High School Musical: 10th Anniversary Rewatch

On January 20th 2006, High School Musical was released to the delight of millions of tweens and also some 19-year olds (us, at the time). It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years, but we’re all in this together. A whole decade has passed since back when there was me and you, watching a musical Disney Channel Original Movie that we were far too old for. I didn’t see HSM until several months after it came out because I was studying abroad that semester, but when I came home and spent the summer working with elementary school kids who wouldn’t stop talking about it, I realized that Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and the gang were just what I’ve been looking for. (By the way: those elementary school kids I was old enough to be in charge of must be in their late teens to early 20s now; yikes; ouch).

This post is not the start of something new. Rather than breaking free from our typical format, we have chosen to stick to the status quo. Here’s a live blog of my tenth-anniversary rewatch of High School Musical, so queue it up on Netflix and getch’a head in the game, because we’re about to bop to the top.

1:00 Character establishment: Gabriella is a goody-goody because her mother has to draw her away from her book to attend a Teen Party, which is one of those alcohol-free, drug-free highly-supervised youth events that youths don’t really go to.

WHOLESOME AF.

Troy is playing basketball and has proto-Bieber hair. This is all you need to know about either of them for the rest of the movie.

Also, it’s New Year’s Eve. They’re at a winter version of the resort from Dirty Dancing.

02:35 Am I am old lady who misses her glory days of 2006, or do Troy and Gabriella’s outfits look (dated but) cute? Troy’s panicked face as he sings karaoke looks like when that girl (Bethany Byrd?) starts singing along to Jingle Bell Rock after the music cuts out in Mean Girls.

07:30 Troy and Gabs exchange numbers on phones the size of Pop Tarts.

10:27 Do kids even still get in trouble for having cell phones in class? When we were in high school they were strictly verboten, and when someone’s would go off in class everyone would start coughing and shuffling stuff loudly so they could turn it off, which in retrospect was a really touching show of solidarity.

By the way, Gabriella transferred. To TROY’S SCHOOL IN ALBUQUERQUE.

I have thought that 2 or 3 different extras were Kristen Bell but it’s just that everyone in 2006 looked like Veronica Mars.

10:50 You can tell the drama teacher’s a drama teacher because she’s wearing a flowy printed top and chunky jewelry.

 

12:30 Troy Bolton’s Hair, 2006 = Early Louis Tomlinson Hair + Early Liam Payne Hair, 2010. That ‘do had staying power, for better or worse.

Little Babies XOXOXO

 

14:42 Get’cha Head In The Game: I love basketball when there’s pretty, overly-groomed young men singing pop music to me during it.

I forgot that it was styled “get’cha” until I looked it up.

18:15 Sharpay’s outfits are like a teenaged Mindy Lahiri, had she been a teen in ’06.

 

tmp

19:13 I used to think flared jeans were so flattering, but based on the East High extras, they were NOT.

20:20 So much hair gel on this b-ball team.

23:31 Did you all know Monique Coleman (Taylor) was 25 when this came out?

25:00 Drink whenever Ms. Darbus says “musicale”

27:50 Do we ever get an explanation why that one girl auditioning has clusters of fake freckles painted onto her cheeks? Frustrated Annie reject?

Most of my goodwill toward 2006 fashion is gone now. SO many awkward-length skirts cutting people off at the wrong spot.

30:00 Oh, the awful pop-punk outfit on the girl doing interpretive dance during the audition.

32:00 I can’t remember the last time I saw HSM, but it must have been ages because I forgot about Ryan Evans , beacon of light, best thing in this movie, he of the lime-green bedazzled newsboy cap, teen version of Derek from Full House, most plausible theatre kid in all of East High.

I SHIP IT.

37:00 OK but did Troy start ALL of his songs making a face like Bethany from Mean Girls?

Kelsi is very Early Ellen Page meets season 1 Rory Gilmore.

39:00 Now that I’m a sophisticated 29-year-old adult instead of a scrappy, wide-eyed 19-year old, it’s all about the Ryan-Sharpay friendship. Troy & Gabriella are kid stuff.

Do you think there was a whole room in wardrobe just for all these damn newsboy caps?

“They’re going to do it!” I said, out loud, to myself, as a grown woman, in the house that I bought, because they’re about to sing Stick To The Status Quo.

Wasn’t there an interstitial or something going behind the scenes of Stick To The Status Quo on Disney Channel back then? Or a pop up video kind of thing? Maybe it was of the whole movie?

The “skater” clique looks especially mid-2000s.

Stick To The Status Quo is a musical version of the show Made that aired on MTV during this era.

48:00 Troy tells Gabriella that his parents’ friends are always saying “your son’s the basketball guy. You must be so proud,” which seems like a weird thing to say, but what do I know?

39:00 I don’t remember doing things outside of your clique being such a big deal in high school. We’d get annoyed if a non-theatre kid randomly auditioned and landed a good role, but that was just because we felt like they hadn’t ~earned it or whatever.

