WARNING (again): This page is LAVA. There are MAJOR SPOILERS HERE.
This page is going to be mostly a play-by-play of my reactions and reflections on each episode.
Ep 1: Kristy’s Great Idea
So, it kind of sucks to be at a point in my life where I can feel both the child’s and the adult’s pain. On the one hand, yeah, it would suck to be “asked” for your opinion on your parent’s plan to bring a new adult into the family, only to be told they already made the decision and only “checked with you” as a formality. I totally get how powerless Kristy feels.
On the other hand, yeah, Elizabeth doesn’t need anyone’s permission to get married. That’s Feminist 101. Of course she’d take her kids’ views into consideration if there was anything truly objectionable about Watson, but in the end, she’s the grown-up and she gets to decide this for herself.
I do kind of miss the awkward fondue scene, but I only just remembered it as I was writing this, so I guess it’s not such a glaring omission.
Also, Holy Unprofessionalism, Kristy….you’re lucky Watson is such a devoted self-appointed PR manager, because you could’ve tanked your whole business with that first phone call.
Ep 2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls
Don’t you love it when parents are like, “Ahhhh, ok, we were being unreasonable in our overbearing expectations of you as an individual with your own strengths and weaknesses, and we really do love you for who you are…but yeah, you’re still grounded because lying about your test scores is wrong.”
Also, Karen is the MOST ADORABLY HILARIOUS SPOOKY KID EVER. I mean, if you did the lighting and the background music a little different, this could totally be a horror scene. Except she’s way too adorable!!!
Ep 3: The Truth About Stacey
Wow. This Mean Girl Agency is next level. They make Regina George look sweet.
Anyway…have the good people of Stonybrook really never heard of diabetes? And was that Watson, joining in the worried whispering during the Truth Meeting? Nah, I’m gonna say he was annoyedly whispering about the other parents: “Can you believe these people, Liz? It’s diabetes, not a meth addiction!”
Ok, yes, I can buy that there’d be one or two people who don’t know, and who might legit be worried about leaving their kids with a thirteen-year-old who, from their p.o.v., might have a medical emergency at any moment. But come on, is Dr. Johanssen really the only adult who knows how diabetes actually works?
Ep 4: Mary-Anne Saves The Day
THIS IS THE EPISODE THAT RAISED THE SHOW TO A 10 OUT OF 5. First of all, Dawn is awesome. Second, Morbidda Destiny is an actual fleshed-out character with a strong sense of humor. Third, I love Mary-Anne’s comment about how some people want to feel emotions while others want to solve them, and isn’t that just the cause of so many conflicts in life?
But most importantly, I love how non-chalant this show is about what could have been a heavy-handed Very Special Episode. The show is already so representative anyway, so when episode 4 introduces a transgender child, it’s really not that big of a deal. Yeah, Dawn and Mary Anne have a conversation about what it means to be transgender, but it feels like natural dialogue, not a lengthy Teaching Moment.
On the other hand, yes, Mary-Anne’s stand-up moment at the hospital got me totally choked up. It was the Tearfulest of Tearful Moments. It apparently got the doctor and nurse choked up, too, because their expressions and quick exits were like, “We are the biggest jerks ever and we’re going to fix this ASAP.”
My headcanon is that, off-screen, Kristy makes a point to change her policy of not letting parents specify which babysitter they want, because obviously Mrs. Delvecchio had a legit reason for wanting to bring only one new person into Bailey’s life for a while.
That said, going back to the nonchalance, I love how the whole community is, like, “Well, duh! Of course Bailey’s a girl and of course Mary-Anne was right to defend her! Moving on, now!” In other words, there’s really no controversy in this episode. Two people make a mistake and atone for it immediately, while the rest of the community carries on as though it’s just a Tuesday.
Ep 5: Dawn and the Impossible Three
All I’m gonna say is that Sharon is an awesome mom. Yes, she’s absentminded. Yes, she’s free-spirited. And she will PUT HER FOOT DOWN when another parent legit neglects her own children and expects Dawn to clean up after her. There’s no uncomfortable compromise at the end of this. Sharon tells Mrs. Barrett to get her ish together before she calls in another babysitter.
Ep 6: Claudia and Mean Janine
Did I say ep 4 was the Tearfulest? Yeah, no. It’s this one. This one was tough, and I can’t find the words right now.
Ep 7: Boy-crazy Stacey
Yep, the lifeguard is still a borderline creep for flirting with a 12-year-old, and I’m positive someone connected with this show either listens to or is otherwise connected to the podcast. Why else would they throw in that line about Stacey being “a very special mollusk”? *whispers* Seafood Theory is real.
Ep 8: Kristy’s Big Day
Oh hai, Judy Blume moment! Also, Karen. Also, how much money does Watson have to throw around??? On that note, I love when characters get to be complicated and wrestle with their own values. Kristy makes such a big point about economic inequalities and how no one should take luxury for granted, but then she has a chance to throw money at an inconvenience and she takes it, and realizes how uncomfortable it is to be called out. And also, did I ever mention how much I love a good dance party ending? I don’t know why, but “Boom, Clap” is just such a perfect Friendship Outtro.
Ep 9: Welcome to Moosehead, Part 1
Oh. My goddess. Dawn doing the Mockingjay salute for Claudia was the Second Greatest Moment in this whole show. And OH HAI LAINE CUMMINGS AWKWARD REUNION IS AWKWARD. And does anyone else remember that 90s Disney Channel show, Flash Forward? I’m having major flashbacks to an episode involving morning announcement shenanigans (apologies for the video quality…it’s the only one I can find, so far).
Ep 10: Welcome to Moosehead, Part 2
This episode pretty much sums up the essence of this utopia. Because even the “villain” is never truly a villain. You can always tell she REALLY CARES and she’s been doing this for SO LONG and she’s SO TIRED and she’s got a dang TOOTHACHE, and when you’re an adult you kind of HAVE TO BE UNFAIR SOMETIMES…until the moment she realizes her insistence on handling everything herself has put a child in danger and she’s like, “Oh, god, no, of course that’s terrible! Some things are definitely more important than money! Rock on with the free art classes!”
And yes, they did end with a re-enactment of the cover of Super Special #2.
You may all bow down before the Princess of the Prince of Towns and her Netflix minions.
Claudia’s wearing a bra now, and the way she talks, you would think that beautifully updated literary adaptations with wholesome 21st-century messages that make you feel just a little more optimistic about life in general had Just. Been. Invented.