational value/wit). I look back on the first season as a learning experience. Even in the fourth season, Thank You, Heavenly is still a learning experience. However, compared to three years ago, the show is in much better shape. Back then, I thought all my episodes were genius. I look back on some episodes and I realized that the show's voice wasn't very unique or interesting. It was too much like the shows I looked up to. In trying to be like them all at once, I was restricting Thank You, Heavenly from finding its own unique voice. Am I there right now in season four? Yes, but my opinion of my own work can only go so far. After more than 70 episodes, I have to get more feedback for my series so it can improve. I want to believe that Thank You, Heavenly can be the next Simpsons or Family Guy, but without the opinions of others, I'll never get there. That's where you guys come in.

I wanted the permission to promote Thank You, Heavenly as much as I can on this blog while I have this audience and get feedback for episodes from all four seasons at this point. I simply come up with an idea for an episode, see which characters will best fit the story I'm trying to tell, arrange the story in a way that caters to that specific character, and then I start writing the script. Then I publish it on FanFiction, add some final thoughts, and there you go. Trust me, the script is not professional so I don't need to hear about the look of it. I utilize the South Park method most of the time of writing episodes days or weeks before I post them but I treat the series as seriously as I would if it were a real job. Like, I have guest stars (not actual guests, but you get the point), incorporate licensed music, describe visual expressions and other gags while dealing with the limitations of having only writing to work with and no animation background whatsoever. I can barely draw a stick figure, but I believe that the writing comes first. If your show lacks a genuine heart and soul, does it really matter how nice it looks?

Okay, I'm getting off course now and this post is already as long as it is. I just want to post links to episodes that I have already completed and see what you guys think. Your feedback will be a huge benefit to Thank You, Heavenly going forward. Tips, constructive criticism, positive feedback, character moments you enjoyed, that sort of thing. I treat Thank You, Heavenly like my wife or my baby. It has been mine for three years and mine alone. To some, it might be a silly little project, but a lot of love and hard work goes into each script hoping it can make people laugh or warm their heart a little bit. This is the first thing in my life that I can actually say that I have stuck to for this long. I was very close to giving up completely in season one, but I stuck to it and have been sticking to it throughout my entire high school life. Hopefully, I can go all the way with Thank You, Heavenly one day but until then, your support and advice is all that matters. Are you ready?

Just so you're not confused about certain things, let me give some clarity:

-There are five main characters on Thank You, Heavenly. They are all in the fourth grade and attend iCarly Elementary School in Seattle, Washington. Sparky MacDougal (10 years old) is the leader. He is cool under pressure, an everyman, mild-mannered, prone to a competitive streak, and the absolute best at solving everyday problems. His best friend is Buster Newman (9 years old). Buster is dimwitted and is sometimes unaware of certain things, but is kind-hearted and often is the most in touch with his emotions. He represents an average kid more than any other main character. Ryan Kennedy "RK" Jennings (10 years old) is my favorite character. He is a lot of things, but can shift into different personalities depending on the story. RK is a product of having watched too much television, almost to the point of being dependent on it. RK is sarcastic, blunt, eccentric, a little carefree, cheeky, and possibly unstable. However, he has a soft spot for his friends and fears losing them more than anything else in the world. His best friend is Wade Saltalamacchia (8 years old), the baby of the group. He is also the most prominent black character in the series. Wade is a more toned down version of Huey Freeman, much like how RK is a toned down version of Eric Cartman. He is very cynical and represents the straight man of the group more than anyone else. He is also an aspiring scientist, and has been known to experiment with laboratory chemicals and invent several gadgets, including a fully functional time machine. RK and Wade have an awkward friendship, but they still care about each other at the end of the day. The last main character, Jaylynn Michelle Huie (10 years old) was Sparky's old pen pal from Portland and moved to Seattle for a better life. She has Wade's cynicism, Buster's sensitivity and a few of RK's eccentricities while also being the most rational of the group after Sparky. She mostly calls things as she sees them and is very laidback, but is prone to losing her temper easily, much like Wade. 

