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

Season 4, Episode 8
Date of airing: January 13, 2017 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.046 million viewers, 0.19 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.16 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.56 rating with Females 12-34, 0.19 rating with Adults 25-54

It was a pretty good episode, but I was wondering for a second if the inclusion of anti-stereotype storylines were a sign of not being highly interested in serialized storytelling and instead turning the final season of the show into a “morale of the story” series, in which the morale is intended to break stereotypical barriers only. It’s especially noteworthy right now, because the writers pretty much stopped whatever serialized elements (mostly the romantic relationships) they’ve had during the first three seasons. But I don’t really care about the answer, because LIV AND MADDIE successfully continued its mission to be more inclusive with females, and this time around in two storylines, not just in Liv’s storyline because she happened to feel the need to fight the stereotypes due to her Hollywood stardom persona and her role model status with fictional young girls and potentially real-life young girls (although I have no idea how much of an actual role model Dove Cameron has been ever since she starred in LIV AND MADDIE).

It’s the greatest interspecies love story of television!

I especially liked in Liv’s story that even Zack realized at one point that it was a good idea to have females included in things that might be of interest to boys only. The moment when a door opened in his mind, and all of a sudden he was overcome by all these new ideas for stories, after he realized that girls can be into cars as well was great, and it’s a moment I would love to see in more TV shows than just the ones who happen to focus on women due to their premise. The car construction premise of Liv’s story was also great, because for once one of the main characters was affected by their friendship with another character, even if it was just a helpful back story to a plot device in an episode. I didn’t get the feeling it had been the case before, but now it looks like Andie has made quite an impression with Liv, though I also believe the writers just took that little tidbit and made it part of Liv’s character, because it was needed for the progressive storyline here. What the story could have done better though was the way the race was depicted. It seemed like it was a scene for the ages, though it should have taken three seconds only — also, halfway down the wooden track, both cars were pretty much nose to nose, but when the finish line was shown, the girls’ cars seemed to have had an advantage of a mile. Also, because of the show’s repeated breaking of stereotypical barriers, it was quite predictable that the girls would win the race, so no surprises here. During the Sing It Louder!! scene though, all I could think of was that Liv’s character walked away with the cake and left the two girls by themselves.

Meanwhile, Maddie and Willow’s story was good enough, though the ending of it was predictable as well. There were about fifty sombrero hat names on the wall, and I was expecting for one of the girls to realize that one of the stereotypical male names were also female names, or for both girls to have missed that one of the sombrero hats on the wall actually belonged to a girl. It was Maddie who noticed that there were no female names on the wall, and I couldn’t imagine her being that blind during that scene. But whatever, it led to a hilarious story, when she and Willow were facing the five most dangerous peppers, almost dying in the process of eating them while also both competing against each other and at the same time trying to win this for all of the women of the world. I would have loved to see them act out eating all five peppers, since there definitely was some physical comedy hidden in that plot, yet the two actors (or the writers) didn’t make use of it. Someone like Melissa McCarthy would have used that opportunity to go nuts with the story.

Which pops out first — their eyes or the hot pepper in their mouth?

And finally, there was the pelican storyline. The image of a pelican standing on Joey was amusing to me, but the rest was super boring. There was no moment of pelicans taking a dump on Joey (it was such an obvious scene and a definite laugh, but nothing happened), there was no moment of the pelican kinda trying to destroy the house, because … Well, it’s a huge bird, it could have at least smacked over a lamp or something. The story felt very cautious about having a live bird on set, which is probably why the producers didn’t do anything meaningful with it. It almost looked like having Joey Bragg be under the pelican was the most dangerous stunt of the episode already, so they cut short the rest of the potentially great comedic storyline.

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

Season 4, Episode 7
Date of airing: January 6, 2017 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.422 million viewers, 0.28 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.25 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.67 rating with Adults 25-54, 0.26 rating with Adults 50+

Parker has a girlfriend, Joey is a standup comedian, and Liv turned into her mother by giving her little bro some girl advice. I can appreciate that this season depicted the characters in a more mature fashion, and the writers trying to place the characters into a mature world, in which careers can be made, relationships can be built, and not everything was hinging on performances in a class room fronted by a teacher giving out grades, which makes this season feel very much different from the rest of the show, and I am starting to get why the show was relocated to the West Coast and got a one and a half new characters. With Maddie in college, the change between college storylines (like Rory Gilmore’s story arc at Yale) and high school storylines would have been too drastic for a Disney Channel sitcom, which is probably why the show decided not to depict Maddie in college at all and have it just randomly mentioned once or twice. But with one main character in college and the other one following a Hollywood career, it was more difficult to keep the tone of high school storylines in the show. Ruby certainly didn’t get depicted in her high school setting (because she happens to be following a Hollywood career as well), which means the two boys were the only ones being planted into high school storylines. But then the high school happened to be creepy BOOMS. In a way, the Ridgewood setting would into have been fitting for Liv acting out her career, Maddie in college, and Joey probably trying to grow into adulthood.

