Sunday, November 1, 2015

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?

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