Tower of Terror

Happy Halloween, Very Special Readers! I’m so excited to tell you all about one of my favorite TV movies: Tower of Terror. Originally aired on The Wonderful World of Disney in 1997, the film stars Steve Guttenberg, Kirsten Dunst, Melora Hardin, Nia Peeples, and Lindsay Ridgeway (a.k.a the second Morgan on Boy Meets World.)

This film also has the distinction of being the first of its kind in the “based-on-a-ride” series that Disney would explore with the wildly successful Pirate of the Caribbean, the much maligned Haunted Mansion, and more recently, Jungle Cruise. Filmed partially on-location at the theme park ride, the plot of the film draws its inspiration from the opening reel that riders see at the attraction before making their own journey into the fateful elevator! You can check out a making of for the theme park reel below:

Okay, now back to the movie. Miraculously, this film is available for you to watch on YouTube in its entirety. It scared the crap out of me as an elementary school kid, but I’m happy to say that I’m a lot braver in my thirties.

But I will say that the heroes of this film are like a little more dark than child-me realized. They’re grifters. Steve Guttenberg’s character, Buzzy, is a photographer who sells stages pictures of supernatural phenomenon to tabloids and his niece, Anna (Kirsten Dunst) helps him. She questions whether he ever wants to engage in legit journalism and he counters by telling her that the truth doesn’t matter. And, speaking from post-Trump America, feels bleak and prescient.

There’s also some underdeveloped romance plot where we’re not sure if Steve misses his ex-girlfriend (Nia Peeples) or just misses working at a legit paper. Was she his boss? Unclear.

Things turn spooky when a mysterious visitor shows up at Buzzy’s house — an old lady says she she lived in the Hollywood Tower Hotel when a child star disappeared in an elevator back in 1939 and KNOWS THE TRUE STORY.

If I didn’t get you with DISAPPEARED IN AN ELEVATOR then you should stop reading now because you’re definitely not going to be interested in this post.

Furthermore, this old woman shares that she saw Mrs. Partridge, who was the nanny of Sally Shine (a child actress knock-off of Shirley Temple played by the second Morgan from Boy Meets World), cast a black magic spell that made an entire elevator full of people disappear.

She insists that he take her very old set of keys and break into this very abandoned hotel — and look for a BOOK OF SOULS that will prove Mrs. Partridge was an evil witch.

Luckily, Buzzy’s career is in the crapper so he kind of has to take her up on this offer.

Buzzy goes to the hotel where he bribes the caretaker, a descendent of one of the missing elevator inhabitants, to show him around. The bellhop was the son of the hotel’s builder and, as such, he left it in his will that the property must remain closed until someone solves the mystery.

After something like two solid minutes of exploring the set and getting you all excited to go to the theme park — Buzzy does indeed find the book of souls. As Buzzy leaves the building, Mrs Partridge STICKS HER GHOSTLY HEAD OUT OF A MIRROR AND HE DOES NOT EVEN SEE IT. What kind of ghost detective are you even, Buzzy?

Anyway, he decides to stage a photo because that’s all he knows how to do. So he makes his fifteen year old niece dress up like this ten year old child star and, yes, it is as awkward as it sounds. He also hires a woman from an acting agency (Melora Hardin) to play Mrs. Partridge but the woman who shows up is wayyyy too young and also suspiciously accurate at appearing to be from the 1930s.

Before we have too much time to wonder if this actress is actually a ghost, we’re lured away by the sounds of ethereal music and the sounds of kitchen staff preparing for the big party in 1939. This quickly transitions to the spooky rendition of “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” that you’ll have heard on the Tower of Terror ride if you’ve ever been. Buzzy and Anna then see a child’s ghost singing. And Buzzy is like, yeah, this is good stuff I can go ahead and pitch it to my ex-girlfriend at the newspaper. Spoiler alert: this goes poorly.

