I'm doing this one on a dare. And I never back down from dares.
My name is Speed on the Beat, and this is Was It Really That Bad Review, where I review the crap so you don't have to. Earlier today on the DefineaRevolution.com site, I spoke on an underrated kid-skewed comedy called Smart Guy (you've probably heard of it). So, I figured, why the eff not? Why not go all Nostalgia Critic and look at stuff that people from my generation, in some way, shape, or form, grew up with?
Now, I was out of most of the target demographics that That's So Raven wanted to hit (you know, 8-to-15 year old girls who don't identify with any set race or label, because, you know, that's so not Raven). In 2003, I was more concerned with trying to get in eighteen-year-olds' pants (aim high and you'll end up amongst the stars) and soccer, not an eighteen-year-old psychic.
...wait, what? She was only supposed to be 14? Next, you're gonna tell me Melissa Joan Hart was really close to thirty when Sabrina The Teenage Witch ended...
So, That's So Raven follows the exploits of a teenager with psychic abilities who runs around saying "oh, snap" for about 15% of the entire series' actual dialogue. She also saves people from high school shenanigans because Disney. Co-starring Orlando Brown before he had real-life issues and Annaliese van der Pol (I don't have a joke here), the series lasted for 100 episodes split over four seasons and spawned a spin-off with Raven's TV brother Cory (Cory in the House) which was something about their dad becoming a cook in the White House...or something(?)
It also featured Hopsin as an extra for a couple seconds in one episode.
You know how people say now "I wish Disney Channel would go back to the good ol' days?" This was from those so-called good ol' days. It was like someone sucked all the fun out of I Love Lucy, painted it black, and added some Sabrina The Teenage Witch supernatural elements because, you know, tweens and teens love that crap. It worked for The Secret World of Alex Mack, and a slew of other shows and films from that mid-90s to mid-2000s era of stuff. So, it should've been good enough to work for one Raven-Symone Christina Pearman.
The thing is this: Raven-Symone, regardless her wacked-out philosophies, has some pretty good comedic timing. She can be funny when she's not talking out her asscheeks. Although, I'll admit. Probably seeing Raven doing what Mister Cheeks discussed his lady-friend do on "Lights, Camera, Action" would probably be something worth seeing, if only for the experience. And Disney Channel series are all but destined to be cornball central; they're meant for kids and early teens.
But, That's So Raven was probably the worst offender, mainly because Raven kept trying to be some sort of bastardized Lucille Ball-meets-Jim Carrey knockoff instead of just being Raven-Symone.
Yeah, she was too old to be doing her Olivia shtick...but at least that would've been more fun to watch. Actually, now that I think about it, that's exactly what she did to a degree, so...never mind, then. Now, I know that TSR became Raven's pet. It was, for a while, the biggest thing to hit Disney, since before Hannah Montana gave us Miley Cyrus, pre-strap-on photo days, That's So Raven was queen.
But even some queens are horrible. I did a binge watch a week ago to prep for this review. So, I gathered the following. That's So Raven was/is:
- overly cheesy
- overly preachy with its messages in a way that'd even make Full House blush
- not overly funny (I got more laughs out of watching Bubble Guppies with my four-year-old than this drivel--and that's a preschooler's show)
- void of any real drama/suspense (even Shake It Up, from what I gathered from my kids' mom's--at the time--tween-to-early-teen sister, had more drama/suspense)
- guilty of thinking it was smarter than it really was
- guilty of thinking its audience was dumber than it was (kids are smart and deserve good entertainment, dammit!)
But...was it really that bad? For what it was, it could've been a lot worse, to be honest. It wasn't completely mind-numbingly stupid (although, it did get pretty friggin' close) and there are worse shows that tweens-to-early-teens could've watched back then. Is it good? Oh...oh....oh, hells no. It's gotta go. But, for what it was--and I'm putting myself in the shoes of someone who could enjoy it versus, you know, me--it wasn't that bad.
But, that's another story for another day.