Pilot You Should Watch If You Haven’t Already: Andi Mack

It’s mid-season premiere season, and we’re bringing you the best of the spring debuts: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Big Little Lies, and today’s pick, Andi Mack. Andi Mack is a decidedly different Disney Channel Original Series. Focused on 13-year-old Andi as she discovers (pilot spoiler!) that her cool big sister Bex is actually her mother, Andi Mack is at once more modern than your typical Disney sitcom and a real throwback to the beloved live-action kids’ shows of our 90s youth.

We grew up during the golden era of children’s sitcoms. Ghostwriter, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, Clarissa Explains it All, The Secret World of Alex Mack (if you think I didn’t already accidentally type Alex Mack at one point in this post, you’re underestimating how very old my brain cells are) … there was some excellent live-action tween fare in our day. I’m not saying this out of millennial nostalgia: there has been a real change in kids’ TV over the past decade or so. When execs realized that sitcom viewers weren’t the tweens (say, 8-14-year-olds) in the “target audience” but rather their younger siblings, something happened to children’s programming. Sets got brighter. Outfits got crazier. Jokes got hammier. Adults got buffoon-ier. It might be my age, but things also got really, really loud, right? Moments of sentimentality were sometimes slapped at the end of a “very special episode,” but these shows, as a whole but with exceptions, don’t really challenge kids to think deeper or feel more.

Andi Mack is the return of a children’s show that gives children credit. It assumes that kids today are savvy and smart, that they can engage in a show without neon living rooms and dopey dads and literal bells and whistles (no really, those shows are loud). The premise itself is grown-up. In addition to a young teen dealing with very serious questions of identity (‘my mom is my grandma’ has potential for real V.C. Andrews-level trauma), Bex’s age means that unplanned and teenage pregnancy are necessary issues to be addressed. Early reviews mention that a teen character’s sexual orientation will also be discussed.  Story lines will be played out over the course of the season, rather than resolved within a half-hour — in fact, the pilot is the first kids’ show I’ve seen in a long time that left me wondering what’s next.

Andi Mack is a situation comedy with actual comedy in it. An Amber Alert quip is – for a Disney show – darkly funny, the kind of joke the darkly funny 10-year-olds in my life would actually make. There’s a “first period” joke that’s more mature than the jokes you see in a lot of other Disney/Nickelodeon sitcoms, and the punchline is implied; again, these writers give children credit that they can get jokes. Children’s television can be almost aggressively multi-cam, and the on-location filming and four-walled-looking sets give Andi Mack the feel of a hip modern-day sitcom.

We usually don’t let a sitcom review go by without an unofficial Representation Is Important Corner, so here it is. The Macks are a mixed-race family, which at least for the first two episodes is presented without comment because that’s pretty much the most normal thing a family can be these days. Andi’s grandpa (previously known as dad) is white and grandma (previously known as mom) is Asian (I know that’s broad, but we don’t have further info). In a country where nearly half of all children are from multiracial households, it’s important that these kids can turn on a TV and see a family that looks like their own. There hasn’t been an Asian-American child protagonist of a children’s sitcom since Shelby Woo, a show that premiered over two decades ago. There have been a whole lot of Hannah Montanas and Sams and Cats since then. In addition, Andi’s friends include at least one kid who isn’t white and one kid who isn’t straight.

The grown-up plots, actually-funny comedy and quality representation aren’t the only reason I’ll be nudging the kids in my life to turn on this show over some of the more neon-‘n-noisy options. The characters and casting are great too. Andi (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) is an imaginative teen in the tradition of Pretty In Pink’s Andie, a sort-of tomboy with cute short hair and a motorized bicycle who is known not to play sports — a win for every girl who wasn’t stereotypically girly, but who still found clothing fun and wasn’t necessarily athletic. That is, Andi is a multidimensional 13-year-old, exactly like real 13-year-olds are. Friend Buffy (Sofia Wylie) is confident and fun, and may or may not be named after that other TV Buffy (although she has started watching it). Her buddy Cyrus  reminds me exactly of the funny, self-assured boys I was friends with in my out of school theater groups as a middle schooler; he’s a cool kid who isn’t at all bothered by being friends with girls.  Bex is supposed to be about the same age we are, and her youthful looks and personality are why it’s believable that Andi thought Bex was her sister instead of her mom. Lilan Bowden comes from an improv and writing background, so her Bex comes across as the kind of person I’d actually know in my real life. This is where I have to accept that I’m now in my Lorelai Gilmore stage of life: we’re looking at roughly the ages of the Gilmore Girls in the pilot, minus a couple years. I’m hoping for some good references to Bex’s high school days in the early 2000s.

