Recap Review: iCarly

iCARLY: Season 2, Volume 1

I know what you’re thinking: How come Raked spends so much time covering Disney Channel shows, when she doesn’t even glance at anything on Nickelodeon? Well, that’s all about to change. Not only have I watched an entire two-disk DVD set of iCarly that, yes, included an iCarly movie (where they go to Japan), but I even have True Jackson VP waiting for me to take a gander at for a later Recap Review.

Yes, tweens, you can all start celebrating.

Not that I’ll particularly try to catch new episodes online. At least not on purpose. We’ll see.

Anyway, I had been curious about this show for a while. Not because I tend to watch a lot of tween TV (which I do, unless Demi Lovato and Jonas Brothers is on it–which automatically raises Nick up in the rankings), but because I knew this show in particular is the main competitor against Hannah Montana. Do you Hannah or do you Carly?

Now, I will say this: I was able to sit down and watch the entire two-disk set in one sitting. True, I was doing other things while I watched, but I didn’t feel the need to turn on something else and I got up to switch disks, so clearly, it’s watchable.

And I enjoyed the characters. It took me a while to get used to Sam. She seemed a little over-the-top, but you know, that’s just how she’s supposed to be. A little more tomboy than, say, Lily of HM, but eventually quite enjoyable.

I most enjoyed Carly’s brother Spencer. Now, since I’m coming into this series a little late, I’m not actually sure why she’s living with her brother (maybe you can fill me in), but I liked him. Especially the running gag that everything he touches seems to light on fire. Now, that’s something that could easily fall under the lame-o joke category, but since it was so sporadic, I liked it.

What I didn’t like was the iCarly web show. I didn’t check to see if the real iCarly website hosted the web show they put together. But to me, it wasn’t very funny. Maybe I’m just too old.

I also can’t quite believe that their web show would be that popular. Sending them to Japan? Winning in Japan (though making them perform to find out if they won seems kinda ridiculous–base it on the show, people)? Getting so many hits that they get responses with money?

But I did appreciate that they grabbed up a trend: the fact that kids are turning to the internet for entertainment. They even made a joke, as they watched America Sings and another commercial break confronted them: “This is why kids are watching things on the internet!” I paraphrase, of course.

Anyway, it wasn’t a bad introduction to the show. One could even say I enjoyed it. I don’t really know whether I’ll think to just toss in the DVD later, but the first round was ok.

So way to go, Nick. I can now see why your Carly and Hannah are at odds.

Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: The Movie

If you’re wondering, yes, I did enjoy the Wizards of Waverly Place movie. It’s not that I thought it would be bad, but it’s a Disney Channel original movie. I’m not exactly the biggest fan these days.

But I enjoyed it.

Why? Well, honestly, I had no idea this movie would delve into the sibling relationship between Justin and Alex so much. I mean, it did get a little cheesy at times, how much they were confessing so much to each other about their insecurities, but it was nice at the same time. The fact that Justin felt the entire time that Alex would win the wizard training–did that seem new to anyone else? That he felt that he wasn’t anyone without powers, despite how smart he was in every other area. There’s always been a competition between him and Alex, but it seemed new that he said as much out loud.

What interested me the most were the flaws in Justin’s magic. His stone bridge looked so precise, yet a pebble made it collapse. He fell in quicksand. He didn’t win the competition in the end. It was refreshing to see him fall from the magical pedestal.

Yet it was Alex who was able to think on her feet and make things happen (even though it was her fault that they were going through all of this). She won the wizard competition–but you know, then what? All that knowledge might not have helped her win the competition, but then what? She had nothing to keep her going. All the family magic was in her hands, but she was useless. Strengths in both strategies, I guess.

But how heartbreaking was it to see Justin’s face when he lost? More so, when Alex crumbled after she discovered that Justin’s married was gone and then he was swept up in the magic tornado.

I’m curious to see who will really win when they have the next competition. Considering how successful this movie was, I can entirely see this being a feature film (though I have no solid backup on that). Will Justin really win, though? Or will Alex win again? What about Max?

Well, somehow I bet it will be a loophole, where the law changes and all three keep their magic. But then again, we’ll have to see.