54:00 It’s gotten to where when I look at Troy Bolton (OK, Baby Zac Efron) ALL I can see is Baby One Direction.

1:00:00 Chad is guilt-tripping Troy worse than an Irish-Catholic mother (or a Jewish mother, both are great at guilt). I assume Chad-Troy ships are a thing on parts of the internet?

1:03 Honestly, Gab, there never really WAS a you and Troy, was there?

1:10 Obviously not all houses in New Mexico are made of adobe with Spanish tile roofs or whatever, but Gabriella’s house looks super northeast-y.

1:11 It’s kind of like every time he begins singing, Troy THOUGHT he was going to be talking instead but it came out as song.

1:13 Hat watch: Now Prince Ryan has a flat cap and Kelsi has a bucket hat and Sharpay has a gilded tam o’shanter. This was the beginning of the era of Disney programming being all wacky patterns and colors in the wardrobe and set design. Even in the Lizzie McGuire/Even Stevens age, things were a little more toned-down.

All of these shows aired when I was well past childhood, yes.

Definitely forgot Ryan and Sharpay were siblings.

1:18 Adults Against Troy And Troy’s Dad’s Weird Over-Enmeshed Relationship. Meeting tonight and every night on Netflix.

1:25 Another thing I forgot: this would more accurately be called High School Musical Auditions And Scheduling Conflicts.

1:26 Jeez Louise. Hat watch: Kelsi has a bowler hat now. If this movie went on much longer they’d have her in one of those Dr. Seuss hats or a beanie with a propeller.

If you were maybe the kind of person who felt they were too old for High School Musical in 2006, I can’t overstate what a game-changer it was for the Disney Channel. You can stop laughing, I’ll wait. The mid-2000s Disney Industrial Complex was HUGE and when you look at the people who came out of it – Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, but also Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, the JONAS FREAKING BROTHERS – you realize they had some real geniuses working in development. The turnaround definitely started in the early 2000s with Hilary Duff, Ravyn-Symone and co. and just kept shooting upwards. After the early 90s Mickey Mouse Club era, it was pretty blah for a long stretch. Yes, I just sang the praises of mid-2000s Disney and I could keep going.

1:30 I was never that into Breaking Free though? But it was probably the biggest hit from HSM.

1:32 Love when musicals end with a dance jam, like the pep rally/ basketball game-turned singalong, We’re All In This Together.

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#FBF: Stuck in the Suburbs

Last month, I revisited The Color of Friendship, a groundbreaking, Emmy award-winning Disney Channel Original Movie about racism both during Apartheid in South Africa and here in the U.S.

And this is something that couldn’t be more different.

Stuck_in_the_Suburbs

Stuck in the Suburbs is a DCom that came out in July 2004, so right after we graduated high school. I would say that it’s because I was a “college kid” when this was released and why I didn’t watch it. But that doesn’t explain why I was into all of the High School Musicals and Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place, etc. The point is is that I never saw this. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I found out this even existed, because the one and only SNL great Taran Killam apparently plays a pop star in it? I’m not really sure, but I’m about to find out. Here are some of the most important things I missed out on in 2004 that I am happy to share with all of you 11 years later.

  • Taran Killam is the type of celebrity who is talented and cute but also is funny above all other things that the best job he can be is a comedian. Kinda like how Jimmy Fallon is like a “heartthrob” of SNL, Taran falls under the same category. What I’m saying is that Taran’s role as teen idol Jordan Cahill is completely believable but you know that he’s better than playing a pop star on the Disney Channel.

STARBURST ON THE COVER OF A TEEN BEAT-LIKE MAG!

  • Let’s just say I’m watching this not on a DVD, and I’m 97% sure someone uploaded it off their VHS tape.
  • Danielle Panabaker is in this. Still don’t know the which name belongs to her and her sister.
  • You know you’re old when you relate more to the suburban mom driving the mini-van than the four tween girls she’s driving home from soccer. Although I relate to them rushing home to sit in front of the TV to watch a TRL-esque  show with their favorite pop star Jordan.

Jordan is really singing his heart out, you guys.

 

  • Oh god pop music wasn’t THIS bad back then, guys. I promise.

  • BEYONCE WAS MENTIONED SHE IS STILL RELAVANT. REMEMBER THESE ARE THE DESTINY’S CHILD DAYS.
  • The girls find out Jordan’s coming to town and there’s a screen shot of both four-way calling on land lines AND 10 million IMs trying to get Brittany’s attention. Ah, nostalgia.

*puts up away message. is actually still sitting in front of computer*

 

  • Brittany and her friends all have their lockers lined with pictures of Jordan, and say, “Good morning Jordan!” to it before blowing him a kiss. Ugh.
  • Enter Brenda Song, who looks EXACTLY the same

Drinking that Bianca Lawson potion.

