Hello, Spongey here.
This is a bit of a random one, so you might think this is some last minute filler idea. And it kind of is, but this is something I actually had the idea for a while ago and had been wanting to do it. It just wasn’t too important and I was more focused on reviewing certain bad kidcom episodes.
Now that I’m less interested in doing that, there’s more free space to just do random things like this. I might do weird things like this, where I review some KidCom thing because I find it interesting rather than it being really bad or whatever. Anyway, let’s talk about Grown Ups 2.
It was an especially bad Happy Madison movie, starring Adam Sandler along with Chris Rock and Kevin James. Also some other people but those are the relevant ones. It also featured Cameron Boyce and Chyna Anne McClaine, two Disney Channel people who had gotten a bit bigger between the two Grown Ups movies.
And there’s no way Disney Channel wouldn’t take advantage of it. Sure, they might not even own that movie, since that’s Sony, but they can still work with all this. So in 2013, around when the film released, they aired some episodes of their shows guest starring actors from the movie. It wasn’t quite advertised as a tie in stunt, for that aforementioned owning reason but it totally was.
…Then two years later they did another episode guest starring a Happy Madison actor that wasn’t actually tied into the others but was still a movie tie-in. We’ll get to that later though. But yeah, it was an interesting idea for one for their gimmick-y theme things. Remember when they did those?
Because Disney Sitcoms and Happy Madison movies are things I like to talk about/make fun of, I kind of loved that they came together like this. I’ve always wanted to review them for fun. I had nothing deep to say about them, just wanted to make a few jokes and such. I have no special reason to cover these beyond…I feel like it.
So set your expectations accordingly. With all that, how did this stunt turn out? Did these episodes at least make good use of their guest stars? Are they any good, at least by these shows standards? Let’s see.
This, is The Disney Sitcom Happy Madison Trilogy
A.N.T Farm-Animal HusANTry
Writer: Vincent Brown
I feel like I talk about this show the least of these and this was in Season 3 so for a refresher, this is when they switched to Z Tech for the setting and left a few characters behind for the most part. Got it?
Anyway, the episode starts with Chyna entering the building and meeting a guy named Seth, a zoologist who discovered a new species that’s just one of those mix and match creatures from Avatar. It just had babies and Chyna wants one really bad. Seth isn’t sure she’s responsible and of course a chance to prove herself comes when he has to go help an animal, meaning he needs someone to take care of the creature, along with all his other animals.
“You sure it’s not too much trouble?”
It’s gonna cut to them having trouble with the animals. Oh hey that happened, I’m a physic.
After the theme song, Olive explains to a possum that they play dead to avoid nuisances, and then it plays dead. Okay, that’s funny. So yeah, Seth has tons of animals outside of just that one and they are a handful. But that Puppy-Kola…thing isn’t important because he calls to have a word with his duck, Daphne. Yes, a word. See, he taught the duck to communicate because why not. They don’t want him to talk to the duck because the duck will tattle on them.
This show is weird.
We start the subplot with Alpha Bitch Lexi being visited by her friend Paisely, one of the characters who was sent off. Lexi’s plans for the day involve Paisley complementing her all the time. Guess you should expect that from a character who once dreamed about kissing herself.
Did I mention this show was weird?
The head guy whose name escapes me wants this woman that works for him, named Winter, to test the new ZPhone and for some reason he wants to test it on the dumbest person on the planet.
“Where would I find someone that dumb?”
Just scroll through Twitter, it won’t take you long. Nah, instead she can use Paisley
“I’m Winter, and your name is….”
“….Come on, don’t keep me in suspense!”
As you can tell, Paisley makes London Tipton look like a rocket scientist .
Back with Chyna, she has befriended a chicken but they discover they have to feed it to an alligator. This makes the audience go nuts, which I love for some reason. I feel like keeping a chicken just to feed it to an alligator like that is cruel but I suppose that’s true to life in a sense. And also this is gonna be some misunderstanding anyway.
