High School Musical 4: Breaking Free From Disney

Revivals of TV shows and movies you loved years ago seems to be the trend of late, like the new version of the superhero genre or forensic procedural that had a surge of shows in years past. And now here’s a little something for the millennials – a movie that just celebrated its 10th anniversary is getting a fourth sequel. Disney head honchos recently announced they are making High School Musical 4, with a whole new batch of aspiring actors just like Disney is wont to do. To tie the new installment in with the beloved OG franchise, one of the main characters is named Campbell and described as “Troy Bolton 2.0” in the character breakdown. Instead of the basketball court, he’s the captain of the soccer team and also a theater star, which runs in his family because guess what – he’s Sharpay and Ryan Evans’ cousin.

My guess is that these two are at least in for a cameo in the fourth movie, since they have reason to be back. But what are they, and the rest of the Wildcats doing eight years after graduating high school? Is Taylor McKessie running the world? Did Chad become a sports star? Has Ryan come out yet? Are Troy and Gabriella still together, fulfilling every shipper’s dream of Zanessa being alive and well in an alternate universe? Most importantly, is HSM4 going to be in the theatres likes HSM3 and I’ll have to go to a late night showing by myself so I don’t see it with other kids or will it air like a DCOM and on the Disney Channel? Will it be on the Disney Channel at all?? (Probably yes). But what if it wasn’t? And what if it actually caught up with the original cast instead of introducing new characters? An adult HSM, if you will. I’m taking a giant leap from reality and exploring not only what the Class of ’08 is doing today, but what they could be doing if they weren’t on DisChan but rather on some of today’s biggest networks. Who knows, anything could happen. This is the golden age of television, after all. You can’t stick to the status quo for everything.

The Disney Channel Version

After graduating from the University of Albuquerque with a degree in the performing arts, Sharpay moved to New York and lived with Ryan while she went on audition after audition to be on Broadway. She was in a few Off-Broadway shows including an ensemble cast member in a new version of Rent (waitress during La Vie Boheme). After two years of working retail at Forever 21 and no getting any luck with her Broadway dreams, she moved back to Albuquerque and works at East High rival West High as the drama teacher. Ryan graduated from Juliard, where he wrote songs with Kelsi, and they created their own duo of Evans & Nielsen. Together they’re Broadway’s next Kander and Ebb and are making waves on the Broadway underground. Meanwhile, Chad also graduated from U of A with Sharpay and was drafted for the Brooklyn Nets straight out of college. He moved from team to team but currently plays for the Phoenix Suns. Taylor graduated from Yale with a degree in political science, then went to Georgetown to get her graduate degree in economics. She’s just got a job in Washington D.C. working as a White House staffer. Troy and Gabriella stayed together throughout college, and he got a job in finance after graduating while Gabriella continued her studies on the way to become a doctor. She’s currently doing her residency in San Francisco, where they both live, and Troy is planning to propose to her, but he enlists the help of the Wildcats to help him pull off an epic proposal.

The CBS Version

Gabriella is a forensic scientist working in Chicago, when she gets a call from Connecticut Senator Taylor McKessie who heard through the grapevine that their East High classmate Zeke is missing. Sharpay, Troy and Chad have been secretly trying to get to the bottom of his disappearance, but they fear the worst and believe he’s been killed. Taylor urges Gabriella to go back to Albuquerque to help them, and a reluctant Gabriella heads home – but uneasy about not only Zeke’s possible death, but facing Troy again after their horrible break-up in 2013.

The Logo Version

Since Kelsi and Ryan attended Julliard together, they became best friends and eventually both came out as gay (much to the surprise to no one). They live together in Chelsea and are like a modern day Will & Grace except they’re both gay and live in a much more ramshackled apartment. Kelsi makes a living as a pianist in various orchestra pits on and off Broadway, while Ryan teaches youth theatre in New Jersey. They both lament about their love lives (or non-existent ones) constantly and are frequently visited by Sharpay, a celebrity stylist, and Martha, who owns her own dance studio in Brooklyn. Token straight couple Troy and Gabriella are married and have a baby on the way, which is a bit of an annoyance to Kelsi and Ryan, who are convinced Troy and Gabriella are going to become the most obnoxious parents and won’t ever have time to hang out with them again.

