It’s time for the annual trip to Grubby Gulch, an ‘Old West’ theme town that has seen better days. And boy has it! The place is practically falling apart in front of the visitors’ eyes. Lizzie feels that she’s outgrown the whole endeavor, whereas the rest of the family is ready and rearing to go.
To help her survive the ‘exploration into lameness’ she enlists the aid of Gordo and Miranda. The two sleep over at Lizzie’s house to be ready to leave for the theme park bright and early the next morning. Which does leave askance to some degree. I mean, I know Lizzie and Gordo have been friends since they were literally in diapers, but Sam and Jo must have an *awful* lot of trust in he and Lizzie to allow them, teenagers, to sleep alone in the same room, unsupervised, overnight. It’s a good thing these kids are good kids! ;-)
This episode is very linear, and the ‘moral’ very direct. In the process of growing up one also tends to grow apart from ones family. Sam and Jo realize that this is probably the last time the whole family will get to go to Grubby Gulch. That Lizzie is growing up, and in doing so certain ‘family moments’ will never transpire again. Soon she’ll be leaving the nest and things will never be the same. Lizzie comes to this realization too. These moments are going to be gone forever pretty soon, so she had better hold on to them as hard as she can, while she can, for these are the trips and experiences that make up the storehouse of memories later on in ones life.
As far as a subplot goes—there isn’t one. Matt’s eating of copious amounts of food doesn’t really constitute a separate plot thread, especially considering most of the scenes he’s in are with Lizzie and gang. And speaking of eating, Matt proves once again the adage of “too much of a good thing”. He eats himself into a semi catatonic state! *LOL*
But while this episode may primarily serve as a straightforward ‘growth’ episode for Lizzie, there are certain other items of interest.
Not the least of which is a possible subtle alluding to the ongoing Gordo/Lizzie romance thread (which by the time of this episode had yet to reach its apex). When Lizzie is trying to think of ways in which she can make it up to Gordo and Miranda for coming with her she muses upon letting Miranda borrow her clothes any time, and as far as Gordo goes, she figures that she’ll probably have to marry him!
And speaking of romance, this episode isn’t bereft of it. What should the gang stumble onto in the middle of the vast area of ‘dorkfullness’ they find themselves in? Why, none other than potential dates! The food stand boy comes onto Lizzie (notice Gordo’s very carefully neutral expression at the tableau)! And then what should happen? But the comely female help comes onto Gordo! His bumbling reactions to the concept of being hit upon are humorous indeed. Gordo is not good with small talk. ;-)
This is the 4th time a boy has shown romantic interest in Lizzie thus far, and the 3rd time a girl has taken an active interest in Gordo. And Miranda? Never fear, she’s set up with the girl’s brother Heath. “The good looking one in the family.” Though we never get to see him date. What is it with Miranda’s dates? We either never hear them speak or even get to see them! *LOL*
This really illustrates just how much of a ‘stand up gal’ Lizzie is. When faced with an escape from her ‘lame’ surroundings in the company of an attractive boy who has taken an interest in her, what does she do? She decides that family togetherness is more important than going out with a cute date. That’s a very mature and farsighted response. Though it doesn’t seem to be one Gordo and Miranda share. They seemingly go out on their dates anyway! But that makes sense, after all, the McGuire’s aren’t *their* families.
And there is one other thing to note. This is only the third episode to date in which not a single reoccurring secondary character appears. No Kate. No Ethan. No one.
At the end of the day this is a very simple and straightforward episode. Refreshing.