Radio Rebel

Another generic DCOM, with 20% more Debby Ryan!

Another generic DCOM, with 20% more Debby Ryan!

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, another DCOM is hitting our TV screens this friday. Zapped looks….weird. At least it looks enjoyable dumb. And it happens to be from the same director as 16 Wishes!


….Anyway, because of that fact, for my tie in review, I picked that other Debby Ryan DCOM, which came out in 2012. I didn’t get around to seeing it until last year because….reasons. I’m not sure why, really.

I was quite hyped to see it after 16 Wishes. Perhaps I should haven’t gotten so hyped, as it was a tad disappointing. Oh, it’s good, just not as good as 16 Wishes. People seem to like it okay, even if it didn’t make too much of a splash.

I’ve been wanting to review this, ever since DCOM month a year ago. The director hasn’t done too much else, but you all know I’m familiar with the writers: Erik Patterson and Jessica Scott.

If not…well you don’t read my blog often. They are writers for Haunting Hour, and they have written many good episodes….as well as the weakest episode. They mostly write the Comedy episodes, including the Debby Ryan one, oddly enough.

I enjoy their writing, Poof De Formage aside. Film wise, they have other tween stuff, most of which will get a review. I’ve been eying Another Cinderella Story for awhile. By the way ,this is based on a book I’ve never read.

Anyway, no need to make this intro any longer.

See how well these writers did n the final part of the Debby Ryan DCOM trilogy. It’s no 16 Wishes, but let’s see how it stacks up to her other works.

This, is Radio Rebel

The move opens with a show from the titular Radio Rebel. She runs this underground Radio thing for her school, as she goes against THE MAN and stuff. She talks about how labels suck and blah blah blah.

But the thing is, no one knows who Radio Rebel is. Yet, she’s an alter ego. Her civllain from is the Shrinking Voilet known as Tara, played by Debby Ryan. Tara and RR are polar opposites, and doing this allows her to say what she thinks without really showing herself.

Hands up if you know what her development will be like.

She’s a bit different from Debby’s other characters, yet apparently she’s a bit closer to Debby herself, oddly enough. This project was a bit personal enough. Though on Twitter she said her fave movie of hers, is, and I quote “Probably 16 Wishes”

1. Boo ya

2. Why do I know these things.

She and her friends Audrey talk to these guys who are obsessed with Radio Rebel’s identity. One of which is played by the saner guy from My Babysitter’s a vampire. I think he was on Haunting hour once as well.

“Her hair is red-ish, like Tara’s.

“No, she’s nothing like tara”

Hardy har har.

We are then introduced to local Alpha Bitch, Stacy. She’s fun but not as well written as the one from 16 Wishes. Get ready for comparisons to 16 Wishes, guys.

She very much disproves of Radio Rebel, and what she stands for. When the principal is around, she tells her that Audrey told her to listen to a podcast in class which against the rules, I guess. So she takes what phone device kids are using these days,

He says as watches the movie on Netflix on his Android phone.

‘I wasn’t even listening to it.”

“Now you can’t, can you?”

The principal is even more generic than the Alpha Bitch. She’s fun but man, they go too far with her. After that, we get a bit with Gabe and Gavin. Gabe is one of the weird guys, and Gavin is some other dude.

“Your stock is on the rise, and Stacy’s noticing”


“Come on, Eye of the tiger, don’t stop believing, we are the champions”

“Are you just quoting song tiles?”


By the way, Tara likes Gavin and you know where this is going. Later that day, Tara does her Radio Rebel thing, and we see that she’s good, but not as amazing as the movie says. Class informed abilities. By the way, how can Gabe and his pal hang out with Tara all the time and not link her voice up with RR’s? We see them analyzing the voice for a match, for pete’s sake!

Her Step-Dad (of course) goes up to talk to her, as he fails to connect with her. We see that he’s not a dick and he does try to buddy buddy with her. The issue is that…well right now he’s interrupting the show.

A song ends and a RR segment is about to start, with cuz Tara is with him, he hears nothing. A smart guy  would put 2 and 2 together, but he is not a smart guy.