The Bravo Version

Sharpay lands a role as a stepsister in the Cinderella revival, but after the show closes, she lets the ego get to her head, and hasn’t booked a role in over a year. She’s been married to famed New York chef/restauranteur Zeke for two years and is simultaneously going on audition after audition while also building her new clothing company, while specifically caters to divorcees who have a penchant for glitter and bedazzled dresses. The movie is filmed reality TV style and features cameos from her gay brother Ryan, married couple Taylor and Chad and fighting exes Troy and Gabriella, who live in Long Island.

The Freeform Version

Like the Disney Channel version, but more sex and targeted to “becomers”. Special appearance by Ashley Benson and Shay Mitchell as Gabriella’s roommates in Manhattan.

The Netflix Version

Broken up into 6 hour and a half long episodes, each installment focuses on one of the main characters in the HSM franchise. Shot documentary style, we get a close look at Taylor’s journey on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton, Chad’s new sober life after overcoming an addiction to painkillers, Sharpay and Ryan’s life in London as they debut their new musical in the West End, Gabriella’s work as a biochemical engineer working to create a cure for cancer, and Troy’s unexpected rise to stardom after starring in an indie film that was nominated for an Oscar, becoming Hollywood’s next big star.

The AMC Version

Basically Breaking Bad, but Ryan is Walter White and Kelsi is Jesse Pinkman. Taylor is Gale, Gabriella is Skyler, Troy is Mike and Sharpay is Badger.

Made in ’86

I usually don’t like announcing this, but today is my birthday. I have officially existed on this earth for 30 years. Hold your applause. 30 is supposed to be a milestone birthday – and it is – however I don’t really feel any different than I did yesterday (do we ever feel different when we celebrate a birthday?). It’s like prom – you build it up in your head for years, then you get there and realize it’s just another lame school dance. Do I feel young? Yes. Do I feel old? Yes. I feel all the things, y’all. But I want to share this day with you, our precious, noble, land mermaid readers, who should be able to feel all the feels I’m feeling and feel them deep in your soul. What am I even saying IDK I’m senile now.

Here are some things you may or may not realize are sharing the same milestone with me (and Molly) this year. So get in your Urkel time machine and travel back to 1986 with me, won’t you?

Pixar Animation Studios open

Pixar’s been making you laugh and cry simultaneously for years, but it officially started in ’86, when the Graphics Group, part of the computer division of George Lucas’ Lucasfilm, parted ways and became its own corporation with Apple. 20 years later, Disney bought it for about $7.4 billion. BILLION. Pixar’s first short film was Luxo Jr., which features one large and one small desk lamp, which might look familiar to you because they’re now Pixar’s logo. Luxo Jr. even became the first CGI film to be nominated for an Oscar, and is still better than a lot of movies I’ve seen in the past few years *ahem*Focus*ahem*

Geraldo Rivera Gets Mooneshine’d

I don’t really know why I thought this, but up until just before typing this sentence, I totally thought in my head Geraldo opened Al Capone’s tomb. All these years, I thought he went to his underground grave (?) and discovered nothing? Well opening Al Capone’s Secret Vault makes SO much more sense than opening Al Capone’s Grave. Anyways, Geraldo hosted this two-hour live TV special that got a lot of hype before it aired. Geraldo was expecting a treasure trove of items, and maybe even bodies (seriously, there was a medical examiner there) or piles of money. However, when he got into the secret vaults, the only things inside were dirt and several empty bottles – including one with moonshine (which makes sense, since he was a total rebel during the Prohibition Era). Even with the epic fail, it became one of the most-watched syndicated TV specials in history with about 30 million viewers tuning in to see an empty vault.