Other thoughts on the movie:

  • Interesting to see that Justin’s dad did everything that Justin did–quicksand, rock bridge–but for some reason the rock bridge worked for him. I wonder why.
  • My assumption is that memories were wiped faster the least magic you had. Hence why they went Max then Justin (after he lost all his magic in the competition). If they went in order (like Back to the Future tells us), it’d be Justin, Alex, Max.
  • When Max was swept away, gotta give props to the mom. That was an emotional moment because of her.
  • The parrot part was a little ridiculous. When she turned back into one and coughed up feathers? Or even when she wore the stone as a necklace? How did she not realize it was missing? The minute she turned back around and didn’t have it, I noticed. It wasn’t like it was in her pocket.
  • As much as I enjoyed seeing Steve Valentine back on TV, it did make me sad that he was making his appearance in this movie. Loved him in Crossing Jordan. At least he got a larger role and the street magician bit part wasn’t the whole of it.
  • Would they have really walked off together in the end after Giselle betrayed him? Doubt it.
  • Baaaaad CGI. Bad, bad CGI!
  • The statement “Ready, set, magic” was lame.
  • Only Selena Gomez could make the competition outfit look good. I mean, really. Look at David Henrie.

But overall, a fun movie. While I was surprised at the extremes of brattiness Alex went through at the beginning of the movie, I was moved at how she was brought closer to her family, and hey, I even laughed now and then. So there you go: success.

The ‘Waverly Place’ Vampires, Parts III and IV

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: “Wizards vs. Vampires: Dream Date”
WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: “Wizards & Vampires vs. Zombies”

The problem with taking a trip (say, like my recent trip to Chicago) is missing some big new episodes of shows that I’ve been keeping track of. Say, my Wizards of Waverly Place vs. Vampires series. Fortunately, through a combination of TiVo and Disney reruns, I was able to catch up.

So I finally get to catch up on my last two posts, to finish the four-parter!

Now, my one complaint is that not much happened in the third part. As advertised, Justin had to decide whether to go on a family vacation with his vampire girlfriend Juliet, but the majority of the episode was about Alex and her boyfriend.

Using the dream hat, Alex set up perfect dates with her long-distance boyfriend (Dean, a boyfriend that we saw multiple episodes where she was trying to get together with him). Now we find out that he’s moved, and she’s still into him. Of course, once he comes into town, we find out that he’s not the Prince Charming that Alex had hoped and that they would break up because of it.

And that’s basically the episode. I think this could easily have been a non-vampires episode, but here it was, in the four-parter.

Meanwhile, the fourth part was right in the thick of it, where Justin was trying to impress Juliet with his prom plan–of course, while Alex was planning the anti-prom with zombies (real zombies unintentional). This fit in much more with the theme, what with Justin trying to figure out how to make his prom special for Juliet when she’s attended 523 other proms, if I recall the number correctly.

His choice was a serenade, which didn’t go over all that well since his nerves got in the way. Oh, and zombies. Did I mention the zombies?

Real zombies accidentally got invited to Alex’s antiprom, which meant havoc for the invitees. The way to beat them? A dance-off, of course!

Sadly, there was no “Thriller,” but the dance-off did show off some vampire teeth, wicked moves, and dismembered limbs. Seriously? The zombies are defeated because most of them couldn’t handle dancing? Their bodies fell apart? Wow.

But hey, at least there was dancing, and that was fun. And I did appreciate all the slow-but-creepy zombie talk. Why are zombies so creepy even though they’re so slow? Hmm.

I don’t know what I think about Wizards falling to the prey of the vampire trend and the zombie fans, but hey at least it’s passed. But then again, Justin’s still with Juliet, so is it really? Will we find out that, like Dean, she’s suddenly moved away? But they’ve said they love each other, so…

Anyway, the series was cute. Not sure why it was a four-parter. I think a two-parter would have done the job, since Juliet’s parents made an appearance in the first two episodes and not the last, but that’s Disney for you. But can you really complain when there’s dancing, new mystical creatures, and a new crush for Harper?

I’m sure some of you can, but I won’t. It’s a cute show. I’ll leave it at that.

The ‘Waverly Place’ Vampires, Part II

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: “Wizards vs. Vampires on Waverly Place, Part II”

What’s there to say about the second installment of Wizards of Waverly Place? It wasn’t that dramatic. I guess considering that this is a four-parter, I just expected each episode to be action packed and moving.

But this one seemed rather tame, at least compared to the previews for the episode. Yes, Harper and Alex were at risk of being a vampire meal, but it was rather anticlimactic. I mean, I thought that they were going to somehow trap them there, not just have them there so anyone could walk in and save them.

But it was a funny episode. Definitely more Alex-centric. Add in Max’s silliness with the pumpkin, and there’s a decent episode for the kids. Plus, Justin entered in a tank and the studio audience went wild, so I guess there’s something for the tweens watching, too.

I did appreciate the very very ’80s workout-wear. Those were some intensely neon tights.

