Saturday, May 30, 2015

KP EbE - You mean my social status doesn't exempt me from the rules? (Tick-Tick-Tick)

Ok, so first off I said that I'd explain why I deviated from production numbers when I did.  Generally production numbers are as close to a canonical order as we'll ever get.  Where it breaks down is that production numbers are apparently assigned on the basis of, "First completed, first served," and the production tended to take episodes two at a time, so sometimes the second of the pair being worked on would be finished first and thus get the lower number.

That happened here.  We only know it happened here because this is when Drakken and Shego are first introduced while the next episode has them already known and, indeed, Drakken has ascended to the level of arch foe.

That out of the way, welcome to Middleton High School:

Sometimes the board will have jokes, sometimes it has plot relevant stuff.  That term papers are due is vaguely important to the pre-credits sequence.

We meet Kim when she bursts through the doors already in a sprint:

Those papers thrown out everywhere were being held by the girl in maroon and are presumably that girl's term paper.  She had been talking to the girl in blue before Kim rushed between them.

Kim said, "Excuse me" after the fact, "In a hurry," to a boy whose book she knocked out of his hands, and, "Sorry," to someone who she appears to have grabbed onto for some form of steering or speed control leaving him spinning into an human tornado.

When we first meet Kim, in other words, she's being an inconsiderate jerk.  Yeah, she said, "Excuse me," and, "Sorry," but that doesn't mean much when you leave the person in your rear-view and move on to inconveniencing the next person.

I was thinking that maybe it was a good thing that they didn't air this as the first episode (the episode with that honor is episode 13, "Crush") but the one that they did show first didn't portray her in the most positive light at the start either.

Anyway, she's in a hurry to get to her locker which has a computer and printer in it so she can print out the term paper that is due.  Things don't go quite as she expects:

Dialog surrounding that shot:

Kim: Come on, come on.  Print for Kim.  Good, good.  *looks at page* What is this?
Ron: I downloaded cheat codes for Steel Toe Cyber Slam.  Today Ron Stoppable defeats the boss of level six.

Pause for a moment to appreciate that:
  1. The "cheat codes" are geometric shapes.  I'm not making fun, I'm imagining a world in which that's how cheat codes actually are.
  2. That's a reasonably original way to introduce a character's full name without sounding forced.
  3. We've learned a bit about Ron's hobbies and personality.

Kim: Ron I have like thirty seconds to print my history paper.
*printer jams*
Ron: Uh, oh.  Paper jam.
Kim: Term Paper Jam, Ron!

Ron: Nothing a little naked mole rat service call can't fix.

We get Rufus's introduction, his name, his species, and the wonderful line, "Rufus can program a VCR, Kim, I think he can handle this," which future generations will never understand.

Rufus does fix it, Kim calls him "the hairless freak" which is just uncalled for, and we have now met the entire field crew of Team Possible.  We've also learned that Kim has a computer and printer in her locker, which is good to know because that's one of her primary points of contact with Wade (the not-in-the-field member of the team) and thus where she gets a lot of her missions.

With printing done Kim heads off to her class, but the bell rings before she makes it and then she smashes face first into Mr. Barkin.

I don't even know what Mr. Barkin does.  He's clearly an in house on call substitute teacher.  I'm not sure exactly what capacity he's acting in here.  He seems to be involved with at least some sports teams.  Out of universe he's generally a way for the animators to not have to come up with new teacher models by having him do everything we see at the school.  (There are some exceptions where someone else shows up for an episode.)

He hands out diplomas at graduation, but he's not the principle, so ... yeah.

Now then, she smashes into Barkin, her term paper goes everywhere (is it karmic justice for scattering Alex's?) and we learn that she's tardy for the third time in the month,

Barkin: Looks like I'll be seeing you after school.
Kim: At cheerleading practice?
Barkin: At detention Possible!
Kim: Detention!?

Cue Credits.  (Post on theme song, post on title sequence.)

But, actually, rewind a bit.  The name "Alex" came out of nowhere there, didn't it?  In fact, even if you know Kim Possible by heart, you may never have heard of Alex.  The creation of Alex is both a sign of the lack of inclusivity in the show, and a sign of how shit like that means people will grasp at straws and jump to unfounded conclusions just to find someone like them in their fiction.

