Hello, Spongey here.
Time for a live action TV Review, but now it’s Nick’s turn once again. Yay. And it’s Dan Schneider, even more Yay! Okay, so far we’ve touched most of his full shows, except iCarly, Zoey 101, and his most recent one.
I need to find an iCarly ep I can do a full post on that most people haven’t covered already. I have one I could do in the style of the Subplot thing I did, but that’s it. No, I won’t do the Seddie crap. I haven’t seen enough of Zoey 101 to find a bad enough episodes, so we’re left his most recent show.
And it’s a doozy. For the most part, I can’t say I fully dislike his orginal shows. Icarly and Victorious had dark sides, and Henry Danger is pretty middling, but there’s enough to go there for them to be mediocre at worst.
Then came Game Shakers. It’s not horrible, or as bad as Sam and Cat, but it’s very poor. The best thing I can say about is that it can be sort of amusing due to that certain Schneider charm, but even then there’s better stuff out there.
It’s about these girls who start a mobile gaming company with the help of Kel Mitchel playing the rapper guy from the Sam and Cat episode he was in. Well, not really but that was the inspiration for this show, and he might as well be Peezy B.
You can watch PieGuy’s video for all the problems with the set up alione, but the short version is, this is all of Dan’s tricks, watered down with barely any substance to speak up. Each character is the types he tends to use, with no further development to speak of.
Babe is Sam, Hudson is Gibby, Kel is Spencer, and I guess Kenzie is Quinn. And the one kid from Haunted Hathways is…Freddie, maybe? He gets abused sometimes, but aside from that he has no personality.
As others have went to, the show barely focuses on the game stuff, and none of the characters are actually gamers. They play phone games sometimes, that’s it. Phone Gaming is just as valid as real games, even if they are like drugs sometimes , according to Gamer’s Guide…and Sam And Cat, oddly enough.
Speaking of which, weird how Nick pulls out a game based show not long after Disney. Comedice? …Probably. This shows honestly feels like it’s just using the subject to pander to kids.
Icarly, Victorious and hell even Henry Danger, committed to their premises and it wasn’t until later that they veered away. That’s fine since most kids are watching for the silly actors at this point, but early on you have to actually focus on that aspect.
I don’t have time to ramble on further, but my point is the show can offer mindless entertainment, but that’s about it. Most of is just meh, but not much makes it any better than “eh”. The acting is decent I suppose, but the comedy is weak, and the characters, while not mostly awful, are pretty weak.
I’ve noticed that both this and Henry Danger feel a lot more toned down. Dan is infamous for the cruel comedy, and these shows don’t focus as much on that kind of thing. Oh, it’s still silly but feels very safe and nuetured, even with some moments here and there.
There’s even way less innuendo, which is like my favorite part of his shows. This, along with the younger actors, tells me Nick is trying to fix the mistakes of Sam and Cat, and make it more kind friendly, and keep it on for longer.
While the characters kill someone and lie about. ..That someone is a robot but Invisible Brad was not. …Yeah. Anyway, I do worry about Dan because he is running on fumes, and I do want him to keep making stuff since even Sam and Cat has it’s moments.
He just needs to shake things up, or get new writers. Or stop writing so much. Seriously, he has written every single episode S&C (with the post I just did I keep thinking Dan is writing for Sanjay and Craig when I type that).., HD, and this.
But whatever, because I hate myself, I decided I wanted to do a GS Episode, and watched as many of the currently released episodes as possible, to see if a reviewable episode exists yet. As a show currently in it’s first season, I could have waited if no bad enough ep existed.
But in this case, it’s important to get down the flaws now and compare them to later. Also, I wanted to the former especially because it highlights a common flaw in the shows, especially recently.
And yep, it’s another double feature. It’s easier to explain the flaws of both episodes this time, so hopefully I can make both quicker. And like LPS, one has a subplot we’ll skip. See, I managed to find at least four or so episodes that are worth reviewing, or discussing in some way.
Yeah. One was Poison Pie, but Pieguy took that one down pretty well. Although my main problem was slightly different, so maybe I’ll cover it in a quickie someday. There’s the robot one I mentioned, and Party Crashers which has cruel endings to both plots, despite sweet moments before those moments.
Again, maybe for a quickie but in the end, these two stood out as the most reviewable, so double feature. Let’s just get into them, they are very flawed.
First: This, is Babe’s Fake Disease
Writers: Dan Schneider, Sam Gill, and Jana Petrosini.