Meanwhile, Anna and his source are discussing how the spell trapped everyone in the elevator. Their theory is that Mrs. Partridge only had an identifier for one person in the elevator (a lock of Sally’s hair) and because she didn’t have anything for the other passengers, they were all trapped in limbo in the hotel — rather than Sally just straight up being murdered which was the original intention of this spell and OMG THIS IS DARK FOR A KID’S TV MOVIE.

Anyway, they decide that if they can bring everyone back by finding their identifier items within the hotel. Buzzy is all excited that brining people back from another dimension will reinvigorate his career and Melora Hardin’s character gets all offended that he doesn’t really care about the ghosts — of which she clearly is one.

While Buzzy and one of the ghosts discuss ethics in the garden, the other adult ghosts are threatening Anna’s life inside the hotel. She tells them she only wants to help, but they tell her to get lost. Then the little girl ghost appears and asks Anna to please fix the elevator as if she were some kind of antique Otis repairman instead of a fifteen year old girl from 1997.

But somehow this does, in fact, become the plan. As they find the last of the identifiers (the actress ghost’s locket…that contains a photo of…herself…), the ghosts reveal themselves to Buzzy and Anna and ask that they leave them alone because they don’t want people to find out about them lest they be treated like zoo animals. To which, I only ask, how is this in the Hollywood Hills and no one has ever broken in and already taken all this vintage expensive shit? But no, it’s all just sitting there and the ghosts are like please don’t mention that we’re here to anyone, thank you.

The Wonderful World of Disney" Tower of Terror (TV Episode 1997) - IMDb

So anyway Buzzy and Anna convince the caretaker, who knows nothing about antique elevators, to try to fix this broken down thing so the passengers can finally get to the twelfth floor to attend this party that ended six decades earlier.

Meanwhile, Buzzy’s ex ran a background check on his source after their conversation at the paper. It turns out that his source is actually Sally Shine’s big sister. She’s been in a mental institution since 1940 and she has a beheaded doll of her little sister plus a lot of creepily desecrated photos. Once again. Super creepy for a kid’s movie. BUT it is a story. However, Buzzy has already promised the ghosts that he will help them fix the elevator.

Anna loses all respect for Buzzy. Honestly, it was amazing she ever had any to begin with.

The caretaker doesn’t want to go into the hotel without Buzzy, but Anna, the true hero of this film, pressures him into it.

The Wonderful World of Disney" Tower of Terror (TV Episode 1997) - IMDb

This is, however, a Disney movie. So Buzzy grows a heart at the last possible moment. And also realizes that he gave Sally’s sister exactly what she wanted — the book of souls. You see, all she really wanted was to make the elevator crash cause she was soooo jealousssss of Sally. And she’s so hellbent on completing the task that she’s trying again decades later. SO DARK FOR A KID’S MOVIE.

Anna catches her setting the spell and tries to stop the elevator. She pushes little Sally out of the doorway (which in the weird world of this movie works even though Sally is a ghost) and enters the elevator herself. But the ghost bellhop can’t control he elevator because it is overpowered by the spell.

As Buzzy tries to bargain with Sally’s sister, ghost Sally (not in the elevator, of course) overhears her sister talking major shit. Of course, she doesn’t recognize her because she’s old now. But Buzzy asks Sally what she’d say to her sister if she could. And Sally says she would apologize for not making it to her BIRTHDAY PARTY.

Tragically, Sally shares that she loves her sister — who she describes as her best friend — oh my GOD this is way worse as an adult. As a kid I was like “awww see there’s enough love to go around in this fam!” and as an adult I’m like “YOUR BEST FRIEND/SISTER TRIED TO KILL YOU AND IS STILL TRYING.”

Tower of Terror | Disney Movies

The good news is: Sally’s sister profusely apologizes. The bad news is: she doesn’t know how to stop the spell. So Buzzy tries to reach Anna through the escape hatch of the passenger elevator — begging her to extend herself over the 12-story elevator shaft to where he is on the freight elevator. He grabs her just before BOTH elevators begin to drop.