L. Ron Hubbard Succumbs To Lava

Note: L. Ron Hubbard didn’t actually die in lava, he had a stroke and died a week later. LRH had a whole shitload of health problems towards the end of his life, including weight gain, chain smoking (his teeth were disgusting), a “prominent growth on his forehead”, and suffered chronic pancreatitis. Actually, he was struggs real hard starting in the 1970s, when he faced a bunch of legal trouble, including in France, where he and the French Church of Scientology were convicted (in absentia) of fraud and customs violations. He went into hiding, living in disguise in New York then on his Sea Org fleet, and spent the last two years of his life in a luxury motorhome on a ranch in California. If you have time, just do more research on his life. It’s facsinating. He also had a son who committed suicide??

Tom Cruise Debuts Top Gun

Unrelated from Scientology, Top Gun was the top grossing movie of 1986, making over $353 million in the box office. It also marked Tom Cruise’s mark as a superstar in Hollywood with a blockbuster movie. I saw this for the first time last year and I totally got why he became such a huge heartthrob and bonafide movie star with Top Gun. Despite how kuckoo banana pants he may be now, this movie is prove that he deserves to be a star.

Disney Channel Kicks Off

It’s weird to think about now, but there was a time when TV networks just stopped progamming in the middle of the night because no one watched it, thus they saved money this way. The Disney Channel started as a premium cable network (like HBO, Showtime, etc.) in 1983, and in 1986, it went from having daily programming from 7am to 1am to 24 hours a day. That means more Disney movies, DCOMs, OG shows like Kids Incorporated and The All-New Mickey Mouse Club (yes, that MMC with Brit, JT, Ryan, Xtina, and more). I didn’t get DChan in my house until I was in middle school, which explains why I retroactively liked “kids” shows as a 13 year old.

Oprah Winfrey Begins Her World Domination

Oprah’s talk show roots started with a morning show in Chicago, and it became a hit within the first month. Oprah herself became popular thanks to her role in The Color Purple, so the network decided to take advantage of that and onSeptember 8th, 1986, her The Oprah Winfrey Show went national for the first time. That was the start of what became The Oprah Winfrey Show that went on to become bible for the next 25 years. Fun fact: the topic for Oprah’s premiere should was “How to Marry the Man or Woman of Your Choice”, notably much more different than the topics in her later years.

First 3D Printer is Built

TBH, I didn’t realize the 3D printer wasn’t a thing that was invented like 5 years ago. But what do I know, this dude clearly has had it down since ’86, and has been making plastic hubcaps ever since.

Hands Across America

So Hands Across America is still… interesting to think about. It was a fundraiser for charities serving those in poverty in the U.S. The idea was for as many Americans to hold hands and create a human chain along a path across the country. There were certain cities along the route, from New York City all the way to Long Beach, California, and some notable names at each stop. I mean from President Ronald Reagan to Michael Jackson to John Stamos to David Copperfield, plus 50 Abraham Lincoln impersonators, 54 Elvis impersonators, 2 Disney characters and 3 Star Wars characters. Like, what?? AND they held hands for 15 minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES. I had trouble holding hands with people in church during the Lord’s Prayer and that lasts about 30 seconds. Do you even talk? What do you do after? Give a slight squeeze then call it a day? So many questions. Either way, the event raised $34 million for charity, and that’s all that matters right?

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.

#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.

 

 

Where Are They Now: Lizzie McGuire

Confession: There was a period of time (my late high school and college years, mainly) when I was obsessed with Disney Channel. I was probably a little too old to fit in their target demographic. I blame this on the fact that we didn’t even get the channel until like 8th grade, so naturally I felt like I needed to catch up. And then when I did catch up, I was in too deep and couldn’t stop in the rabbit hole that is the DChan. This included their originally programming, such as Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, and DComs like Tru Confessions, Gotta Kick It Up! and all the High School Musicals. So this particular post is geared towards people who were born after 1990, or anyone who is a perpetual 13 year old.

Earlier this week, a photo of three former Lizzie McGuire cast members surfaced on the internet, as they reunited for Jake Thomas’ (Matt McGuire) 25th birthday. Yes, you read that right. I legit needed to mentally prepare myself before scrolling down to see what he looks like now, along with Miranda (Lalaine) and Ethan Craft (Clayton Snyder). So I suggest you do that too…

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So this got me thinking, where are the other stars of Lizzie McGuire now? Click this vid and mentally prepare to feel old.