  • Brittany thinks Brenda’s character Natasha (Kwon-Schwartz, because, diversity) is so cool because she used to live in Europe, so Brittany in turn attempts to be cool to be her friend, and subsequently takes down all her Jordan paraphernalia. She obviously can’t hide it.
  • This is especially troubling when Brittany and Natasha go watch Jordan film a music video, mostly to make fun of all the other girls. Meanwhile, Jordan thinks his director’s suggestion of looking at his reflection in a puddle of water then splashing it away is extremely *shallow* and not the kind of artist he wants to be. Uh oh – someone’s gonna crack.
  • Plot Point: After the music video, Brittany bumps into one of Jordan’s entourage, and all her stuff falls on the ground, and his assistant Eddie also falls to th eground with his belongings going everywhere, and he accidentally takes Britt’s pink Nokia cell phone instead of Jordan’s high tech palm pilot that has access to TV and internet.
  • They each go a little while without recognizing that they have each other’s phones. Unrelatedly, Brittany is a songwriter. Good to know for later.

She’s channelling Mandy Moore from the Candy vid

 

  • Side Note: Jesse McCartney’s Good Life started playing and I’m ashamed/not ashamed that I could identify it.
  • Brittany refuses to give Eddie Jordan’s cell phone back. Like in reality tho, this adult is negotiating with a teenager. Grow some balls and get the damn phone back. Madonna has already called and Britt and Natasha already messed it up by answering then screaming into the phone.
  • Britt and Natasha also decide to have some fun with it by helping Jordan become more famous, I guess? So they saw he had a hair appointment thanks to his phone calendar, and Natasha told the hairdresser to cut off his famous long locks, bow in front of him, and serve him only raisins (he hates raisins). Luckily, he ended up liking the hair.

    nice highlights

  • Oh and Britt’s mom is trying to save some old dilapidated house, which her mom calls the “only thing making their suburb unique”. Earlier, she went to the wrong house because everything looks the same in the suburbs. It’s like an ” an island of hope in a sea of sameness.”
  • So now this little teen is basically extorting Eddie and making him convince Jordan to play at her mom’s rally in order to get his phone back. Like how much time has passed since she’s had his phone – she’s intercepting calls from Jordan’s girlfriend!

Also, remember when trucker hats were in?

  • Anddddd they broke up.
  • So, turns out, Natasha had been lying about her living in Europe and her parents’ being divorce. Her dad actually does sales and was in Buffalo, and her folks aren’t even separated. Britt confronts her about it and they get in a fight, and what better way to show that by a montage of their like 4-day friendship.
  • I guess Jordan and Brittany are friends slash I stopped paying attention. I think he left to get away and be anonymous then ended up calling Brittany and now they’re phone friends??Screenshot 2015-03-21 23.24.55
  • Jordan’s director is chasing after him to finish the video the way they want to do it. Jordan and Britt (and third-wheel Natasha) are meeting to swap phones, and they end up in one of those huge industrial underground pipes, because, of course. In the pipe, Britt sneakily releases Jordan’s own version of the song he wanted to release – against his record label’s wishes.Screenshot 2015-03-21 23.31.48
  • Jordan agrees to sing for Britt’s mom’s fundraiser, mainly because he lived in a suburb just like the one Britt lives in, and HUMANITY! When he addresses the crowd, Jordan says, “It’s not what’s out there. It’s what’s in here,” pointing to his heart.AND OH LAWD another montage of Britt and Natasha’s friendship. Like, really, you need it that bad?
  • Taran’s singing (is it really him singing, tho?) is like him singing in a sketch in SNL, mainly because he keeps looking directly in the camera and making ridiculous faces and he’s not playing the guitar at all, like he doesn’t move his fingers for the entire scene {you should probs view the whole scene here}.
Screenshot 2015-03-21 23.40.07

He’s actually mentioned this exact scene during an interview with Jimmy Fallon before.

  • Ok, so now assistant Eddie is a pop star who took Jordan’s song and music video set???? And the girls are in the video? I’m so confused but I don’t even care. Also, I’m even more confused because the end of the movie went straight to a random British cartoon with a kid who said ‘Brilliant!’ and it’s obvious this was on the VHS before Stuck in the Suburbs.

British kid on a bike that powers the attached blender. Idk.

 

#TBT: 50 Shades of The Color of Friendship

On this #ThrowbackThursday, we’re bringing you a movie that made its debut 15 years ago last month. The Color of Friendship was a Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM for short, obvs), when the first life of DCOMs were at its peak, years before High School Musical would reclaim the lives of tweens everywhere on Friday nights. In what I’m sure was a calculated move, this film about race aired during Black History Month, and re-aired again a few weeks ago, albeit at like 1am, but still. I remember watching parts of this in my younger years, but upon my rewatch this time around, it was quite a different experience, knowing what I know now (aka adulthood), and aware that this movie still has impact today, even 15 years later.

Basic Plot:

Piper lives in Washington D.C., where her father is a Congressman and outspoken opponent of the South African apartheid system and the oppression of black South Africans. Piper’s family decides to host an African exchange student for the semester, whom they assume will be black, but are shocked to find Mahree, who assumed her host family would be white, will be staying with them. She is a white South African whose father is a South African policeman and they live comfortably and greatly benefit from apartheid. Piper and Mahree get off to a rocky start but soon learn a lot from each other about their different worlds along the way.

