Lizzie McGuire

Season 2 Episode 31

The Gordo Shuffle

Aired Unknown Jun 13, 2003 on Disney Channel
out of 10
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Episode Summary

At school, Gordo tells Lizzie and Ethan he got a credit card in the mail with a $5,000 line of credit. He says he's not going to keep it, but the other two convince him to hang onto it. Later, though, while talking to Lizzie on the phone, Gordo has a brainstorm: use the credit card to finance the film he wants to make! Later at school Gordo is in full director mode, hiring Tudgeman as his technical advisor and Ethan and Kate as the leads in his science-fiction flick. He even hires Claire as Kate's personal stylist, then gives the two girls the card to go spend on wardrobe and make-up! Lizzie watches all this and is very concerned with the way Gordo is throwing around money that he doesn't really have. When she tells him this, he gets mad at her for not being supportive of his lifelong dream of filmmaking. When filming actually begins, nothing goes right. Kate, not surprisingly, acts like a prima donna, Ethan can't get his lines straight and Gordo can't seem to get a single good take to go in the can. Lizzie watches all this from the sidelines in dismay. During a break, Ethan tells Lizzie he's surprised to see that she's not being supportive of Gordo and his dream, which gives Lizzie something to think about. A load of pizzas arrive for the hungry, frustrated cast and crew, but when Tudge tries to pay for them with the card, the deliveryman cuts it in half--it's been declined for being over the limit. Kate storms off the set followed by Claire, Ethan and the others. When they are left alone, Lizzie tells Gordo, "I don't know what to say." Gordo snaps at her, "Don't say anything," and leaves himself. Later at Lizzie's house, Gordo comes over to apologize, even though Lizzie wonders if maybe she should be the one doing the apologizing. But Gordo has learned a lesson about financing movies. He's also going to be without an allowance for quite some time, so he tells Lizzie that they will have to be content just hanging out with each other, doing pretty much nothing. Lizzie doesn't think that sounds too bad. Also, Matt has been avoiding working on his school science project, but the deadline is coming up soon. He tries making various impractical inventions, eventually coming up with a hamster-powered toaster. Melina sees it and has this advice: make it bigger. So he does, finally winding up with a huge Rube Goldberg-type device. When he shows it to his parents, naturally his clumsy father trips over it, setting it off. The machine works, but not too well, as it burns the toast.moreless

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  • “Lights! Camera! Money!”

    Without Miranda’s presence, this episode feels ‘flat’ somehow. The lines that would customarily be assigned to her are instead parceled out to Ethan. This is most noticeable in the Cold Opening prior to the credits. And it’s almost as though the writers know the script seems to cry out for her presence. She’s mentioned no less than three times. Heck, her picture’s even shown.

    Gordo receivers a pre approved credit card through the mail (though how does he get it without his parents seeing it first?). With a $5,000 limit no less! Gordo, the smart, responsible one, is all for throwing it out. Ethan and Lizzie on the other hand appeal to his less refined side. And it is here that one really feels Miranda’s lines have just been appropriated by Ethan, for as we all know, Miranda is the ‘greedy’ member of the trio.

    Gordo, against his better judgment, relents and keeps the card, but with no intention of using it. That is, until Lizzie unlocks Gordo’s innermost desire: to become a film director. In his conversation with Lizzie he comes to the conclusion that he can use his newfound ‘wealth’ to fulfill his life long ambition to make a motion picture. But having not forsaken his intellect, he has thought it out. He knows that he won’t have to pay the money immediately; it’ll be at least a few weeks until the bill comes. And even *then*, he is only obliged to pay off a little bit at a time: something his allowance is able to cover.

    So even in the end, when his card is maxed out and his ‘feature film’ falls apart around him, he doesn’t feel the ‘bite’. He comes out smelling like a rose. While his allowance for the foreseeable future will be going to the credit card company, he doesn’t actually come away with any ‘penalty’. Heck, his parents don’t even ground him!