Before I start, this is another gem that aired this year. In February, same month as Weekend With Inga and Girl Meets The Window. That must have been a bad month. (Guilt Tripping was January, if you’re wondering)
The episode starts with Hudson and the Rapper’s song playing with these clacker toys.
“Quick playing with your clackers!”
That sounds…dirty, somehow.
This opening involves the subplot, which I shall be skipping. I get that you don’t want start the main plot too quickly but starting the episode with the subplot just feels like padding to me.
Babe comes in and says she’s been stuck in the girls bathroom for 25 minutes. They didn’t notice because they are deaf and didn’t get her text. This is hilarious and adds so much to the episode, as you can see.
Kenzie is about to go out with her geeky friends and invites Babe but she thinks she’ll feel left out. She then decides to come along because the plot needs her to, and also Kenzie thinks she’s hotter or something.
After the theme song, Babe and Kenzie are out with the geeky friends who constantly talk in technobabble, which confuses Babe. Oh Dan, you and your outdated nerd stereotypes. At least they look normal most of the time.
Her attitude changes when a hot guy comes in. Yeah, she’s more than a little shallow which will at least bite her in the butt. Scott and Babe manage to hit it off which eventually results in a funny moment:
“For the love of god, will you two quite awkwardly flirting and just make a date already?!”
I don’t know why that’s funny, think it’s how abrupt it is. So far I’ve noticed each part of the main plot is just a snippet before it goes back to the subplot. It feels very little happens before it thinks it’s time to go back to another story I don’t care about.
We’re now almost 8 minutes in and things aren’t going too fast if you combine both plots. The main plot should take precedent in an episode like this is the subplot is as small in scale as in this case.
After Kel is done yelling, we cut back to Babe as Scott is now boring her. Yep, no transition, he’s just now randomly boring for no reason. For an episode with sluggish pacing, it sure it can move too fast sometimes.
At this point, Scott changes from having little character besides being flirty to being kind of weird and doing stuff like suggesting an over complicated solution to a simple problem. Well, at least he doesn’t like Pee-Wee Babies, right?
After that unfunny scene, Scott is now the guy who texts a girl constantly. I like how he gets worse with little transition. Honestly, he’s not even that bad. He makes forks and texts a lot. What a horrible monster.
“This is Textual Harassment!”
“This is Textual Harassment!”
…YOU KNOW-FOR KIDS!
Seriously, I know I complained about the show being watered down, but there’s a limit, guys.
Babe of course wants to dump in, and Keznie asks her to let him down gently since he is part of Keznie’s little group. Because he seems like a stable guy you’d want in your group.
Before Babe can go anything sensible, Double G says when he was with a crazy girl, he made a fake disease to get her off his back. And now Babe will try that because…reasons. First off, your friend asked you let him down gently, please do so and don’t be an asshole.
I’d complain less if it weren’t for how the episode ends. But the biggest problem with this is that the titular fake disease isn’t introduced until 14 minutes into a 22 minute episode! That means with the time you have to take to fool Scott and such (plus the subplot), you’ll have no time to do anything else, much less good things.
The poor pacing becomes a huge problem here, and it only gets worse
The next day at school, Babe start her plan with Keznie helping because reasons. Her fake Disease is SVD, Sleep Violence Disorder. When she falls asleep, she has bits of sleep violence if she is woken up while in a deep sleep.
That is incredibly convoluted, and they only buy it because she shows off some of it in class. They don’t consider that she may be acting. But yeah, she acts horribly violent and even hurts Scott because…he was a bit creepy.
…Really. I know you want him off your back but actually hurting him is going too far. Not to mention hurting some of your classmates and teacher in the process. This is cruel and stupid.
“I didn’t kill anyone this time, did I?”
Then she is kicked out of school because she has a disorder that hurts other people. You know, if this took place in reality!
Either way, the plan worked and Scott leaves. This is met with applause. …Ugh, this is Mad About Shoe all over again! Screw you, fake audience!
Well, now we’re at 20 minutes, with no time to settle this and the sub plot. Let me explain the subplot: Rapper Son used an app that let him look at what we’d like when he was 40 and he was ugly, so went to great lengths to use stuff that would prevent this.
This includes a man named Bobby Dong. Yes. It was pointless and was just annoying. But let’s “wrap up” the main story first. Kenzie is understandably not fond of what Babe did. Even though she helped her.
“You said not to break his heart”
“Instead, you broke his collerbone!”