-RK is bisexual (although this is de-emphasized after season one and hardly brought up again) while Jaylynn is lesbian. I'm not consciously trying to make the characters LGBT as they are the only two in the entire series that represent that group. With Jaylynn, it just seemed to fit her character more. For RK, it was more for shock humor if anything else, but in the back of my head, I was hoping to portray characters who were comfortable with their sexual identity.

-Thank You, Heavenly is, at its core, a deconstruction of most cartoons that feature kid characters like South Park and Arthur. The kids usually know more about the world around them than expected and are very informed on pop culture, they live by themselves with no parents, and have the tendency to display sophistication and wit beyond their age range. In other words, the kids are meant to be a more exaggerated version of the cast from Arthur. Despite this, the key is keeping their overall personalities childlike, instead of just being adults in the bodies of children. 

-Because this is an adult animated comedy starring kids, expect a lot of swearing and off-color jokes. The show specializes in lowbrow and highbrow humor. To describe it in one sentence: The son of The Simpsons and South Park, with Family Guy being the uncle.

-Thank You, Heavenly is also influenced by the following shows: Hey Arnold, American Dad, The Boondocks, the early seasons of SpongeBob SquarePants, Full House, Martha Speaks, The Parkers, Who's the Boss, Everybody Hates Chris, My Wife and Kids, Drake & Josh, etc.

That's it for now. Comment if you're interested in episode links and remember, Mike's still here. :)

Hi, it's me again. I'm just popping by real quick and I hope Mike doesn't mind if I add more here. I'm also treading lightly because I don't want Blogspot to eat everything up again (and I've backed up everything Mike wrote as a second draft just in case too).

Anyway, congratulations to Mike on getting senior year in high school together and I hope he'll be successful in mapping out his college plans. And yeah, having already gone through all that I can tell you first-hand that everything he said of the high school experience is true, but then again you already knew that. Even when they try to show how stressful it is for high school students to apply to college (Teddy in Good Luck Charlie, the gang in Suite Life on Deck, Justin to WizTech in Wizards of Waverly Place) it's still very much an idealized, rosy nostalgia. We're told kids get crippling amounts of homework but are only shown it in passing, really. The social clique warfare of high school tends to dominate because, quite frankly, the academics are boring (and kids watch these shows to get away from that stuff in the first place). And even so, unless you happen to be watching The Lifetime Channel that stuff's still played for laughs. 

On other notes, I like Mike's description of this Thank You, Heavenly thing. I've got some advice I'd like to give: first of all, don't be afraid to tap the recorder icon on your phone on selfie mode, or use one of the prepackaged free animation programs on the Internet, and just see what happens and put it on YouTube. You don't have to use one of your Thank You, Heavenly scripts (or you can, you can think of it as a rough draft), you can just write a new script from whatever idea or just start writing and see where it takes you, or just start filming right away and see where that takes you (hopefully you can make it into something coherent in post-prod). Of course the first few times are going to suck but it'll let you practice and get a feel for the whole process.

I had my own idea for a TV show too. It was more or less like Good Luck Charlie except focusing on two teen girls instead of just one and focus on more of the low-concept aspects that GLC was so good at. As it turns out Disney Channel ended up making this show anyway and called it Liv and Maddie. Of course, the two shows really have as much resemblance to each other as Chris Pratt has to Bruce Campbell, but superficially they're similar enough I doubt any network would want to have a "flood" of such similar shows anyway. 