The bottom line: Andi Mack has a more “adult” concept, styling, and sense of humor than your typical children’s sitcom. It brings much-needed cultural representation to kids’ tv, and the pilot will leave you wanting to watch the second episode. If you have kids in your life, you’ll want to get them into this show so you have an excuse to watch it. If you don’t have kids in your life, the only excuse you really need is that this is a good show.


Andi Mack premieres April 7 on the Disney Channel. The pilot is already available on Disney’s website and YouTube platform.

 

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Pop Culture Blind Spot: Darby O’Gill And The Little People

Three truths and a lie, St. Patrick’s Day Edition:

  • I grew up Irish dancing and thus I never went to school on St. Patrick’s Day because I had performances.
  • I mostly look like a leprechaun.
  • Every year, my family watched Darby O’Gill and the Little People sometime around St. Paddy’s day.
  • I despair every time someone calls it St. Patty’s Day. Who’s Patricia?

Answer: As you probably guessed from the post title, I’ve never seen Darby O’Gill and The Little People. The 1959 Disney movie is a cheesy, beloved Irish-American classic starring (according to Wikipedia)… Sean Connery?! Woah. In my defense, in the 90s if your family didn’t have the VHS tape of a movie or it didn’t air on a station you got, you just didn’t see it. I’m rectifying that now, so please don’t disinvite me from the next ceilidh or soda bread baking night.

Set design of Irish movies from the 1940s-1970s is the main reason for a lot of lingering Irish stereotypes. Namely, that it’s always vaguely the 1800s with thatch roofs and dirty stucco walls and like … spinning wheels and butter churns and shawls everywhere.

Is the old lady, The Widow Sugrue,  the same old lady from The Wedding Singer? I know it’s impossible but one has to wonder.

It’s not.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Pretty Young Lass Needs A Husband

It takes me about 3 minutes to get into the mode where I understand what anybody is saying. It’s not because I’m not used to Irish accents. It’s because these aren’t Irish accents (Katie’s is often OK. Widow Sugrue’s reminds me of elementary school plays where you didn’t know how to do the accent you were supposed to do so you just talked weird).

It’s called Darby O’Gill and The Little People, and for whatever reason I assumed Darby would be a leprechaun too. Nope. Just a guy.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Group Of Men Telling Legends In A Pub.

The special effects of Darby talking to leprechaun King Brian are surprisingly very good. Sometimes I think modern CGI makes things look more fake than old-school camera tricks.

The image links to an explanation of some of the *movie magic.* I’m duly impressed.

It also reminds me of the parts of Mr. Rogers when take the trolley to the Land of Puppetville or whatever that was.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Village Priest Solving A Financial Problem.

Young Sean Connery could get it.

By the way, Sean Connery is one of those people who’s never been young. He’s 29 here and his face is care-worn and weathered.

Everyone’s sideburns are huge. Little House on the Prairie sideburns.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Woman Leans Out A Half-Door.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Old Man Plays The Fiddle.

These leprechauns have the best outfits. They’re total Keebler Elf getups.

I’d live inside this Leprechaun Ceilidh. It’s like the Trolls hideout without all the LSD, or Munchkinland without the specter of murder. Yet, anyway.

So many dorky Irish in-references: Brian Boru, the harp that once thro Tara’s halls, a tribe of people cowering away from direct sunlight (no? Just me?).

When Darby plays his fiddle really fast and the leprechauns start dancing crazy, you could forget what I said about “without all the LSD” before. This is trippy.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Somebody Gets Someone Drunk In Order To Trick Them.

Always been a sucker for a cat vs leprechaun sequence. Another triumph for old-school special effects.

All these songs sound the same. Bless Janet Munro and Sean Connery. They’re trying so hard to have Irish accents in their scenes together. Sean Connery has natural 21st Century American Invisalign Teeth. Janet Munro, an English actress, definitely looks Irish.

Darby would be a cute name for a dog, right?

Darby, requesting whisky: The best in the house!