Anyway, I guess I probably wouldn’t have noticed this episode if it weren’t so hyped. In fact, it would have been a fine episode if it hadn’t had the previews it did. Hmmm.

In other news, two things. First, the saga isn’t over. We have the third part next week. In fact, I would have thought that that one was the last one. I mean, the first one was really long, so I thought that was just two parts aired together. But no, I just looked at the episode that airs after next week. The one that airs August 14. Wait for it…

Wizards and Vampires vs. Zombies

Do you wish I were kidding? You know, I really should just blame myself. I mean, I did comment in the post for Part I that there is some underappreciated magic creatures. Apparently, those creatures are zombies (though they seem rather appreciated to me).

Anyway, it should be…interesting? That’s a big twist to me. Definitely surprises me.

In other news, did anyone notice how Disney decided to take its own version of vampire lore? The fact that not only garlic repells them, but pumpkins, too. According to the show, pumpkins were originally put outside on Halloween to keep vampires away. If you’ll notice, wikipedia doesn’t concur.

Ironically, in Balkan lore, pumpkins could actually become vampires. How’s that for getting something backwards? I mean, how could they be repelled by what they were originally from. Not that I think Disney really needs to start studying their Balkan vampire lore, but it is an interesting coincidence that these vampires fear what the Balkans claim they once were.

Sorry, that was a bit off topic (but you should read that link, it’s interesting). But in a long-winded way, I’m basically saying that there wasn’t much here of an episode. I’m not sure if I can handle two more episodes with fangs–lisps are starting to become more and more prevalent. But hey, I’ll see how next week goes. Wizards is a fun show. Won’t hurt, right?

The ‘Waverly Place’ Vampires, Part I

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: “Wizards vs. Vampires on Waverly Place, Part I”

Much like the rest of the entertainment industry, Disney Channel has fallen to the prey of the vampire obsession. But what show could they put vampires in? If only they had some sort of supernatural show where they’ve featured wizards and werewolves…

Hmm…

Oh, hey, what about Wizards of Waverly Place?

That they did. Vampires have moved in and started their own all-night sandwich shop, which is driving customers away from the Russo’s business. Of course, I wonder, if they sleep during the day (and I’m assuming they do), wouldn’t they be closed then? Wouldn’t the wizards be ok during the day?

Not that that’s really the issue at hand. Though perhaps I can see the compromise that they’ll come to reach later about the sandwich shops–that is if the vampires stick around.

Anyway, the real issue was Justin wanting to date the vampires’ daughter Juliet. (By the way, I don’t now if Shakespeare would have written Romeo and Juliet if he was aware how everyone would butcher the general premise so many centuries later.) Sadly, it didn’t really grab my attention.

I’m a big fan of Alex. Honestly, her delivery of lines and great use of sarcasm really carry the show. And she was really under-used in this first part of the four-hour (what?!)-long episode. It was really about Justin. Not that that’s bad, but usually with Justin’s plots, Alex helps him do something that they have to fix. There was very little that she did.

And there really wasn’t anything original about the premise. Parents don’t like who you’re dating. Then they turn around. The end.

But let’s divert. Let’s talk about the issue of the year: the representation of vampires. What’s most interesting about the various uses of vampires in TV and movies is the different way that the creatures are depicted based on legend. Unfortunately, this show seemed to ignore it. Sure, they sleep in coffins. They drink blood. Apparently, they take a while to grow fangs, since Juliet doesn’t have them yet. And they’re awake at night. And for the most part, they wear black. Oh, and some apparently live in their graves. Oh, and they can put people to sleep with a simple phrase.

That part was new, but nothing else was really discussed. Are they “vegetarian” vampires, only drinking non-human blood? Juliet must be since she drinks out of a glass. Her parents mentioned that they drank a human, but what now? I know this will actually be discussed in the second half (I’ve seen the previews), but I wouldn’t mind knowing more now. There is the idea that their faces look like rot until they drink some blood–that’s new, but again, how do her parents do it? Did they drink someone first thing in the morning? Or a glass of blood?

Personally, I’m actually a little sad that the Twilights and True Bloods have made me curious about how Disney vampires adapt to society. Oh well.

Anyway, I feel like the premise could have been a little more interesting. And I’m not sure why this was four hours long. I think that the next episode could very well be much more interesting–Harper and Alex in danger, Juliet growing her fangs. I almost wish they had just stuck with that half.

But hey, at least we have Anne Ramsay back in TV. Yeah, she played Jamie’s sister in Mad About You. Remember that show, any tweenagers out there? No? Sad.

*Sorry there’s no episode number. That was hard to track down.

