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!