Barmaid: [look of shock and fear, because best in the house means things are SERIOUS. Also because Darby gives the drink to a man inside his rucksack.]

I start laughing out loud when Katie starts singing in a drippy voice while preening her weird short bangs and suddenly I can’t stop laughing.

Keep expecting this to turn into an SNL sketch where King Brian is really gross or filthy.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Woman Gets Offended When Man Loves Her.

The banshee looks like you’re meant to be looking at it through special glasses.

“29. Sean Connery is TWENTY NINE” – me, out loud, trying to convince myself that Very Adult Man Sean Connery isn’t even 30 here.

The ghostly horse and carriage is actually spooky in a laser light show at the planetarium kind of way. If I saw this as a kid I’d be unnerved.

By the way, the headless horseman doesn’t really have an Irish accent, either.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I laugh every time they sing that stupid song.

If you’re playing Irish Movie Bingo, fill in your square for Characters Drive Away In A Horse-Drawn Cart.

The bottom line: I enjoy old movies, and this was an enjoyable old movie. The underlying question with our Pop Culture Blind Spot posts is whether cult favorites are good of their own accord, or if you have to have some sort of earlier sentimental connection to them to really love them.  I could see being really into Darby O’Gill And The Little People if I had loved it as a kid, and seeing at is an adult I have a healthy appreciation for the old-school special effects and the imaginative story. It actually made me realize, in comparison, how much more I liked last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Pop Culture Blind Spot, The Quiet Man. In the battle between Rugged Men Who Aren’t Irish Playing Rugged Men Who Are, Sean Connery vs John Wayne, John Wayne takes this round.

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.

 

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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.

Best of 2015: Hogwarts Goes Hollywood: Harry Potter Actors As Disney Characters

Is Harry Potter and Christmas synonymous for anyone else? Ok great. Earlier this year, Emma Watson nabbed the role of Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast, which has wrapped since then and also features all the actors. All of them. But what would happen if the deep bench of HP players also starred in Disney reboot movies? We took a look.

Disney and Harry Potter, the entertainment franchises that brought magic to our childhood (and, um, teens and 20s), are now at one. Emma Watson – Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies – will be playing Belle in a live-action version of Beauty And The Beast! Belle was always my favorite Disney princess because she liked books. I had the redhead solidarity thing with Ariel, but even at age five I was like “Ariel, girl, get a grip. You look desperate.” But I digress. The Harry Potter movies were full of amazing actors, and the Disney movies have a bunch of awesome characters. Emma Watson as Belle is a good start, but I think we could make this a regular thing:

Alfie Enoch as Prince Eric, The Little Mermaid

Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid needs to be so dreamy that a mermaid –  whose greatest joy is singing  – gives her voice to a sea-witch so that she can get legs and like… hang out with him silently in a rowboat. Sounds like an awesome date. See what I mean about Ariel? Anyway, when I think “Hogwarts Dreamboat,” I think Alfie Enoch.

Rupert Grint as John Smith, Pocahontas

Ron Weasley had a lot of strong points, but he was sort of a borderline bro sometimes. The Disney version of that is John Smith in Pocahontas. He’s an imperialist dumb-dumb, but he’s so dopey that you can’t really hate him. There’s that spark of goodness in Ron, too, so we know that Rupert could balance the character’s likability with his more annoying traits.

Tom Felton as Hans, Frozen

Oh, Draco. You loved to hate him. For the character to work, the actor had to convey enough smoothness so that you believe that all of his teachers don’t absolutely hate him. Likewise, Hans has to SEEM like a nice guy to enough people that you don’t spend the whole movie going “uh, this jerk.” Just as it takes a smart actor to play a dumb person, it takes a nice actor to play a mean person. I think Felton’s up to the task.

Evanna Lynch as Rapunzel, Tangled

Luna Lovegood is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters. In both the books and the movies, she’s got a few screws loose but she’s not a one-note joke of a person. She has real feelings and, even though she’s a bit of a whackadoo, she’s smart and brave. Disney-wise, this is Rapunzel from Tangled. She’s not a floaty, sweet gal like Snow White or Cinderella – she’s a weirdo who hangs out with a chameleon. Both characters aren’t socially … you know, off …. by accident – they both had childhoods that meant they couldn’t quite fit in.