What the heart wants

HANNAH MONTANA: 3.18-3.19 “He Could Be the One, Parts 1 and 2″

I didn’t see this episode live. I saw it in rerun a bit after it aired, so sorry for the delayed post. I can never tell when Hannah Montana airs new episodes, now that I tend to avoid the Disney Channel because Demi Lovato is taking over. Not that I’ll avoid it completely. I have to check out the Wizards of Waverly Place movie.

Poor Jackson. He’s older now, yet is still forced to be the comic relief. What’s worse? That means solely partnering him up with Rico, even in the episodes where neither one of them fit. And at first, I really thought their song-and-dance narration was a bit ridiculous. Ok, I still done, but at least they were neat and original by trying to include as many different types of music as possible in their narration. Including Hannah herself at the end.

Does anyone else wonder why Jackson is so comfortable cross-dressing in sparkly gear? I do.

Anyway, this episode was advertised as Hannah dating a bad boy to convince her dad to let her date Jake. That…wasn’t exactly what happened. That was her plan, but instead, she was just stuck in her own love triangle that backfired. Personally, I think that could have worked a little better if she had gone on a “fake” date and fell for him anyway, but that’s just my opinion.

In the end, I didn’t really understand why she chose Jake. They didn’t really make him look better, and I think they tried to play up Jesse a little too much–just to reach the final fakeout. I mean, when the picture fell in her lap, that’s really who we thought she would choose, right? Well, I guess we were wrong.

I’m a big Jake fan, personally. I’ve wanted her with him for a while, so I would have really been irritated to find out after the fact that she chose someone else. But when she was actually starting to choose, where were the reasons we’d choose Jake?

I feel like they really need to rebuild him. I mean, I don’t think we ever left him on a negative note, and his plea to Robbie Ray behind the surfboard was adorable. But beyond that, he just seemed…boring.

Honestly, the highlight of the episode was Lily. Lily’s backtracking after commenting on the other guys–always to put Oliver in a good light–was great. Her slight insults surrounded in padding, the fact that she always like Oliver the most, the fact that Lola was single despite her love for Oliver… All of this was fantastic. She was really the highlight.

The other thing I appreciated was how they referenced past episodes. The kitty sweater. When Miley went to Florida without telling Robbie Ray. It really did feel like a big episode for the series.

Which I guess is why I was so disappointed with the content. I mean, I got what I wanted; Miley is with Jack. Er, well, Hannah is with Jake. Sure, Miley is, too, but to Jesse and anyone else, it’s Hannah who has the boyfriend, not Miley. I wonder if this will cause trouble for the writers later or if they’ll just ignore that little fact. Hmmm. I think it’d be interesting to see the two in the press, but I imagine they’ll just ignore it.

Anyway, it was a ho-hum episode plotwise. Pretty standard. Play boy or old reliable? It’s the neverending teen drama question. And there was new music in the episode, too, you know? So it wasn’t a whole loss.

Just overall ho-hum. Nothing fantastic, nothing bad. I can’t complain. I was still entertained by one-liners and the show itself. But an hour devoted to the episode? I’m not sure it needed that. Maybe that was the problem. An hour tends to mean big events, big drama! I’m not sure it came to that.

Oh and one last question: Why would her mother videotape herself giving Miley advice as if she wasn’t going to be there? Do we know how her mother died? Did she know it was coming? I mean, why else would you make a video assuming your daughter was growing up without you? What a sad thing to think about…

Be ashamed. Be very ashamed.

It’s painful really. The tweenagers are basically taking over the classic milestones of our times and making it their own…in a very painful way. You think it’s just movies, right?

No.

They’ve taken music now. Check out the new Disney version of “U Can’t Touch This.” Yes, that’s the one by MC Hammer. Except…not.

Um, what? Skateboarding as the representation of badass? Seriously?

Is it the baby version? Or should we expect a newer version with kids in diapers in a playpen? This is basically doing the job. Now, it doesn’t sound like they’re changing the lyrics, but sadly, I don’t have it memorized and can’t verify right now (I refuse to listen that closely to this piece of garbage). But has anyone heard of context? They basically slapped a kickass artist around and gave him a pacifier in bright colors for this one.

Now here’s the real deal. The original, the way it’s supposed to be.

Mad props to YouTube and Capitol Records for remembering the classics. That’s the way it should be done (pants and all).

Now, for all those ABC Familys and Disney Channels out there, can you leave our stuff alone? Some of us are proud not to be a kid in our teens and remembering the ridiculous-yet-so-cool-at-the-time things that marked the growing-up process. From 20-something to adult, we like to be remembered for the original, not the Pampers version.