Sunday, May 28, 2017

Andi Mack Reviewed: Dad Influence (S1E7)

Mack! That is whack! Whackadactyl yo! I mean, double-whacker with cheese!

What is it? It's totally whack yo!

Yeah, I was going to launch into a big rant about how the very first thing we hear from Bowie is an incoherent string of inane That 90's Kid stupidity least it gave me an excuse to be somewhat clever with sidelining our usual introductory info dump so I guess I should show some belated gratitude.

But we really need to talk about something, and that I'm actually finding it to be exceedingly difficult to properly review Andi Mack to the point where I feel it's practically impossible - without comparing it to Girl Meets World and the potential awkwardness contained therein. See, fundamentally these two shows are the same - they're trying to lay down very fundamental observations of tween girls growing up in the modern world. It's just that, well, Andi Mack does it very successfully with reverence and with craft and skill and Girl Meets World...did not. At best it came up with equally charming episodes, don't get me wrong, but at worst it was an absolute clusterfuck, and at times took potshots at the network and other shows on the network that weren't really warranted (or at least, it's rather poisonous fanbase did so - and believe me, as I've outlined many times before the show did a lot to actively cultivate that poisonous fanbase). In fact it really does seem Andi Mack's success lies much in taking Girl Meets World's lessons to heart - go for broke in the single-cam format, but also really trying to just start from ground zero and build a new show and a new story instead of just trying to rely on a pre-existing legacy to try to coast to success.

This episode's brightest moments are entirely around Andi and her dad and meeting for the same time - and yeah, it's very hard if not practically impossible for someone writing a script for a show to not make that show through somehow. Showing people absolutely 100% naturally is exceedingly hard - and much more often than not, gives you very boring television if not footage that's completely, utterly unusable anyway because when people view it, they aren't viewing a story they're viewing a very confusing, boring look at people doing boring things. But Andi Mack does indeed tell a story, and I feel it's very effectively communicating exactly what the writers want to show between Andi and her dad. Girl Meets World tried that...with Meets Father, Meets Popular, Meets Game Night...and did it in exceedingly awkward fashion, where at times maybe I would've preferred to just watch real, boring people do real, boring things.

Or compare Lucas to Jonah. Now, I'll give you that the Jonah thing on Andi Mack is really starting to dangerously veer into Rucas territory. But it's still better. At least it's a believable weirdness that's trying to tell a story instead of just insisting that Rucas is a thing and being really, really awkward when the writers realize they actually need to tell a story behind it instead of just having Lucas fall into Riley's lap (or other way around, if you want to be literal). 

Anyway, as for the exact advice between Cyrus and Buffy when they're trying to deal with the Jonah fallout - yeah, Cyrus is right, Jonah needs to follow his heart. You can't pull a Buffy and just try to force people to react in expected ways because people aren't uniform. I know when I broke up with my ex I wanted to rebound immediately and I floated through a bunch of awful one-and-done dates on OkCupid until I just gave up, and it's been hard to rebound since - but I'm not Jonah, and not everybody wants to rebound immediately. Some people just take it as a sign that they need a break period (like Jessie and Tony in Break-Up and Shape-Up). least Buffy and Cyrus are well-meaning, even if it backfired in spectacular fashion.

Episode Grade: A. It's getting to the point where this unbroken string of A-grades is making me question my own integrity, but I stand by it. It's another solid episode and again, it's becoming very awkward to review these because what it does well is what Girl Meets World was trying to do well and what people just automatically assumed what it was going to do well back when it was announced in 2013 (hey, including myself in all fairness). It's utilizing the single-camera format well (perhaps incorporating lessons from Stuck in the Middle? Because Mike's right, that show does feel a little on the budget side compared to Andi Mack) and it feels like a massively, desperately needed breath of fresh air on the network, down to the Mack Chats at the end which are incredibly adorable and much better than the near-clueless, awkward attempts of the GMW crew to reach out on social media.
Episode MVP: The guy who plays Bowie, uhh, what's his name? Yeah, let's go with him. 

Extra Thoughts:

 - I'm tempted to hold another contest for people who can prove they actually remember and still follow Linkara

 - And speaking of contests - yeah, of course the Guardians of the Galaxy contest is still running (hey I just posted it like less than two hours ago after all). Remember, you have to guess one very specific detail I intentionally left out of my review - like, you're almost going to have to literally read my mind here. But don't worry, because I've sprinkled clues in this review! Remember, the prize is a free Guardians of the Galaxy digital comic, the contest runs through 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time June 4 (National Hug Your Cat Day!) and if you do end up winning this code you have until 11:59PM EST June 30 to use it and must have a Marvel account and Internet access, blah blah blah blah blah.

 - Using a water-soluble marker to color a fake pineapple prop, Cyrus? Really?

 - BTW cars that run on converted grease like that really do smell like French Fries. True.


  1. The only thing i have to say is i find the Mack Chat's kind of cringey.

    Also, I'm glad they had Bowie actually be a good enough person vs the "person finds their dad and he's a jerk" thing that's been popular lately. I get why, it's just becoming predictable.

    1. It's a bit tiring honestly, given the wide interpretations of "jerk" that float around Hollywood and sitcoms especially mostly for comedic effect. It'd probably be less tiring if they gave more substance and depth to it but...that would exceed the S&P Disney Channel's trying to aim for. But Bowie's a good character, he's really growing on me right off the first episode, stupid 90s stereotype burnout speak aside.

      Also why do you find the Mack Chats cringey? I like them for a variety of reasons that are honestly just more worthwhile going into the next review, which should be up sometime today.

    2. I don't know, just the whole idea, plus the kids talking and eh, the whole thing just seems lame to me.


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