Alan Rickman as Scar, The Lion King

I get that Alan Rickman is a human person, not a lion. But otherwise, he’s proven that he can play a creepy avuncular villain. (Or, not villain, but admit it, for a while you really thought so!) They could just use those weird costumes from the Broadway musical or whatever.

Whomping Willow as Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas

Stunt casting? Eh, maybe, but who else are they going to get?

Jessie Cave as Those Triplets Who Were All Up On Gaston, Beauty And The Beast

Lavender Brown WAS the Hogwarts version of those hussies who were Gaston fangirls. I know there’s only one of her but they have to make a humanoid monster and dancing cups, I’m sure they can turn one person into three people.

Julie Walters as Mrs. Potts, Beauty And The Beast

Molly Weasley IS Mrs. Potts.

Hogsmeade as Belle’s Quaint Village, Beauty And The Beast

Hogsmeade, UK and Poor Provincial Town, France clearly had the same city planners.

Are No Cartoon Marriages Sacred?

If you are the kind of person who hates change, you would probably like being a cartoon character. Your whole wardrobe would be stocked with the same one outfit, it is usually the same vague season unless it is Christmas or Halloween, and you never move house (for more than an episode) because that would mean swapping your whole cast of characters. Oh, and if you were married, you stayed married.

That was before. Now the sanctity of cartoon marriage is under attack, and I, for one, will not stand for it. It started when news leaked of a Homer and Marge Simpson separation. They have children. And now Kermit and Miss Piggy? They don’t have children … thank God… and they aren’t technically cartoons, they’re puppets… but seriously, won’t someone think of the adults? We don’t like this either.

So from this point, I will not wait for the cartoon divorce announcements to come rolling in. These fake marriages are sacred, and if anyone is going to say whether or not they are still valid it should be me – an uninterested third party. So in the interest of my feelings, I am going to declare the following cartoon couples divorced so that the announcements can’t shock and traumatize me. It’s better this way.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse

Are they married, or are they brother and sister? I submit that the answer is both. I honestly always thought they were siblings, but according to Wikipedia I was wrong. But they obviously have a stagnant, sibling-like marriage. Plus there are like 25 different Google images of them in different wedding clothes, and any couple that has to get married that many times has something screwy going on.

Stu and Didi Pickles

Sure, ruin my whole childhood, why don’t we? Between Rugrats, the Simpsons, and the Muppets, we have now effectively annulled all of my youthful hopes and dreams. Plus some cartoon marriages. Yeah, I always thought Charlotte and Drew would go first, too.

Fred and Wilma Flintstone

You know what, kids? Or actually adults because this has been off the air for decades? They’ve been dead for like 10,00 years, anyway.

Roger and Jessica Rabbit

It’s a slippery slope. We start letting cartoon characters get divorced, and soon a cartoon humans will want to divorce cartoon rabbits. I just don’t think these two had much in common in the first place. Like a species.

Literally Just All Of The Disney Princess Couples

Ultimately, the fame imbalance got to them. It always does.

Bob and Linda Belcher

No, I actually can’t even joke about this.

Pocahontas: ’90s Fashion Goes 17th Century

Can you believe that tomorrow it will have been 20 years since Pocahontas? Pocahontas the movie, that is: Pocahontas the human died in like 1617. It has been two whole decades since Disney released its historically fuzzy account of a spirited Powhatan girl who gets White Man’s Burdened by a dude in that one haircut all the cute boys had in the mid-90s. Disney does a ton of research for each of their movies, but ultimately chose a ’90s-friendly interpretation of 17th Century style. So how do the 1600s look through a ’90s lens?

John Smith’s ‘Cute Boy In The ’90s’ Haircut

In 1994, all of the cute boys called a secret meeting and vowed to get That One Haircut. If you were a Tiger Beat reader or cherished your J.T.T. is H-O-T issue of Nickelodeon Magazine, you know exactly which one I’m talking about. It was center parted and layered back on the sides, so that all of the cute boys could brush it out of their eyes all of the time. Which was the haircut’s fatal flaw, I’d wager. It was always in the way. And it was in the way of EVERYONE, from Rider Strong to Christian Bale to… well, to John  Smith, who must have painstakingly layered his locks in his berth below deck of that old-fashioned wooden boat. Smith has the longer, more mulletty version of the cut, favored by your more outdoorsy Cute Boys In The ’90s.

