Ah, Lizzie McGuire. I’m pretty sure she’s my spirit animal, if I had one. And, you know, if she was an animal. Does her sassy, cartoon character who speaks her inner thoughts to the viewer count? Whatever, I still think it’s pretty accurate.
I could write a book about this show, but for your sake and my imminent carpal tunnel, I’ll refrain. Basically, Lizzie McGuire is a normal, young teen who has two best friends from forever, Gordo and Miranda. She also has a mischievous younger brother, Matt, two (normal but weird to her) parents, a frenemy Kate (they used to be best friends until Kate got popular), and a hot guy crush, Ethan.
I remember watching the first episode and loving every single moment, only to realize that it was a teaser episode and a) it wouldn’t really premiere for like, another week (so long!) and b) they started over introducing the characters in the pilot when I already knew them. But whatever, she wore butterfly clips and had cool, crimped hair and was exactly my age so basically, this was my version of The Wonder Years or some other poignant, coming-of-age tale just made more fashionable and Disney-centric.
I clearly wasn’t alone in my love for LM. It ran for three years. There was merchandise. There was a soundtrack (“I Can’t Wait” was my jam.) There was a spin-off movie (where Lizzie goes on a trip to Rome to be mistaken for an Italian pop star, obvi). There was a movie soundtrack. There was a planned spin-off for Miranda, and then Miranda’s cousin (cast as Selena Gomez!), but that ended. Then there’s the fact that people still refer to Hilary Duff as Lizzie McGuire. (Which I don’t think is going to end anytime soon. Sorry Duff.)
But this show! It was just so cool. Why? I mean, besides the obvious (outfits, cute and quirky albeit lovable characters), it dealt with a ton of real scenarios that most teens could identify with: fights with your best friends, wanting that expensive outfit, lying to your parents (then feeling guilty about it), dealing with mean girls, peer pressure, dating, etc. There’s even some serious issues dealt with: Miranda’s eating disorder, gender stereotypes (Matt tries out for the cheerleading team), and dealing with adult issues (like grandparents splitting up). When Lizzie (spoiler alert!) got a boyfriend and then he broke up with her, your heart just went out to her. (Ugh, Ronnie.)
Perhaps the best episode of all-time (besides when Steven Tyler plays Santa) is when the three besties snuck onto Aaron Carter’s music video set, and Lizzie and Miranda end up in his video for “Candy” and AARON KISSES HER UNDERNEATH MISTLETOE. Honestly? My teenybopper heart almost stopped. (Also, this relationship started the Lindsay vs. Hilary rivalry, which I’m sure we’ll get to soon enough.)
Thanks, YouTube for keeping memories alive: