Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bunk'd Reviewed: The Great Escape (S2E21)

Just give me one more try and I can get all my stuff back!

What is it? Multi-cam half-hour kidcom, Disney Channel legacy killer, you know.
Where did it air? Disney Channel
Who stars in it? Peyton List who as of this episode makes her exit from the network and thus reduces the Disney Channel Peyton Count by one; Skai Jackson, Karan Brar, Kevin Quinn, Miranda May, Nina Lui, Nathan Arenas, whoever the hell plays Griff.
Why are we reviewing this? The real question you should be asking is why did Disney Channel greenlight this? (oh, did we already make that joke in our last Bunk'd review? I forgot and I'm too lazy to look it up)

So, um, yeah, this happened.

And by this I mean a brand-new premiere of a Bunk'd episode...out of order...on a Wednesday night...way late in the evening (if you're stuck with the West Coast feed, and if you don't have a DVR you're stuck watching this thing damn near midnight depending on where you are - not that it really matters because Watch Disney Channel access is near-universal and it was released this morning on there). And it's the very last episode of Bunk'd's 21-episode second season order and the way things are looking the very last episode, period, forever. In fact the very circumstances of this premiere strongly indicates a throwaway extra episode burnoff - something that I flat-out haven't seen before on Disney Channel. I mean, hell, they gave I Didn't Do It a better sendoff than this and that series had become persona non-grata at the end! 

So yeah, the very scheduling and network treatment of this "premiere" itself is a strong indicator that this series is dead and ain't coming back for Season 3, which means this is pretty much how the Suite Life/Jessie legacy ends (unofficially, I suppose; officially that legacy ended almost a month ago with We Didn't Start The Fire which we reviewed earlier). And how does that legacy end? Ehhhh...on the balance I guess it's meh-tastic. I mean, what else are you going to expect from this series anymore? I mean, there's a reason why they're unceremoniously burning off the last episode so late on a friggin' Wednesday evening and so painfully obviously out of production order, what with the camp being friggin' burned down and the campers leaving for the fall in the previous episode.

The actually pretty solid, shockingly enough. Zuri and Griff decide they have feelings for each other, Emma and Xander feel they're a bad influence on each other and try to separate them, Zuri brings up the obligatory Romeo and Juliet reference and Griff brings up the equally obligatory "I'm an uneducated dumbass and I don't know WTF Romeo and Juliet is." They just keep it simple, and while it's not exactly a neverending train of belly laughs at least for this show it ends up being a great, solid effort. At the very least, it's a lot better then when Jessie tried it with Zuri and Stuart in Where's Zuri? Sometimes, keeping it simple and avoiding making it complex works, even if it only works adequately and scarifies any chance to work superbly or even just greatly. And you know what? When you're already struggling as much as this show is maybe shooting for adequacy is better than shooting for greatness.

The not even worth mentioning beyond the fact that it's a flaming wreck of a dumpster pile and for one specific point that I'm going to bring up immediately next.

Episode Grade: Well it would've gotten a C+, maybe even this series' first and now definitively only B-, by far the highest grade the series has achieved on this blog...except that flaming wreck of a dumpster pile of a B-plot was so awful it actually drops the grade down to a D+. So, yeah, you might want to take some of those lessons to heart Pamela Eells O'Connell, assuming the network even still wants to have anything to do with you and your crew.

Again, this woman is at least partially responsible for chances are whatever 90s era multi-cam sitcom you can immediately think of off the top of your head. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Episode MVP: Miranda May because, well, she was the best actor in this. I mean, what other reason am I going to give it for and to who else would I give it? The only other option would be Peyton List only because she looks like she was specifically genetically created to be a Disney Channel Princess and at the age of, what, 19 or 20 now?, she looks hot as all hell but I promised to cut back on that.

Extra Thoughts:

 - You know speaking of which, is it just me or do they end up dressing up Peyton List more provocatively than other actresses on the network, and if I am the only one that notices, what does that say about me as a guy who should be locked up and very much kept away from women and society in general?

 - Also I believe they refer to that thing I mentioned just right above specifically as "pulling a Dan Schneider." 

 - Right immediately after the airing of this episode they aired Jessie's "Karate Kid-tastrophe" - the one with Mr. Moseby, where he mentions his being involved with The Suite Life for a total of six years. It just occurred to men then that the Jessie legacy itself has now lasted just as long, though granted still at least one year short than what they were hoping for. Also I can't believe that episode is already over two years old now, and it was a middle Season 4 episode!

 - You know, I think I've pretty much cracked the code on what a good Bunk'd episode actually is - or rather, what a bad subplot is. If it involves either Ravi, Jorge, Tiffany, Hazel or Gladys and sometimes Griff, chances are the subplot is going to be a real stinker. Unfortunately I just named the majority of the cast right there which virtually guarantees at least one of the plots of every episode is going to stink and a good chance that multiples of those characters will be involved in both plots (or all three plots, if they go an A-B-C structure) which, well, again probably explains why the very last episode premiere of this series is being buried and burned off like this.

 - I'm reminded of Zuri's love of country music, and it's one of the things I'm going to miss the most about the Jessie legacy. Not as much as Milly the Mermaid, though.

 - Oh, and Happy Birthday Brec Bassinger, former star of Nickelodeon's Bella and the Bulldogs! Which incidentally also turned out to be a two-season wonder but oh well, that's the new normal I guess.


  1. Time Warner Cable is now Spectrum doesn't have Watch Disney yet, so I only came across this because I was flipping for something to watch when MTV Classic went to commercials and thought I'd see how cute* Pey was. Imagine my surprise when I didn't recognize the episode... and then hit "info" on the remote and saw a "New" tag in the description.

    * - Hey, I promised nothing. And yes, they've had her in more revealing outfits this entire series than her "bad girl" outfit in that JESSIE episode you mention, which in turn was more risqué than anything else I can remember. Still nothing compared to Nick having Ariana Grande (whose name is suddenly very unsettling to type) in a bikini in the Victorious title credits.

    Anyway, it was... Bunk'd. The A, as you said, was fine. The entire B plot could be avoided by saying, oh, we dropped our ID, we'll go back and find it... and then walk 50 feet east or west and cross where there's no gate. But they're not supposed to be smart kids. Oh wait, two of them are. Yay character consistency!

    (Speaking of consistency, Emma suddenly added a bikini top under her shirt when they go look for Zuri and Griff. Nobody who worked on this show paid any attention to detail. Is there not an entire wardrobe department to handle this stuff? Oy.)

    And on the subject of country music, Go Nashville!

    1. Again, in regards to Nick and Victorious, it's called "Pulling a Dan Schneider"


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