Liv and Maddie: Cali Style (“Sing it Louder!!-a-Rooney”)

Season 4, Episode 4
Date of airing: November 18, 2016 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.122 million viewers, 0.25 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.26 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.57 rating with Females 12-34, 0.22 rating with Adults 25-54

For some reason I wanna watch the Sing It Loud! franchise, because now that the writers have delivered a premise of the show-within-a-show, it sounded intriguing enough to be turned into an actual show. GLEE at a boarding school for misbehaving teenagers — that’s a good-enough tagline to at least warrant a Disney Channel TV movie, which I would totally watch. Though maybe not, because I haven’t even watched the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL franchise yet, though there were a couple of minutes since its inception that I was interested in watching it. Now more so than ever because of Disney+ and the sorta-spinoff mockumentary series.

It’s the finale of a long night of essay writing, prepare for a maddening twist!

It was a pretty good episode, though once more I could have wiped my butt with the Joey/Parker storyline. After four episodes, the story is still just Joey continuing his Falcon persona, and Parker hating Joey’s Falcon fame, and Joey bathing in his success, and Parker creating schemes to show Joey that his ruse can crush at any second. It’s the same old story and the season hasn’t even been on for that long. And of course Parker will fail every time he tried to destroy Joey, which makes this entire story a long running joke which is running out of jokes. The gags haven’t been funny at all in this episode, and in addition to the missing comedy, it destroys the potential of having at least some true high school moments for Parker and Joey, who for once do something together at school, without the show having to interrupt their stories with something Liv and Maddie are doing. By the way, why would the writers only focus on boys at BOOMS and not on Maddie’s freshman year at college? One might think that putting a character in college is more intriguing for a TV writer than depicting the senior year of a high school student. When characters are in college on a Disney Channel sitcoms, does that automatically spell less screentime for them?

Liv’s storyline was good, though as soon as Gemma (hell to the yeah to her return!) mentioned that the production needed a 10-year-old Sasha, I knew that Ruby would be it, before she even delivered her living room performance of Sasha exclusively to Liv. I liked the idea of Ruby and Liv working together on Sing It Louder!!, because maybe the show will continue to depict show-within-a-show performances and scenes, and fluff up the fourth season of LIV AND MADDIE with musical numbers a little bit. The season finale of Skyvolt looked intriguing in the third season finale, and I must say, I dug “Second Chances” during this episode, and not just because the show-within-a-show felt like part of an actual musical (though the producers could have worked on a better and more eventful choreography). I would almost hope that the writers would give Dove Cameron more time to portray Liv, just so there will be more musical elements in LIV AND MADDIE. You might know that I have a soft spot for musicals, just not GLEE — I still haven’t gotten through the second season, and since Mark Salling was charged with child pornography, I will most likely never watch the show ever again. Cancel culture, y’all!

Auditions for a Disney Channel show are the hardest.

Meanwhile, Maddie had something to do in the episode as well, and it was okay, though entirely forgettable. I liked the idea of her being a klutz, and it was obvious that Aunt Dena would ruse Maddie in letting her believe that her Mother Earth magic saved her laptop (though how could it have been functioning after drying out? Maddie spilled pineapple juice on it, and that probably had a high level of sugar, making the laptop unusable forever). But yeah, a few more actual college storylines, and I would have been happy about Maddie’s arc. Even more so if Maddie’s storyline would take away from the terrible high school storyline that makes me cringe every time Joey opens his mouth.

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.

Liv and Maddie: Cali Style (“Linda & Heather-a-Rooney”)

Season 4, Episode 2
Date of airing: September 30, 2016 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.357 million viewers, 0.20 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.21 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.50 rating with Females 12-34, 0.20 rating with Adults 25-54

Holy cow, Linda and Heather is a godawful crazy television show in this series universe, and I can’t even understand why Parker thought it was the greatest piece of television he has ever seen (apparently he has never watched ER or THE WEST WING or OZ or NYPD BLUE or HOMELAND or THIS IS US or STRANGER THINGS or…). Seeing the two girls doing their thing alone annoyed me greatly, and I was wondering if it was done like that on purpose, just for the sake of being annoying as hell. And I thought that Linda and Heather was a different kind of show after its various depictions throughout LIV AND MADDIE. Weren’t the girls contemplating who to take into space at the end of the second season? In this episode the Linda and Heather TV show looked like a colorful shoot-me-now version of LOST IN SPACE. But hey, at least the twin doubles got roles on the show, during which their faces were seen for once, though under heavy make-up, as well as ridiculous wardrobe and blinding wigs. I still wouldn’t recognize then if I’d see them on the streets.

Parker has the most giggliest day of his young life.

