Season 3, Episode 20
Date of airing: June 19, 2016 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.533 million viewers, 0.32 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.27 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.31 rating with Adults 25-54, 0.77 rating with Females 12-34
The producers were messing up and destroying the entire set, knowing that this would be the final episode set in Wisconsin (or maybe the producers thought this would be the final episode of the show and Disney Channel surprised them by ordering another season?). I kinda liked the destruction of the house, how it felt like the beginning of an earthquake disaster movie, and how the entire scene did not feel at all like a show from the Disney Channel. Like the seven minutes of Skyvolt in the previous episode, with that one effect of the villain getting destroyed into pieces and ash, the producers thought that spending a little more money on an episode than usual (on Syfy-level CGI) was a good idea, and yes, it worked. The destruction of the house made this episode look so different from the rest of the show, and the move from Wisconsin to California could actually bring a new tone to LIV AND MADDIE. First of all, now that Joey and Willow still are in the same city, the chance for an ongoing relationship are suddenly existent again, which I’m all in for. Secondly, Liv could follow her career path more closely, being in Los Angeles and all. Now she can actively try out what she wants to do more: singing or acting? Thirdly, bring all the cheap beach soundstages you have, Disney Channel. I bet you still have that one set leftover that you used for HANNAH MONTANA. Pep it up a little for widescreen television, and voila, LIV AND MADDIE: CALI STYLE is ready for production.
The episode felt like a series finale, so if you decided to stop watching, this was a nice quitting point, though the show never had any ongoing story threats that went through multiple episodes. The only thing this episode needed to get into was the “sisters by chance, friends by choice” motto of the show, and that concluded with a happy ending, to which I nearly thought about almost crying to. The montage of the twins looking at their shared past, with the more melodramatic version of “Better in Stereo” running (that’s the version I have in my Spotify “liked songs” collection, because why the hell not? It’s a solid ear worm for a couple of minutes), and both crying into their memories was a touching scene. And so was the reunion, when Maddie just hugged Liv like it was nobody’s business, solidifying their friendship once more. This episode was probably the most touching of LIV AND MADDIE, and I’m not hesitating to say that I was emotionally affected by it. Though, I also don’t hesitate to say that the melodrama was ridiculous at times. The twins were fighting about much bigger issues before, and they never had such a fallout like in this episode. About a weird topic no less — why would Liv be angry that Maddie would follow her dream to California? It’s what Liv once did when moving to California for Sing It Loud!, and now she is bitching and moaning about her sister having stabbed her in the back.
Meanwhile, the Parker tunnels made a final appearance, and with it, the production team had to build another tunnel entrance, because as it seemed, there was a bit of money leftover in the show’s budget, so why not building a quick hydraulic system of the bed opening and closing? Karen taking over the tunnels was actually hilarious, though I really wanted to see something resembling a turf war between Karen and the boys, with Joey and Parker trying to outwit and outlast their mother to get their tunnels back — a civil war if you will. But at the end the story looked like it was just a device to slowly say RIP to the house, because Joey proved once more what a stupid guy he is. I hope his relationship with Willow, if the writers followed up on that one in the fourth season, will make a man out of him.
The rest of the episode was okay. Aunt Dena seemed funny, and was as close to looking like Elizabeth Banks as possible, and I kinda like the premise of Karen and her sister living together from now on. It probably helps that another family member has been included, though that also means the writers will have to deal with one additional character to give stories to — as long as they didn’t decide to make Dena just a recurring character. After all, a bunch of recurrings from Stevens Point have now been written out. No more Artie, Evan, Reggie, Aubrey, Andie and Dump Truck? I am sad already.
By the way, I would like to live in the headspace that one of the images used for the memory folder in the flashback montage was coming from me. Back at my old blog, I used the image of Liv taking a picture of her family reunion, which opened the show, as one of the two screenshots (which I replicated for this blog). Here is me thinking that the producers may have looked for images to use for Liv and Maddie’s memory folder and stumbled upon my old blog with all the LIV AND MADDIE screenshots. To quote Joey: “I’m useful!”