I put this on my Amazon list on Saturday. The series is impossible to get, but the movies run about $8, so okay. Then, I was at the library with the kids yesterday—the library’s air conditioned. I happened to look in the AV sale stuff of the ongoing library book sale. I did indeed spend $8—and got this and the Toy Story movies. Actually, I’m pretty sure someone was clearing out their Disney collection, based on what was there, or upgrading to Blu-Ray or something, but I already owned most of it. Either way, I was pleased, since I’d been wanting to write about it anyway.
Kimberly Anne Possible (Christy Carlson Romano) is the daughter of a brain surgeon (Jean Smart) and a rocket scientist (Gary Cole). She has younger brothers (Shaun Fleming), Jim and Tim, whom she refers to as the “tweebs” (“twin dweebs”) who are smarter than she is, and she’s no dummy. Her best friend is Ron Stoppable (Will Friedle). Together, they routinely save the world—in this particular, they start the movie by keeping her archfoe Dr. Drakken (John DiMaggio), or at least his assistant Shego (Nicole Sullivan), from kidnapping toy magnate Nakasumi (Clyde Kusatsu). It’s clear Drakken has a plan, but Kim can’t figure it out.
Besides, she has a bigger problem—prom is coming up. Her high school archfoe Bonnie Rockwaller (Kirsten Storms) points out that all the other cheerleaders are dating the most eligible boys in high school. But that’s okay; maybe Kim could date the captain of the chess team! Or Ron, if she’s really desperate. Then, the dreamy and charming Eric (Raviv Ullman) arrives at their school, and, well, he’s better than the captain of the chess team! But is he better than Ron? Ron surely doesn’t think so.
One of the things I’ve always liked about this show is that it doesn’t present Kim’s school issues as fundamentally less important than whatever dumb plan Dr. Drakken has this week. (He’s actually really proud of his plan here, because Shego can’t figure it out. And, he says, Kim isn’t smarter than Shego—probably true—so if Shego can’t figure it out, neither can Kim.) I mean, the Drs. Possible do their best to convince her that it doesn’t matter if she doesn’t have a date to prom. As does her best friend, Monique (Raven-Symoné), who after all does not herself seem to have a date. But it matters to Kim, and that’s okay. The movie doesn’t look down on her for it or expect us to.
She isn’t even wrong for being too occupied with her own issues to notice that Ron has started Feeling That Way about her. I mean, Ron is too distracted to notice that Drakken’s plan is coming to fruition literally in the same room he’s in. So who’s not paying enough attention? It’s Ron’s obligation to use his words, and if he doesn’t, Kim isn’t expected to be a mind-reader. Besides, everyone has always been pairing the two of them, even back when Kim was drooling over Josh Mankey.
I also like a lot of the little running things in the series that come out in this episode. The fact that the background characters are recurring—Ned (Eddie Deezen), the Bueno Naco assistant manager, for one, who even has personality. The assorted cheerleaders beyond Kim and Bonnie. Heck, there was even a couple of girls in a lot of background scenes whom the fans decided were a lesbian couple—and the animators made that canon as the series went on. I like that Drakken is just incapable of remembering Ron’s name. I like that everyone pretends that the rivalry is Kim and Drakken with Shego and Ron as the sidekicks, but of course that isn’t true. I like that Drakken and Mr. Dr. Possible knew each other in college, and Mr. Dr. Possible refers to Drakken as Drew all the time.
I like that Kim can go to her parents for advice, and I like that she more frequently turns to Monique even though she has a good relationship with her parents. She knows that her parents will be there for her, but Monique is her first line of defense. And it’s not just because her mother puts her on speakerphone while performing brain surgery, a thing the show doesn’t, alas, seem to realize is usually done with the patient conscious whenever possible.
On the other hand . . . how old is Shego? She has a few lines that are uncomfortable here inasmuch as she’s explicitly an adult. There’s even an episode of the show where Shego, for reasons, is Kim’s substitute teacher. (As “Miss Go,” of course.) I think this was intended by the series to be the senior prom, meaning the various characters could be adults (I was eighteen when I graduated from high school, and I had classmates older than I was), though its popularity meant the show got picked up for a fourth season. So it became the junior prom, and everyone went back to high school for a year.
The issue was that the Disney Channel had, perhaps has, a policy of limiting its shows to 65 episodes. This was well known to be the only reason Kim Possible was canceled; it certainly wasn’t because it was unpopular. Indeed, if you look closely, you can see that Ron has a sticker that reads “No on 65.” This movie is intended to wrap everything up neatly and give the fans a sense of closure. And if Shego is, say, 22—and I had a teacher in high school who was that young—it isn’t that weird for her to date an eighteen-year-old high school graduate, right? So when she threatens to date someone to piss off Kim, it’s bad but not too bad, right?
Don’t get me wrong; the fourth season is fun. There are a couple of episodes that are among the best in the series; I love the bit where Ron considers following in his father’s footsteps as an actuary. It just throws a couple of issues into the plot here that could have been resolved if they’d just started college or something for the next season instead.
I’m not sure this was the best place to start my son on Kim Possible (he’s seen it before, but when he was too young to really notice or remember), but he seemed to like it. At one point, he was so enraptured that I actually thought he was asleep. After all, he was watching silently, and how often does that happen with a kid who turns five next Wednesday?
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