I was glad that the Linda and Heather plot happened, because with the change in settings and some of the characters, it was probably necessary to bring back elements of the first three seasons. Otherwise ‘Cali Style’ would have been an entirely different show, only with characters you already got to know for the last three years. The second episode of this season still felt alienating to me, and I was still unable to get warm with the season, because I was simply missing all the elements from Stevens Point and Ridgewood High. Ruby turned out to be a boring character, because the writers were already taking the sisters sub plot from the previous episode out like it was just a bin of garbage, and even that weird ongoing thing between Joey and Willow has been turned into mush by dropping it and stomping on it repeatedly. It was almost a miracle that the writers decided to give Liv a role on Linda and Heather, just to show the LIV AND MADDIE viewers that the first three seasons haven’t been forgotten.

But really, the writers killed Willow’s sick obsession with Joey. The two had a relationship (of sorts), and that was just being ended in this episode like it was no big deal. Even though I found it something of a realistic story for Joey (because he simply cannot date girls when he doesn’t even know how to be a mature child), I was hoping for the two to be together for more than just a one-episode off-screen romance. It would have given Joey something to bite his teeth into (not literally, you sick bastards), and the writers would have had a chance to build a romantic relationship that was not led by one of the twins, or both of them. Joey is a senior high schooler now — it was time for him to have a girlfriend, or fail in his relationship one girlfriend at a time, until all female seniors at his creepy high school turned into exes.

The little cousin is turning the big cousin’s hands red.

Meanwhile, Maddie and Ruby were playing games. I was surprised to see that Maddie’s dorsal side of her hands (yes, I just googled how it’s called) were actually red from all the slapping (apparently they shot that scene multiple times for her hands to turn red), but I wasn’t surprised that Maddie turned into an obnoxious character in this episode, by wanting her little sorta-sister to lose. I remembered Rory Gilmore paying $20 to Baby Billy Burke, so she could sit and study at her tree at Yale, and Maddie was not so much different from Rory in this episode on an entirely different show with an entirely different premise, but with a character equally obnoxious. Maddie’s self-obsession somewhat came alive during the third season, when Josh was falling for her, but in this episode it was simply too much for me to handle. If a child had to give her a lesson about winning and losing, it means she failed in being a responsible character, right? What changed in the writers’ room between seasons for this show for the characters to have become … this kind of awful?

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

Season 4, Episode 1
Date of airing: September 23, 2016 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.662 million viewers, 0.29 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.28 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.30 rating with Adults 25-54. 0.61 rating with Females 12-34

With a new title, a new location, a bunch of new characters, a new (and kinda creepy) high school, Maddie in college, and Liv doing… I don’t know what she is doing, because the episode didn’t go into it at all — Does it mean the show is gonna change? This episode definitely had a bit of a different tone and vibe, but that was just because the new characters had to be established, and in a way I was missing all the established Ridgewood folks. There might be a chance for some guest appearances here and there, but I’m not gonna hope for it, although Artie somewhat made it into the end credits of the episode (and I hope he will never do it again this way). I just wondered if the writers were actually able to recapture some of the magic of the recurring characters of the past three seasons, especially since the newly established characters had to be compared to the ones already established. And a three-year history is a major one to go up against.

New Joey is saluting the chopper pilot for a successful trip to school.

And that brings me to say I didn’t quite like this episode. This was not a new car smell episode, this was an episode that has been painted with new colors, and the smell of paint is not a pleasant one. Ruby was an okay-ish new main character, and I, ehm, sorta love the new sorta-sisters chemistry, but the writers could have had that through three years of LIV AND MADDIE, by having Liv or Maddie or both connect with Parker to be the big sisters they wanted to be in this episode. It happened once or twice in the first season (I can still remember the slumber party episode), but the writers needed to focus a little too often on the Parker/Joey chemistry, which was annoying at times, as well as absolutely ridiculous and void of all kinds of tension or emotion. I guess the same will happen in this season, which was already show to be the case by having Parker and Joey attend the same creepy high school, while Liv and Maddie had to deal with the emotional fallout of having to keep secrets with their new sorta-sister. What I wanna say is: I wished the writers would give Parker and Joey something to do, instead of putting them into sitcom-y plots literally all the damn time. It’s like they have their own lives and their twin sisters aren’t even involved in any of it.

I was surprised to see that Aunt Dena wasn’t part of the main cast though, and instead the writers brought a new kid character to the table. It’s a fact that Benjamin King, an adult cast member, was replaced by a kid cast member, because apparently shows on the Disney Channel needed to be invaded by kid characters. Dena not being considered a main character was a bit of a shame, because I was hoping to get a bit of a Karen/Dena chemistry. The episode was working on giving Ruby a lot of time with Liv and Maddie, but Karen had a sister in this episode, too. Karen and Dena were not of worth for the writers?

It’s nightmare time for the sorta sister.

