Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lizzie McGuire or Hannah Montana?

We are in the era of Hannah Montana. You already know this. You probably hate her and her show. I know I do. However, when I was the age of today's Hannah Montana fans, I was obsessed with the show Lizzie McGuire, who very similarly to Hannah, was a teenage girl with one female best friend and one male best friend who faced a life lesson in every episode. I like Lizzie McGuire better, but is that because it's a better show, or do I just like it because it was part of my childhood?

The major difference between the two is that Lizzie is normal, but tries to be cool. Miley is a rock star who tries to be normal. Besides this, the shows follow a similar pattern.

Both have the central dynamic of three best friends, one a girl and one a boy. Both have a main character obsessed with her own image, moving up the social ladder, following trends, and boys. The female best friend is annoying and even more myopic and conformist than the main character. Both have an eccentric father, although Lizzie has two eccentric parents. Both have an annoying brother. Both Miley and Lizzie face problems with boys, parents, friends, clothes, school, bullies, morals, and every other cliche you can think of.

Pretty similar, right? When you look at them side-by-side, it comes down to one critical element. The foil best friends.

In Lizzie McGuire, her female best friend is ditsy and myopic, concerned with conforming to be popular. Her male best friend, Gordo, is a foil to Miranda. He is a nerd and made fun of in school, and the voice of reason. He offers a practical perspective on anything Lizzie and Miranda are considering. He tells Lizzie she doesn't need to be popular to be happy. He is his own person, rare quality to find in a Disney Channel character. Lizzie never listens to him and makes mistakes in every episode, but in the end, she admits he was right all along. Oliver in Hannah Montana is just an extension of the female best friend Lily, who he has an obnoxiously, unnecessarily mushy relationship with. Also, have you seen his hair?

By the way, the Lizzie McGuire movie was really cute. For a movie based off a Disney Channel show, they did a good job with it. Miley doesn't make things cute.