Don’t worry, after some antics, Fletcher informs them he solved this by feeding it the “Water chicken”, because he wants to compete with Paisley. Yep, he fed that talking duck and felt no remorse. He is history’s greatest monster.
Now they’re in even worse trouble as while Fletcher gets a new duck, it can’t exactly speak. Also, Fletcher got the duck at “Lake WarningDoNotSwim” and got leeches on him. As dumb as that is, it’s kinda funny. But whatever, what are Paisley and Winter up to?
“Every phone has a camera, but why doesn’t every phone have a backscratcher?”
I don’t know, I think she’s onto something here.
Lexi misses Paisley during all this, because she’s the only one who only cares about what Lexi is like on the outside. The rest of the school only cares about the unimportant things, like how smart you are. Honestly, I love Lexi and the whole show should have been about her.
Lexi suggests using all of Paisley’s ideas so that when the phone is horrible, Mr. Grundy will fire her.
“Brilliant? Ugh, you’re just all the others!”
That made me laugh more than I’d like to admit.
Anyway, we’re more than halfway through and you may have noticed a distinct lack of guest stars in this. Don’t worry, Chris Rock randomly walks in on Chyna. Yep, he just…walks in. He’s here because his daughter wants a Puppy-Kola…thing. That’s it.
This is my favorite kind of celebrity appearance, where they just happen to show up for really no reason. It’s so contrived and I love it. Chyna asks him with some help getting the duck to talk. Ah yes Chris Rock, a known expert at animal communication. His first idea is for Chyna to tell Chris what she wants the duck to say, he’ll say and get the duck to repeat it.
“That’s how we get Rob Schneider to do all his lines”
And now I love this episode.
Back with Winter and Paisley, they present Paisley’s phone which has legs and the backscratcher. He agrees that no human would ever use it…but animals could use phones! I..uh…sure, why not. Paisley is hired by their …Zoo Phone division and Winter has to work with the animals, wah wah, whatever.
Lexi finally tells Paisley she misses her, but Paisley says she’ll still be there for her. …And that resolves that I guess.
Seth returns and Chyna tries to cover up by telling him the duck said she did a good job. He is surprised by this because ducks can’t speak. Turns out he simply taught the duck how to communicate, once for Yes twice for No kinda stuff. …They really should have figured that. I’d get Paisley taking it literally but not them.
Chyna confesses and Chris Rock reminds Seth that it was all her fault, not his. I love that they just make him an asshole like this. Then it turns out the duck was alive the entire time. Yep, the duck comes in, as Fletcher just put her in and walked away, allowing the duck to escape. Fine.
Seth is cool with it and thinks Chyna did well enough to earn a Puppy-Kola thing.
“You should know however that they feast on human flesh”
…I feel like you should have said that up front.
“Let me ask the duck a question: Am I funnier than Adam Sandler?”
Okay, I appreciate the stabs at the other actors. Almost makes up for how Chris Rock was totally useless. And then that’s it, the only thing after this is Fletcher doing standup with a fake chicken. Yes.
I’ll save the final thoughts for the very end. But as we go into the next one, let’s hope the guest star actually…ya know, does something this time.
Jessie-Pumped Dumped Love
Writers: Leigha Barr & Pete Szilagyi
Okay, before we start I gotta say I love the title. Of all the Sandler movies they could have made a pun of, they picked the ones kids are the least likely to know of. Nice.
We start with some gags that have nothing to do with anything, but eventually we find out a school dance is coming up. Luke is going with a girl named Rachael that he deems his dream girl. Wait, I thought that was Jessie…
“It’s a dream, I can like as many girls as I want”
I’d applaud your dreams of polyamory if it didn’t involve your creepy Jessie crush.
After the theme song, Luke asks Rachael out during gym and she says yes. Wow, that was easy, no stupid drama to go with it. Well, except for how she recently broke up with a bully known as The Gorilla. I’m sure that won’t cause any problems though.