Good point, I’m glad the episode is at least acknowledging that what she did was bad. Even if Babe doesn’t care. Before I comment further, back to the subplot. It turns out Rapper Son being Bald was only an option on the app, not certain.
She didn’t’ see them so I can excuse her not knowing. But uh…why take a dumb app seriously to begin with? Of course, Rapper Son is angry and chases Kenzie. Hilarious. The end.
…Wait, what? That’s right, that’s the end of the episode. Babe did something immoral, and got away with it…despite being called out. That’s….what? I can’t even begin to describe how bad this is.
First off, the pacing is the reason this happened. Because it took too damn long to get the plot, and went too fast with Scott, Babe was able to do this in a long scene, and have no time to resolve anything.
With how it’s wirten, her bad actions were descion and they used the bad pacing to excuse it. That’s beyond bad writing. You have to actually try to be that bad. Look, I can be okay with characters doing bad things, if they either are punished, or them getting away with it is clever in any way.
Here, she’s called out and then it ends. She doesn’t’ even really get away with it on purpose or something, it happens because the subplot got in the way! It’s bad enough to have characters do bad things, but the way it happens is just bad writing.
I’ll likely say more in final thoughts, but for now you get the main problems: Typical bad aspects of Schneider all rolled into one. How did this take 3 writers to make!?
Can it get worse? Let’s see if our other turd tops it. This, is Tiny Pickles
Writers: Dan Schneider, and Jake Farrow
The episode starts with the kids testing their latest game. Hey, this one actually features the gaming stuff! They ask Hudson to get some Candy, and he brings them a woman off the street named Candy.
Haha get it? Cuz he’s stupid?
After the theme song, the girls argue over the name of their game. One name is fitting and short, and the other is overly long. Haw haw, moving on. Double G shows up to take them to The Helen Show.
Helen Show, huh? Obvious parody is obvious. Wait, didn’t Austin & Ally have a Helen Show Are we crossing universes here? They were able to get on because John Stamos canceled. They suggest it’s because he’s depressed and they buy it.
I don’t get it.
Next, we find out the Helen is actually Helen from Drake and Josh. Not the actresss, the actual character. …Okay, the Schneider-Verse is already confusing, and this just made it worse. In a previous episode, they mentioned Drake and Josh by name.
When a character just asks if they wanna watch Drake and Josh. She wasn’t acting, she got bored of this dumb show and wanted to watch something good. But seriously, we get it,. You used to be good, move on!
Now we have this. How did she become a talk show host? Never explained. Why even use her, it adds nothing!
By the way, they are skipping class for this, just for a fake with one of Double G’s bodyguards filling in for one of the girls. Okay, that’s actually kind of funny but still. They are about to announce their new game when Double G interrupts.
“It’s called Tiny Pickles!”
Roll credits! That’s not their game, by the way. In case I didn’t’ make that clear. This game is based on a dream he had and the show ends before he can say anything else, or they can speak up.
Yeah, he is forcing them to make a game based on his dream for no reasons, instead of the game they want to make. He’s kind of a dick in this episode, and not in any funny way.
He got the dream after eating at a Clam restaurant, and apparently he “quit’ before and it’s treated like…well…yeah.
Not as bad as Textual Harassment, but still…weird. (By the way, Open Office says Textual is a real word. Huh).
They go along with it because these kids keep doing things they don’t have to do. Well, n this case they do but whatever.
“I’m sure it’s gonna be a whole montage of fun”
…Okay, that was also funny. Sure we get a dumb montage of them doing weird things for their game. And Double G being a dick. Eventually, they call him out for it after the montage is over.
…Except they focus on the game being bad. Not that he’s a dick about wanting the game. No, the problem is that it’s bad and he should feel bad.
“Well, maybe that’s your opinion”
You’re no The Dude, my friend.
Also, yes, they somehow screwed up calling a character out for doing something bad. That’s a theme today, isn’t it?
“The game makes no sense, and the mechanics are just bad”
You are no AVGN.
Double G is sad that the kids don’t like his game. He plans to go on Helen again and say his idea sucks and let the kids make the game they wanted. Okay, that’s a step but there’s a big problem here I’ll get to in a minute.
He sulks off…and the kids cheer. Wow, what dicks. Babe rightfully calls them out,.
‘”Don’t you feel bad?”
‘Why should we be?”
You’re a dick.
“Because Double G feels bad, and he’s our business partner. And he’s your Dad”
‘That doesn’t mean he’s mentally stable”
Wow, fuck you, kid.