Thankfully, Sally Shine forgives her sister for attempted murder and this reverses the curse.

We then see the passengers (and Buzzy, Anna, the ex-girlfriend, and the caretaker) all attend the long overdue party where we see the passengers reunite with their families and disintegrate into fairy dust — which is probably the only reason this movie didn’t haunt my dreams and cause permanent emotional scaring. A little fairy dust makes a dark movie a happy memory!

Very Special Halloween Lesson: Family therapy for everyone! Also these movie characters would make for a really great group costume.

If you liked the movie, here’s some more stuff about it:

A park visitor has noted the filming locations seen in the 1997 movie:

Scarlet Johanssen was scheduled to produce a remake and for a minute with the Black Widow dispute it seemed like it wouldn’t happen…but Screen Rant says it’s still in the works!

And here’s a 20-min short documentary on the ride. Check the amazing props! TW: Kirk Cameron

Mary Poppins Makeup: The Mrs. Banks Set

I don’t own a lot of makeup, but I am a big fan of fun pop-culture related things. So sometimes I get hooked into the makeup stratosphere due to my related obsessions. That’s why I am a big fan of Bésame Cosmetics. Their collaborations are beautiful.

Their most recent line is inspired by Mary Poppins. And while titular character’s set was gorgeous but not quite my speed, I jumped right on the Mrs. Banks nail polish and lipstick duo. Not only because lipstick is the one makeup item that I do semi-regularly wear, but also because this set includes these lovely postcards inspired by Bert’s chalk drawings from the film.

If you’re into purchasing makeup for the sake of the makeup itself and not the stationary that just so happens to come with it, here is a shot of the lipstick and nailpolish:

The lipstick looks great in the tube and it has Bésame’s signature marshmallowy vanilla scent, but I haven’t tried it out yet. I did immediately paint my nails, and I found the formulation to be a bit too thin. I’m not brave enough to leave the cap off for a few minutes, so I’ll have to trust that it will thicken up on its own over time. That said, I’m not sure it’s my color anyway.

As soon as it dried I had a flashback to the time in seventh grade where I had finally vowed to talk to my crush, only to look down at my nails and realize that my new nail polish very closely matched the color of my skin. I promptly told my best friend I wouldn’t be able to go through with it because I looked like I had no fingernails at all. The I spent the rest of the day peeling off my nail polish like a good compulsive.

But oh well I’ll try a second coat and see what it looks like in the daylight. In the meantime, check out the cute packaging:

Mrs. Banks herself.
Votes for Women on the flap.

UPDATE: Turns out all the polish needed was a second coat and a little daylight! It dried into a very subtle shimmery coral. If I had to describe this color, I would call it: 2 parts ballet slippers and 1 part beach sand.

Here are some other makeup reviews I did back in the day.
Disclaimer: They, like this one, are not very professional.

Jem & The Holograms Lipstick
Minnie Mouse Lipstick

Very Special Movie: Model Behavior

I present you with the greatest Disney Channel Original Movie ever. This month’s very special movie of the month is Model Behavior. It stars Justin Timberlake and Maggie Lawson from Psych. It’s a classic tale of dream makeover, fish out of water, and total and complete lies about one’s identity. It’s kind of like The Parent Trap or Trading Places–if those movies were about winning Justin Timberlake’s love and adoration.

Alex is a plain girl with strict parents who make her go to bed early, so she can get good grades and help them with their catering business. Janine is a super model superstar with a fab life but she’s not allowed to eat fried food. Alex is aware of Janine (she’s a supermodel, duh) but she doesn’t realize that they look exactly alike (because they’re played by the same actress). When they meet at an event that Alex’s family is catering, they decide to trade places for a week.