As for the subplot, I’ll kinda skim over it since there’s not as much to comment on. It has some of the kids being concerned about burglars, so they come up with ways to top potential ones. It’s just a bunch of gags, nothing to really say to be honest.
Back in the main story, Jessie discovers, via an amusing trick, that Emma forgot to pick Zuri about after school. Then we get this joke:
“Like you’ve never forgotten anything”
“I never forget things”
“Remember that time you forgot who you were and fought against a secret government agency to protect yourself and the woman you love?”
“That’s the plot to The Bourne Identity”
Ha ha, but please tell me more about the woman she loves. ….Okay moving on, Emma is banned from going to the dance. I get that her mistake needs to be small so that she isn’t too unlikable but geez that’s kind of harsh.
After a quick scene with Luke, we cut to the night of the dance as Ravi tells Emma that The Gorilla is swearing revenge on Luke. He heard it from the school newspaper because that’s the kind of thing they just allow you to report I guess. And in a bit I find rather nice, Emma is worried about Luke and wants to go there to warn him.
“There’s only one thing to do, Ravi, will you come to the dance with me?”
“I am very flattered, but you are my sister”
Later, Jessie goes up to Emma’s room but she has already snuck out and used a balloon to trick her briefly. Somehow. Jessie goes off to find her at the dance, and speaking of which, time for Luke to arrive at that thing and meet up with Rachael. He’s still very nervous so he goes to the punch bowl…which is being manned by Adam Sandler.
Oh hey the guest star came in at a slightly better time, how novel. But what is Adam Sandler doing at a school dance?
“Just trying to pick up some spare change chaperoning”
So Adam Sandler is so desperate for money he chaperones at a school dance. Yeah that sounds about right. But seriously, I love how they made fun of him in covering up how flimsy this is.
“If we have to have grown ups, too, I’m glad it’s you”
….That was almost as bad as the actual movie.
Luke asks him for advice.
“All you have do is be polite, honest, and a movie star”
“But I’m not a movie star”
“Well, you should try it sometime, it’s excellent”
I love how the celebrities in these episodes are making fun of themselves like this. Also, the punch was made in Kevin James’ bathtub. Okay. There was also a Kevin James joke in the ANT Farm one that I skipped, even though he couldn’t defend himself yet. Emma arrives and warns Luke, although he just brushes it off, thinking he can handle it. He won’t be able to handle it.
Jessie comes in and has a quick meet up with Adam.
“I’m also a struggling actress”
“What have I seen you in?”
“Nothing, it’s why I’m struggling”
Okay that “ha Jessie’s a failure” joke was actually good.
Jessie confronts Emma but she is informed of the Gorilla that is coming for Luke. Things are actually going better for Luke until The Gorilla rears his ugly head. Honestly, he just looks like a surfer chad rather than a bully chad but whatever.
He at least dumps punch on Luke (Oh I get the title now) which causes Rachael to be…happy because he still cares. Oof. That’s what you get for trusting a one off love interest.
The subplot finally has something notable happen when a delivery boy turns out to be a criminal who attacks Bertram. I didn’t know the job was grueling. Actually, they kinda make a similar joke, where he goes on about that.
“Why don’t you get a new job?”
“I was a philosophy major. There’s no jobs in philosophy! You were right dad!”
That was almost too real of a joke.
Zuri, Ravi, and most importantly, Mrs. Kipling come in to stop him. And…that’s basically the end of that, Kipling keeps him at bay so they can call the cops. Kipling is the best character.
Back with Luke, he’s heartbroken but Jessie consoles him. It’s honestly pretty sweet, with how she helps him stop sitting there and moping all night. He even gives her a rose he was supposed to give to Rachael. Don’t worry, it doesn’t get weird, it’s just simply a cute gesture in context.
They go home, where they tell us Jessie had a Gangem style dance off with Adam Sandler. That’s a sentence I just said. When they talk in, they get caught by a cage trap that Zuri and Ravi had put. Well actually, it’s just Jessie and the key is lost. And so it ends with her stuck there while the others leave. Guess we had to get in one cruel joke at the end I guess. Her pleading for Adam Sandler to save her is funny though.
