Hello, Spongey here.
You know what I’ve been slouching on lately? TV Reviews. I’ve never done a lot of them but in the past year so, I’ve found tons of TV episodes I’ve been wanting to tear apart. You saw the start of it with Rocket Monkeys, and I’ve got tons of turds up my sleep I want to talk about.
I’ve been getting backlogged on not so good TV episodes, and it’s time to look at them. If you love to see me blow up, this time will be great as most of these episodes did make me angry. I really hope to get a decent one in there to balance out this crap.
To start this somewhat marathon, let’s start out slow with a bad episode of a good-ish show. Or at least, I like it. Next to Spongebob, Dan Schneider is one of the biggest money makers for Nick.
He’s pretty much the only person consistently making live action shows that are hits for them, and he’s been doing it for a while. I would go a bit into his flaws and stuff like that, but trust me, I’ll do that some other time…
For now, let’s focus on one of his earlier shows, and arguably most popular, Drake and Josh. Created in 2004, this Nick Sitcom follows the lives of two teenage boys with opposite personalities, Drake Parker (Drake Bell) and Josh Nichols (Josh Peck), who become stepbrothers.
The show certainly wasn’t high art, but for what it was, it pretty enjoyable. The crazy antics and humor made it fun and the over the top acting actually worked pretty well, especially when it comes to Josh.
However, the show had a few of Dan’s trademarks that would later become the reasons those shows were mixed. He’s become known for really bizarre, and sometimes nonsensical humor, and most of all, Comedic Sociopaththy.
I’m not sure what it is, but torture for Comedy is an all his shows. Some episodes had it worse than others, but these shows were hurt a bit by it, and sadly, Drake & Josh is no exception.
These trademarks made the show fun but they also dragged it down. The torture was minor and it worked because the two usually deserved. But much like Ed, Edd, N Eddy, they got it wrong a few most times.
Most of those times involved Megan, their bratty and “evil” and little sister who was always torturing them. Honestly, I never hated her for for one simple reason: You’re SUPPOSED to hate her. As terrible as she is, at least she’s the VILLAIN most of the time.
She started the trend of Schneider shows having a female character that is terrible but gets away with it (Sam, Jade, etc) but at least this one was never meant to be likable. Of course, she was a problem, and at one point, I would have reviewed her worst appearance, Sheep Thrills.
But of course, I had to go and find a worse episode. However, I will bring that one up as it has the same core problem of this episode, and I’ll get to that.
So why does this episode suck so much? Today, we’re going to find out. I’m at the Bottom of the Ba-
Let’s just dig in and see why Megan may be more innocent than you think.
This, is Theater Thug
Writer: Dan Schneider
The episode, like all of them, starts with our “heroes” talking to us in those weird boxes. Yeah, if you don’t know every episode has a little intro with the two simply talking to us. Drake is giving us his deep thoughts, while Josh is at the same time. Sometimes’ related to the episode, sometimes it isn’t.
Usually, they are funny ways to start the episode. Let’s see how this one plays out.
“Sometimes, people make mistakes”
This episode is proof of that.
Drake and Josh tell a story about how Josh once mistook a man for his Grandma. Yep, we already start with embarrassment and torture for Josh but here it’s kind of funny since we don’t see it.
“He knees Josh in the place you don’t wanna be kneed”
Of course, they reveal Drake told Josh that guy was Grandma on purpose to be a dick. Well, it didn’t’ take me long to hate someone in this episode.
The episode actually starts at the movie theater Josh works at, as Drake accidentally shows up early to pick him up. Drake decides to see a movie to pass the time, and he needs a date.
He gets one from Lucy Hale here (it’s amazing seeing where 2nd tier singers popular with teens got their start) in about a minute. And…it turns out she was with her boyfriend and she just pretty much cheated on him.
Smooth. But…the reveal is kind of funny, and Drake didn’t know it at least. Anyway, some guy, played by Josh Server, shows up, saying he’s with the show FBI’s most wanted.
