This episode departs from the formula others have followed. Namely, a main plot and a subplot. Here we get not only a main plot, but TWO subplots. We see Lizzie go into ‘save the world overdrive’, Matt ‘power overdrive’ and Gordo in ‘winning overdrive’. This episode aptly lives up to its title. ‘Obsession’ is definitely the theme visited throughout all the plots. Everyone’s obsessed about something.
This episode also proves a long-standing assertion of mine. That Hilary Duff looks good in ANYTHING!
Here she makes burlap look chic!
Lizzie learns that if one tries to do too much one accomplishes nothing. At some point in our lives most people ‘get’ the concept of civic involvement and want to do what they can to help. But there is a ‘dark side’ to this as well. One can easily fall into the idea that one must help as much as one can. The problem comes in that certain people always feel that they can help more, do more, than they already are. And since they feel that they CAN do more they do. But the feeling of always being able to do more, and more, and more, will never be sated. What one FEELS one can do and what one actually CAN do are two different things. One can always “feel” that they can do more, even when in reality they can’t. This is the trap Lizzie falls into. The world is just too big, and possesses too many problems, for any one person to “fix”. A point Lizzie’s behavior gets across to the audience.
As far as “Subplot A” goes, Gordo is locked in an intellectual showdown with Tudgeman in the annual science Olympics. He’s obsessed with winning, a foreshadowing of his obsessive nature that shows up again in “Gordo and the Dwarves”. As a consequence of this ‘battle of wills’, Tudgeman is cast once more in his occasional role of antagonist. Not just that, but this particular episode portrays him in his most unflattering light of the entire series.
Caught smack dab in the middle of all this craziness is Miranda. It’s interesting to see Miranda function essentially on her own. Lizzie’s new obsession has caused a rift between the two of them. And Gordo’s obsession leaves him unable to dispense advice and comfort. Miranda is left to her own devices, and when left to such is apologetic and unsure. Notice the way she almost pleads with Lizzie to talk to her. Normally it’s Lizzie who makes the rapprochement first—this is unfamiliar territory for Miranda. We saw this in “Pool Party” as well when Lizzie didn’t initiate the rapprochement. Miranda had to do so, and was apologetic and unsure. Her being in this situation does not happen often.
“Subplot B” revolves around Matt’s obsession with power. Yet another common malaise. Power corrupts. Matt allows his Hall Monitor powers to go to his head.
All in all this is a ‘filler’ episode, AKA: a normal episode. And that’s okay. We have a theme that dominates all aspects of the episode (obsession) and we get a rare ‘twofer’ in regards to subplots. An okay episode.