Looking at the bigger picture though, I always liked the idea of a "big sister" show. That was another essay I was going to write for this blog and since then I've found another blog that'd like to take it, but maybe I'll repost it here. It's pretty self-explanatory - the type of show that revolves around not just a teenage girl but a "big sister" of some type. Someone who has to navigate around or take care of other family members. Liv and Maddie is that type of big sister show and so is GLC. Jessie was another good big sister show (with more or less an adopted big sister) at least during its best seasons and episodes. Girl Meets World is another example, or if its not it's close enough in all but name (Auggie doesn't factor into the show enough, really, to make it literal, plus Maya and Riley are the same age so technically there isn't a "big" sister aspect to it either). Lizzie McGuire is probably the "ur" example of what I'm talking about, or Clarissa Explains it All, etc. on Nick. Even Stevens would be the inverse (little brother), and Wizards of Waverly Place would be the reverse big sister (middle sister in this case). I Didn't Do It, Best Friends Whenever and A.N.T. Farm are not big sister shows and we can see where they ended up or are seemingly headed ratings-wise. I think the audience still cares about the big sister, but, eh, we'll see.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Why this will be the final entry on Blogspot.

Ok, guys, I've really had it now. Things need to change before I completely quit altogether.

Obviously, I'm doing this for free as a hobby more or less. As I've said in the very first entry on this blog, I do this out of inspiration for what Christian and Sean are doing for Girl Meets World, applying what they do to other shows on Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and occasionally elsewhere. Now when I started this I knew things were going to be at least a bit of a trudge uphill. When Christian started his blog, it was an actual effort. He had to put serious thought into his reviews. He was doing it for an audience that can be counted on two hands. He nearly quit at least at one point. He took a bit of a hiatus, yes, during a dearth of new GMW episodes, but also while he was seeing about how to reformat the blog, make it more entertaining for him as well as his readers, and lucked out majorly with Sean becoming his partner. That last point in particular is why I hesitated to even launch this blog without a co-author of my own. My point is, I knew coming in that this would be a fair amount of effort for real appreciative gain, and that's strictly measuring gain by readership only. Again, I don't get paid anything. This is actually costing me through time and opportunity cost (if you're unfamiliar with the concept of opportunity costs - and if you were one of the people who didn't like my Last Man Standing review, I bet you are - Google it). It takes me anywhere from half an hour to 90 minutes, a good DCOM's worth of time to put out even the initial draft of one of these reviews, let alone spreading it across days to incorporate reader feedback and allow my coauthors to have a chance.

Anyway, there are a number of recent events that have made me seriously question whether or not that time and effort and sacrificed opportunity cost is even worth it. I'll just go ahead and start with the most recent and the biggest chip on my shoulder first.

Ok, so, obviously when one does blogging one has to have a thick skin. That thick skin can only go so far when the vast majority of feedback is not only overwhelmingly negative, but actively mocking, at which point the personal value of continuing this blog is equal to that of trying to ensure the roadworthiness of a 1974 Plymouth Volare. For those of you who are not one of my crossover readers with Oppositelock and Jalopnik, the Plymouth Volare might very well be the worst car ever made. There comes a point where you're pouring so much time and effort into a product that was subpar to begin with, with badly compromised and obsolete safety features, that spews carbon directly into the air of your general breathing vicinity at a cost of 18 miles per gallon, that you have to recognize that, yes, you can spend a little here and there to keep the old girl running, but at the end it's just causing more financial and even physical harm to yourself than it would if you just gave up the ghost, unceremoniously crush the hunk of junk and run down to the local Autonation Dodge dealership with eyes set on a brand new Dart assembled in Milan and the toleration and patience for whatever bullshit numbers the financial person will throw at you in the time it takes to marathon not only the Star Wars original trilogy but get through all the Twitter feeds about fanboys either circlejerking to The Force Awakens or preparing their white hoods and dousing their crosses with lighter fluid over the fact that there's a black guy in a Stormtrooper suit in it.

It wasn't so much the negative feedback as so much as the nature of how I discovered that negative feedback in the first place. I actively welcome negative posts on this very blog, something I've incorporated into reviews themselves. It's not even the fact that this negative feedback came in the form of backhanded comments posted from a repost on IMDb without my knowledge. It's the ugly, unreadable, ungodly block of poorly formatted, this-user-clearly-doesn't-know-the-software mess that brought this negative feedback to my attention. I interpreted it as a direct assault on this blog, that this blog wasn't even worth criticizing in firsthand information, that it had to be delivered in such a sneaky, underhanded manner. I threatened the poster responsible with pulling IMDb moderators into this, and then made a complaint on the closest relevant board I can find (it sucks that IMDb doesn't have a board where you can directly talk to moderators or complain about other users, which is probably one of the reasons why, as you've discovered on the GMW board, IMDb is kind of a cesspool on the same level as /pol/ and Stormfront).