Each girl is totally happy with her new life and everything is super boring until Alex bumps into Justin Timberlake and agrees to go out with him as Janine. Meanwhile, Janine is revitalizing Alex’s image at school with her super confidence. She even lands a date with Alex’s crush, a jerk named Eric. They end up at the same restaurant one night and are both pissed that the other is going out with a guy they think sucks–Janine because she thinks it’s all a publicity stunt and Alex because Eric wouldn’t date her before (when she was living her own life and not Janine’s). Thus, they briefly switch places again so they can have a conversation with their respective dudes.

Janine really rips Justin Timberlake a new one, and for whatever reason he doesn’t get up and leave immediately. When Alex returns to the table (as Janine) she tells him to forget whatever she just said to him because sometimes she has “moods” and it’s almost like she is “bipolar.” And even then, he doesn’t leave. This is the crazy/hot scale in action, people.

Oh and by the way, for whatever reason Alex’s strict parents who make her be home by 9 pm don’t supervise her kid brother at all. So even though he’s probably 12 years old, he gets into this classy New York restaurant and spies on Alex. Then he films Alex and Janine coming out of the bathroom together. Serious rookie mistake. They don’t even stagger.

When Janine gets homes to Alex’s house from her classy dinner with Eric, Alex’s dad is all pissed because she forgot agreed to help her dad with catering. Then he grounds her for three weeks. Like wtf. Are you allowed to make your minor child work in your business like that and then punish her when you didn’t give her a choice? This appears to be a middle class Long Island family. Like how can they possibly afford to live on Long Island if they have to force their children to work as day laborers?

Anyway, things start to go awry here. Alex gets Janine fired by floundering in a fashion show and Janine ruins Alex’s interview for a Summer Program. Then Alex’s kid brother shows up to confront her at Janine’s apartment. Like how was he even allowed in there?? I guess they let just anyone up into superstar’s apartments in the early aughts. It was a simpler time.

Anyway, Alex has Justin Timberlake meet her out on the streets of New York. Then she kind of changes her appearance to look more like her real self, but she doesn’t want to tell him who she is. She hands him the tape that her snooping brother made, so he can see for himself. Then they kiss. And Eric catches them–thinking that Alex/Janine is cheating on him. This leads Justin Timberlake to think Janine/Alex is cheating on him. Basically, the worst way to come clean ever.

Alex and Janine call each other that night to describe how they have destroyed each other’s lives. Then they’re all like h0-hum the grass is not always greener. FALSE. The were doing very well as each other and they blew it because they are dumb. Like fine, it’s hard to be a model but you got to make out with Justin Timberlake so STFU. I do feel bad for Janine though. Alex’s dad is kind of a jerk.

Both of their families follow them there, and Justin Timberlake shows up too. He’s gone to the dance because he finally watched the tape that Alex gave him of both of the girls leaving the bathroom…I’m assuming she must have recorded a portion where she reveals her true identity and high school because that’s the only way this makes sense. Then their families are like woah we suck enough that our kids pretended to be other people and they decide to start listening to their children.

Very Special Lesson: If you wear glasses and you switch places with someone who doesn’t wear glasses but otherwise looks exactly like you, then you won’t need to wear your glasses while being that other person. It’s like free Lasik.

Disney Episode Showdown: Full House vs. Blossom

It’s time to decide who will be victorious in the Disney Episode Showdown! But here’s the thing. My brain has been really tired lately. So I thought I’d let you guys decide the winner. People’s choice awards, right? As Valerie Cherish says, those are the most important because they come from the people.

So brief point of order:
All episodes will be graded on a 5 point scale and the winning episode will have the higher score based upon which categories it wins:
Overall Plot–2 points
Music–1 point
Vacation Attire–1 point
Integration of Disney Setting –1 point

The final round consists of Full House and Blossom. Both of these shows have reputations for being very special shows, but now they must face-off in the ultimate showdown.

