Hello, Spongey here.
In the middle of last year, I did a whole marathon of TV reviews. And by that I mean I looked at bad Disney Sitcom episodes I wanted to rant on. I also slightly defended Teen Titans Go.
….It went better than it sounds. I had fun doing them even if a few were weak or pointless. I had other ideas, but I thought I was take a break since I had done so much.
But I’ve had time to do other things, so it’s time to do another TV review. But we’re doing things a bit differently this time. As you know, some of the episodes I have reviewed included subplots, which can often interesting to review on their own.
Some subplots in episodes like Review It up or Lindy Nose Best can often be better than the main stories. This even applies to good episodes like Sue Syndrome and the like. That’s why I tend to take them kind of seriously, even though a lot of writers don’t.
In some cases, the subplot is bad but the main plot is perfectly fine. Sometimes they are bad enough for a review, but there really isn’t a ton to say about them and the main plot that takes up most of the episode really doesn’t have a lot to cover either.
I just figured I would not do them, but then I had an idea: What if I reviewed a bunch in one post? I’d do what I usually do, but just do that plot and do more than one in a post.
That is what we were doing. You are essentially getting three reviews for the price of one! Although since each is only half an episode, you have like a review and a half. That’s the most math I’ve done in years.
There isn’t a whole lot more to say than that. We’ll be doing the typical play by play stuff, but we’ll be doing it three times with a subplot. With that said, let’s go.
This is the TV Review Subplot Spectacular!
I wasn’t so sure what order to do this, but we’ll do it in the order how much it gives me to talk about. Not much in terms of awful-ness, since the first one is the most painful but also most generic with the problems.
I think it’s only fitting we begin in Schneider’s Bakery.
Henry Danger-Let’s Make a Steal
Writers: Dan Schneider and Dave Malkoff
Yes, it’s finally time to tackle this show. I think it’s…there. Honestly, it’s okay. It’s mostly less mean than Dan’s other shows, but as a result is a bit less interesting. It can fun in the same way as his others, but it’s mostly….there, for me.
There is one part of the show I hate, and of course she is part of the focus of the subplot. Joy. The main plot, involving a game show is…fine. Poorly paced but otherwise, fine I suppose. It’s the subplot from….problems come in.
So let’s do this, it’s the shortest of the ones we’re covering.
Not too long into the episode, Henry’s Dad, Jasper, and Piper are simply in line to be in the audience for the show, but this guy says due to rules, he must take away their camera and Piper’s…Selfie Stick.
Every time the word Selfie is said in a real show or movie, I die a little inside. And it being said by Piper makes it worse. Oh yes, let’s talk about Henry’s little sister for a moment.
You know how every Schneider’s Bakery show has that one female character everyone hates? The one everyone just seems to seethe with anger for? Yeah, Piper is it for this show, and of all the character she was to easily be the WORST.
Oh my god, every single ounce of hate Megan got should now be directed towards her. At least the other characters could be somewhat charming in a way, even Megan. Piper….not so much.
All she does is yell and be a bitch to everyone. She is beyond annoying, and she tends to not be punished most of the time, and I can only think of one time she showed a good side to her at all, although I haven’t seen every episode.
I can’t blame the actress too much since it is the director and writers job to make sure a character isn’t this annoying. Like Megan she is supposed to be a bitch but she still needs to actually be funny, and she is not.
I’m not sure if this her at her worst, but it’s still bad. She fights over her stick, which causes Jasper/Joshie to be hurt and end up in the hospital. Yes, this is a torture episode. Most of these shows need one, and since this show tends to lack that stuff, they figured they would make up for it.
Most of Jasper’s plots tend to have Piper, so I don’t care for him either. Jasper just hurt his nose, but it leaves a big mark so there you go. After some time in the main plot, the doctor says they must reset his nose.
“Is that gonna hurt?”
I hate you.
Jasper is told this is a teacher hospital and mostly interns do the hard work so a dumb untrained guy must do it because comedy!
“Wanna take Selfies with me?”
….Ugh. So the barely trained intern who is shown to know nothing about his stuff, moves his nose bones, while the doctor takes selfies with Piper, not caring about Jasper’s pain.
I know it’s predictable to say this is painfully unfunny…but it’s painfully funny. Mostly because it is just contrived as all hell, and it’s even BORING. We’ve seen this shtick before, but here it makes even less sense!
I’ve seen bad torture but rarely do I seen cliché and almost dull torture.
More main plot later, Jasper is in even more pain, and while they called his parents, they won’t come…because they ordered a pizza and want to wait for it instead. It’s funny because his parents are horrible.
As a result, Dad and Piper must stay with Jasper all night so the main plot can move on. A bit later, they get another untrained stooge, but this one doesn’t even understand English. Because….this show is kind of stupid.