I come back to find that the only moderator action was to delete one of my threads, the thread where I posted the latest reviews of this blog, and found a big warning label on my account every time I make a post or thread. So the official position of this blog is now, fuck IMDb. We will no longer share content on that board. We will not link back to entries on IMDb, we will no longer acknowledge the IMDb community. As much of an imperceptible dent as it will make, this blog is now officially boycotting IMDb. I am sick and tired of IMDb becoming a safe-haven for trolls and negative discussion while people who actually want to talk about TV shows get punished.

So how are we going to share content now? I hate to do this to Sean and Christian, but seeing as how both the vast majority of readership of this blog crosses over with theirs, and how their readership represents the vast majority of respectable users on IMDb anyway, I don't see much of a solution other than to shamelessly pimp out my blog on theirs and hope they're ok with it. I feel pretty confident, actually, since that's what I've been doing anyway and they've been more or less welcoming so far.

A major change in how content from this blog will be shared will also be in the very nature of how this blog will be hosted from now on. As I've said, I wanted to migrate over from Blogspot to Kinja, and guess what that's exactly what's going to happen starting today. I've tried to set up my own Kinja blog but in the meantime while that's happening, I'm just going to make new blog entries straight on Oppositelock. This has two advantages: better formatting, and immediate exposure to an in-built readership of hundreds. However, the major disadvantage is that until I can have a dedicated review blog set up on Kinja, this means having Mike and Nick share their own opinions will be incredibly awkward (for the time being they will essentially have to make their own, wholly separate blog entries, or I will have to manually edit and insert their content into my own), but given the pros and cons I feel this is a small and temporary price to pay.

Oh, and that will also mean Mike and Nick will have to make Kinja accounts, fortunately that's a two-minute process with an existing Google/Gmail account. It will also mean anybody who wants to post or contribute will have to make a Kinja post as well, but I'm trying to see if I can workaround that as well.

Anyway, that should cover everything. I'll still probably post linkbacks to Oppositelock/Kinja on Blogpsot, and at least that will allow people to anonymously comment on reviews and essays [scratch that - given that all the anonymous comments I've been getting have been personal attacks not only against me but other commentators, anonymous commenting has been disabled  - only verified Google Accounts will be allowed to post - and that will be a policy that will never change now. You say dumbfuck shit and personal attacks, you get to be held accountable now!], but that will be all that future entries will be limited to. To the few handful of readers who have been reading this blog, I deeply thank you, and I sincerely wish you will continue to join us on our journey.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy, uh, Day De Los Muertos

(That's the actual Day of the Dead that that Book of Life movie is about - yes it's celebrated on November 1. Yes I'm doing this because I didn't bother to do it on actual Halloween)

I'd post a picture of my Halloween costume but, uh, I didn't take a picture of it. I dressed up as The Stig (i.e. I threw on my motorcycle helmet, my motorcycle jacket and called it a day).

Bunk'd Reviewed: "The Ones That Got Away" (#1.05)

Ugh, I wish jokes about having to be "well-rounded" to get into Ivy League would just die.