“I love that show, I watch it every Saturday night”
“I think a teenager like yourself would be out on Saturday night”
“You would think that”
They are shooting one of their crime reenacts here, and he wants Josh to play the criminal because Josh kind of looks like him.
“I’m not much of an Actor”
‘Neither is Jenifer Lopez”
…Never mind, best episode ever.
I could nitpick the logic here, but really, I can buy it. Plus, we have more important things to bitch about. I could even talk about how Josh doesn’t really look threatening, but we’ll get to that.
After the theme song, Josh gets Megan to help him rehearse his role. Drake thinks all this work is silly.
“It’s acting, you show up, you say some stuff, you go home. Anyone can do it”
There are a lot of jokes I can make, but …meh. Now, this bit is fairly funny as Josh takes this too seriously and Megan is totally apathetic to all of it. There’s nothing funnier than Josh acting tough. Too bad the fact that people are not scared of Tough Josh here bites the episode in the ass later on.
Yes, this is one of those times where I won’t have anything to bitch about it for a while. The first half, while flawed, is okay. The real crap starts a little later, but trust me, we’ll get there.
After that, we cut to sometime later as they are about to film to reenactment. As the title suggest, this reenactment is covering an incident where a criminal known as the Theater Thug robbed a movie theater.
And a common everyday robbery like this was important enough to get a big reenactment. Eh, as long as it’s funny I can let stuff like that slide.
Drake shows up to watch and he gets a small role as a bystander. Now that’s a contrived thing that’s actually funny. Also, the guy repeats Drake’s views on acting because callback.
The reenactment goes as well as you’d expect with tons of comedic insanity. Honestly, if the whole episode was them simply failing to film for various reasons, it would actually be pretty good.
But nope, after just a bit we move on so the real plot can start. We’re 10 minutes and the plot is STILL going to take a few moments to really get started. This wouldn’t be so bad if this didn’t prove that my suggestion would make for a better episode.
A little later, Josh gets his family to watch his big TV appearance. And the pizza guy ends up watching it. Context is for losers, but yeah, that’s funny too. Can we get to the bad part, please?
After they air the reenactment, they show a picture of the real theater thug. I’m too lazy to get the picture, but trust me, it looks nothing like Josh. I mean, Josh with the full Thug garb looks a bit like him, but without it, he looks nothing like him.
Don’t worry, that’s almost important.
“He does kind of look like Josh”
“If you see him, don’t confront him because he’s known to be extremely violent. Just contact the police”
Keep that in mind too.
We cut to the next day as the two are at the Galleria. Okay, now (around 13 minutes in) things get bad. Josh is just having some food while some old ladies stare at him.
“It’s the Theater Thug!”
Oh boy, here we go. Then they proceed to attack him. There a lot of problems with this, but actually, I’ll save it for a moment. This incident causes Josh to be late for work because this happened a couple other times on the way here.
And when he gets there, some boy scouts spot him and say he’s the Theater Thug. Of course Drake doesn’t help because he’s distracted by a girl. Okay, now it’s ranting time.
The first problem is obvious: This is incredibly repetitive and it’s the same “joke” over and over again. The 2nd problem is that mindless torture to someone innocent like Josh is not funny.
But besides that, my problem is the lack of logic. For one, Josh looks very little like him. A tiny bit, while in the costume, but he looks nothing like him while he’s dressed normally.
I think that’s the joke but my suspension of disbelief only goes so far. Oh, and there’s the matter of the SHOW TELLING THEM NOT TO APPROACH HIM BECAUSE HE’S A DANGEROUS CRIMINAL.
If these were tough guys who just thought they could them, it would be fine, but we’ve seen Elderly women and kids attack him! They seriously think attacking a really dangerous criminal will end well?
If this was the real guy, they would be dead!
The lack of logic astounds me to no end, on top of all the other obvious problems. Oh, and it’s not funny. I think I need to say that again.
Anyway, later on, Megan shows up with a solution to his problem. He just needs a disguise until the real guy gets caught. Actually, this episode could have had them trying to catch the real Theater Thug. That would have been pretty funny and excused the set up.