This leads to wacky antics where she can’t do anything because she doesn’t even know what to do. Why would they even have someone like this around?!
After the main plot is resolved, Dad, Piper and Jasper arrive home to see all the stuff Henry won on the game show. They don’t seem to explain what happened with Jasper. Is his nose fine or what?
“Broken, but it’ll get better’
…Okay then. Amazingly deep writing, everybody.
Piper picks up a sharkpoon thing because of course there’s a dangerous weapon. Just take a wild guess what happens. No seriously, guess. You’ll never get ir if you’ve seen a lazy torture episode before.
It hits him in the nose….and roll credits. Yep, that’s the note we end on. Magnificent.
Well, that was short. Now you see why I just put it here, and did it first. It’s pretty empty, even by subplot standards. It sucks. The main problem is how typical, lazy and predictable it is. I’ve seen all these jokes before, especially in Dan Schneider shows.
So none of it is even shocking. To make it worse, it’s dumb contrived torture that is in no way funny. Jasper doesn’t even have funny reactions, and everyone is just horrible. At least Charlotte is sympathetic.
I know it’s a subplot so it doesn’t need to be too deep, but it’s no excuse to writing this lazy and predictable.
The fact that it’s nothing now is both why it’s bad, and why I’m not too harsh on it. I’ve seen way worse from these shows, but at least they seemed to be trying. This is just lazy,
No grades, because flat out grading a subplot is weird. The episode itself gets a C+ because while the main plot is fine, it’s not enough to pull the episode up further, sadly.
Now that we did something where the main problem is very basic, let’s up the stakes with our next subplot.
KC Undercover-Photo Bombed
Writer: Rob Lotterstein
I went into this show a bit in the Disney Sitcom Christmas thing, so need to repeat itself. In short, it’s fine but 5 episodes in, it slipped up via a subplot. The main plot is the obligatory plot where the secret is finally revealed to the friend.
Yeah, only took them 5 episodes. I’m okay with it since they handled it fine. Henry Danger did it so quickly they may as well have not set it up at all. So yeah, a flat out decent main plot this time.
This subplot isn’t really the worst, but it has….problem, and it has a sort of bitch-y younger sister! Thankfully, Judy is way more tolerable than someone like Piper. I disliked her at first but she got better.
She…is actually fine here. She’s not the problem, but you’ll see.
The subplot begins with Dad and Ernie watching TV as Mom shows up to complain about how they are slobs. Durr it’s funny because boys are dirty all the time. She wants them to start pulling their weight around here, and of course they have a wacky plan to take care of that.
Ernie comes up with the idea to have Judy, the robot sister (don’t ask) to do their chores, and just make it seem like they did it.
“I can’t believe you Ernie. You finally had a good idea for once!”
Yep, they are going to trick a little girl into doing chores for them and say that they did it. …Even for Dad that’s scummy, and that’s…pretty bad on Ernie’s part. Ernie is rarely a dick, except to KC which is standard.
It just feels very off, and is one of those things that is contrived just so we can get this plot started. Perhaps they could have worked with douchier characters, but with Ernie it’s just…wrong.
Also, he is usually the butt monkey, making this his Little Yellow Book. Hooray.
They manage to make her do chores, under the guise of teaching her about the human experience. To be fair, cleaning a bowl of shit sums up the human experience pretty well.
After a ton of time in the main plot (which Ernie gets involved in a bit, by the way), they have Judy cleaning some floors. Not a whole happens except for them just putting on a show for Mom and them being dicks to Judy.
“You know Judy, it wouldn’t kill you to clean a little too”
Oh the irony! How Clever.
More main plot later, Judy refuses to come on their spy mission because she is too busy with TV. Apparently her lessons on the human experience made her learn how to push work on other people. Yeah, it does not take long for Judy to basically tell on them.
This is one of those subplots where it’s just three scenes, which is fine with the kind of plot they picked, but whatever. Because we just need Ernie to be as unlikable as possible, he blames Dad…and Mom buys it.
Mom chastises Dad and Ernie basically does not get in trouble. After the main plot wraps up, Dad and Ernie are forced to do chores as punishment. Wait, how did they find out that Ernie actually was in on it?
I didn’t skip enough, they just never explain it. I’m glad they are getting punished, but you gotta how good narrative flow first! To make it worse, Mom and Judy act a bit too bitch-y in return, to the point of being a bit too unreasonable.
But that’s minor, I guess. Well, that’s the end of that.
That was slightly better upon watching it again, because for some reason I didn’t remember Ernie being punished. So this does have that going for it vs the other subplots we have. However, it’s still cliché and has Ernie being waaaay too douche-y.
