Season 1, Episode 3
Date of airing: September 22, 2013 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 3.004 million viewers, 1.8 rating in Households, 0.635 million viewers with Adults 18-49, 0.50 rating with Adults 18-49
In which I confess I am actually in love with this show. It only took me three episodes to get warm with a Disney Channel family sitcom, and what followed after that on a fateful day in 2013, after I watched this episode for the first time was more Disney Channel shows, and a slight fascination for shows targeted to a kid and teenage audience. It was when the world became a little more terrible with time, and I needed a proper escape other drama and comedy television offerings couldn’t offer me. Besides all that, it doesn’t hurt to have a light-hearted and family-friendly sitcom on the air that you can watch with the entire family, when you happen to have some family emmbers who are shut-ins, but still want to entertain them during a living room party of sorts.
Liv’s efforts to connect with her little brother was a solid story to be told in this episode, as LIV AND MADDIE just became a family sitcom about two siblings, who have grown apart from each other over the past years, try to come back together and be siblings again. It’s the most conservative look of a conservative family on a conservative television network, so it was only natural and expected that Liv’s efforts would become fruitful, and the story would end with a hug between the big sister and the little brother. One can only hope the siblings friendship (or rivalry, when the right story comes around) will persist, because not every family sitcom should only focus on the way it comes up with jokes or comedic visuals. There are still characters in this show who need a certain amount of interaction, and since the Rooney family has four kids, it would not hurt at all if some of the kids would team up and experience an adventure together. And the kids shouldn’t be paired up by their gender all the time either, which is why it was so nice that Parker and Liv were teamed up in this episode. Now I am waiting for a Maddie/Joey adventure, and I am wondering how many episodes I have to wait for this one.
What was also fascinating about this episode was how Liv was still working on assimilating back into her own family. The distance between her and her family must have emotionally killed her at some points during her Hollywood career, since her efforts to get back into her family life was a major plot point in this episode, even if it only happened to be the preamble to Liv and Parker hanging out and being siblings. I am quite glad that the writers managed to remember that Liv just came home from four years of Hollywood, and that life in this fictional town in Wisconsin has changed a little bit, and it will take her some time to catch up. There is hope that some more episodes throughout this season will have a similar premise, simply for the sake of some grounded realism in the show, as the comedy aspects themselves are anything but grounded. They are certainly teenage-appropriate, but some parents and teachers are gonna be weirded out as hell when Maddie and Willow come to school with an actual and working guillotine.
In the meantime, Liv, Maddie and Parker weren’t the only Rooneys having a time of their lives. I sort of loved the notion of the kids threatening to have a bad evening, with Maddie needing to work on a project, Liv working to be liked by her brother and his friends, and Parker trying his darndest to have a successful sleepover party. There was also Joey, not expecting at all he would have a great night, which means all the Rooney kids started off their evenings in hopes to have a normal night (with the exception of Parker, who needed his night to be a success), and they turned out to experience a fantastic evening out or it. Well, at least the Rooneys succeeded in having friends over for a good time. I tried that once, when I brought home a rare friend from school, and one of my sisters was fucking angry about the noise we made, so naturally I was berated for bringing home a friend, and I never did that again. Thanks for creating parts of my social anxiety, sister. Now I have to live vicariously through characters of a Disney Channel family sitcom.
Best part of the episode: “Smell me!” Willow is a freaking delight in this show. I fear that her crush on Joey will only be a running joke throughout the show, but at least it’s honestly funny and it’s delighting the hell out of me. More Willow, please!
Worst part of the episode: Willow halving Maddie’s math book in two. Great, thanks to Willow, Maddie has to spend money on a new math book now. What a great friend she is. Not.
Weirdest part of the episode: DOWNTON ABBEY? Karen should have marathoned her way through the Magic Mike movies, instead of DOWNTON ABBEY. At least that would have been a joke for the adults that are watching, proving that Disney Channel sitcoms can also be for the mature people in the room.
Player of the episode: Evan was cute as the hyped-up kid experiencing his first party. He will never go back again, and he will most likely think of this as his first-ever experience of life, like I do that night when I got drunk for the first time.