First of all, people who use those type of jokes clearly don't know what "well-rounded" actually means (well, yeah, I'm aware that they do and they're exaggerating for the sake of a joke and/or plot but it doesn't make it any less excruciatingly corny). Second of all...and yes, again, I know, it goes back to being hyperbole for the sake of a joke and/or plot, but...Ivy League schools are massively over-hyped. And it's not just in fiction, a lot of middle and high school students actually do believe that their only alternative to Ivy League is either University of Phoenix or Westwood Colleges. Like, take this girl who wants to get into the University of Texas at Austin sooo bad that she's trying to sue for admission on grounds of unfair racial practices as a result of Affirmative Action-based diversity quotas - and what is it getting her? Her school transcripts now being a part of media-accessible public record to show that she just isn't that smart, her name being dragged through the mud and her face prominently plastered all over that paragon of fair and objective journalism, Gawker Media, so people can caption her face with the word deeerrrrrp. Now, I'm not saying that she's in the right to sue (and I can make fun of Gawker Media all I want because I write for them - for free  ¬_¬) but quite the opposite - being so desperate to get into a particular college that'd you'd sue them for admission is like being so desperate to go on a date with someone that you spend all your free time camping in her bushes until the police finally come. It just ain't worth it (trust me this is something I know a little bit about). Take it from someone earning a friggin' aerospace degree with a 3.75 average (yes I'm earning an aerospace degree and I still watch Disney Channel) - other than pure street cred (which thanks to The Great Recession and basically Millennials and under being threatened as The Lost Generations doesn't mean nearly as much as it did 20 years ago) 95% of the higher-learning institutions out there are pretty much more or less interchangeable. Didn't get into the college of your dreams? That's why you applied for Safety Schools. Worried that your Safety School isn't going to be like the college of your dreams? Here's the big secret - other than the name, the mascot and the school colors your dream college and your safety school are going to be practically identical at least in terms of actual quality of education. You sit there in a massive room of 75 other students listening to some old geezer drone on for an hour and fifteen minutes. It's all the same textbooks. It's all the same people from the same industrial background who are now teaching you (or the same losers who couldn't hack it in the real world and got MFAs instead - and before you complain I'm applying to MFA school so I can become a teacher too) - really the only difference is how particular schools have managed to effectively reorganize themselves into brands with the intent of essentially scamming you out of a yacht's down payment's worth every semester. And really, if you're really concerned about getting the best education possible, or getting the best "life experience" possible, or getting the best job prospects possible - nowadays, thanks to that Great Recession thing again, you might be barking up the wrong country. Employers are actually better impressed by people who have gone completely overseas for their higher-learning, and even a middle-level school with relatively easy admission requirements abroad might be considered as much or even more impressive than a domestic Ivy League school in the eyes of potential employers, to say the least of something like Cambridge. It shows you're willing to literally travel far outside of your comfort zone and expose yourself to actual life experiences and new cultures (very important in this age of globalization) rather than just making a straight linear shot for "the best" which is much easier to do thanks to decades of effective brainwashing (that brand thing I was talking about before). And it's not just domestic employers too - in case you haven't noticed, the American economy has been tanking faster than an aquarium ever since Dubya Bush decided the most effective political and warfighting strategy was to "stay the course." If your whole incentive for a college education is just to get a damn job, then you will be doing yourself the best favor by going to an overseas college as you can better expose yourself to foreign employment as well as domestic, and frankly the way things are looking now maybe jumping ship altogether and having steady work in a different country is the best employment prospect any American can ask of his or herself right now anyway.

...wow, another one of my long infamous rants and we haven't gotten to the actual review of this episode yet, let alone the one line that sparked this whole rant off. So Camp Kikiwakka is having a fishing contest and the obligatory nerdy grades-obsessed Asian kid whose name I already forgot and don't care about wants to win because, duh, she thinks it'll look great on her Ivy League application (to which Zuri points out how mind-numbingly dumb this is, you go girl!) Mrs. Benson (I forgot her name too so I'm just going to refer to a far superior show from now on) says that whoever wins is exempt from chores for a week or whatever, to which Ravi actively boos and exclaims how much he loves chores, all the while risking having his head be stuck in a toilet all summer (I guess he's forgotten there's no Jessie or Luke anymore to rescue him from this kind of scenario, oops). Because it's a partner's fishing competition, Zuri teams up with Asian Girl out of pity and to teach her how to have fun (we have our B-plot!), Lou teams up with Ravi (Lou doesn't really seem to care about winning, she's just more into the actual fishing) and - oh, oh, here it comes, you know it's coming, you can see it already - Emma teams up with Xander. And here we have the A-Plot. Yup, it's a shipping episode. At least hopefully Hazel won't be involved.