In terms of plot, I think the best analysis is through comparing very special lessons:
Blossom learned to trust her boyfriend to be honest with her. Blossom’s bf learned to be honest about his feelings. Blossom’s non-Joey Lawrence brother learned to be happy he had a hot girlfriend and stop freaking out about the fact that others are attracted to her. (a.k.a. He learned to stop being a possessive freak.) Joey Lawrence learned it’s possible to have a blast with a nun and that even celibate women can show you a good time. Six learned that it’s okay to be a little bummed at Disney World, and also that if you ride the Jungle Cruise enough you can hook up with the cool guy from school. Blossom’s dad learned that he didn’t need to hide his Elvis impersonator gig because there’s nothing shameful about taking a dumb job if it feeds your kids.

In Full House, Jesse learned that he needed to make quality time for his wife. Danny learned that he was ready to ask another woman to be his wife. Michelle learned that sharing is caring. Stephanie learned that it’s caring to love even those who don’t share. Joey actually did something useful for once and helped Stephanie not hate her sister while everyone else was too busy dealing with their own Disney adventures. We all learned how great the Disney security team is because Michelle had a trusty companion in Snow White literally the entire time she was missing from her family.

“All About Love” by The Party from Blossom

“For the Times” by John Stamos from Full House

Vacation Attire:
These episodes came out about the same time, so you have comparable early 90’s looks to decide between. I can’t find any high quality photos of Blossom from this episode, so I’m going to refer you to this 90’s video supercut, specifically the Full House and Blossom parts.

Integration of Disney Setting: This one just means how much they incorporated the park (or parks) into their episode. So basically, do you feel like Joey/Jesse in the fish tank at the Coral Reef Cafe or Michelle/Stephanie in the parade was like super awesome. Or do you prefer the more chill reminiscing on the Sky Buckets/Helping the cute guy lead the jungle cruise.

I will reveal the results tomorrow evening, so get to voting!

Disney Episode Showdown: The Golden Girls vs. Blossom

Remember, that The Golden Girls never actually went to a Disney Park, so they are once again at a disadvantage in this competition. But everyone loves an underdog. And everyone loves The Golden Girls. The only reason that Dorothy and Sophia never go to the park (aside from one short ride on Space Mountain in the credits) is that Dorothy has really only taken her mother on a trip in order to be able to spend time with her without interruption. They basically could have found a quiet corner booth in a Miami diner and had this exact same experience.

And while the plot is strong, we do have to remember that this is a “Disney Episode Showdown” and not a “talk about going to Disney Episode Showdown.” The Golden Girls easily beat out quintessentially low-performing Step by Step because the “family takes a trip to Disney” didn’t a plot really at all. If you watched the episode, you had to sit through 40 pain-staking minutes of people following other dreams at Disney while incidentally being at Disney. The only truly Disney specific event is Flash’s quest for the world record. And maybe if that had been like the entire episode and the whole family really pulled together to work on that and like met some Imagineers and discussed theme park planning or whatever then maybe it would have been more interesting.

But instead we got to watch long montages at probably four different points in the show and that was a major plot point. The rest of the time was spent watching two boys waste all of their savings to chase girls, mom & dad complain about their lack of alone time, and the sisters attempt to win a singing competition. I mean, they could have just as easily been at Universal. But honestly, I’m not here to shit on Step by Step again. It’s just that awarding The Golden Girls plot victory over Step by Step (or even Roseanne for that matter) feels pretty justified even though The Golden Girls never went to the park.

But with Blossom it just doesn’t feel fair. I think that’s because even though the plot points on Blossom are somewhat incidental too–like would any of this really hold together as an episode without the setting, iffy–the plot points are incidental in a good way. This couldn’t work as a stand alone episode but that’s because everyone’s kind of having a personal moment at Disney. And that personal moment is somehow created or rectified by actually being at the park. We shouldn’t expect much less from the O.G. of very special episodes.