Matt McGuire played by Jake Thomas

Wondering why you haven’t heard of Jake Thomas since Lizzie? It’s because he’s a child actor success story. And who wants to hear about that? After the show ended, Jake had a recurring role on That’s So Raven spin-off Cory in the House, and has continued his acting career by taking more dramatic roles and appeared in a bunch of TV shows (ER, Criminal Minds, Secret Life of the American Teenager) and even Lifetime movies (Betrayed at 17). Jake also released an album called Now and Then in 2005. He’s an avid cyclist and photographer, and he currently goes to college in LA. As previously mentioned, Jake recently celebrated his birthday (even though he doesn’t turn the big 2-5 until next week), and he recently got glasses.

Jo McGuire played by Hallie Todd

Prior to Lizzie, Hallie already had a successful career as an actress, so being Hil Duff’s mom was one of the last regular projects she worked on. In 2012, she starred and co-wrote a horror film called The Mooring, which she wrote with her daughter, and was directed by her husband. They followed that up with a movie called The Fireman last year. Family bonding, y’all. She also has been running her own acting conservatory for kids and teens in LA.

Sam McGuire played by Robert Carradine

Coming from an acting family, Robert Carradine has naturally stayed in the business since Lizzie’s end, most recently appearing in Django Unchained and thrilling TV movie, Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda. He’s also about to start his third season as the host of trivia show King of the Nerds, because if you didn’t notice – bow tie.

Kate Sanders played by Ashlie Brillault

Ashlie’s acting career pretty much started and ended with Lizzie McGuire. She went to community college then transferred to Cal State Long Beach with a B.A. in Political Science and Government (with a 3.5 GPA), and went to grad school at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, graduating with a J.D. in Constitutional Rights and Remedies (in between she worked as a server at both TGIFridays and Lucilles Smokehouse BBQ in Cerritos, California). She’s been a Legal Extern at the Medical Marijuana Industry Group and Colorado State Public Defender in Denver , and recently was a Student Attorney at the University of Denver Civil Rights Clinic. She is currently a volunteer at the ACLU in Los Angeles. Looks like Kate wasn’t just another dumb blonde after all.

Ethan Craft played by Clayton Snyder

Clayton grew up playing water polo, even playing throughout his time on Lizzie (are you even surprised by this?). After graduating high school, he went to Pepperdine University on a scholarship for water polo. While in college, he also performed in some dance showcase for three years, which should NOT be a surprise, judging by his sweet moves in the show. He graduated with honors with a B.A. in Film Studies in 2010. After that, he played professional water polo for the USA National Team, competing against teams all over the world. Now he’s back to acting and last year, appeared in a number of projects, including NCIS and Rules of Engagement. And like any working actor in LA – he works as a bartender at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.

Larry Tudgeman III played by Kyle Downes

Tudgeman!! He is currently 31 years old. What? Anyways, Kyle only added a few more acting credits to his name after Lizzie, including CSI: Miami and The L Word. But he has transitioned to a post behind the camera as a director, helming a few shorts, commercials, and even reality shows like Million Dollar Listing. He also goes by KJ Downes now, so change your online stalking appropriately. In 2011 there was a weird incident where there was a search party sent out to find him, but he came back and was all, ‘It’s cool brah. I just needed some time away’. Classic Tudge.

Miranda Sanchez played by Lalaine Vergara

Out of all the Lizzie child actors, Lalaine is the only one who veered off the road a bit. In 2007, she was arrested and charged with felony possession of meth (she was into breaking bad before it was cool). Despite pleading guilty to the crystal meth charge, her record was expunged after she finished a drug-treatment program. Fortunately, she’s been able to get her life together after that, appearing in a few movies, including Easy A. She also went to Jake’s birthday party, as seen above.