…Then Tara just tells (and shows ) him that she is Radio Rebel. Wow, that actually got it out of the way quick. I’m impressed!

He’s cool with it, cuz he happens to own a radio station, and he wants to get RR on it. That certainly is convenient. Tara is skeptical but her Mom pops in to tell her to just try it.

The next day at school, Tara and Gavin are paired to do some thing in Drama class. By the way, Gavin is going with Stacy to the prom. Wah wah. Despite that, they do bond a bit at least she’s not getting over dramatic about losing him to Stacy for no.

Along with that, she has to deal with the whole radio station thing. After some coaching from people, she is taken to her special broadcast room. After some stuff, she starts the show and she’s just as good as ever.

I really hope no one sneaks into the Studio during the broadcast and finds out who RR is. Seriously, this is way too easy. She tells everyone to wear red to show that they don’t care about cliques or whatever.

The next day, many people are wearing red. Also, Tara tells Audrey she is Radio Rebel to avoid some friendship troubles. She buys it after Tara flat out shows her. I’m glad Tara avoids the “I don’t buy it” game.

We cut to this drama thing with Tara and Gavin and Stacy sums up my thoughts on most DCOM’s.

“Some of that worked, and some of it didn’t”

They do this romane scene which showcase some good acting on Debby’s part. She is escpecially good as she explains the meaning of the scene, which obvoulsy paraells her real sitation.

I guess now is to say something you may find shocking: I like Debby’s performance her, better than her performance in 16 Wishes. Let me explain. She’s decent there but mostly has to be over the top which some may not like. Here, she obviously has to low key, so she shines in the more intimate moments. She works as this shy girl but she also works as a….not shy girl. So it’s pretty perfect casting.

I’d argue that is her best performance to date, though that isn’t saying much. I like her but she’s been an Oscar worthy actress, you know?

“Everybody’s a director now”

Well, Debby is apparently gonna make her directing debut with some Jessie episodes so….yeah. You’re right.

That night, Radio Rebel tells everyone to randomly dance at 8 Am to express themselves. Her demands are getting weirder. It’s a good thing she isn’t secretly evil or anything. …Whoa, that’s a twist for ya.,

The dance thing goes well until the Principal tells them to stop cuz the MAN hates Radio Rebel because reasons!

After that pointless bit (Take a shot whenever I say that), Tara talks to Gavin. RR played a song by his band, but that was on a demo CD that only Tara knew about. He puts two and two together an-

“You are the one who gave the CD to your Dad to give to Radio Rebel”

You’re an idiot.

“I’d be able to recognize her on the street, just from how well I know her from her show”

It’s funny cuz he doesn’t recognize her at all.

That night, we find out that the station is heavily advertising Radio Rebel. She’s getting bigger, and RR uses her power to organize more crazy stuff. Such as a random RR cast during lunch. She recorded it earlier so she can pop up during the event and no one will figure out who she is.

Hey, that’s kind of clever. Sort of.

The Principal thinks is MOST UNORTHODOX, so later on she says that Radio Rebel must go down. Because she’s THE MAN. She’s…one dimensional but fun in how weird she is. During a practice with Gavin’s band, he suggests putting messages in their music but Gabe is like lolno.

“Since when do our fans determine what we play?”

Since you….got fans that like you because you do a certain type of music that seems to work fine?

We get a montage of Radio Rebel rising in popularity. At the end of it all, Radio Rebel is nominated for prom queen. I’m not sure if nominating someone without a real name is allowed but whatever.

Tara is a little skeptical, since RR is about being anonymous. But we’ll deal with that as it comes. Later on, we find out that Tara wears a diguise to get into the radio station so no one can find out about Radio Rebel.

…Okay, my earlier complainant is now moot.

She goes on and gives another speech about stuff. She has everyone call in and say what they are afraid of. This allows her and Gavin to have a moment. After that obligatory bit, Mom tells Tara she totally has to go to prom cuz stuff.

‘I don’t think I’m going to prom”

“Let me phrase that. I care about you standing up for your beliefs…and prom. You have to go, it’s Prom!”



“But if-”

“You have to!