I had a lot of thoughts throughout the movie, and I will attempt to make them cohesive with a ‘laterblog’ of sorts in the 50 SHADES (get it???) of The Color of Friendship.

1) I started DVRing it 10 minutes in and I’m already lost.

2) This woman, who looks really familiar as an actress, is a maid in South Africa (I’m assuming). Will go through the files in my brain before looking on IMDb to see who she is.

3) The maid is going through a basket and finds an article about a California congressman leading the charge against apartheid in South Africa.

4) I can’t figure it out, so I look it up and her name is Melanie Nicholls-King. She was in a lot of your favorite kids shows but also she was in The Wire and was AMELIA THE MOM IN ORPHAN BLACK.

5)  Based on the clothing and cars, I’m assuming the year is 1985.

6) Nope. I’m a dumbass. 1977. Apartheid. Yup.

7) Piper and her mom are going to the airport to meet Mahree and assume this girl dressed up in African regalia is the exchange student they’ve been waiting for, but she passes right by them. Piper and mom confused.

8) They go to ask an airline worker if Mahree got on her flight, she overhears and they face each other for the first time:

10) Second Mean Girls ref, whatever:

11)  Mahree thinks Piper and her mom are just the hired help to bring her to the Cognressman and his family. She actually tells them to get her suitcases. Uh oh.

12) Mahree walks into a room with Congressman Dellums and his fellow all black constituents and she still doesn’t realize he might not be white?

13) “This is a joke, right?” – Mahree, about to get the side eye from every single person in the room.

14) “I never knew silence could be so loud.” Piper’s mom, spittin the truth.

15) This movie is so not in the usual vain of other DCOMs, like Johnny Tsunami or Zenon or Twitches Too. The Color of Friendship is actually about something of substance, focusing on the topic of racism that kids who watch Disney Channel probably aren’t completely aware of or understand. It’s admirable and Disney (and other comparable networks) should continue to make these kind of films in 2015 and beyond.

16) Speaking of its groundbreaking themes, The Color of Friendship won an Emmy Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, and NAACP Image Award, and the Humanitas Prize in 2000/2001.

17) By the by, Piper has two younger twin brothers that provide comedic relief

18) I feel like everything in this movie could be like *borderline* racist based on the comments/dialogue and traditional clothing, but I must say they did a good job of toeing the line.

19) Case in point: “I thought we ordered a real African.” – One of the twins

20) Like an normal American family, the Dellums have cereal for breakfast, and Mahree is all, I want eggs and toast and milk and a lock of Rapunzel’s hair.

21) “You do drink chocolate, don’t you? Or maybe you only like vanilla?” – One of the twins again.

22) Mom Roscoe takes Maree through the projects of DC and it litrally looks like The Wire

cof_wire

23) A guy comes up and cleans their car windshield for them, and Mahree asks why the guy doesn’t have an ID pass as a window washer, because that’s a thing that black folks had to do in SA and I maybe, embarrassingly, didn’t realize that was a thing? You can learn from DCOMs even in your late 20s, everyone.

24) But also, I feel like washing a windshield should probably take longer than a red light.

25) Oh they are straight up saying the n-word in this movie.

26) Yeah, this scene gets heated.

27) Especially when Piper gets Bantu (Black) mixed up with Kaffir (N-word) and her dad goes nuts, goes apeshit. He’s all, ‘I’m going to call the embassy and have Mahree taken away’, which legitimately scares me.

28) Luckily Mahree doesn’t hear any of this, because she’s doesn’t pick up on what’s going on around her very easily.

29) Mahree can’t sleep, so she naturally goes for a walk around the house and finds a copy of Roots (the book) on their coffee table.

30) Congressman Dellums finds her and briefs her on the book, and she doesn’t know about slavery, because they don’t teach kids about it in South Africa, because of course.

31) “I don’t think youre a bad person, Mahree. I just think you’ve been taught some bad things.” Congressman Dellums. HI. THIS. THIS QUOTE IS VERY IMPORTANT AND MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT LINE OF THE MOVIE.

32) BTW Piper and Mahree are like BFF now.

33) Their bond has been sealed as evidenced by this fun montage of them shopping for questionable 80s clothing to the soundtrack of a 70s jam. Seriously, I feel like there should be more bellbottoms and shit?!?

34) “What’s the fun of living in Africa if you can’t be chased by a lion?” I mean it’s a legit question, tho.

35) Another fact about SA during apartheid: books and movies banned by the government to “protect” the white citizens.

36) Despite the fact I still believe this looks like it was set in 1985, the 70s soundtrack is on point with Earth, Wind and Fire in the background.

37) When word gets out that Steve Biko (real person), a black member of the South African liberation movement fighting against apartheid) is killed by South African police, SA embassy diplomats go to the Dellums’ house to take Mahree back to the embassy and send her back home.