Why is it always meatball sauce that is being used as a weapon on this show?

The episode was pretty good. I was surprised (and then I was not) that the episode had an entire three-minute stand-up scene for Joey, which kind of worked for him as a character. It might not have been a lough-out-loud stand-up, but his jokes were fitting for his character, and if Joey were to become an actual comedian, he could win by having sets that were true to himself. No fake or elaborated stories, instead just things that happened to him, or feelings that he had about his situations — things and feelings that happen to be funny. I would almost hope Joey would continue to follow that route for the rest of the show, and not just because it would create a distance from his terrible Falcon persona at BOOMS. Anyway, I was surprised that the writers took this story quite seriously. The talk between Joey and Maddie was as close to a break-up scene between Maddie and [insert boyfriend], and I have never seen Joey being taken this seriously in the show before. Has he finally become a real character in LIV AND MADDIE? Were his days of being a 5-year-old child for 15 years of his life finally over? Has he become a real character now, after me bitching about his childish behavior for three seasons?

Meanwhile, I found Parker’s story to be cute. The question whether he asked Val out to the dance or to the chemistry challenge brought nice tension into the plot, and for about ten minutes, Parker’s future was relying on how Val was interpreting Parker’s question. Unfortunately the ending of that story was very much predictable. When she came around the corner with the lab coat, I knew she would have a dress hiding under it, because it would simply be too mean for Parker to be blown off (or to see the episode’s title with its double meaning: Parker getting stood up) like that. And who knows, maybe Val will be a more important recurring character now. After all, she kind of is Parker’s girlfriend now. She can’t just be written out of the show like Willow was at the beginning of the season, because that would be a bit dumb.

Date night for teenagers.

And finally, Karen and Aunt Dena were involved in a story, and I didn’t care at all. The writers tried, but Ruby has still not become an intriguing character. The conflict between Karen and Dena about plugging holes into young girls’ ears was weird to me (at least the young girls were of age to know what was happening — iI know stories where that wasn’t the case), and there wasn’t any kind of conflict for the characters themselves. Karen wanted to metaphorically bitchslap her sister, and Dena just wanted her peace. Maybe this should have been the A plot, just to have made it more meaningful? Maybe Dena should have been a main character, so she was more likable in this story?

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

Season 4, Episode 6
Date of airing: December 2, 2016 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.087 million viewers, 0.24 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.20 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.53 rating with Females 12-34, 0.23 rating with Adults 25-54

It’s the final Christmas episode of the series, and I definitely won’t miss those, although I will be entertained when I decide to rewatch them come Christmas time. Also, it’s also another weird Californian Christmas episode, and I still can’t get into them. During all of the Christmases in my life, I have been living in cities in which the possibilities of a white Christmas were great, although barely happening (especially now, due to global warming and all that jazz). Okay, Vancouver’s chances of a white Christmas were lower than Berlin’s chances, but at least it was actual winter. Celebrating Christmas in the summer though? Weird as hell. How are Australians doing that year after year?

The episode was pretty much okay. The writers returned an additional couple of characters from the old Stevens Point days, and both of them made this episode felt like part of the pre-California version of LIV AND MADDIE, which I still want back instead of seeing this weird California mash-up of hotness and the Disney Channel. Nimbus was as dumb as he always has been, but this time around it felt like he was more a family friend of the Rooneys than before, which had something of a nice touch. Though I really did not need his crude singing at the end of the episode, having Nimbus be part of the Rooney family Christmas celebration felt great, especially since Gemma was missing in this equation. Nimbus guy has been married to that girl for at least half a year now, so they could have spent this Christmas with the Rooneys together. If not for all of Nimbus’s story, at least at the end, when they were Christmas carolling. It turns out that Nimbus was celebrating Christmas without his wife during this episode, and that is even weirder than a California Christmas.

Todd Stetson’s presents for you are his muscles and abs.

Meanwhile, Diggie came back to make sure that the viewers wouldn’t forget that Maddie has been in a long-distance relationship with him all of these episodes. Please notice that the writers didn’t even go into the difficulties of a long-distance relationship at all, including at least a scene or two in which Maddie mentioned her relationship, or tried to have one in the first place — a phone call would have sufficed, maybe even the depiction of her writing an e-mail. I knew that Diggie was out of the season, because Ryan McCartan was busy starring in FOX’s ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW movie event, but that didn’t mean the writers were forced to forget everything about Maddie and Diggie and never have him mentioned again. In addition, the two were definitely not much in a relationship. They saw each other for the first time after a long while, and the only thing they could do was hugging each other out like it was the world hugging championship. Maddie should be 19 right now (the sweet-16 episode was in the first season, so this is where I get my timeline from), and she didn’t even kiss Diggie out in the open as soon as the two saw each other? Why was the Disney Channel so goddamn conservative with their fictional teenage characters?