I should mention that the Principal says she will ban RR if she reveals herself, and Step Dad threaten to shut this down cuz he feels this is going too far.

It’s rare that the Step Dad is responsible, and the Mom is awful….but here you go. That all doesn’t matter though, cuz the next day, the Principal cancels prom until Radio Rebel is revealed.

Yet another example of how EVIL she is. I never said this movie was subtle….or fresh. Naturally, Stacy uses this change to bash RR and start a protest to get prom back. Later on, Tara goes on and she gets calls from people pissed about prom.

“This is the last time I’m listening to you ever”

Even though this is totally the principal’s fault!

Of course, Gavin isn’t pissed and he calls in so they can have another moment.

“Thanks for being honest with me. Sorry I let you down”

Tara is understandably crushed by all of this, and yet Debby makes this bit pretty effective. But then Tara gets the idea to start her own prom. With blackjack! And Hookers!

…Well, no. She’s starting a …Morp which is like promo but at the radio station, and everyone can come, regardless if they have a date or not. RR tells everyone about it, and they are on board. Well, Stacy isn’t but you know that by now.

Infact, she manages to put two and two together, and she suspects that Tara may be Radio Rebel. But she has no real proof for now, so there you go. At least she’s the smartest person in the movie now.

She is hosting a party that night, where everyone is invited. So if Tara doesn’t show, she’ll know she is Radio Rebel. Still smart, I see.

Anyway, Tara shows up which means she has a plan. She has this chick from the Radio Station be Radio Rebel with the help of a voice thingy. Things go bad when Stacy calls in, so Tara uses her phone to call that chick and go on the show to talk to Stacy.

Stacy gets suspicious, so the two end up running all over the place barely missing each other. Eventually, Tara ends the call and she ends up in Stacy’s room. Stacy pops up and they reminisce about how Stacy used to be less….bitch-y. People mocked for dressing up like a weirdo and Tara leaves as Stacy is being Stacy.

You likely know where this is going. Like 16 Wishes, they are turning the alpha bitch good. Sadly, it doesn’t work as well it did there, and it’s a tad forced. Also, that scene was fast paced so that’s why my summary got weird.

After some fun, Tara talks to Gavin and he starts talking about he sometimes kind of why like Tara is. This is the part where they connect over how similar they are. Gavin gives Tara advice that both develops her character, and this relationship.

The romance is just eh. While 16 Wishes pulled off differently, this goes through all the usual beats. But it’s not bad, and it feeds into Tara’s character fairly well.

Later, Stacy’s lackey sneaks into the station and records a video on her flipphone (in 2012…) of Tara’s Mom and this chick talking about Tara and RR. This should be interesting. So the next day, Stacy locks Tara in a closet during some Drama thing.

By the way, we that lackey doing an audition thing, and she calls the Capulets the Crapulets. …You know, for kids? …After Color of Friendship, I think crap is pretty weak, really. Gavin notices Tara is gone, and he talks to Gabe.

Long story short, he calls out Gabe for being a dick, and Gavin is kicked out of the band. I really don’t care. Tara escapes from the closet but she walks in JUST as Stacy and Gavin do the scene without her and they kiss.


Upon seeing Tara, Gavin walks away. As much as I don’t care about the romance, something about this kind of works. Stacy shows Tara the video the lackey got. She tells Tara that she will expose Radio Rebel, if she doesn’t make her followers vote Stacy for Morp queen.

Okay, as cliché she is, she’s starting to make Sharpay look weak. …Almost

Naturally, Tara is conflicted. But she winds up telling her fans to vote for Stacy. She tells Audrey about what happened, and she tells Gavin abou the closet but not the Radio Rebel thing. He breaks up with her and we cut to Morp. Well, that’s that.

Tara shows up looking pretty, and it’s time to find out who our Morp queen is. Gabe is King, by the way. Also, Stacy and Kim, the lackey talk.

“Don’t be nervous”

“That’s the worst thing to say to a nervous person”

“Thanks, you’re welcome”


The two nominees are supposed to go up, and of course that is hard since…you know, one is Radio Rebel. And the queen is..

“Radio Rebel!”