Blossom would never have had an awful fight with her boyfriend if it weren’t for the fact that he started behaving strangely because he was afraid of all of the theme park’s attractions. He wasn’t just afraid of The Matterhorn, he was freaked out by The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. That’s how bad his fear of heights was. And it made him act like a weirdo. But like many teenagers she totally took it personally and made it all about herself. At the end of this episode she learns that it’s a stupid thing to do, and he learns it’s shady to pretend nothing is wrong when there is obviously something wrong. It’s a good lesson that they could have learned anywhere, but it’s cool that they learned it at Disney because that’s the kind of weird shit that you learn about each other at theme parks. This is a great way to integrate the setting and have a good overall plot all at the same time.

So I’m very sorry to The Golden Girls because this does conclude their time in the competition, but I would like to thank them for being a friend. And also I’d like to point out that they only lose by one point. That’s pretty badass for a couple of ladies on a soundstage.

I think their music was way better than “The Party.” And I still love those cardigans.

Point Break Down:
Blossom: Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  = pts

The Golden Girls: Vacation Attire (1 pt) + Music (1 pt)= 2 pts

Very Special Winner: Blossom

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 8.46.35 PM

Disney Episode Showdown: Family Matters vs. Full House

We have made it to the first matchup of the semi-finals! As you will remember, Family Matters has taken a trip to Disney World so that Steve Urkel can show of his DNA altering machine. And yes, he needs to bring the entire family next door in order to do so. Laura breaks the machine so that Steve is forced to remain Stefan Urquelle. They nearly get married, but Laura begins to feel guilty about essentially murdering Steve. She only begins to feel this way because Steve’s girlfriend Myra cries about how Steve is gone forever. (Is it cheating if your DNA was technically different at the time?)

Full House is at Disney World because Jesse has a gig at Cinderella’s castle. Becky comes along so that they can spend their anniversary together. Joey comes along so they can do their radio show live from the fish tank at Epcot. The rest of the family comes along just because. Stephanie learns to love Michelle even though she’s a jerk, Michelle learns not to be a jerk, DJ sees Steve everywhere, Steve actually joins their vacation, Danny proposes to Vicky, and Kimmy Gibbler was there.

I think Full House deserves the point for best overall plot. I guess Family Matters had the better plot setup, but it’s weird that Laura just sorta feels bad about breaking Steve potentially-Noble Prize winning machine. The horror is over almost as soon as it began. And I worry that’s more true to life. But Full House still wins because they managed to have good subplots. I think the main plot is Uncle Jesse works too much, but all of the subplots are so good that it’s hard to tell the B’s from the A.

Family Matters had a cute cover of “Kiss the Girl,” but Uncle Jesse still wins this round for his impromptu performance of an anniversary love-ode after he misses his picnic with Becky. That’s one way to get out of a fight. Full House also wins for best integration of Disney setting. The showed so much park property you could almost plan your trip from it. Also, I’m kinda bummed out that these attraction haven’t changed that much in the past twenty years…

But Family Matters still wins best vacation attire. This is mostly because there are too many sweatshirts tied around waists, Vicky’s dress is really ugly, and Becky wears open-toed clogs.

Whereas this is a total class act. Look at those platform jellies and pressed slacks:

Point Break Down:
Full House: Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Music (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  = 4 pts

Family Matters: Vacation Attire (1 pt)= 1 pt

Very Special Winner: Full House 

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Disney Episode Showdown: The Golden Girls vs. Step by Step

If you watched The Golden Girls episode for this bracket challenge, you probably noticed that none of it is actually filmed on the Disney Park Grounds. The reason I’ve included it anyway is that I needed an even number of shows for this bracket, and it is possible to win the challenge without winning the integration of setting point.

So if you haven’t guessed already, Step by Step wins the point for integration of setting. Aside from the fact that they are winning by default, this episode actually does a good job of integrating pretty much all of the major attractions. This is done largely through extended montages that depict a family friend, Flash, trying to break a world record. He’s attempting to visit all restaurants, food carts, and rides in less than four days. He’s doing this largely because a Russian holds the current record. And this is America. The montages are way too long, but it really cool to see how two of the boys work with Disney staff to set up a base of operations for Flash. I’d like to think this is something Disney would be down for in real life. 