38) Important remind that Mahree’s dad is a SA police officer who was super happy to find out Biko was captured at the beginning of the film.

39) Also, Mahree was taken away without the permission of either mom or dad Dellums.

40) Congressman Dellums goes all up in the SA embassy and just as Mahree is about to book her plane ticket home, he shows up and assures her that everything is fine and he’ll make sure she doesn’t have to go back home against her will.

41) Because Dellums is the man, he threatens to tell the press that the embassy kidnapped Mahree, and they’re all ugh fine and release her, but Mahree doesn’t really understand WTF just happened.

42) Meanwhile, Piper realizes that Mahree still isn’t understand just how unjust the apartheid system is and prejudice, etc., and they get in a fight.

43) Mom and Dad Dellums come to the rescue again and help Mahree and Piper reconcile, and Mahree finally understands what the liberation fighters in SA are all about.

44)  The Dellums have a sad goodbye with Mahree as she prepares to go back home frreal, and it includes a party where they all wear traditional African outfits.

45) Mahree returns home and immediately embraces her housekeeper maid and shows her the freedom flag sown inside her coat showing her she’s on the same side as her.

46) Apparently I missed the part where maid Flora told a story about a weaver bird that does some kind of communal nest-building and she compares it to the idea of racial harmony. Congressman Dellums tells the story at said African party and I’m strangely emosh about it?

47) THIS IS A TRUE STORY??

48) AND RON DELLUMS IRL SON HAD A SMALL PART IN THE MOVIE

49) ALSO THE GIRL WHO PLAYED MAHREE IS AMERICAN AND WAS ON TRUE BLOOD

50) AND THE GIRL WHO PLAYED PIPER IS CANADIAN AND STARTED AN ACTING STUDIO IN TORONTO.

 

 

Reasons I Failed To Successfully Live Blog “Twitches”

It’s October, and around here, October means live blogging low-budget children’s Halloween movies. Or, usually it does. For the following reasons, I sat down to live blog Twitches, a DCOM (that’s a Disney Channel Original Movie for you adult-acting grownups out there) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry as teenaged twin witches, but just could not finish the job:

1. I Didn’t Know There Would Be Tia And Tamera

Look, I’m not the best at vetting crappy tween movies before I watch them. And by “not the best,” I mean the actual worst. As in, when we went to From Justin To Kelly circa 2003, I didn’t realize that it would be a full musical.

idiot.

It’s been a decade, but I still can’t believe that that was a theatrical release. It wouldn’t even have made a good TV movie. It seems like something the counselors would write for the show at the end of summer camp, but at like a decidedly non-performing-arts-y summer camp.

Anyway, I didn’t know that the Mowry twins would be in this, and I spent the first 10 minutes or so trying to see if I could decide which was which. Disney gave one straight hair and one curly hair, which was nice, and their genetic code gave one a mole and one no mole, which is even nicer, but still.

I Googled it later, by the way. Tamera. Tamera has the mole. Tamera is also the reason that I spent my entire childhood mispronouncing the name “Tamara.”

2. Then, I got ticked because they couldn’t even find a new way for Tia and Tamera to meet each other

Please, don’t think I’m the kind of person who hates Tia and Tamera Mowry. I did watch Sister, Sister. I’m not a monster.  And I clearly remember the two girls meeting while trying on clothes in a department store. And it happened again here! Come on, Disney. Give the gals something else to work with. Even Lindsay Lohan got to meet her twin at summer camp. Heck, I met my long-lost lookalike cousin at a family reunion. There’s more than one way to find out you have a double out there. Orphan Black has found like 10 ways. Lazy.

If you didn’t have that hat, you were nothing.

3. The Outfits Were Too… Too

I didn’t see this movie when it first came out. It’s not that I was watching highbrow television in 2005. I hadn’t even grown out of children’s entertainment about twins:  I remember watching an old Mary Kate And Ashley dance party VHS while pregaming to go out around that time.  I just missed this one. While it’s tempting to feel like 2005 was mere moments ago, it was almost a decade in the past and we don’t dress like this anymore:

Although, did anyone dress like that, ever?

The mid-2000s fashions were too much for me. But the Disney Channel had its own sparkly, sequiny velour-ful take on 2005 style that is frankly an assault on both the eyeballs and good taste.

4. Everyone In This Movie  Is Too Accepting Of Magic, Secret Twins, Etc.

It’s a children’s Halloween movie, and I can suspend disbelief. But would it be too much to have the characters be a little shocked to find that they’re secret twins with special powers? Harry Potter was like “WTF is this owl about” and even that girl from Halloweentown was a little confused. I’m just asking for 2 minutes of incredulity.

APPROPRIATE REACTION —>

5. What Sort Of 21st Birthday Is That??

I guess finding your secret twin could derail your plans, but whose 21st birthday was that tame? I can’t remember mine all the way but I’m sure it was more fun than that. In all fairness they did talk about a party that the rich Mowry was going to have (Tiamera? Tameria?) but I quit by that point.