Then the big moment happens. A Prerecord thing starts up, where Radio Rebel talks about herself.

“Most of you don’t know me. I’m the girl who sits in the back of the class. Who never raises her hand, who is so afraid of saying the wrong thing, she says nothing instead. The old me would of frozen in front of a crowd like this. But something happened. Suddenly the real stuff we were dealing with at school became more important than my fears. Look, I wasn’t sure I was gonna do this tonight, but I need to be true to myself. Here goes.”

Yep, Tara goes up and reveals herself to be Radio Rebel.

“I’m Radio Rebel”

Woo-hoo. Everything is all happy…until the principal shows up and bans her. My god, what a bitch. Even after that speech, she doesn’t care. Who hires people like this?! Can you even expel people for no reason? You can in DCOM land.

So, how are they gonna fix this?

AUDREY: I’m Radio Rebel!

GAVIN: No, I’m Radio Rebel!

KIM: No, I’m Radio Rebel!

“I’m Radio Rebel!”

“I’m Radio Rebel”


Everyone keeps chanting that, since the principal can’t expel everyone, and she leaves. …Wait, that’s it?

Look, with how the speech built Tara up,. The I’m Spartacus thing doesn’t work in this case. If she can’t tell they are doing this to protect Tara, she’s really stupid. This kind of weak, but whatever.

By the way, in this one interview, Debby suggests a drinking game (Non Alcohol, of course) where you take a drink when someone says Radio Rebel.

I tried it when I first watched it. I gave up at this scene. Also, in that same interview, she says she’s kind of aware the reputation Disney stars have, and she doesn’t really care.

I like her.

…What were we talking about? Oh yeah. Tara says the crown belongs everyone deserves this crown, but one girl has been dreaming about the crown her entire life.

“Though I’m not quite sure I heard her say she was Radio Rebel”

Yes, she’s talking about Stacy.

“I’m Radio Rebel. I’m so Radio Rebel!”

She gets the crown. Well that was a rushed heel face turn. Tara points out she is herself and some bitch and blah blah.

That bit earlier implied there some complex backstory but nope, she just change because…reasons. Then Gavin goes up to give us our final generic pop song that gives us the message of the film.

After that, Tara and Gavin have another moment. Naturally, they get together and they dance. We fade out and roll credits.

….At this point, I can’t complain. It’s almost Cloud 9 bad but not quite. It still kind of makes the weak ending even weaker. The Principal turns into an idiot, Tara is only kind of revealed, and Stacy turns good because plot.

But eh, it was kind of cute and we saw Tara’s development and all that. Happy ending, let’s finish this.

Final Thoughts:

This one was alright. Again, not as good as 16 Wishes, (or even The Suite Life Movie), but it’s fine. The main problem is that it has more cliches, the romance is weak, and the Alpha Bitch turning good is poorly handled.

However, it has plenty of things I like. For one, I do like the tone. It’s not as Comedic as 16 Wishes, but it still has good comedy that I skipped over for time. It’s a bit dramatic at times, but it’s not as bad as most DCOM’s.

The story is a bit basic but it works for what it is. It’s a tad generic, but it’s fine. The side characters like Gabe are pointless but they are amusing. The main characters are hit or miss. Gavin is generic but he’s…tolerable I guess.

The Principal is enjoyable for how over the top she is, but she is kind of dumb in the end. The parents are non entities by the end, and the friend is just there. But of course, it’s Tara that I really like.

Not only does Debby give a good performance, but the character is well written. Her development, while a bit basic, works pretty well. It’s a tad rushed at the end, I did like her using Raido Rebel to grow out of her shell and all that.

It’s well done and Debby pretty much sells it. Without her, I don’t think I would like the film as much I do., Is it flawed? Yes, and there are better modern DCOM’s out there. But there are also much worse.

I don’t think I have much to say. It has it’s flaws, but I like some of the themes, and I like that it’s less….like the other DCOM’s. It just has a different feel due to the themes, you know? It’s fine.

Grade: B

I was mixed, and maybe it deserves a plus, but there you go.

Next time, we head to another network to look at a film that is more than meets the eye.

See ya.


About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
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