The shot with Alex in the above isn't that good, so here's one of her from a different episode:

Visually she's an incidental character who appears around the school when they need non-plot-related students to be in a shot.  In all other ways Alex Saffic is a result of someone saying that given the proportion of the population that is LGBT, and the number of people shown on Kim Possible, someone on Kim Possible has to at least one of those letters, and finally resorting to, "Some of my friends who are lesbians have that haircut, so I choose you," as a way to get some damned representation.

Thus "Kid 14" was transformed from an incidental character to an important part of fandom.

Because judging people on their haircuts alone is seriously how far from reason you have to go if you want characters like you in your TV when you're not part of the approved demographic.

There's a decent chance I won't have a lot of opportunity to talk about gender and sexuality outside of the mind switching episode simply because it's hard to say much meaningful stuff about nothing.  Disney does not acknowledge that there might be kids who are not cis gender, binary conforming, heterosexual, monogamous people.  There is a complete exclusion of anyone who doesn't fit that.

Disney avoids inclusion the way mere mortals avoid the plague.  Which brings us to my point in bringing up Alex:
When the only way to find someone like you is to make inferences from haircuts, something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong.
But that's about the series as a whole, and we're talking about the first episode.


So, here is where we are when we get back from the credits:

Meet the Possible house.  It's pretty awesome looking.

This is where minor tweaks could make a huge difference.  We started at the beginning of the school day, Barkin said that he'd see Kim in detention after school.  Now it is night.

Question: Has Kim been to detention yet?

The answer will make a huge difference on how we interpret what follows.  Kim is down during the meal; it is because of detention.  Is it because she has been to detention, or because she will be going to detention?  Her parents would be equally in the dark either way since the time spent in detention would instead have been spent in cheer practice.

Tell me when you figure it out:

*The possible twins launch peas at each other using spoons as catapults*
Dad: Jim, Tim, no airborne vegetables at the table.  Use the launchpad in the yard.
Mom: Kimmie, you haven't eaten a nibble, something wrong?
Kim: *Sigh* Mom, you're a brain surgeon.  Dad's a rocket scientist.  What am I?  Detention girl.
Mom: Detention?
Dad: A Possible has never had detention.  Except for your brothers, but they're little monkeys.

Brothers setting up an actual rocket-fuel propelled rocket in background
Mom: Do you want to tell us what happened Kimmie?
Kim: I was a little late to class.  It was no big, unless you're Mr. "Three Strikes" Barkin
Dad: Sounds like your Mr. Barkin is tough but fair.
Kim: Dad, I'm a cheerleader, we don't do detention.
Mom: Really?  Who does "do" detention?
Kim: I don't know.  Other kids.  The ones who break the rules.
Dad: Like you did.
Kim: Do I have the right to remain silent?

And you know what, I'm going to stop listing things off as they come because the truth is that there's nothing that indicates either way until the next day after school when she shows up to detention for the first time.  Before that you don't have any solid proof she wasn't in detention on this day.

The "I don't know" is probably the strongest indicator that she hasn't been there yet since she doesn't have experience from which to draw upon to answer the question of who is usually there.

Confusion could have been avoided with the addition of one word:
Barkin: Looks like I'll be seeing you after school tomorrow.
Boom.  With the addition of one word we've established that detention is not daily at Middleton High, that Kim will go home, have to deal with her family (and more), come back to school the next day, and only then go to detention.

But that's not what's there.

So, let's get back to some stuff I went over quickly.  Dad's a rocket scientist, mom's a brain surgeon.  Her little brothers set rockets off in the yard.  (If there were a shot with the mother Possible's face in it that had the rocket take off as well I'd grab that, but they all have the back of her head, just like the above.)

Kim is from a family that is consistently above average.

She is supremely privileged in a lot of ways, but quite annoyed that that privilege doesn't extend to being exempt from attendance rules.

I feel bad about not having a picture of Dr. Ann Possible's face yet, so here is from between "Really? Who does 'do' detention?" and "I don't know.  Other Kids."

And now, as with Alex, I'm going to go on a tangent.  It's the first episode, if I don't talk about systemic failures now, when will I?

The Doctors Possible fall strictly in line with expected gender roles, and there will be more to say about that later, but another problem is the vast difference in focus.

Kim is a Possible.  She is not an [Ann's maiden name].  I'm not talking about her last name.  I'm talking about her family.  This is Kim's family:
  • Doctor James Possible (Father)
  • Doctor Ann Possible (Mother)
  • Jim Possible (Brother)
  • Tim Possible (Brother)
  • Nana Possible (Grandmother)
  • Slim Possible (Uncle)
  • Joss Possible (Cousin)
  • Larry (Cousin)
  • June (Aunt)
Larry and his mother June never interact with Ann while James takes a sizable interest in them meaning that it's probably the case they're of the Possible family not the [Ann's maiden name] family.