This episode also incorporates Downtown Disney, which we haven’t seen before in this competition. One of the 7 children in this blended family, enters a singing contest at the Neon Armadillo. It’s also because of her efforts that Step by Step wins the point for music.

But that’s where the easy points stop for Step by Step. Now, this episode is nowhere near as bad as their Hawaiian episode, but the overall plot cannot hold a candle to The Golden Girls. That’s partly because the only plot in Step by Step is the family doing random stuff at Disney and spending way too much money. The Golden Girls, however, captures all of the weird emotional baggage that can come with a family trip. In fact, the only reason that Dorothy has brought Sophia to Orlando is that she’s worried that her mom will die soon and they will not have spent enough quality time together.

Morbid. I know. But this is The Golden Girls so it’s funny. All Sophia wants to do is ride Space Mountain. But Dorothy has brought photo albums and slides and wants her mother to sit in the hotel with her for hours and tell her every single thing she was thinking in every single one of the photos. She also starts to keep a journal of Sophia’s witty one liners. This pisses Sophia off to no end, so she goes to the hotel bar and tries to have a Casablanca moment with the bar pianist. He doesn’t get the joke though so instead of playing “As Time Goes By” he plays a light-jazz version of “It’s a Small World.” When Sophia is finally ready to ditch Dorothy and go to the park herself, it rains in a torrential downpour for 24-hours straight. Luckily, Dorothy realizes she’s being a little nuts and does take her mother to Space Mountain before heading to the airport. We sort of get to see this as the end credits roll over what looks like the interior of space mountain, so that’s kind of cool. I’m also giving the Vacation Attire point to The Golden Girls because I like a woman who can dress well at any age and Dorothy is killing it. Also, I hope to own as many cozy cardigans as possible as an elderly woman, so I’m very inspired by Sophia’s wardrobe.

Point Break Down:
Step by Step: Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Music (1 pt) = pts

The Golden Girls: Overall Plot (2 pts)  + Vacation Attire (1 pt)= 3 pts

Very Special Winner: The Golden Girls

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Disney Episode Showdown: Blossom vs. Boy Meets World

Blossom really captures the whole Disney spirit. The episode is narrated by someone who sounds exactly like Snow White, and they even manage to make The Hall of Presidents interesting. Yep, seriously. The episode is the only one in the competition to take place at Disneyland, and (taking advantage of the smaller park size) they have all of the characters interact with the Disney characters/attractions in a very comprehensive way. But before we get into the nitty-gritty of the episode, does anyone find it odd that I’ve never once covered a Blossom episode on The Very Special Blog? I mean, she is the queen of very special episodes, right?

Well, there is one simple reason for that. You see, I got in trouble in elementary school for watching Blossom. It was that episode where Blossom and Six go to a make-out party and after that it was like the Blossom police lived in my house! I did manage to see this Disney episode though, but I remembered pretty much only the part where she sees her boyfriend kissing another girl from the Sky Buckets.

That’s pretty much the only plot in this episode. Blossom sees Vinnie kissing someone (who turns out to be his cousin) and she flips out. When he tries to explain that it was a totally innocent situation, she doesn’t believe him. This makes her kind of an ass, in my opinion, but he’s been acting really weird all day, so her suspicions are not without merit. It also turns out that Vinnie has never been to Disneyland before and is incredibly afraid of heights–which he’s been trying to hide since he’s a cool guy and all that. Other than that, we get to see Joey try to get a date with Sleeping Beauty, who tells him that she’s engaged and so are all of the other princesses. (Sheesh, stop hitting on these women while they are working!) Then he gets stuck riding the rides with a nun all day since they are both alone, and it’s pretty great.

