Disney Episode Showdown: Sabrina the Teenage Witch vs. Full House

So next time I do a bracket challenge, I should probably figure out how to seed these show because Full House won by a landslide. You could probably expect that Full House would win heavily against any first round competition. After all, it did beat out The Brady Bunch in a controversial upset to become the Champion of Vacation Episode Champions.

Sorry Sabrina, but what can I say? First of all, Sabrina took place entirely in Animal Kingdom and the Coronado Spring Resort, whereas Full House went to every park (in existence at the time of the episode) and featured both the Grand Floridian (where the extremely wealthy San Francisco denizens spent their vacation) and The Polynesian Resort (where Michelle hosted a Luau of sorts). It was no contest for integration of setting on this one.

The plot of Sabrina (while much better than that of Roseanne and about on par with Family Matters) revolved around a single task, whereas Full House had tons of subplots and moving parts. That is what they do so well on vacation episodes. That is why this is the team to beat. But I do believe it’s possible. Or do you think they will become double vacation episode title holders?

Sabrina has to go to the Animal Kingdom in order to take a test for her witch’s license. She has to turn her self into an animal with a potion and then also be able to turn herself back (with another potion). I imagine this task would be difficult without thumbs, so I was curious to see how this would play out. But her friend with the straight hair (not curly-haired girl from season 1) and Libby accidentally get the potion instead. So Sabrina has to rescue them and still manages to pass the test, which is stupid because she didn’t actually complete the task at hand.

The best part of this episode is that you get to watch Harvey be the safari tour guide. Aunt Hilda zaps him into that role to get him away from Libby (because apparently Harvey is totally untrustworthy?) Oh yeah, Hilda and Zelda are there as chaperones, but they spend almost no time at all with the kids. They’re the kind of chaperones who would let your kids lose their virginity in a maintenance closest behind the tree of life or walk around in the animal-only areas. Real winners. Actually, yeah the second one does happen. Poor, Martin Mull is the only one trying to keep these kids in line! And apparently there are also no Disney staff members around, which I find to be the least plausible part of all of this. Even less plausible than the witchcraft.

Full House features a bossy/bratty/still sweet Michelle winning a contest to become “Princess for a Day,” which she was only able to do because she cut in front of Stefanie in line. This grants Michelle the ability to have a series of wishes granted to her by the Disney Parks. She also gets to ride in a parade. And there are posters at every park and hotel declaring her the Disney Princess. This is ridiculous and I would like to subtract points for it, but overall the show has a better plot than that of Sabrina. There’s just no way that Disney World (who wants to make EVERY kid feel like  princess/prince/pirate/magical creature/personified rodent/etc would ever publicly display everywhere in the park that they had a regular kid just like you to lord over you for a day on your expensive vacation. Speaking of vacation, the reason for this trip is that Jesse is taking a working-vacation with the family. His band, Jesse and The Rippers are playing at Cinderella’s Castle.

I love John Stamos, but there’s no way they are Cinderella’s Castle level entertainment. These guys would be lucky to the get the stage near Canada at the World Showcase. The only Jesse and The Rippers performance I have ever enjoyed was the time they covered “Hot Child in the City” on Wake Up, San Francisco! But I can’t find that anywhere on the internet, so I am starting to worry I invented that memory. But this episode does win in terms of music, not for the band (or for the fact that Sabrina doesn’t really have music) but rather for the fact that Jesse sits down at the piano in the Grand Floridian lobby and beckons Becky to watch him doe-eyed from the balcony even though he’s been too busy working to spend time with her. He’s like some Greek-Romeo/Bryan Adams combo and it’s incredibly effective.

Other notable plot points include:
Danny proposes to Vicky using Fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Stephanie deals with loving Michelle even though she is an asshole. Michelle becomes less of an asshole. DJ/Kimmy/Stephanie lose Michelle and she’s rescued by Snow White. DJ thinks she sees Steve everywhere, which means that actor gets cameos as Indiana Jones and most princes (extra cool since he really was the voice of Aladdin). Then he shows up at the Grand Floridian to surprise her! (Remarkable for someone struggling to save for college.) Joey and Jesse do their radio show from the tank in the Coral Reef restaurant. (Still don’t see the point of having a radio show in a cool visual location.) And we barely see twins, Nicky & Alex, thank God!

Sabrina does have them beat on fashion though. Melissa Joan Hart is rocking some cool late-90’s checked pants and pigtail braids. God, I miss pigtail braids.

Point Break Down:
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: Vacation Attire (1 pt)  1 pt

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

Very Special Winner: Full House


Disney Episode Showdown: Family Matters vs. Roseanne

This is difficult to judge and a horrible matchup to start off with because both of these episodes kind of suck. I think they suck pretty evenly so I stand by my decision to pair them off with each other, but I’m sorry that they are the first things I wrote down on the bracket.