6. Wait. Who Are Those Adults?

While I was taking notes on the outfits, this guy Karsh starts showing up. He’s magic and looks like the human version of a fancy dog. And he brought his bestie Ileana, a woman with flipped-out hair who dresses like Tara from Buffy. They’re boring.

7. Sudafed Sleep

Yesterday I took Sudafed for some sinus stuff, and I was awake every half hour that night. I was at least interested in what my sleep graph would look like on my Fitbit… but my sleep was so restless that I had ripped it from my person and flung it onto a faraway throw pillow at some point in the night.

So by the time Twitches aired, my Sudafed-speed-meth energy had worn out and I was just a tired lady with congested nasal passages.

8. Frankly, I Just Didn’t Get That Into It

After 45 minutes or so, I completely gave up. It didn’t have the 90s nostalgia value, or the all-star cast, of Hocus Pocus. It didn’t have the low-budget childish silliness of Halloweentown. It was starring grown adults, which seems a bit weird for a Disney movie.

I really did sort-of try to live blog Twitches. But you know what they say about trying: it’s the number one cause of failure.

Live Blog: Halloweentown

Welcome to our second Halloween Throwback Live Blog (the first was Hocus Pocus). Live blogging Halloweentown was a no-brainer: we love the 90s, we love live blogging terrible tv movies, and we love Disney Channel Original Movies (that’s DCOMs to all of y’all). Plus, Halloweentown is airing on the Disney Channel tonight! Read this to do your prep work, or follow along during the broadcast. I promise you would have predicted all of the spoilers anyway. Without further ado, your companion to Halloweentown:

– I’m already thinking this is going to be better than I remember, because one of the first things to show up on the credits is “Music by Mark Mothersbaugh”. You may remember that he did the spot-on music for Rugrats. Also, a little project called Devo.

– Fun fact: the main character, a Winnie Cooper-ish 13-year-old, is named Marnie. The timeline just about adds up for her to be the same age as the character in Girls today. So, if you get bored during this, just imagine the teen witch (SPOILER!) growing up to be Marnie Michaels.

Danica McKellar was presumably busy doing ‘oh God anything but this.’

– This flick features one of my favorite 90s stock characters, the dweeby, infuriating younger brother a la Ferguson Darling.

– Well, I spent the whole first 5 minutes wondering why Winnie’s Marnie’s wearing a Halloween costume when the whole plot is that her mom won’t let the kids go Trick-Or-Treating. Then, I realize that this is probably just an outfit in 1998.

– Marnie and her mom, Gwen, argue about trick-or-treating. Bam. Say what you will about DCOMs, we are five minutes in and the movie has already passed Bechdel test.

– Annoying younger brother (Ferguson, I’m calling him) says that talking about their father – who the kids don’t know – always bums their mom out. Why are so many childrens’ movies predicated on the idea that mama used to get around? Or maybe he’s dead.

– The kids’ grandma, Aggie, shows up and is a total witch.

– Aggie, by the way? Debbie Freakin’ Reynolds. Well, they can’t all be Singin In The Rain. If we learned anything from Hocus Pocus, it’s that children’s Halloween films are where beloved elder actresses go when they just don’t care anymore.

– Also, Gwen is Judith Hoag, so hell, they can’t even all be Nashville.

– After what seems like minutes (but, like, a lot of minutes), Tandy Gwen finally lets Aggie tell the kids a story. See, although a lot of movies have the trope where a parent is super strict but it’s for a very good reason the kids can’t know about, I still think Gwen kind of sucks.

– Aggie brings a picture book with crude illustrations of witches and goblins. Marnie loves it because it’s “all the stuff [she’s] into.” Things Marnie’s Into: (1) Drawings that look like they were made on Microsoft Paint, I guess.

I’m just going to go ahead and say that the entire budget went to Debbie Reynolds.

– Did every girl in the 90s have a white wicker bed, or was that just on tv?

– Aggie – wearing a diaphanous blouse that makes her look like Stevie Nicks as played by Debbie Reynolds – argues with Gwen that Marnie’s witch education should be done by now (Bechdel!). So, this is basically a way-less cool version of Harry Potter. Forget an owl on your 11th birthday, in Halloweentown-verse, you find out you’re a witch when your grandma visits.

– Marnie is surprisingly chill for a child who just discovered that she and her relatives are all supernatural beings. Meanwhile, I found out I’m part English last year and I’m still trying to get my head around it.

– Marnie and Ferg-wad sneak onto grandma’s super secret witch bus – which is just a school bus rocking back and forth in front of a green screen. Well, it’s no Knight Bus, that’s for certain. It’s like this whole thing was written by J.K. Rowling’s less-imaginative cousin.

– You don’t have to do a Halloweentown drinking game, but if you are, you should chug every time Ferguson Darling refers to himself as “the man of the house,” because he does it kind of a lot.

– It appears that everyone in Halloweentown is in costume, so who knows, maybe Aggie is going as Stevie Nicks this year.