    It’s interesting to see what money will do to people. Which ambitions it will free up. For Gordo it’s all about his film career. *Before* he uses his card he has a screenplay that is set in the Old West. Fairly inexpensive to make. *After* he uses the card the screenplay is suddenly “tweaked” into an expensive Sci-Fi epic (or as ‘epic’ as a shoestring budget of five grand will get you). His ambition gets out of hand.

    In reality, Gordo’s getting ‘out of hand’ can be attributed to Lizzie’s (and Ethan’s) pushing Gordo to use the card in the first place. He didn’t want to do it. Lizzie kept at him to do so. And when he does, *then* Lizzie becomes concerned! She was a contributing factor to Gordo’s problem in the first place! Where’s the self-chastisement?

    Then there’s the “Lizzie’s not being supportive” thread. Perhaps it’s just me, but I didn’t really “feel” this story point. While Lizzie’s sudden worrying over Gordo’s use of the credit card could have been justifiably labeled as hypocritical by Gordo (after all, she *was* the one who urged him to use it in the first place), that’s not the reason he uses to vent his spleen on her. Instead, he accuses her of not supporting him, and he goes into just how deeply he wants to be a director (something the audience, and Lizzie, already knew. Which leads one to wonder if the writer thought the audience had forgotten this aspect of Gordo’s character since it hasn’t been dealt with much in Season 2).

    The fight, and the subsequent need for Ethan to criticize Lizzie (in a backhanded way of course) just comes off very ad hockish. Though it does afford Hilary Duff an excellent opportunity to display her acting talents by way of being “snappish” with Ethan. And this scene once again leaves one feeling that it had been originally written for Miranda.

    In the end, the main plot just seems a trifle “forced” if you will. Miranda’s presence would have helped, but how much can not be known.

    As for the subplot, Matt has a week in which to come up with a science project. Though in reality, that should be *plenty* of time. Heck, a potato, a light bulb, and you’ve got yourself a winner. I should know. ;-) I mean, if Melina can get away with a cardboard skeleton as her project, then practically anything will suffice for this class!

    After various unsuccessful attempts, he goes for the tried and true method: a really, really, complex machine built to achieve a simple task. In this case the making of toast. Simple as far as subplots go, but not bad.

    Quote of the episode: “Where’s the monkey?”

    As has been said before, primates sell! And this shows that Lizzie knows the fact.

    In reality, this is a mediocre plot, made all the more so by the absence of one of the show’s major characters. But it *is* “Gordo-centric”, a rarity amongst episodes, and it *isn’t* “bad” really. I guess at the end of the day it’s “okay”.

    Oh, and Gnomes rock!moreless
Ricky Luna

Ricky Luna


Guest Star

Brian J. White

Brian J. White

Pizza Guy [as Brian White]

Guest Star

Ashlie Brillault

Ashlie Brillault

Kate Sanders

Recurring Role

Kyle J. Downes

Kyle J. Downes

Larry Tudgeman

Recurring Role

Davida Williams

Davida Williams

Claire Miller

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • When Gordo gives the pizza guy the credit card, it still doesn't appear to be signed in the back. Some viewers have noted that it isn't always necessary to sign a credit card.

    • Larry says he ran out of loose change to pay for the photo coping and Gordo tells Larry to pay for it with his credit card. But if Larry established that he ran out of loose change, then how would a credit card pay for photo coping?

    • Gordo asks Lizzie how long he's known her and she answers, "Almost my whole life." In the pilot episode "Pool Party," though, Lizzie indicates she's known him even longer than that--"since I was one day old."

  • QUOTES (5)

  • NOTES (9)

    • The still photo of Miranda which is held up by Toon Lizzie is taken from the episode "Inner Beauty."

    • In one of the Toon Lizzie segments, Gordo is represented by an animated robot. He was also represented this way in "Gordo's Bar Mitzvah," "Dear Lizzie," "A Gordo Story," and "Magic Train."