So you can just mentally amend a [of the Possible family] on to the end of those entries.  Look at the list with that in mind.  Notice a pattern?

Ann has no family.  She has no life outside of the Possible family.  Apparently when she got married she cut off all relationships with her birth family and integrated fully into the Possible dynasty.

She exists as Kim's mother, and thus Kim's siblings' mother, but she is not a sister or a daughter.  Her existence before she got married and took the name "Possible" is never alluded to.

Kim has a mother and a father, but outside of being a mother and a father, only the father matters.  Kim's mom is a good mom but we never hear about her life at college, or her colleagues, or her brother or sister or mother.  That's all reserved for Kim's dad.

Ann doesn't have a picture of her niece or her nephew hanging on the wall.  James has pictures of both of his.

Outside of her role as wife and mother, Ann really isn't there.  Which kind of sucks because she's a damned awesome character.

Once again, this is about a lack, so I'm not sure how much opportunity there would be to talk about it in the future seeing as all episodes lack Ann Possible backstory equally.

Ok, second tangent over.


"I'm a cheerleader; we don't do detention"

Um, what the fuck?

And let me add that Kim's not alone in this, here are some other people's thoughts from later in the episode:

Wade: Cheerleaders don't get detention.

Junior: Whoa! What's a cheerleader doing in detention!?

Bonnie (another cheerleader): Detention? Kim, maybe no-one's informed you, but we don't
get detention.

This does not follow.  There is no universe in which any of this makes sense.

Status does not imbue one with an ability to escape punishment outside of certain circumstances that are extremely evil and usually related to some form of classism or bigotry.  Cheerleaders are not inherently rich enough or [winning at kyriarchy] enough to escape the rules and laws that apply to the rest of us.  In fact, as part of becoming cheerleaders Kim and Bonnie both probably had to demonstrate an understanding that not only would they be punished like everyone else but they would in fact be punished more since a severe enough infraction would get them booted from the squad.

I get that the point is that we're supposed to think that Cheerleader → Top of the heap untouchable, and as a result we're supposed to be seeing this as a reality check for Kim, but it really makes no sense.

When Kim was saying that she was just a tiny bit late, that's an argument where she has some solid footing.  Maybe she shouldn't be punished for such a short time.  Maybe it can be argued that there should be some flex in there or that detention is overly severe for being a little bit late.  (She might have been under a minute late, detention is longer than a minute.)

She then leaves that solid ground and goes on to the indefensible ground that says she shouldn't get detention because she's a cheerleader.  "Screw the rules, I have status."

Not only is this a problem in simple terms of making an argument, it's also a problem because it's the asshole's defense.

"Rules are meant for other people --the little people-- not concentrated awesome like me."

Ok, Kim started out being inconsiderate to others in her (failed) rush to get in on time, but now she's gone into full blown snotty jerk mode.

We may have some more opportunity to explore this, I'm not sure.  For now lets get to some action.

*beep beep beep*

Mom: The hospital!
Dad: The lab!
Kim: It's the Kimmunicator.

Meet Wade.  A part of me wants to say, "Wade is Kim's black friend," and leave you to fill in the problematic blanks yourself.  Not going to do that, though.

Wade is a reclusive ten year old super genius who runs Kim's operation.  He monitors the website for jobs and keeps track of the favors network to see who can get her where.  He can hack almost anything and also makes her gadgets.  He's actually a pretty solid character, the problem is that until Monique arrives in the last few episodes of this season he's the only person of color in the regulars.

Even then, he's in Kim's mission life, Monique is in Kim's social life.  Thus divided it's more like one token per sphere (of which there are but two) than any kind of decent representation.

Anyway, with Wade we've now met the entirety of team possible.  Picking up where we left off:

Kim: What up, Wade?
Wade: Kim, Got a hit on your website from the Amazon.
Kim: The Amazon!?
Wade: I set you up with Gustavo for a ride.
Kim: Gustavo? From the flood. Oh, I remember him.
Wade: Pack your insect repellent.
Mom: South America!?
Dad: On a school night!?

Kim's "puppy dog pout" is like a form of mind control and is probably banned as an interrogation technique:

Pretty much no one can withstand it, so her parents give in, but her mother does insist that Kim finish her peas first.