Now we move onto our last one, which is a bit different.
Liv and Maddie-Cook a Rooney
Writers: Danielle Hoover & David Monahan
So as I mentioned before, this aired two years later in 2015, and isn’t really technically part of the trilogy. However, besides having a Grown Ups actor in it, this was also a movie tie in. See, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 came out around this time and was directed by Andy Fickman, who directed most of the episodes of Liv and Maddie. Hence, this was a thing.
Another difference to note before we begin is that here the guest plays an actual character, not himself. I want to skim through this one as a result, but I may get pointlessly long winded again, we’ll see.
We start with Parker and his Friend Whose Name I Never Learned filming a little monster movie, which Karen, the mom, and Liv walk in on. And they join in when asked to participate. That’s nice, usually in this kind of thing they’d like “Ugh, no”, so this is pretty amusing. After that, Parker’s Friend tells Liv he has a crush on an older girl and wants to know how to get her to notice him.
Gee, I can’t imagine who this older girl could possibly be. Oh wait Karen catches on quickly and tells her once he leaves, that’s good. As long it’s not creepy like Luke is, I’m cool with this.
Also, Karen says “vibing” and Liv says no one uses that word. These writers are surprisingly ahead of their time on accident.
After the theme song, Maddie discovers from Karen that she is suspended from the basketball team because she is failing just one class, Home-Ec. Curse you, education system! So she takes it up with the teacher, who is played by Kevin James. Nice to have our guest come in early for once.
He’s putting some kind of voice that is hard to describe, but he is certainly into it. He’s actually the first Kevin James character I’ve seen where the personality doesn’t end at “He’s fat, laugh!”. He’s basically this huge jerk, to the point of, in Netflix Caption’s words, laughs maniacally about Maddie failing.
But he does tell her that she can get extra credit by winning a cooking competition. The bad news is that her opponent is Artie, this guy who is basically Joey’s rival and has a thing for Liv. He gets along well with Kevin, to the point where I’m surprised he isn’t his son or something.
Then we have our subplot, where Pete, the dad, wants to sneak out of school (he’s a coach or something) to see a movie and Joey wants to tag along. Pete says no but Joey gets the idea to start a Roman History Club as a cover up to see it on a field trip, since the movie is set in ancient rome. Shockingly, the movie is just some generic thing and not an obvious riff on a relevant thing. Come on, you have Paul Blart in an episode made by the director of Paul Blart 2 and you don’t take the chance to spoof it? Shame on you.
I’ll be mostly skipping over this to save time. Basically they figure that the club excuse can give other opportunities, so they start things like the skydiving club. It’s middling, amusing enough and while nothing special, at least it’s not a big burden. It ends with Karen catching them and forcing the Moose Enthusiasts Club to join them on their adventures. And Artie is in that club. Okay, that’s an amusing way to kind of connect these.
But wait, that’s plot C, plot B was the Liv/Parker’s Friend thing so let’s move on with that. Oh joy, you know how ABC plots fare in these reviews a lot of the time. Thankfully, he is sweet about it, like trying out a little poem. Liv of course has to figure out how to let him down gently. Karen stupidly does that thing where she’s like “no pressure” in a way that puts a lot of pressure on her.
Eh, still one of the better Karens. Okay that was forced.
Maddie is working on her cooking skills, when Artie drops by with a freaking wedding cake for Liv. Honestly he’s on the better end of these kind of characters because you’re supposed to dislike him and it’s funny seeing how tryhard he is. He is funnier when he’s going up against Joey though, and Maddie in the case of this episode.
He has it out for her because Maddie didn’t pick him for dodge-ball in grade school. Clearly he has the greatest evil motivation of all time. He refuses to give her a break so she must press on.
Meanwhile, Liv decides that just being up front with Parker’s Friend is lame and goes for typical sitcom antics instead. She does weird/gross things to get him to reject her, like having…I think fake bad teeth but it just looks like she only has two fangs and also she’s brushing her teeth. It doesn’t work.