Nakoma’s Sassy Bangs

In 1995, those late ’80s/early ’90s mall bangs were fading into history. Instead, your bangs were probably either a blunt-cut fringe or wispy and curled under with a round brush. I think my right forearm is still slightly more muscular than the left because of all that time I spent scrupulously curling my bangs under into a see-through hair dome. The curled-under bangs were innocent and girly, but the blunt Betty Page fringe was the trademark of a true sass factory. That’s why Disney gave them to the movie’s requisite Sassy Best Friend.

Pocahontas’s Ink

Remember “tribal tattoos?” And how if the only tribe you were in was the National Association Of College Bros, you probably shouldn’t have gotten one? There was a time when the tribal armband circled the bicep of every college dude in the land – it was the undercut haircut and waistcoat of 1995. Now those armbands are sported by 40-something dad types who only reunite with the “tribe” on alumni weekend.

By the way, those of us who were eight years old in 1995 had the Poor Man’s Tribal Tattoo, the stretchy band from Claire’s Boutique that always ended up on your wrist if you had skinny arms.

Pocahontas and Nakoma’s Girl Band Outfits

I get that buckskin was the only fabric option or whatever. But I still love how Pocahontas and her girl Nakoma have coordinating outfits. It’s like TLC or En Vogue or Salt n Pepa, where they’d each have a slightly different outfit but made of the same material. And at least one girl always had the crop top version. We’ve established that Nakoma was the resident sassafras, so naturally it was her.

Pocahontas’s Cher Horowitz Hair Flip

 

The crispy permed look was dead or dying in the mid-90s. Instead, everyone wanted the perfect voluminous blowout. It was several years before we all started flat-ironing our hair into brittle sheets, and health and movement were the hair goals. Pocahontas had, hands down, the best blow-out of the era, rivaled only by Cher Horowitz herself. I know Pocahontas didn’t have an animated blowdryer or anything, but I feel like she was always standing in the wind on a cliff with multicolored leaves swirling around her and stuff, so I guess that did the trick.

That Turquoise Necklace

Here’s where Disney was phoning it in (on a land line or one of those brick cell phones, because again, 1995). They were just like “oh, Native Americans LOVE turquoise!” because that whole Southwestern decorating thing was going on. But the key there is Southwest, I mean how would Pocahontas have ended up with it in Virginia? However, teal and turquoise were oddly popular at the time, so I think it was more a matter of picking a look that would help sell licensed Halloween costumes that year.

Thomas’s Center-Parted Bowl Cut

I think if you weren’t cute enough for the Cute Boy In The 90s Haircut, they made you get the center-parted bowl cut instead.

Hogwarts Goes Hollywood: Harry Potter Actors As Disney Characters

Disney and Harry Potter, the entertainment franchises that brought magic to our childhood (and, um, teens and 20s), are now at one. Emma Watson – Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies – will be playing Belle in a live-action version of Beauty And The Beast! Belle was always my favorite Disney princess because she liked books. I had the redhead solidarity thing with Ariel, but even at age five I was like “Ariel, girl, get a grip. You look desperate.” But I digress. The Harry Potter movies were full of amazing actors, and the Disney movies have a bunch of awesome characters. Emma Watson as Belle is a good start, but I think we could make this a regular thing:

Alfie Enoch as Prince Eric, The Little Mermaid

Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid needs to be so dreamy that a mermaid –  whose greatest joy is singing  – gives her voice to a sea-witch so that she can get legs and like… hang out with him silently in a rowboat. Sounds like an awesome date. See what I mean about Ariel? Anyway, when I think “Hogwarts Dreamboat,” I think Alfie Enoch.

Rupert Grint as John Smith, Pocahontas

Ron Weasley had a lot of strong points, but he was sort of a borderline bro sometimes. The Disney version of that is John Smith in Pocahontas. He’s an imperialist dumb-dumb, but he’s so dopey that you can’t really hate him. There’s that spark of goodness in Ron, too, so we know that Rupert could balance the character’s likability with his more annoying traits.

Tom Felton as Hans, Frozen

Oh, Draco. You loved to hate him. For the character to work, the actor had to convey enough smoothness so that you believe that all of his teachers don’t absolutely hate him. Likewise, Hans has to SEEM like a nice guy to enough people that you don’t spend the whole movie going “uh, this jerk.” Just as it takes a smart actor to play a dumb person, it takes a nice actor to play a mean person. I think Felton’s up to the task.