Dad being a dick is a big enough problem, but it’s very out of character for Ernie to just come up with that, and even blame Dad for it. It’s just weirdly cruel and stupid. It’s not just the painful, but it’s pretty weak.
The episode as a whole is a B or so since the main plot is decent enough, and the subplot at least gives them some form of punishment. But it’s still pretty weak.
And last, and likely least…
Austin & Ally-Wedding Bells and Wacky Birds
Writer: Rachel McNevin
Yep, finally time to do this show, in time for the finale. This show is general isn’t quite as horrible in nature as some of the others, so it’s weaker episodes just have bad humor in general.
This subplot takes all that to a new level, but we need a bit of context. In the Season 4 Premiere, Dez broke up with his girlfriend (who is fitting for him, to say the least) for reasons that were never explained.
It just happened so Dez would not to go to LA, and add to the character giving up on their plans, so Austin will have a reason to not go to military school. It was a plot device, but it did its job, and was semi important.
It was still a bit pointless, and a few episodes later they decided to resolv ite….it in the laziest way possible. By the way, the main plot is fine. Nothing amazing, but decently funny at least. Let’s begin.
The seeds of the subplot are planted in the first scene, so we’ll start at the beginning. The episode starts in class, as we get jokes involving the depressed teacher. Because that hasn’t been beaten into the ground by Suite life on Deck alone.
For this weeks assignment, they will put together a budget for a major event, and Ally picks a wedding for obvious reasons. Dez speaks up.
“I was a cute couple once. Her name was Carrie”
“Are you supposed to be in this class?”
Notice how they randomly broke logic just for the sake of a forced bad Dez joke? A sign of things to come, that’s why I brought this scene up. After the theme song, Dez moans about Carrie and all the stuff they used to do together.
Yeah, it took like 6 or so episodes for him to start becoming one of those guys. Thankfully, Trish gets him a commercial directing job to get his mind off it. She does it for money reasons so don’t think Trish is likable this time, although she is the most sane person in this subplot.
Later we find out that he is doing a commercial for a fragrance called Emu. And of course it turns out he will be directing Carrie in this commercial. Oh how quirky and awkward!
After more main plot, things get even more contrived and awkward as he finds the commercial features Carrie having a romance with a hot guy. Yeah, most of the plot is just dumb stuff like this, but of course the bad part comes at the end.
The commercial itself is….very strange, but easily the best part of this subplot for that very reason. I can’t even describe it, you just have to see it. Dez doesn’t like this and tries to make things less romantic, which the manager disapproves of.
That is the only scene of him trying to sabotage the production by the way. Kind of a waste but ah well, just a nitpick given the problem coming up.
Carrie is mad at Dez for what he did, and she sees he dumped her…while Dez said she dumped him. Oh boy here we go, listen to this:
They were having dinner one night, and after they had their dinner, Dez said “We’re done”
“You have gotta be kidding me”
My sentiments exactly. Trish sets the record straight to both of them, and since they never broke up, they are back together. They end up doing the commercial and after the main ends up, the episode ends on that note. At least it ends on something kind of amusing.
But now time to rant on how stupid and bad this is. This is some…amazingly lazy writing we have here. Now, if this was the same episode it was introduced, then it would be stupid, but forgivable.
But since they waited a few episodes to do it, it becomes just….bad. I’ve seen some bad idiot writing but this is just lazy. It being incredibly stupid and making both characters hard to like is bad enough, but the fact that it wraps up an arc makes it even worse.
Why do they even drag this out? I guess for some reason they had to get Carrie out of the show for a few episodes, but they could have done it without breaking them up. And if they had to, they could have had them get together in a way that isn’t mind boggling stupid!
I know this was a minor point in its initial episode, but the fact that they waited to wrap it up means it is semi important, yet they treat it as some dumb joke. And it is, but not a funny one. I know this may still not seem that bad, but it just really bugs me.
Dez has had his bad dumb moments, but the writing here is beyond lazy and stupid. Not even gonna really so a final thoughts here because everything I said sums it up.
I suppose it’s not the most painful thing ever, but it has the weakest writing of these 3 subplots. It’s stupid and is bad on a lot of levels. That’s really I have to say. I suppose the episode itself gets a C+ because while the main plot is fine, the subplot is just too stupid.
And that’s it for our sort of subplot marathon. While none of these are horrible, they each problems from bad jokes, to dumb torture to just plain bad writing. While being a subplot can excuse some things, it is mostly no excuse to just have bad writing, especially if it wraps up an arc.
Just remember that when you are trying to do more than one plot. If crap like Lindy Nose Best can put effort into a subplot, so can you.
That’s pretty all I got. Next time I do a TV review, we will likely be doing a…strange one. You’ll see what I mean when we there. In the meantime, I think I need to work on some Goosebumps stuff…