David “Gordo” Gordon played by Adam Lamberg

The mystery of ‘Where is Adam Lamberg’ has been haunting inquiring millennials for years, and it seems like we’re finally getting down to something. Save for a couple acting jobs after Lizzie, Adam quit showbiz and went to UC Berkeley, graduating with a Bachelor’s in Geography (of all things) in 2008.  He is currently the Development Associate at Irish Arts Center, and is also getting his masters in Public Administration at Baruch College in New York. His job also allows him to hang out with Jimmy Fallon. What a life.

Animated Lizzie

Probs still stuck in a TV somewhere, eating food bigger than her face and clumsily falling into inanimate objects.

Lizzie McGuire played by Hilary Duff

If you don’t know what HDuff’s been up to since she kissed Gordo in Rome, I don’t think we should be friends. But because I’m feeling generous, here’s what’s happened to her in a nutshell: she released a few more albums (hi Laguna Beach), had a threesome on Gossip Girl, created a clothing line and perfume, wrote a young adult novel, got married, had a qt baby, got divorced, walked around a lot, and is set to star in a new show called Younger. HDuff – better than your faves since ’01.

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.

The Evolution of Nick Jonas

Last week, millennials who don’t follow the whereabouts of past-Disney child stars were shocked SHOCKED to see these new revealing photographs of former Jonas Brothers brother Nick Jonas:

I know what you’re thinking – he’s 22. It’s (legally) okay. Also, if this reminds you of something, it’s probably because Nick paid homage to the iconic 1992 photoshoot with Mark Wahlberg (of the Funky Bunch at the time) that made heads turn and launched his career into stardom. I imagine this will have a similar effect for Nick Jonas, because now people might think of him as more than just a former product of Disney. Not to mention, he has a new show coming out out DirecTV tonight called Kingdom in which he plays an MMA fighter- but more on that later.

So if you haven’t been following Nick like I have over the past few years (I’m a creep, it’s fine), you’re probably wondering how we go to the place where baby Nick Jonas is grabbing his crotch and you feel slightly turned on by it. Let’s take a quick walk through memory lane and see how he went from fresh-faced heartthrob to Hollywood hunk.

2007 – The Year 3000

Before the Jonas brothers became the Jonas Brothers in 2005, Nick had already had a successful career behind him – he had released a solo album and been on Broadway (which I ironically saw him in Annie Get Your Gun without even knowing). But obviously he became popular when the band blew up and it’s all thanks to Disney. Their cover of UK band Busted’s song Year 3000 was their first real breakout hit. I remember them promoting the shit out of it on the Disney Channel, and from there, they garnered a huge fan base. Nick, the youngest JoBro, was only 15 at the time.

2007 – Me and Mr. Jonas and Mr. Jonas and Mr. Jonas

That popularity helped them snag a guest role on Hannah Montana, where they played themselves. Incidentally, Nick had a small thing for Hannah Montana herself – is it art imitating life or life imitating art?? Just from this clip alone, you knew they were destined for bigger things. And that Nick was going to be trouble for Miley.

2008 – Camp Rock

Hot on the heels of High School Musical, Disney’s DCOMs (Disney Channel Original Movies) had found new life, and among them was this music summer camp movie, Camp Rock, featuring the JoBros and Demi Lovato. Nick didn’t really have a big part in the first movie, besides his hair. Seriously, props to him for not caving in to the flat iron peer pressure.

2009 – Grammys

Around this time, the Jonai were the One Direction of their time, which is a sad sentence for me to type out. They were nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys, but lost out to Adele. Fair. Also around this time – my secret crush on Nick was starting to form. It was clear to me he was going to be the star out of the three of them. I mean look at him next to the other two. Joe looks like he’s auditioning to be in a reboot of Miami Vice and Kevin can’t wait to have sex with his new wife.

2009 – Jonas

The bigwigs over at Disney decided it was about time they give the JoBros their own TV show, and it was fittingly called Jonas. The boys played themselves with fake parents and an occasional visit from little brother, bonus Jonas Frankie. I’m not going to lie to y’all, I went through a serious Disney Channel phase that I didn’t grow out of until a few years ago. So I legit watched Jonas every week, and it really wasn’t THAT bad. I will say that in the clip above, Nick sounds super nasally but I still love this song. It’s the inner teeny bopper in me, what can I say?