“What kind of superficial monster do you think I am?”
Liv is a dirty quitter and gives up on the first try and just tells him the truth. Actually, at least she got wise before things went too far. But plot twist, turns out his crush was on some girl from his karate dojo who is only older by 3 months. Okay, I actually didn’t see that coming but like…who makes a deal out of just 3 months? That’s dumb.
“Liv you’re cute, but you’re a little immature for me. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll find a nice guy. That Artie dude seems into you!”
Okay, I like how Artie gets referenced in all 3 plots at least. Speaking of the plots, that’s where this ends and Joey’s ends in the next scene we finally focus on the actual plot now. The competition begins and while Artie steals the idea for a dish she was making before, she one ups him with a huge “Snack-adium” she was able to make pretty quickly given her skill level.
Kevin can’t deny its glory, so Maddie wins. That feels too easy but ah well, we’re almost done. I love how Maddie and Kevin repeat the maniacal laughter thing he was doing with Artie before. Kevin sure turned around though.
We cut to sometime later as Maddie brings Liv in to see the Snack-adium only to see Kevin pretending to be doing a cooking show. Also, he ate the thing. Keep in mind it is huge so…dang. So they join in on his fake show to show the fake people how to make one.
“Who doesn’t love a special guest star?!”
Sure, you’re allowed one meta joke. And that’s the end of the trilogy, yee haw. Why am I a cowboy now.
All things considered, this was a fine trio of episodes, as far Disney Sitcoms go. Animal HusbANTry had some decent jokes going for it, as this show’s style of humor is just so…odd that it can appeal to me at times. The story is fine for what it is, but the conflict is weakly resolved. Plus we never find out if the chicken is okay, which is a crime. The subplot is also fine but again, resolved in a very weak manner. However, while Chris Rock has a few good lines, he enters the episode way too late and doesn’t do anything useful. It feels like a waste of him.
Punch Dumped Love was surprisingly good, considering. The plot was a nice one for Luke that actually had some sweet moments, from Emma wanting to warn Luke (which got her ungrounded, btw) to Jessie consoling Luke. Given how mixed Luke can be, this was refreshing. The subplot was kinda pointless but at least didn’t try to be more than just a bunch of gags, even with the tacked on “climax”. Adam Sandler was used decently, had some good jokes and at least was a little useful. There were some other bits with him I didn’t mention too.
Cook-A-Rooney was fine. It felt more consistent humor wise although there were oddly more stand out moments in the others, while nothing failed too hard. The main story was an acceptable one and I feel like this used the guest star the best as he leaves an impact on the story and Kevin James had decent fun with this over the top character. The other plots were similarly okay, and while the balancing is okay, it does feel like both subplots end before really getting started.
The C plot could have been cut to let the main plot stretch a tad more, as we could have used more time with Maddie getting ready or more time to do things in the competition. At least it’s not the kind of story that really needs time so the slightly off balancing isn’t a big detriment compared to something like The Singin’ Dancin’ Duncans and the like.
Overall, these were an interesting exercise in how these shows use guest stars. Sometimes they play themselves and barely do anything, other times they have at least more to do when they enter and get some funny moments, and then you get ones where they play an actual character and get to be decently funny and impactful. These were all clearly done as a gimmick but some clearly had a little more effort put into them.
This was pretty pointless, as I didn’t say a lot but this was fun to look over. At least we got to Disney roast Rob Schneider, so it was worth it.
Don’t feel like rating these traditionally, so I’ll just rank them so it would go Animal HusbANTry < Cook-A-Rooney < Punch Dumped Love
I’m as surprised as you are that Jessie landed at the top but there ya go. If I do something like this again, it’ll be the time that Dwayne The Rock Johnson was in a few Disney sitcom episodes, including everyone’s favorite anime,because he was in that period. Maybe next year. Until then…hope you enjoyed this filler-y post that I somehow had planned for ages.