Evanna Lynch as Rapunzel, Tangled

Luna Lovegood is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters. In both the books and the movies, she’s got a few screws loose but she’s not a one-note joke of a person. She has real feelings and, even though she’s a bit of a whackadoo, she’s smart and brave. Disney-wise, this is Rapunzel from Tangled. She’s not a floaty, sweet gal like Snow White or Cinderella – she’s a weirdo who hangs out with a chameleon. Both characters aren’t socially … you know, off …. by accident – they both had childhoods that meant they couldn’t quite fit in.

Alan Rickman as Scar, The Lion King

I get that Alan Rickman is a human person, not a lion. But otherwise, he’s proven that he can play a creepy avuncular villain. (Or, not villain, but admit it, for a while you really thought so!) They could just use those weird costumes from the Broadway musical or whatever.

Whomping Willow as Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas

Stunt casting? Eh, maybe, but who else are they going to get?

Jessie Cave as Those Triplets Who Were All Up On Gaston, Beauty And The Beast

Lavender Brown WAS the Hogwarts version of those hussies who were Gaston fangirls. I know there’s only one of her but they have to make a humanoid monster and dancing cups, I’m sure they can turn one person into three people.

Julie Walters as Mrs. Potts, Beauty And The Beast

Molly Weasley IS Mrs. Potts.

Hogsmeade as Belle’s Quaint Village, Beauty And The Beast

Hogsmeade, UK and Poor Provincial Town, France clearly had the same city planners.

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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#LizzieMcGuire throwback as well with @thelalaine and @heyclaytron

A post shared by Jake Thomas (@sirjakethomas) on

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.

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.

The Lion King: Where Are They Now

The Lion King was released twenty years ago this month. If you’re anything like me, your reaction was “NOPE,” followed by a long contemplation of your own mortality. In Disney terms, Lion King is roughly as old now as The Aristocats and Robin Hood were when we were kids. But, as Rafiki would remind us, it’s all just a part of the circle of life — so let’s see where life has circled our favorite savannah-dwellers to in the two decades since Nala, Simba, and the gang hit theaters (and I wore a steady stream of Lion King t-shirts, camped in a Lion King sleeping bag, and regarded my stuffed Pumba as a prized possession):

Simba

Then

We watched Simba grow from lovable scamp, to outcast, to grown man, to redeemer of Pride Rock.

Now

Simba is almost certainly dead. Lions in the wild live for 10-14 years, though lions in captivity may live to 20-25. So, Simba is either deceased or elderly and languishing in the zoo.

And how’s this for a bummer? Male lions are typically ousted from the pride once they are 2-3 years old if their father gets the boot, unless they take it over. So, Simba’s exile was basically just a cold, scientific reality. Isn’t nature grand? And once he was too old to be useful, he was probably kicked out again. It’s basically the lion version of abandoning an elderly relative at the home.

Nala

Then

Nala was the ultimate BFF-turned-love interest, like a leonine Joey Potter.

Now

Nala had a bunch of cubs. Lion cubs born in the same litter can actually have different fathers – science! – which lead Nala to appear on Timon’s short-lived talk show, sort of an animal version of Maury Povich.

Simba was not the father.

Nala is now dead.

Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed

Then

Scar’s hyena henchmen were last seen mauling their former leader to death.

Now

Hyenas can live up to 25 years in the wild, so it is possible that these fellows are alive and really, really old. Hyenas look decrepit even when they’re babies, so I can only imagine.

Rafiki

Then

Wise Rafiki was supposed to be some sort of shaman/jester hybrid, maybe?

Now

Nope… still don’t really see it.

Babboons can live up to 30 years in the wild, but face it, Rafiki was already pretty old 20 years ago. But if you look up to the night sky, you can see the word “sex” spelled out in the stars and know that he is with you always.

Timon

Then

Funny guy Timon taught Simba how to live and love, and taught us that damn Hakuna Matata song that’s still stuck in our heads two decades later.

Now

Before dying (sorry! you knew it was coming!), Timon took advantage of the weird meerkat reality show trend, and became a star of sorts on Animal Planet.

Pumba

Then

Pumba issued the first fart ever heard on a Disney film (this is a true thing).

Now

Dead.

Well, that’s the circle of life, kids. And the circle stops at death. Also two decades closer to the grave: all of us. Man, I feel old right now.