– Fergie and Marnie’s sister, Sophie, followed them there. Oh yeah. Now’s a good time to mention that there’s a little sister. There was really no reason to talk about her before. She’s a generic brunette child with bangs.

– The kiddos run into a warlock who tells them that he “knew their mother a long time ago.” Knew biblically? Is he the baby daddy? Why is there so much Maury Povich and so little magic?

– Obligatory Disney meta-reference, re: skeleton chauffer: “He’s probably animatronic; Disney Land’s full of stuff like that.” But honestly? I’ve seen better spooky special effects in the part of the Haunted Mansion ride when the ghost appears next to you in the car.

– Revelation: the people in Halloweentown aren’t in costume, they’re actually supposed to be whatever it is that they’re dressed as. It’s bad, though. The Frankenstein, for instance, looks like a regular guy in a $7.99 latex Frankenstein mask from Party City.

– Marnie’s ready to begin witch training. Her Grandma needs another Cromwell lady to fight some kind of villain, who I already know is going to be way less cool than Voldemort — and I mean less cool than any incarnation of Voldemort, including under-the-turban Voldemort and Tom Riddle Voldemort.

– Luke, the Halloweentown “bad boy,” looks like a tough 13-year-old from the 50s. He has the face of Eddie Haskell, a hairdo that looks like a duck’s ass, and a sassy cropped vest.

– I believe that in Harry Potter parlance, we just learned that Marnie is a mudblood. In English parlance, she’s wearing a big freaking scrunchie.

– The mayor and Gwen reunite and I totally called it: they used to bone.

Gwen: You used to let the magic do the talking.

Mayor: You used to like it – or are you forgetting that part?

Marnie: I guess you like magic when he does it, huh?

– “You’re not a witch just because grandma says you are.” – Gwen, offering reassurance to every girl whose grandma just doesn’t like her very much.

– Disney throws in a hastily-written b-plot to make things more exciting for the older kids. The bad guy stands in an abandoned movie theater and explains what’s going on. It’s like the exposition version of deus ex machina – just really fast-tracking it.

– I worked at a movie theater for like 5 years, and my scariest movie theater story is that one time a teen couple had sex in the theater during Flushed Away, an animated feature about rats and poop.

Anyway. There’s a wicked spell, a bad guy who wants … something to do with power, people being turned into statues, and a magical talisman. Because there’s always a magical talisman in these things (Aggie has it). It’s like a winning row in scary movie bingo.

– Gwen and Aggie get petrificus totalus-ed. Accio, the last hour of my life! Please.

– Marnie says “duh!” because she’s not even cool enough for “doy!”

– Marnie: “We’re Cromwells! Together we can conquer anything!” (Anything like… Ireland? Seriously odd surname choice there, Disney)

– There’s a really pointless scene (as in, more than the other scenes even) with a Halloweentown hairdresser who’s like a lame, cat-like version of Cinna from The Hunger Games – doing the hair of a woman who looks like she’s from The Capital. He keeps saying “yeah, baby!” and I think Disney thinks it can make this movie funny by quoting Austin Powers.

– Sophie saves the day by remembering the spell. Pretty clear who’s the Hermione and who’s the Lavender Brown here (too soon?).

– We learn that spells are simple. “You just have to want it, and let yourself have it!” So now we know where that guy who’s making a ton of money from The Secret got the idea.

– GAME CHANGER. He Who Shall Not Be Named (because I forget his name… because it was stupid) morphs into Gwen’s ex-lover.

– Marnie drops the magic stick into a giant jack-o-lantern and defeats Voldumbort. Apparently his name is Kalibar. I spent a while looking for a cool anagram in there, but again, this is no J.K. Rowling. Unless Bail Ark means something. Maybe it does – as in “abandon ship? this movie is sinking?”

– Fergwad is a warlock, which is convenient for when Marnie inevitably gets Menudo-ed out of the Halloweentown franchise.

– Luke is nice, and as it turns out, troll-faced. He was under a spell before. Aggie is going to move in with the family to babysit. It’s over. Thank goodness. Good night.

The 90s Take Over Mad Men

We’re  six episodes into the sixth season of Mad Men, and we’ve already been introduced to a bunch of new characters. But here’s the thing about the show: creator Matthew Weiner keeps everything so under wraps that even the guest stars are kept secret. Elisabeth Moss (Peggy) said in a recent interview that the people who come in to audition don’t even know exactly who they’ll be playing, who they’re acting with, or what the actual scene is. She said the writers change all the character names in the audition sides and they’ll make up a different story line, but it still contains the same type of drama that the real story line has. And then they shred everything.

So because of that, identifying guest stars on the show has become much of a game for me now. Like, ‘Guess which actor you know from that one thing because he/she is now playing a new client on Mad Men.’ It’s gotten to the point where every new character I see, I wrack my brain to figure out if they’re someone or not. 80% of the time it’s just some lucky unknown, and the remaining 20%, it turns out to be Alex Mack. It’s really messing with my flow of watching the show. What’s even more unnerving is that most of these people have been in 90s/2000s TV shows! Remember when Mr. Belding was on the Cool Whip episode last season, or even Clarissa’s Dad from Clarissa Explains it All who plays Pete’s father-in-law?