2009 – Before the Storm

In what would be their last studio album, Lines, Vines, and Trying Times, Nick basically sings solo on a song called Before the Storm featuring his ex-girlfriend Miley Cyrus. The song is obvs about their relationship, so when she show up unexpected at the concert seen in the video, it was a big deal. While it seemed like they had a brief rekindling of their romance, Miley went off to film The Last Song shortly thereafter, and the rest is history. Probs for the best though.

2010 – Nick Jonas and the Administration

Nick’s nickname in the band/family was Mr. President because he was always the serious one and had mentioned as a youngster his political aspirations. It’s clearly too late for that now. But he took that nickname and ran with it and started a solo project. The lead single Who I Am did okay, but it still didn’t bomb like Joe’s attempted solo album. Anyways, Nick even went on tour with the Administration, and I have no shame in saying that for my birthday in 2010, I went to see him in concert. H8rs to da left.

2010 – Camp Rock 2

Of course Disney needed to ride on the Camp Rock wave one final time. Luckily for Nick fans, this movie actually featured a plot/love interest for him, and not just Joe/Demi. Nick likes to woo his girls by playing guitar and singing and TBH if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

2010 – Jonas LA

So Disney bosses decided the New York City-set Jonas needed a revamp so after some tweaking, the show returned, but this time in LA. However, Nick’s penchant for acoustic guitar serenades did not go away.

2010 – Les Miserables

Nick returned to his theater roots by performing in the West End production of Les Mis as lovelorn Marius. Fun fact: he actually played baby Gavroche on Broadway in 2003. Anyways, in addition to his West End run, Nick also played Marius in the 25th anniversary concert, which was a polarizing part for theater nerds all over the world.

2011 – Hairspray

In a role that was seemingly made for him, Nick played teen heartthrob Link Larkin at the Hollywood Bowl production of Hairspray. I got to see this live and let me tell you, the screams you hear in this video are not from the cast members. They are from real fangirls in the audience who were going crazy over Nick’s hip movements. I was so impressed with his vocal range here and my crush grew even more.

2012 – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Nick made his triumphant return to Broadway by filling in for Darren Criss and Daniel Radcliffe before him. And the fact that the show closed weeks after he started has nothing to do with his performance. Actually I have no idea, he could’ve been horrible for all we know, but look at how good he looks in a bow tie!

2013 – Hawaii Five-0

As the reality of the Jonas Brothers’ demise was sinking in, Nick was out to prove that he was more than just a guy in a boy band, and had a recurring role on Hawaii Five-O. I’m not exactly sure what he did, but his hoodie is open and revealing his chest.

2013 – The Instagram reveal

You know those moments when you hear news for the first time and you’ll always remember where you were and what you were doing at that specific time? I feel that way about when I saw this picture. I remember staring at it on Instagram in awe and unwilling to believe this was the same Nick Jonas I had been secretly pining for over the past few years. He says it was his diabetes that inspired him to take better care of his body. I mean whatever, man. You do you.

And thanks to the magic that is Nick’s Instagram/the internet, we have been graced with even more photos of Nick and his muscles. Mainly his muscles.

Probs serenading a girl he’s trying to woo.

IT’S LIKE HE’S PHOTOSHOPPED.

IS HE FLEXING OR RELAXED NO ONE WILL KNOW

2014 – Solo project Take 2

With his hot bod and hot girlfriend and hot bod, Nick debuted his post-Jo Bros sound, and it’s actually quite good. It’s a lot different than Nick Jonas and the Administration. There’s a lot of R&B, hip-hop and even some Motown-y vibes in the new stuff and it shows a more adult side that he was never able to play before. Also, I’m obsessed with this song.