    • Continuity: Lizzie reminds Gordo of his obsession with the game Dwarflord in the episode "Gordo and the Dwarves." The name of Gordo's movie is "The Untitled David Gordon Project", a similar name to "The Untitled Stan Jansen Project", an episode of the same name. Toon Lizzie says, "Remember the little people" as heard in Last Year's Model.

    • The episode's title was suggested by the 1987 film The Hollywood Shuffle, a comedy starring actor/comedian Robert Townsend, who also directed it and co-wrote the screenplay with Keenan Ivory Wayans. It's about an actor struggling to produce his own movie the way he wants to, free of Hollywood stereotypes. Townsend's character borrows money every way he can in the film, and in real-life he really did finance much of the movie by using his own credit cards.

    • The clapboard on the blooper reel seen at the end of the show gives the date of production as June 29, 2002.

    • This episode had its premiere in the U.S. immediately before the premiere of The Even Stevens Movie--on a Friday the 13th!

    • First aired in Australia on May 14, 2003.

    • Music includes:
      "Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo, a large, horn-laden rock band from Los Angeles with quirky new wave and alt-rock leanings who were most popular in the late 1980's and early 1990's. The song is most familiar to millions of listeners as the theme for the 1985 John Hughes-directed teen comedy film of the same name, and it was also used for the 1994-97 TV series that followed. The group's vocalist-guitarist Danny Elfman has gone on to write the music for blockbuster movies like Batman, Men in Black, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. He also composed the theme music for The Simpsons TV show. The song is heard when Matt is performing his science experiments.
      "Hollywood Swinging" by the urban funk group Kool & the Gang. This was the group's second top ten pop hit ("Jungle Boogie" was the first), rising to number 6 on the chart in June 1974. It was also a #1 hit on the R&B chart. It was also sampled on rapper Mase's top five record "Feels So Good" in 1997. Among the group biggest hits are the party anthem "Celebration" and the ballad "Joanna." The song is heard during the montage scene of Gordo trying to direct his movie.

    • Lalaine (Miranda) does not appear in this episode. Her character's absence is once again explained by her being on vacation. This is the sixth and final "Miranda-less" episode to be shown in the US, and the first one to be broadcast since "Bye Bye Hillridge Junior High" in February 2003. Unlike the other episodes, however, Miranda is referred to a couple of other times once a reason for her absence has been established. Gordo tells Lizzie that he wishes Miranda was back so Lizzie could talk to her about "girl stuff" rather than him. Also, Toon Lizzie mentions twice that she wished she had Miranda there to give her some advice.


    • Matt: It makes toast.
      Matt's ludicrously-elaborate toaster was reminiscent of the cartoons drawn by Rube Goldberg (1883-1970), which featured similar devices. The gadgets proceeded through many complex steps, usually involving live animals at some point in the process, in order to ultimately perform a mundane task. To this day, overly-complicated machines or processes are often referred to colloquially as "Rube Goldberg machines". The official Rube Goldberg Web site announces an annual contest for students to actually build such machines; Matt ought to enter it. [ Read More]

    • Gordo: Move over Coppola, David Gordon's on the set.
      Francis Ford Coppola was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 7, 1939, but grew up in Queens, New York. With a father who was a composer and musician and a mother who was an actress Coppola had early influences on working in the entertainment industry. He graduated with a degree in drama from Hofstra University and then went on to do graduate work in filmmaking at UCLA. In 1963 his first feature film, Dementia 13, was released. Three years later his second film You're a Big Boy Now earned him a Masters of Fine Arts degree and critical acclaim. A short time later he teamed up with George Lucas to produce the films THX 1138 (1971) and American Graffiti (1973). But the work Coppola is probably best known for is the Godfather (1972) and its two sequels released in 1974 and 1990 which have earned numerous awards. The other film he is most remembered for is the Vietnam war epic Apocalypse Now (1979) which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, three for Coppola as a producer, director and writer, but he won none. He is known as one of the most acclaimed directors of the 1970s, but his career and personal life have been very erratic, experiencing euphoric triumph as well as shattering tragedy. On a personal note, Coppola is also the uncle to a pretty famous actor, Nicolas Cage.