Liv and Maddie: Cali Style (“Scare-a-Rooney”)

Season 4, Episode 3
Date of airing: October 14, 2016 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.507 million viewers, 0.31 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.27 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.60 rating with Females 12-34, 0.33 rating with Adults 25-54

Well, at least the Halloween episodes were great on this show, though this could be considered the worst of them. Apparently, nothing was able to beat Helgaween even in the slightest. But it was an entertaining-enough episode to make me forget a little bit about the two mediocre episodes that preceded this one, while I continued to realize that the California setting changed the show simply too much, and that the newly established recurring characters simply could not replace the funny Ridgewood folks. Ruby is still a boring kid, though her amusement of the torture restaurant gave me a few chuckles (which is why I screenshotted her smile, looking at the very sharp knife, thinking that murder and torture on Halloween is the funniest thing), Aunt Dena still feels like a character who was not given any time to develop as a character (she is the mom of one of the main characters — one might think she should have more screentime), and Joey and Parker’s new high school friends are pretty much nameless. Three episodes in, and I still can’t remember their names. Three episodes in, and they still haven’t been more than just the punchline of a potential joke.

Witches get more attractive when they have a goth look.

I was surprised that Joey’s Falcon persona returned in this episode, because I thought it was just a joke for a single episode. Though I was slightly amused by the fake cool and fake dark attitude, I was hoping that the role he started to play would soon explode right in his face, or alternatively Parker would have blown it up right into Joey’s face for his own amusement. But I guess Parker did not have a problem with Joey’s fake Falcon persona, and pretty much everyone at the high school is too dumb to realize that “Falcon” is just a role. It’s kind of ridiculous to portray nerd characters in this way, even on a show that never wanted to be grounded in the first place. Every single one around Joey being oblivious of his ruse makes nerds look like they were dumb and stupid to begin with and that bullies were entitled to do their thing against said nerds. This episode certainly doesn’t make nerds shine in a positive light, no matter how smart they are when it comes to technology and science.

I would like to know how Joey managed to change into the other teleportation pod though. The entire story was conceived because Joey and Parker wanted to bring the Halloween spirit to the high school, but how the hell did Joey went from one pod to the other? Was this mystery put into the script on purpose, or did production just screw that one up and figured no answer was needed, because Parker and Joey already said a few times during the interview heads that this was not a real teleportation device, and instead just one part of a prank?

Ruby will definitely love slasher movies after this.

I did like the torture restaurant though, and how Liv was starting to learn that her decisions could mess up other people’s lives and livelihoods. It will be obvious that she won’t learn anything out of it (LIV AND MADDIE is not a show with a serialized storytelling after all), and it was to be expected that the guy’s decision to act all evil on Liv was just a play for the other customers, but there was a moment when I noticed that the writers maybe wanted to depict that Liv’s decision to quit Skyvolt, and seconds later move to Los Angeles (albeit being forced to move to Los Angeles), would have consequences. Maybe for once, Liv’s career choices are biting her in the butt instead of having her be celebrated as the superstar of this series universe. What a shame this wasn’t much of a story here, because I would have loved to witness a version of Liv Rooney who was a little more serious about her past and present decision-making.

And finally, Maddie in the witch costume — she looked good, and maybe it was a costume she could wear in case Disney Channel wants to make a Halloween movie one day and they need a witch. The story itself was boring though, and even more so when Aunt Dena revealed herself as the spider sprayer. First of all, I was thinking that Dena was talking about real spiders (that would have been creepy as hell, if someone did that). Secondly, did Dena just tell that story to Maddie, knowing that she would knock on her own door? She didn’t really sprayed the spider web on anyone else? Because if Dena just did it to screw with her sister’s and her niece’s minds, then she truly is a demented person. Going around the neighborhood and creating this horror movie personal would have been so much cooler.

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