Blossom’s other brother (the not Joey Lawrence one) has brought his girlfriend to the park with them and every character in one of those full body-suits is into her. That’s really weird. I mean like fine if she’s soooo hot or whatever, but in that case shouldn’t the princes be trying to get with her? It’s like only Tigger and Dopey are into this girl and yet this dude gets jealous. Luckily, Abe Lincoln sets him straight in the most interactive Hall of Presidents ever in the history of halls and presidents. Six also gets with the Jungle Cruise guy who they happen to know from high school. Then they discover that their father is actually an Elvis impersonator performing center-stage at Tomorrowland. It’s boring and the only reason I’m pointing it out is that he makes out with Belle at the end of the episode in which there is a montage of make-outs. (There really was SO much kissing on this show.)

The plot of this episode isn’t the cool part though. It’s really great how they feel so genuinely connected to this place. They are a family with memories there, and that makes it the most realistic of all of these promotional episodes. Six talks about feeling a little sad because the park reminds her of spending time there as a kid before her parents split up. Blossom and Six make a b-line for the Sky Buckets because they have traditionally always started their days there. It just feels really sincere in a way that the other episodes don’t. And since Disney is a place where sincere and fake come together to form magic, then I think this episode really nails it on integration of setting.

The overall plot of Boy Meets World, is a little more intricate, but that doesn’t make it better. Basically, Corey has been dating every single girl in school since he broke up with Topanga and that makes her not want to date him again. No shit. Anyway, he follows her to Disney World after she and two other classmates win a contest to study dolphins in Epcot. The other two classmates are alleged cult-leader Andrew Keegan and a girl who Corey recently went on a date with right before the trip. This girl also has a bad habit of showing up when Corey is professing his intense feelings for Topanga, and mistaking them for his thoughts about her. Corey sneaks away from Philly without telling his parents, Eric covers from him surprisingly well with a really stupid looking life-size plush, and Corey manages to stalk Topanga all over the place while posing as Disney workers and sneaking into unauthorized areas.

Now, I can take a lot of ridiculousness for an episode (i.e. Michelle gets to be a Princess and total asshole to her family for a day) but this is just too much. Someone on the Disney side of things would have shut this down and put him in Disney jail until Alan an Amy could get on the next flight to Orlando. Also, I’m not buying that they didn’t notice he was missing. They’re like the most hands on parents in the 90’s ABC family. Ridiculous things happened in Full House but since Snow White found Michelle almost as soon as she disappeared and Danny was rich enough to live on Alamo Square and take 10 people to Disney World–I figured they had special circumstances.

Anyway, Topanga isn’t down for Corey’s stalking, and it’s only after he bumps into Stacey Keenan (we’ll see her later in Step by Step) who has decided to “hang back” alone after a guided tour (ugh yeah right) and becomes best friends with a sad dolphin who has lost her lover that he stops acting like a maniac. Corey realizes that he needs to chill out and let Topanga live her life, which is of course when she decides to date him again. Other than Corey/Shawn sleeping on Splash Mountain (so ridiculous), we see a few choice locals but nothing is really integrated into the plot. Almost by default, Blossom gets the point for plot. While Boy Meets World may be more intricate (sort of), I want to yell at it a lot.

The fashion point totally goes to Boy Meets World though. I would have expected Six to bring this one home for Blossom but she wears a really weird purple sweat-headband the entire episode and I’m not on board. Plus, Topanga’s outfits are rocking the entire week she is in Disney. I especially like her sea-foam green crop top and pants set. I can’t find a picture of that so here’s a picture of another one of her cute outfits:

Blossom also gets the point for music because they had a live performance form a band called The Party which is made up of former MMC cast members. I didn’t particularly like their music but their cool 90’s choreography won me over. Plus, BMW didn’t have any music at all.

Point Break Down:
Boy Meets World: Vacation Attire (1 pt)  1 pt

Blossom: Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  + Music (1 pt) 4 pts

Very Special Winner: Blossom

*While this was not a “very special episode of Blossom,” Snow White does say that they’re going to the park for a “very special day.” Also, what is this trend of good costumes bad everything else? Maybe I should run some analytics on this. Maybe the next bracket challenge will even have seeds and statistics.

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