But nope, this episode doesn’t want to do anything that could be funny.
We cut to the next day as Josh is disguised as a 70’s disco Dude. Now that’s funny. The humor stops when someone recognizes him as the Theater Thug anyway. Seriously? The disguise isn’t the strongest but 70’s disco guy is as far from the Thug as you can get!
People hold him down until cops show up. Oh hey they actually took the smart course of action this time. Wait, Cops just happen to be there?
That night, Josh stays behind a bit at the Theater Thug to lock up while Helen does Helen-y things. While Drake is doing something, the real Theater Thug shows up.
Oh boy. Wait, already? That’s some great pacing, right there!
The Thug does some stuff you would expect him to do, until they hear police sirens. Naturally, he takes Josh as a hostage. Drake pops up and tries to take him out but he hits Josh by accident. Bah.
Thankfully, he gets up and takes out the Thug himself. Awesome.
Drake leaves to get the cops but they storm in…and tackle Josh. …They cart him away…while the real Thug walks off.
….And the episode ends here.
I don’t need to explain why this is bad, right. I don’t need to get over the top angry or anything? I think the episode ending with our main character getting tackled by police while a dangerous criminal gets away, says it all.
I mean, people bitch about a little girl getting away with bad stuff, but not quite as many people cry foul over this shit
Whatever, let’s move on to explain why this ending sucks in greater detail.
Allow me to explain how character abuse works. Contrary to popular belief,t hey don’t always have to deserve it. Abuse to someone who doesn’t deserve it can work…if it isn’t contrived.
The reason why torture humor even exists, is that, like Nostalgia Critic explained, it acknowledges that pain is just a part of life. We encounter bad luck all the time no matter what we do, and its fun to mock that a bit.
For example, the very first episode of Dan Vs starts with Dan waking up and being hit by his ceiling lamp. He gets hit a few times, and just when he stops it, he gets out of bed and slips on something.
At this point, we have no idea if he’s done anything, but it’s funny because it’s just the kind of stuff that happens. Plus, his angry reactions make it work. That’s another way to make it work, but that’s only if you have a Daffy Duck type.
The problem arises when it feels really forced. Contrived cruelty only seems to work if they deserved. A sea bear just happens to pop after Squidward sets it off? I don’t care, because it’s funny!
If the situation leading up to the pain is contrived, it will be painful. Despite how crappy Megan is, it’s not too farfetched to buy that she’s just evil. And then comes this episode.
The real problem with this episode, and Sheep Thrills to a lesser extent, is that it throws logic to the wind to be cruel to someone. Even worse, it makes people dumb just to have Josh get beat up.
Like I said, the fact that they think he’s the hug and attack him has tons of logic issues. And it’s not for any real reason besides …they think Josh getting hurt is funny. Now, some of his reactions are amusing but only once, because it gets really repetitive, really fast.
Because logic is thrown to the wind, the torture is pointless and unfunny. The ending is the biggest slap to the face. Megan getting away with her stuff at least makes some kind of sense, since any little girls can put on a fake act like that. This is just stupid.
Then there’s the general writing problem. The episode takes too long to really get started, and once it does, it’s really rushed. It goes too fast and then the episode just kind of …stops.
I don’t need every episode to have a big moral or anything, but there needs to be SOME kind point to it. Most episodes have that, even the weaker ones. This one just struggles to have a reason to exist.
Now, to be fair, the actors alone give us some funny moments, but it’s mostly in the first half. When the plot starts, there are less amusing moments the episode is so bad otherwise, that a few funny gags can’t save it.
Overall, it may not be the worst thing ever, now the worst thing made by Schneider’s Bakery (Oh, we’ll get there), but it’s still the worst episode of Drake & Josh. It’s not the most painful episode ever, but it’s still bad due to lack of logic and just plain bad writing.
So yeah, it’s not good.
Stay tuned for more TV reviews. For our next one, we’ll shake things up a bit.