Holding hands is the precursor to porn for the Disney Channel.

I liked Parker’s story though. Finally he got a chance to interact with Ruby, and now Joey is the only one who still needed shared screentime with the young cousin. But when Parker accepted the challenge of giving Ruby a snow day, I was actually hoping he would create an entire winter for Los Angeles, or at least for the students at BOOMS (so, Ruby is a high school student? I would have thought she was still in middle school), so that the entire school would have a snow day (no story is too crazy for Parker), and the writers would have recreated the failure of his weather machine, which once created a storm inside the Rooney house back in Wisconsin. At the end, Parker gave Ruby her own little Christmas present, and it was kind of cute.

Less cute was Joey’s story. Once more, he wasn’t allowed to win (or simply couldn’t), and once more, he had to screw it all up by being the Disney Channel version of the Grinch. By the way, Todd was the third character coming from Stevens Point, but since he was just a shirtless and useless plot device in this episode, I quickly forgot him when I listed the Wisconsin returnees. Also, what a way to sex up a Christmas storyline, by having a sexy male hunk dance without a shirt, while in the meantime two teenagers in love can’t share a real kiss.

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

Season 4, Episode 5
Date of airing: November 25, 2016 (Disney Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 1.240 million viewers, 0.22 rating with Adults 18-49,0.20 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.55 rating with Females 12-34, 0.21 rating with Adults 25-54

I think this was the first actually good episode of the show. Joey’s Falcon ruse is starting to fall apart and with it he actually made a real friend for once with Finch, giving one of the two black kids of this episode the opportunity to be a recurring character with depth, and I was amused by the other two storylines of the episode, including the repeat of Parker’s tunnel-digging days — a story that wasn’t needed, but the writers apparently realized that the show changed way too much from the first three seasons, so they had to continue bringing in elements from the Stevens Point days. And the thought of Parker having created tunnels under the ocean was kind of hilarious. If you ever need to build an underwater station quickly, get this guy, because he does it for cheap and he does it with speed. But Parker will probably make most of his money digging tunnels under Orange Hitler Donald Trump’s glorious border wall, if it ever gets erected.

Busted!

I also started to notice that I’m liking the Sing It Louder!! (the two exclamation points have to be here!!) plot more and more. Liv’s efforts to make friends out of Ruby and Priya was a cute storyline, and I nearly loved every second of it. The only thing I didn’t like about it was Liv not having had any stakes in the story. She wasn’t even chasing her own past, when thinking about how great her friendship with South Salamanca was, because the whole best friends thing between Ruby and Priya wasn’t at all about Liv. It almost felt like Liv was something of a goddess persona for the two young girls, after they found themselves as best friends by the end of the episode because Liv was pushing for it for some reason. But yeah, there were no stakes at all. Liv didn’t even pay for the damage of the table or for the stage light, which might have been more expensive than the table, because who really cares about a table from Scotland? With Priya being one of the best friends of one of the main characters of this season, that means Priya is one of the recurring characters with depth, right? It better be, because the show needs a couple of faces from the Hollywood minority.

Finch had been a recurring character already, but this episode established himself as a more important character in Joey’s life. Not only did he learn about Falcon’s true identity (does that make Joey something of a superhero with a secret alter ego?), but for the first time this season I realized that there might actually be some friendship between Joey and Finch, or for Joey to make an actual friend and not just play his new character that brings him popularity at BOOMS. In the meantime, Skeeter was introduced as Joey’s nemesis, which means the writers were looking for a replacement for Artie — because why the hell not? Skeeter didn’t work for me though, because he looked and sounded like he was playing the same kind of role Joey has been playing ever since he created the Falcon persona. I could almost imagine that, as soon as Skeeter realized he cannot win against Falcon, he will bring in Joey as a confidante and tell him that his Skeeter persona is as fake as the ocean view behind the BOOMS set. Anyway, I laughed when a super computer came shooting out of Finch’s locker. BOOMS became a little less creepy, because the writers focused a little more on the hilarity of the idea of BOOMS and how it’s so focused on technology and science.

You’re not a tech nerd when you don’t have a desktop setup in your locker.

And finally, the resurgence of the tunnels. Seriously, how did Parker even manage to build tunnels within five episodes? How did he even finance the security of these tunnels? I know, I shouldn’t watch out for logic in this show, but sometimes the writers just threw some ideas into the script, and they didn’t even wait to see what was still sticking after 30 minutes. Still, I laughed a second time in this episode, when Parker brought out the final shovel from Maddie’s back. That was a moment of true comedic genius right there. It is a simple joke and it works all the time. Every time I watch LAST ACTION HERO and Jack Slater gets one gun after another out of his pants (plus a knife, plus a grenade!), I have to laugh.

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?