Liv and Maddie (“Friend-a-Rooney”)

Season 3, Episode 18
Date of airing: May 22, 2016 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.323 million viewers, 0.22 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.23 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.23 rating with Adults 25-54, 0.64 rating with Females 12-34

Wow, what a cheat the love triangle was in the previous two episodes. Bringing Maddie back together with Diggie, the writers killed any kind of tension, which presented itself by having Maddie only in one single scene in this episode. And it wasn’t even a Maddie scene to begin with. I can’t remember whether one of the twins had just one scene before this episode, but it was especially noticeable in this half hour, because the Diggie/Josh predicament was the one thing keeping Maddie going in the show, and now that this story was resolved, Maddie became a hot air balloon, gasping towards the lost love she discovered again and instead of having a story, she is probably having some naughty fun with her new old boyfriend, which is why she was absent from this episode. And instead of bringing Maddie into the story somehow, they had Josh deal with the break-up, and they gave Joey a role on Voltage, which was as equally terrible a story for Joey as all the previous ones starting when he had three dates for comet night. But hey, Dove Cameron had a little less stress during the production of this episode, and it did give be an Andie/Dump Truck story, which was lovely.

They can be happy anywhere, even in detention.

In Josh’s case, depicting the break-up from his point of view was actually something of a worthy story, because the show has never depicted a break-up from one of the Rooney twins form the male perspective before. It was almost like the writers decided to ditch the main characters and made the recurring characters the major people of this series universe for once, which was a welcomed change. I almost found Josh’s coping realistic, though Maddie’s absence didn’t help the story, since Josh was dealing with the break-up all by himself. I can only imagine how serious the story could have been handled by the writers, if Maddie would have been a witness of Josh’s weird acting after the break-up, and not Liv and Gemma. With Maddie, the story would have had more purpose. But the writers chose Liv and Gemma, and it turned into a sitcom-y plot, when they decided that Joey could be paid to be Josh’s best friend on camera. That was the part I hated about the story. I did however love the weird acting Josh developed after the break-up. But Josh’s weird walk was freaking hilarious, especially right after Gemma fired Joey for the dumb character he conceived out of thin air.

In the meantime, I was glad to see Andie and Dump Truck being the focus of a B story. I started shipping the two when it was evident that the writers were bringing the two together (I seem to be the shipper of relationships being build among the recurring characters — screw whom the Rooney twins are dating, because I could give a damn), and I sort of liked the story of Dump Truck trying to change his persona, just to impress his girl’s father. I didn’t like it fully, because it was a troped-up storyline, and it was obvious that Andie would be weirded out by a suit-wearing Dump Truck, and needed to mention that she liked him for who he was, and not who he decided to play, because he needed to impress other people. Though for some reason the Shakespearean delivery of Dump Truck’s lines while in a suit entertained me. I am also glad that the writers realized which characters were working in the show, deciding to give them more screentime. Dump Truck has worked ever since the first detention episode, during which he made friends with Gumball Machine, and every time he showed up in a story, I got thoroughly entertained.

Joey hopes to get to Hollywood with this trick.

And finally, another story story that could have found a place in a Halloween episode, instead of this regular one. I get that Parker is a super scientist, and his sidekick always needed to change, because both Evan and Reggie couldn’t be in the same episode all the time, but Parker pretty much created artificial intelligence in this half-hour. Or at least a version of K.A.R.R., which is even more intriguing, if this weren’t a family sitcom on the Disney Channel. Sometimes, Parker’s inventions are far from the reality established in the show. He created tunnels under the building, which he was at least using. But in this episode he developed artificial freaking intelligence. He was pretty much one stop short of creating a robot in his likeness, fooling his family, just to get out of household chores. But no, he upgraded the barbecue instead. And the barbecue turned into a manipulative horror robot, because it was being played (or cooked) with. That’s a Treehouse of Horror story if I have ever seen one.

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