 2014 – Kingdom

That brings us to Kingdom, a new drama series which premieres tonight. Part of Nick’s bodybuilding training also has to do with the fact that he plays an up and coming MMA fighter who comes from a long legacy of prestigious fighters. I admit that this type of show doesn’t necessarily look like the kind I’d be into, but when you have Nick Jonas and Matt Lauria of Friday Night Lights/Parenthood fame, you best believe I’m DVRing the shit out of that. And I can’t wait to see where Nick’s career takes him from here.

Happy (Fictional) Presidents’ Day!*

*Today is not Presidents’ Day. Monday is Presidents’ Day. Today is Lincoln’s Birthday. But we all know all these holidays blend together because we really never know which day is which, we just used to get them off when we were still in school.

But in honor of ALL the presidents of these United States of America, I think it’s also appropriate to celebrate the fictional presidents who have also put in hard work to pretend to be the leader of the free world. I’m sure I’ve missed some on my list, so chime in with some of your favorites!

And Happy Presidents’/Lincoln/Washington’s Birthday Day!

President Thomas J. Whitmore {Bill Pullman}

Independence Day

Independence Day is so American that I bet anyone who’s not American will feel American while they watch this movie. Especially during this epic speech. While it’s unlikely we’ll need a President to get us through an unexpected alien attack in the near future, I want Bill Pullman in charge of an air strike if that day does come. Or he can just give motivational speeches to me every morning instead. That works too. “We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our MONDAY!!”

President Andrew Shepard {Michael Douglas}

The American President

For some reason, The American President was one of the first movies I remember being my favorite ‘grown up’ movie. I was nine when this film came out. Maybe it was the allure of Michael Douglas. Maybe it was the romance between him and Annette Benning. Maybe TBS just kept playing it over and over again and I had no chance but to like it. Either way, Michael Douglas is one of the few actors who is actually really believable as the president, and if he’s romancing a woman while in office, count me in.

President James Marshall {Harrison Ford}

Air Force One

Presidential Badassery at its finest.

The President {Billy Bob Thornton}

Love Actually

Okay, maybe he wasn’t a good guy, but Billy Bob played a smarmy, womanizing, douchey prez and I can’t help but think a lot of our former leaders had a little bit of this guy in them.

President George Richmond {Dabney Coleman}

My Date with the President’s Daughter

Basically this movie is a classic DCom and I unapologetically love it. I mean, Eric Matthews! (sidenote: if anyone is interested in watching other DComs like Model Behavior & Life Size it’s all on YouTube, per my research for this clip. I know what I’ll be doing on Valentine’s Day)

President Fitzgerald Grant {Tony Goldwyn}

Scandal

It’s no secret we’re #Gladiators here. So what’s a list of faux presidents without our favorite adulterous Commander-in-Chief? He may have a lot of faults, and may not be the best pres the U.S. has seen, but Shonda Rhimes & co. are brilliant and make you root for a man who’s not only married and having an affair, but his wife knows about it and he STILL pretty much ignores her and their kids. And lest us forget he has also **SPOILER** killed a Supreme Court Justice, who was already on her death bed dying of cancer. But ugh, crisis, because Olitz scenes are 2 hot 4 TV.

Yet the scene above doesn’t involve any handsy moves by the pres. It’s a flashback scene which reminds us why these two fell in love in the first place. They’re no dumb dumbs. They’re independently smart and bring out the best in each other. Without Olivia’s faith in Fitz – the faith he never had in himself – he would have never won the presidency (election rigging aside). And without the dedication and devotion he constantly gives to her, she would have never been able to open up and love a man like Fitz (thanks to her Daddy Pope problems). So I guess all cheating aside, this apparent ‘love’ is what makes us (sometimes begrudgingly) root for them after all.

President Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlet {Martin Sheen}

The West Wing

You didn’t think I’d make a list without the best TV president, did you? He had too many great moments on the show, from the Butterball hotline to the time he *another spoiler alert* got shot to the time he was high on drugs to the time he walked to the Hill, to the entire Two Cathedrals episode etc. etc. But this particular clip is from an episode called The Midterms which originally aired in 2000. He basically tells off this conservative radio talk show host in a tactful, humorous, ‘don’t disrespect me bc i’m the GD president’ way and it’s this attitude that won him two terms in fake office.

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.