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Laura Reviews: Lizzie McGuire

          Make no mistake about it, I don't enjoy watching Lizzie McGuire. I eventually found such an irrational fondness for Boy Meets World that I was able to look past the fact that it is, in fact, a bad show. No such luck with Lizzie McGuire. While watching it, I squirm with agony, but I'm unable to change the channel. Especially with Rory, the masochist, chanting "Leave it, leave it, leave it" over my shoulder.

Live-Action Lizzie Cartoon Lizzie           Most of you won't have heard of the Liz, so I'll fill you in. At the time I write this, it's Disney Channel's second-latest original series (directly preceding the black-stereotype-perpetuating, familial-love-overfloweth-to-the-point-of-creepiness cartoon The Proud Family, which I thankfully have been unable to bring myself to watch). Lizzie McGuire is a live-action middle-school comedy where the flow of the scene is too frequently interrupted by a crudely-drawn cartoon that resembles Lizzie only in the fact that the cartoon girl also has blond hair. The cartoon is supposedly supposed to represent Lizzie's inner feelings, and makes wish-I-was-clever comments about the show's action.

          Because it's what I do, I now bestow upon you my individual character analyses.

Lizzie: I can't stand Lizzie. I feel sure if I was compelled to stay in the same room with her, I would be searching for something hefty to break over her head within three seconds. Lizzie spends all her time complaining about her trivial problems, so much that she is blind to (a) the problem's EFFING obvious solution, or (b) other problems that are kicking her in the shins. She's vain and self-centered, and one wonders how she's managed to keep such tight friendships with the other kids in the show; then one remembers that they're just as vain as she.

          Lizzie's most prominent characteristic, besides her bitchy tendencies, is her clothes. Her outfits are elaborate as hell. Usually, stupid. I can deal with her wearing stupid clothes. What I really hate is when she actually lands upon something semi-cool to wear, and you hate yourself for wanting it. You hate yourself because you're envious of something worn by a g.d. annoying Disney channel middle-schooler. Mostly, though, you hate Lizzie for introducing it to the world's non-closet Lizzie-watching pre-teenyboppers, thereby sullying it with Lizzieness and ruining it for everyone else out there.

Miranda: Lizzie's best friend who is exactly like her, but a worse actress. Her outfits are exactly Lizzie's style but different, so each episode has twice the chance that it'll ruin an otherwise perfectly good item of clothing.

Gordo: Lizzie and Miranda's other best friend, a boy whose main trait is that he videotapes everything on a digital recorder far too expensive to entrust to a seventh-grader. Gordo is supposed to be this alternative, fuck-society, I'm-an-individual individual. Supposed to be. For someone who doesn't give a damn, it seems like every episode is about him giving a damn. Like the non-bully bully Binky of Arthur, all of the episodes centering around him express his character by having him act uncharacteristic. Everyone says, "Oh, eh, Gordo's acting un-Gordo-like!" And the viewers are like, "What's the big deal? He acts like this ALL THE FRIGGIN TIME."

Matt: The show is often comprised of two interwoven plots, one of Lizzie and her daily trials and tribulations, the other Lizzie's unspeakable little brother, Matt. The plot with Lizzie, while it drowns you in sorrow for the nation's children, is invariably much superior to the plot with Matt. Matt is, I think, supposed to be smart, tricky, mischievous, but ends up just being annoying. In this, and only this, you find yourself relating with Lizzie.

Lizzie's Parents: More of those perfect TV parents. I feel like Lizzie's parents are too young; they seem to be between thirty and thirty-five, and I could see them with a young kid like Matt, but not an almost-teenager like Lizzie. It works out OK--they'd've been about twenty when she was born--but I feel like they're the type of parents who wouldn't've have kids until they were in their late twenties. I dunno, it's just the way I feel.

Minor Characters (Stereotypes)

Kate, the middle school's stereotypical mean and popular snot, who makes you wonder why Lizzie and Miranda hate her so--she's only slightly snottier than they. Let's put aside the popular-equals-mean, mean-equals-popular mentality for now. What I really hate the way the show tries to pass Lizzie, quintessentially mean and popular, off as the nice and unpopular underdog just by putting a meaner, more popular girl in the show. Sometimes the show wants to say "Being nice and unpopular in middle school is cool", but is defeated by its own "I'm-so-cool, look-at-me" main character designed to appeal to fifth-grade girls. Usually, though, the show just wants to say "Look at these clothes! Look at Lizzie! Isn't she pretty? Doesn't she wear nice things? Look! Look at her!" It just doesn't work.

Ethan, the stereoptyical pretty and stupid crush-object for Lizzie and Miranda. Because of TV casting, he's not actually that much more handsome than Gordo, Larry, or any of the other boys in the show, and he's MONSTROUSLY stupid. Lizzie, though she hides it slightly better, must be just as stupid not to realize that his vocabularly is comprised entirely of surfer buzzwords, which as we all know means (in the TV world, at least) he is dumb as a gnarly potato.

Larry, I think he's supposed to a stereotypical digusting ugly nerd, but thanks to our old friend TV casting, he's as pretty as a picture. You don't understand why they're all dying to go out with Ethan but they'd rather die than go out with Larry.

A Word About The Age Group: I always find girls between the ages of eleven and thirteen really unnerving. Little girls are watchable--cute, innocent, etc., and grown women and teenage girls are fine, but pubescent girls freak me out. I don't like the way Lizzie and Miranda wear tight shirts to show off their creepy half-formed breasts. Is this just me? Probably, I'm the person who's freaked out by parallel lines. Especially tiny diagonal ones. Shudder!

          Lizzie McGuire is a show that makes middle school look cool and fun. If any elementary school students are reading this, let me say this: SMOKING POT IS WRONG. And middle school is not cool and fun. That's high school.


- Laura