Liv and Maddie (“Meatball-a-Rooney”)

Season 3, Episode 7
Date of airing:
 November 8, 2015 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.104 million viewers, 0.45 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.47 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.35 rating with Adults 25-54, 1.07 rating with Females 12-17

Well, this episode was good enough. A little bit of friendship troubles between Parker and Reggie (both could not be deeper in their eras of breaking voices), and a little bit of a weird thing happening between Liv and Joey. When he started doing her hair, I was thinking something X-rated for a hot second (thank you, internet!) and all of a sudden the entire story felt awkward, even after Liv’s hair started to smoke and fall off her scalp. I have no idea why this scene made it through the writers room, and how it made it past the network notes, because I couldn’t have been the only non-teenager on this planet who thought that Liv was enjoying the beginning of Joey’s hairstyling beginnings (and endings) a little too much. When Liv started to smile, hoping that this might be the best moment of her day, and Joey would eventually be useful for once, I thought if the two were about to embrace each other and start a hot make-out session, turning this episode of television into a fever dream and male wish-fulfillment for the boys of the audience. The idea for the story was funny though. The boys have never cared much about the twins, and seeing them doing something with each other was always one of the better stories of the episode — and I only need to remember Liv running Parker’s slumber party early in the first season, or Maddie being Parker’s karate teacher in the second. That being said, did Joey ever do anything with the girls up to this point? I really can’t remember. This might be the first episode of the show during which he was an actual brother to one of the twins. A failing brother for sure, but at least a brother.

Joey is a complete failure at being a barber.

Maddie and Willow’s basketball coach moments were good and had emotional value I liked. The story felt like a plot device to have Maddie wonder about her SCSU scholarship (hello there, new storyline dropped into the show like it was already established before), and to create a needless conflict between her and Willow, but it was a nice story, and I did like how the two young women were making up by the end of the episode, in front of nearly crying witnesses. The story looked very cheap by itself though. First of all, Maddie and Willow were basketball coaches, yet there wasn’t a single scene of them playing basketball with the kids (I guess the producers did not want to risk injuries?) — not even Maddie and Willow demonstrating how the game is played. Secondly, the kids they were coaching were just standing around, and in one moment even sitting around. There was barely any movement at all. Almost no action and no play, while the gals talked too much. Not that it was a problem, but the characters were literally standing still for almost the entire time, proving once more that television isn’t really about moving, especially when you have a standing set you can’t really move around in. Except you’re Carlton Banks and then you ran through the entire thing for the sake of a fourth-wall-breaking joke.

Meatball angels!

Meanwhile, Parker and Reggie went off on their own, took meatballs as a plot device, and figured that it might be good to lead up to a scene in which it doesn’t rain frogs, but meatballs. I guess the writers watched CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS before writing this episode — and if they would have brought back Parker’s cloud/rain-making machine from one of the previous episodes, it might have turned into a more interesting Disney Channel sitcom version of the animated movie, which I definitely would have appreciated more than seeing Parker trying to keep a lie alive, without the writers having created a string of circumstances that would have seen Parker fighting to keep the lie alive. But I recognized the similarities between Parker and Maddie’s stories — they were both about friendship, and how their conflicts was threatening to break them apart. It was almost like a theme in this episode.

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