They randomly change their minds even after that and we move on. Okay, Double G feeling bad is fine but that’s the only credit I can give this scene. The main reason this fails is everyone is a dick and only stops being sicks for the wrong reasons!
Double G only feels bad because his game is disliked, not because he forced them to make a game they didn’t wanna make. Even if it the best game ever, his actions would not be excusable.
He has no reason for making the game either. He had a dream, so what? It doesn’t touch him on any level, who cares?
The kids act even worse, insulting his game and going too far in being jerks. They only change their minds because…Double G feels bad. They still hate his game and are jerks, but he feels bad, so let’s help him.
That’s all they say too. He feels bad. I’m not expect anything deep, but if you want me to take this seriously at all, I need more than that. The big issue is that they force them to be jerks JUST so we can feel bad for Double G.
It’s cheap, manipulative, and just bad writing. Why make him likable at all when we just use cheap tactics? Ugh, and it actually get worse!
On the Helen show, they are having Matt Bennett. Wait, the guy who played Robbie on Victorious? Now it’s even more confusing! Especially since Helen the character appeard on Victorious.
Double G’s Bodyguards get rid of him so he can go on. Keep adding to his lovable ness, sure. When he comes on instead of Matt, no one really questions it for some reason.
“Want me to sit on your lap?’
..Moving on. He’s about to talk about his game when the kids come in. They are here to show Tiny Pickles. Because they fixed up the game they were making to be his game. Wait, what?
“We took the awesome game that Keznie and I made, and we just ended some stuff from your insane clam dream”
So instead of either showing off his game, or actually doing something to fix the problem, you made the game YOU wanted and not what he wanted. In others, nothing was really fixed and Double G is just okay with this.
All the interstices of this plot are just gone in favor of a dumb happy ending that make no sense. And Double G doesn’t have to make up for being a jerk because reasons. None of the excuses for this happening matter because of how rushed and badly written this is.
And thing is, this could have worked. I’ll prove it. See, here’s what should have happened: They talk to Double G and he not only apologizes for forcing them to make the game, but explains why it’s important to him. Fill in your reason here, as long as it’s reasonable.
Now we get why he wanted to make it so badly and he didnt’ tell them either because it’s embarrassing or he was just too excited. The kids apologize for being so harsh about the game, and they all hug it. He admits it’s not very good, and they decide to use their game to make Tiny Pickles good.
There, now everyone’s actions are understandable and made up for, and you still the ending we get. Was that so damn hard, guys? And yeah, the real plot is seriously over now. Bad pacing ftw.
Cut to Matt in a sack outside as he gets run over by a truck. He keeps on taking because as we all know, getting run over Is just a minor inconvenience.
Then it turns out the truck is being driven by Rex from Victorious. …We’re done here.
This is what Dan and his screw are up to now? Yikes. We have one episode that uses contrived tactics to make us feel bad for a jerk, with no one being that likable with a rushed happy ending and one that used bad pacing to excuse a character doing something immoral, that is dull as dirt on top of it.
With Tiny Pickles, I get what they were trying too hard, but some jokes get in the way and it simply does not work for reasons explained. What I suggested would have fit if they tried.
With the other one, there is simply no excuse for the writing here. As I said, haing people do bad things is fine, but not to this extent, and not in this way. Which is worse? Well, Tiny Pickles has the bigger real problem, and more characters are unlikable, and also had weak pacing.
But at least it has some amusing moments, and actually tries to tell a real story. It does it badly but that’s more than I can say for Babe’s Fake Disease, which is barely a story and has no real ending that works.
It’s also less funny and a lot duller. Pick your Poison, but in the end I’ll call BFD for being less of an episode. To be fair, both episode are just dull or weak until their big problem but BFD is worse on re-watch once you realize the big problem.
Also, Tiny Pickles is at least about gaming.
Either way, both fail pretty badly. This show is just not good. Some kids can enjoy it on some level, but most adults won’t and the writing is just too poor, with very little identity of it’s own. Maybe not the worst thing ever, but still not very good.
Look Dan,you and your crew probably work hard, but clearly you’re slipping. Maybe Nick is to blame but you should do more with the hand you’re given then this. It’s just getting kind of sad.
Grade for Both: D-
Not sure what I’ll do next for a TV Review, I have possible ideas but nothing set in stone. We’ll just see, leave suggestions below. In the meantime, no idea what’s next for the blog besides General Reviews, again we’ll see what happens.