Here are some other notable 90s guest stars from this season…

Linda Cardellini

Who She Plays:

Sylvia Rosen, wife of the Doctor, mistress of Don. (ugh)

How You Know Her:

Lindsey Weir in Freaks and Geeks, Sam Taggart in ER, Velma in Scooby Doo.

Harry Hamlin

Who He Plays:

Jim Cutler, the head of accounts for Cutler, Gleason and Chaough

How You Know Him:

Creepy Aaron Echolls in Veronica Mars, Michael Kuzak in L.A. Law, husband to Lisa Rinna

Ted McGinley

Who He Plays:

Mel, the head writer on Megan Draper’s soap opera

How You Know Him:

Jefferson D’Arcy in Married… With Children, Roger Phillips in Happy Days, and the ‘Patron Saint of Shark-Jumping’

Craig Anton

Who He Plays:

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 12.20.35 AM

Frank Gleason, partner at Cutler, Gleason and Chaough ad agency

How You Know Him:

Lloyd Diffy (Phil’s Dad) on Phil of the Future, MadTV, that one episode of The Office where he called out Michael for sleeping with Jan

Danielle Panabaker

Who She Plays:

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 12.25.11 AM

Daisy the Stewardess that Roger hooks up with.

How You Know Her:

Brittany Aarons in DCom Stuck in the Suburbs (pictured here with SNL’s Taran Killam and Brenda Song), Jacey Jeffries in the iconic Lifetime original movie Mom at Sixteen, Is in Read It And Weep – aka forever a teenager to me

Si Se Puede! The Best of DCOMs

dchan

a horribly photoshopped shot of my head on la laine’s body, living out my dream of doing the dchan bumpers

I have no shame in saying I love the Disney Channel. Back in the day, having it was a luxury, since it wasn’t part of the regular cable lineup. Finally, it became part of the regular cable package sometime around 2001, and because this one time unattainble network was at my fingertips whenever I pleased, I became obsessed. Also, I got into it at a fairly older age, which explains why I dressed up as the Miranda to my friend’s Lizzie for Halloween like, freshman year of high school.

Anyways, as many of you know, Disney Channel Original Movies (or DCOMs, as the cool kids call them), hit the height of their popularity around the early 2000s. Hit after hit after hit, these gems would be a good reason to stay in on a Friday night. Or if you were me, I had no social life so I justified spending time with Hilary Duff instead. Here are some of my favorite DCOMs, that were totally my jam. Spoiler: There is no Zenon, Halloweentown, or Brink! on this list. You’ve been warned.

Ed note: I had Tia and Tamera’s Seventeen Again on this list, but upon my research found out it was not a DCOM but in fact first aired on SHOWTIME. Boy has their programming changed.

Wish Upon a Star
This movie was made in 1996, but I obviously saw in when they re-aired it in the 2000s. Starring a young Katherine Heigl and Danielle Harris, this was a Freaky Friday-esque movie where two sisters magically swap bodies because of a wish they made on a star. Hilarity ensues. For the longest time my only reference to Katherine Heigl was this movie. Right when Grey’s was becoming popular, I was always like, ‘that’s the girl from Wish Upon a Star!’ I was the coolest.

The Color of Friendship

Friendship is colorblind, y’all! This movie was based on actual events about a girl is from a wealthy (white) family in an apartheid South Africa, and goes to Washington D.C. as an exchange student. She slowly but surely forges an unlikely friendship with her host sister (who is black) and they learn about the real color of friendship.

Tru Confessions

One of my faves, this is seriously one of Shia LeBeouf’s greatest roles. No, really. He plays a mentally challenged kid, and his twin sister, who is the only one he really trusts and confides in, makes him the focus of a documentary film she’s making. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

Gotta Kick it Up!

SI SE PUEDE!!! Before there was Bring it On, there was Gotta Kick it Up. Before Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, there was a young America Ferrera. A fun and inspiration movie about young Latina girls who aspire to win their dance team championship. Literally like Bring it On but with Spanish.

Cadet Kelly

Hilary Duff goes to military school and proceeds to learn how to do color guard stuff with rifles. Also starring Even Stevens’ Wren and an Ashmore brother.

Get a Clue

A young and innocent Lindsay Lohan (RIP) plays a Harriet the Spy type girl who attempts to solve the mystery of one of her missing teachers. Also, Alfalfa is in the movie, and it was initially jarring to see him all grown up, since the last time I saw him it was on my personal VHS copy of Little Rascals. But Bug Hall grew up like the rest of us and is now randomly BFF with David Henrie from Wizards. I know too much.

Princess Protection Program

I ship Delena, IDEC. Demi plays a privileged princess of some random ass country and has to hide out in the States with tomboy Selena in rural Louisiana.  I remember thinking the casting was weird, bc obvi Selena would be the princess, but I guess it worked out. They just need to be BFFs for life.