Family Matters definitely wins on the overall plot. That’s mostly because there is not much of a plot to the Roseanne episode.  I watched a little bit of an interview with Roseanne in which she admitted that the entire reason for this episode was due to the fact that they lobbied the network to let them film a Disney episode simply because they were jealous that lots of other shows were getting a free trip. This makes sense if you think about it because Family Matters is an obvious choice for a Disney promo whereas Roseanne is well not…

In Family Matters, Steve wins a chance to compete with his DNA altering machine (you know that thing that switches him from nerdy Jaleel White to cool Jaleel White) at Innoventions in Epcot. Laura decides that she wants to be with Stefan (cool Jaleel White) forever, so she disables the machine mid-demonstration. This is pretty creepy since basically she’s just killed Steve Urkel or is holding him hostage. I’m not quite sure which, but I guess if Stefan is a legitimate person too then like is Steve always holding him hostage??

Anyway, Laura is definitely not having this major crisis of conscience and neither is the rest of her family because they are going to allow her to marry Stefan after he proposes to her on the steps of the castle (with Cinderella’s help) while all of the theme park attendees look on. I know everyone hates Steve Urkel, but this feels like a crime against nature/humanity/why am I the only one distressed? I don’t know, but ultimately Laura feels guilty about the fact that she basically murdered her next door neighbor in order to date a cooler version of him, and she makes Stefan fix the machine. This leads Steve to withdraw from the competition because he realizes that mankind cannot handle a DNA altering machine. No shit. Have you seen Jurassic Park? Meanwhile Carl learns how to be a kid again by chilling out and riding a ton of rides. He almost moves the entire family to Orlando just to be closer to Disney World. (I too have had this fantasy in times of desperation). But ultimately Carl realizes that this is ridiculous and they all return to Chicago happier and healthier.

Sorry, Darlene.

The plot of Roseanne is that everyone in the family goes to Disney World. And also Darlene really really likes Winnie the Pooh. I super like that because I also really like Winnie the Pooh and totally had lengthy conversations with him at Disney World long after I knew he was a person in a body suit. And the magic of Disney is that you can seriously trust that it’s not at all creepy to have that conversation, even though I was eight and Darlene is like eighteen. But even this charming moment is not enough to salvage the plot.

I almost want to give the fashion point to Roseanne because I’m really digging Darlene’s leather jacket, but other than that they all look awful. Also, it’s unfair to ask them to compete with Laura Winslow and Stefan because they are a gorgeous couple. So once again, point for Family Matters.

I am totally torn about who to give the point to for overall integration of Disney setting. In Roseanne, you get to see more of the park locals, but they are pretty much just running through everything. Dan seems to be doing the Drink Around the World thing at Epcot, which is cool. But other than that they are mostly like “OH HEY LOOK AT THIS” and yet you barely see them on a ride. At one point, two of the characters even list all of the rides that they just did, but you don’t get to see those. Because of this, I think Family Matters has to win. Also, I like that they set a lot of plot development conversations at yummy restaurants. For example, when Stefan asks Carl for Laura’s hand in marriage (ugh) they are eating at that little outdoor cafe near the Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios. They also show Carl meeting a ton of characters, and he announces his plan to move the family to Orlando on The Tower of Terror just before the elevator drops…so yeah that’s some good setting integration right there.

The music sucked the most as far as I’m concerned. The only redeeming factor was once again Family Matters, which had a cool cover of “Kiss the Girl.”

One other notable thing happened in both of these episodes that I’m hoping someone can please explain to me. In Roseanne, Dan offers one of the kids a summer sausage from the minibar fridge after telling the whole family not to worry about cost at all the entire time they are in Disney World. In Family Matters, Eddie’s friend Waldo offers hitchhiker a summer sausage in. The Roseanne incident happens on Disney property, whereas the Family Matters incident happens in the car and neither Eddie nor Waldo ever make it to Disney World. (They accidentally drove to Canada.) I’ve never heard of a summer sausage before this. Am I just not up on my sausage or was Disney trying to run a promo on sausage of the summer variety?

Point Break Down:
Family Matters: Vacation Attire (1 pt) + Integration of Disney Setting (1 pt) + Overall Plot (2 pts)  4 pts

Roseanne: 0 pts

Very Special Winner: Family Matters

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Disney Episode Showdown

Just like the Very Special Episode: Hawaiian Style, 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

This challenge’s contenders are:
-Sabrina the Teenage Witch “Disney World”
-Full House “The House Meets the Mouse”
-Boy Meets World “The Happiest Show on Earth”
-Step by Step “We’re Going to Disney World”
-Blossom “The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men”
-The Golden Girls “Two Rode Together”
-Family Matters “We’re Going to Disney World”
-Roseanne “Disney World War II”

Our first matchup will be Family Matters vs. Roseanne on January 8th. So take a few moments, pick your favorite episodes, and fill out your brackets!