At least I was amused by the appearance of the Falcon. Joey in a leather jacket was two stops short of becoming Jess Mariano, and I was chuckling a few times, when he started to talk and his mesmerizing words were actually affecting his new classmates. I was surprised to find out though that Parker didn’t try to ruin Joey’s newfound confidence by ratting him out, or even just saying that “Pucker” is the Falcon’s little brother, which might have given Parker some credit, even after being a self-centered little brat during the laser fair. But yeah, the entire BOOM school was creeping me the hell out. There can never be this many nerds in the same room without the planet going to shit. Also, I feared that the little bit of realism the show still had would be shot out the window with this episode, because now the writers needed to make fun of nerds. Plus points for focusing more on the science through Parker’s hobby though — now he isn’t the only one on the show doing scientific and technological things, now he has an entire classroom to spit around ideas with.

Liv and Maddie (“Californi-a-Rooney”)

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 mother is taking time off in the unstable Parker tunnels.

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.

Season-closing group picture with cast and crew.

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!”

Liv and Maddie (“Skyvolt-a-Rooney”)

Season 3, Episode 19
Date of airing: June 5, 2016 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.958 million viewers, 0.48 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.47 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.45 rating with Adults 25-54, 0.84 rating with Females 12-34

This was a very unusual episode for LIV AND MADDIE. One third of the episode was used for the Skyvolt season finale (seriously, seven minutes were spent on Skyvolt, a show-within-a-show), which had one particular visual effect that might have been pricey for the production, while an additional quarter of the episode was used for the high school sweetheart romance of Willow Cruz and Joey Rooney, who finally got together for six minutes and probably never again after. And still, this episode had enough story to keep one’s mind occupied: With Liv having to decide whether to go to California, Joey having to decide whether to follow his heart, and Maddie having to decide whether to so to SCSU or be coached by her father while also staying close to a college experience with her twin bestie, it almost seemed like a stacked-up episode, if there wouldn’t have been half of the episode spent on a date and on a show-within-a-show. Not even STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP had one third show-within-a-show, though I would take a hazarded guess and say that the episode “The Disaster Show” comes close to that, although I believe most of the episode was spent with dialogue scenes between the sketches of the show-within-the-show and backstage scenes.

There is finally a kiss happening between the two.

Anyway, this was kind of an interesting episode. I was mesmerized during the seven minutes of Skyvolt, and when one scene of that show was done, I was surprised to see that there was another. Eventually I realized that the show-within-a-show (I should stop using that phrase) would get to its cliffhanger ending, and the viewers, as well as the Rooney family, would be watching and reacting to it afterwards, but the length of the Skyvolt bit in this episode was unreal and almost unheard of for a television show. Maybe there was not enough story for this episode? Maybe the writers planned from the beginning to have this episode end in an open fashion, so that the third season of LIV AND MADDIE would be more intriguing to the audience (and not end in a cliffhanger, like the previous season)? Maybe the writers only thought for one premise to be the topic of the episode (Joey and Willow), and decided to delay the rest until the season finale? Maybe Liv’s decision to quit her series and join her sister in college was supposed to be made harder after seven minutes of Skyvolt?

I did love the idea of the six-minute high school romance though. This should have been an SNL sketch at one point, and though I’m not aware of most of the history of SNL, I would be surprised if the show never had such a sketch during its 45-year-history, because it seems like such an obvious idea to bring to the screen. Especially the “Meeting the parents” segment was hilarious, and it could have been to die for if Karen and Pete had a five-second objection to Joey dating someone (since Joey is not known to be available for social interactions with people outside his family or Artie), just to end that segment with a hug. I also loved the entire premise, because it finally threw Joey and Willow together, and the two shared their first kiss, and … well, Joey is officially dating a girl now, or at least he was, although for only six minutes. Who would have thought that after sticking him into incredibly ridiculous stories for three seasons? I would almost wish for Willow and Joey to be romantically linked in the next season. I already know of the change of setting, so there wasn’t much for the writers to deal with to have Willow and Joey date for real in season four.

When a family sitcom turns supernatural.

Meanwhile, the decision-making scenes were not the best. Liv was chewing on the thought of moving to California, and at the end Maddie was chewing on the thought whether to stay or go, because her original decision relied on Liv’s even earlier decision. At least the twins weren’t self-centered, though this (or the next) episode could have been the moment for one of them to take the necessary step and do something just for themselves and not with the other twin in the back of the mind. Liv wants to be Skyvolt, so she should have moved to California. Maddie wanted to be at SCSU, so she should have immediately taken the phone and accepted the scholarship (especially after Maddie told Liv to follow her heart — is this something Maddie was not ready to do herself just yet?). The fact that both twins were headed to California at the same time was a lucky coincidence and obviously the forced conflict of the narrative leading us to the next half hour that is also the season finale, but it’s also sort of inconsistent with how the characters really felt about their future.

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.