Mrs. Benson wakes up the camp's chef, who's basically Expy Bertram (seriously, even his voice sounds like Kevin's) and you know what I'm thinking? Gee, you know who would've been a great addition to Camp Kikiwakka as, say, an adult camp counselor or some other role? Bertram Winkle. Hey, remember back in All The Knight Moves when Bertram said he was a camp counselor? Yeah, I wish the writers remember that too. Just because Debby decided that she needed to be all pissed off and take out her rage on the network and show for some reason doesn't mean she had to take Kevin with her. 

The episode is split into A-B-C plot structure to follow the three different teams and oh God Ravi and Lou are going Catfish noodling. Seriously, Old Nanny Pammy and crew, please quit taking all of your plot inspiration from other basic cable programming. 

Ravi randomly pulling out a samosa from his fishing overalls is the funniest part of the episode so far, just because of how damn random it is. 

Remember how boy-crazy Jessie got somewhere towards...I don't even know anymore - and she's basically hit on whoever happened to be nearby? Yeah Emma's like that now except replace "whoever happened to be nearby" with "stalking Xander" (granted, Jessie had her stalker moments too - probably where Emma picked it up from). I have to admit though, being squeamish and freaked out about the worm bait is the cutest thing in the episode - probably the whole damn series - so far and is right up there with Random Samosa. 

And for all of Emma's stalking, it's very clear she thinks Xander is a bore. Remember, how physically attractive someone is is the only criterion necessary for a healthy romantic relationship!

...and as soon as I say that, Emma suddenly realizes that Xander is really hot but also a bore and Xander realizes that Emma is a really hot stalker. Ok, so I obviously need to give this show a lot more credit. 

Emma goes to Mrs. Benson/Gladys (oh so her name is Gladys, surely I'll forget that by next episode anyway) and Gladys gives her advice that I'm not sure is really good or really horrible. And then she sneaks off to sip from a canteen behind the woods which has to be officially the most awesome scene in Disney Channel history. Naturally this is also how she stumbles on Zuri and Asian Girl trying to cheat their way to fishing victory. Fortunately for them Gladys is too..."preoccupied" to notice.

Now it's becoming clear that the Jessie/Bunk'd writers must be having some serious Girl Meets World envy because they're already pulling a Meets First Kiss/Meets the New World on us. Emma really wants to date Xander, but Xander just wants to be friends, and misinterprets Emma as just wanting the same thing, and Emma's too shy, shocked and embarrassed to correct him. So, yup, we're already on that path and it's just the fifth episode of the entire series. All the awkwardness and bad writing of Rucas can now be experienced across two shows on the same night! Except that at least Male Peyton has had enough episodes under his belt to evolve as an actor, meanwhile what's his face as Xander/Faux Lucas is still in that early phase where he's trying to broaden his range beyond just really good-looking cardboard.

...and then the episode just peters out with Zuri and Asian Girl being caught cheating because they're too dumb to actually check over the fish they stole from the kitchen. Cue end credits gag.

Episode Grade: Uh, C+ I guess? It had its moments. I think that's mostly a credit to the actors themselves than the actual script.
Episode MVP: Peyton Roi List (that's what she insists to be called now because there's another Peyton List like twice her age) may be closer to being Debby than Dove on the acting scale but she's shaping up to be a decent actress too. Her scenes being freaked out over the worms and trying to "rescue" them was, well, totes adorbs! Unfortunately she's going to have to share Episode MVP in a three-way tie, along with aforementioned worms and Random Samosa. 

Alright, so what do Mike and Nick think of this episode?

Why we're not reviewing Ducktales (until January) and we have a new contest!

So first off, yeah, we're not reviewing Ducktales. Until January. There's a very specific reason why. It's because Disney Chan...