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Over the past few months, my bracket drawing skills have managed to get even worse.

Print your own out here: Disney Bracket

A Very Special New Year

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and has successfully recovered from food-drink-merryment-hangovers. I’ve been very busy! I’m about to move and start a new job. It’s all exciting and horrible at the same time. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to post with all of the moving related crap I’m dealing with, but I do have some lofty very special goals for 2015.

I’d finally like to roll out the long awaited second bracket challenge: The Very Best Disney Vacation. Obviously, this will be emotionally challenging for me because I usually cannot handle visual representations of Disney World without wanting to immediately shirk all of my duties and run away to Central Florida a.k.a. Morocco/Fantasy Land/Future World. However, my journalistic integrity requires that I throughly and accurately cover all your favorite Disney episodes and then pick the most awesome one in a throughly objective manner. I’m hoping to have all of that ready to go by February (or hopefully sooner). We shall see! 

There will be more to come from the Very Special Blog in 2015 but right now I’m visiting with the dust bunnies under my bed while I try to talk myself out of keeping 3 boxes of art supplies and clothes I haven’t worn in over a year.

Lizzie McGuire: Inner Beauty

Lizzie McGuire was this cute little show on Disney in the early 2000’s about three best friends in middle school. Having been a part of a girl-boy-girl best friend group in middle school, I calizzie mcguiren assure you it’s pretty much the best. I threw Hilary Duff a lot of shade around 2004 and I’d like to personally apologize to her via the internet for that. Not that she ever saw me throwing shade or will ever read this post. I was just jealous of her success and the fact that she seemed like a nice person probably made me hate her even more. But now that I’m looking back on this show, it’s really very sweet and adorable and that makes me feel like I was being a jerk a decade ago. So for that, Hilary, I’m sorry.

In the life of a middle schooler, there abest friendsre many very special moments. But things got really serious on one dark day when Lizzie and her bffs made a music video. Aspiring director, Gordo, took photos of Lizzie and Miranda as they practiced their choreography to Play’s “Us Against the World.” I vaguely remembered that song, but I don’t think it was a hit. It is very catchy though. I still have it stuck in my head and I did play it on youtube a couple of times…kinda want to play it again right now. It’s just so catchy!

Anyway, Gordo brings the pictures to school the next day and Miranda (who has just ranted about how she is a total failure because she got a B on a test) freaks out because she believes she looks fat in the picture. Gordo and Lizzie are all like what are you talking about? We, as the audience, also get to view the photo and I can tell you it’s super cute. Miranda is definitely not fat, but props to this episode for getting the whole body miranda eating disorderdysmorphic aspect down pat. Here’s where things get a little weird. Instead of starting off with a strict diet–but a diet nonetheless–like most people who end up with eating disorders, Miranda skips right to the never eating again ever phase. I understand that we’re on an accelerated schedule with the whole 30-minute time limit thing, but maybe we could have had a time jump and a reference to her erratic eating? Or something a tad more progressive? But no, we get an extreme jump to lunch where Miranda fakes a paper cut in order to get out of consuming some pasta. Well, I think it was pasta. The lunchroom food did look pretty weird. (Also, they live in an environment where they can always eat outside. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these people eating in an actual lunchroom unless the lunch room is an outside courtyard thing.)

Things escalate when Miranda faints at Lizzie’s house while practicing the dance and we learn that she hasn’t eaten anything all day. Lizzie’s mom thinks Miranda is probably dehydrated from all of the dancing, but Lizzie breaks down later and tells her everything. Her advice is to try talking to Miranda and then in a few days if things haven’t improved, she can talk to Miranda and Miranda’s mom. Isn’t this some sort of violation of the mom code? If you know that someone’s kid is starving herself, aren’t you supposed to send out the mom bat signal, pick up the red phone, sound the alarm that this kid needs some help? I’m all of letting kids work things out on their own and I know that eating disorders are delicate situations, but it still seems strange to me that Lizzie’s mom has no moral obligation to at least let Miranda’s mom know the situation.

But it’s a Disney show, so of course the “frienervention” works, and Miranda (realistically) explains that eating was something she could control in her life. She’s mirandabeen under a lot more pressure than anyone knew–mostly due to the fact that her parents for some reason demanded that their thirteen year old determine her life goals. Miranda feels so much better that she’s able to complete all of her music video choreography even though she hasn’t eaten in the past couple of days. The music video is a more innocent rip off of Britney’s …Baby, One More Time. Though it does feature Miranda and Lizzie in detention dancing on top of a very uncomfortable teacher’s desk. The teacher also dances with them and they hip bump him and it’s kind of strange. Other than that it’s pretty cute and the song is soooo catchy. Here’s a gif: Lizzie McGuire Music Video   Very Special Lesson: Don’t worry if you’re friend abruptly stops eating, you can always talk it out. Or dance it out.