We get to have a sense of how Kim's favors work on the flight:

Kim: Thanks for the lift, Gustavo.
Gustavo: After you rescued my village from the flood last year, Kim Possible, I only wish I could do more.
Kim: No big; it was just like swim practice.
Ron: Except the Middleton high pool doesn't have piranhas.

Kim is getting a ride because she saved [someone] from [something] which she considers not to have been a big deal.  If Ron comments, he'll add some much needed perspective.

That's the formula for pretty much all rides, though deviations do exist for comedic purposes.

They get to South America, Ron has a flashback to the worst summer of his life, spent at camp Wannaweep, and they determine that what was stolen was a disk with ... I'll just let the exposition explain:

Acari: On the disc was a digital blueprint for a cyber-genetic tick would be virtually identical to the real thing.
Kim: So you designed a robot tick?
Acari: Precisely.
Ron: Question: Why?
Acari: I have a lot of time on my hands.

The reason I'm doing an exterior shot of the lair instead of showing you Drakken and Shego is that they're first seen by firelight which was a horrible idea.  Shego has almost-white green skin.  Drakken has blue skin.  Under orange lighting ... they should have established the characters' skin colors before they had their fun doing cute things with the lighting.  As it is, it's difficult to tell if they correctly did the way the odd skin colors would change under colored lighting, or they just screwed up and forgot that the characters (Drakken in particular) didn't have normal human skin tones.

I'll wait until we have good shots to show them to you.

*Shego is walking*
*A trap door opens under her, surprising her, and she slides down a tube and lands in a chair*
Shego: Ever considered a normal door?~
Drakken: Did you get it?
Shego: I got it.  Don't know why you'd want it,~ but I got it.
Drakken: My plan will reveal itself in due course, Shego.
Drakken: *to himself* Who wants to build a robot tick. I do! I do!
Shego: Uh,... Doctor Drakken, you know you said that out loud, don't you?
Drakken: Blast!

Shego's very first line in the very first episode is snark.  That's so damned perfect for her character.  Unfortunately you have to take my word for it because tone of voice and cadence and whatnot don't translate to text.  I think that "?~" would be snarky question mark since ".~" is snarky full stop.  That said, I'm probably not going to try to mark the snark going forward, there is too much.


Middleton High School.  Sign Reads: "Detention Room 12"

Kim gets a message from Wade on the Kimmunicator:

Kim: Go, Wade. I don't have much time.
Wade: Oh, Cheerleading practice.
Kim: Detention.
Wade: Cheerleaders don't get detention.
Kim: *annoyed/angry* Can we just get back to the case?
Wade: OK. Look. I took that freeze-frame from the security camera. Her name's Shego. She's wanted in 11 countries.
*Picture of Shego's mug shot, she's holding "11734"*
Ron: Make that 12. Rrrr.
Rufus: Rrrr.
Kim: So not your type. Urgh!
Barkin: Possible! Snap to! It's 1500 hours!
Ron: She has to do 1,500 hours?! Let the time fit the crime, Mr. B.
Barkin: You want a piece of this, Stoppable?!
Ron: Pass. *hides behind a locker door* Remember, Kim, chocolate's as good as cash in there, and don't look anyone in the eyes.

We once again get the assumption that status is apparently expected to exempt someone from the rules, Shego's name is reinforced, though we never learn what she's wanted for in those countries.  Seems like it might be valuable intel to know what her crimes actually are.

If anyone cares, we also learn that school gets out at three.  You'd think that it would have to get out before three since Kim had time to get to her locker, where this all takes place, but it'll later be established that they get out at three on the hour.

"Detention is like prison" is reinforced by the sound effect of metal prison-ish doors being shut and locked.  In fact it's just another classroom though with the lights out.

The warden:

(Mr. Barkin)
The inmates:

(Big Mike, back; Junior, left; Kim Possible, middle; Vinny, Right)

Even though she isn't in her uniform or under an "I'm a cheerleader" neon sign, Vinny and Junior both immediately recognize her as a cheerleader.  I am... unconvinced of the status and fame cheerleaders enjoy in this setting.

This is essentially Kim having to mingle with the lower classes.  They're the bottom of the barrel, she's the tippity top.  Their characterization is limited to: Kids in detention.

Which ... why Vinny?  Middleton High is extremely white.  All of the incidental characters are white.  If you see someone in the background, they'll be white.  When Monique shows up she instantly becomes a major character meaning that even with a black woman roaming the halls, the non-major characters are still all white.  We'll have to wait for Ron's first crush to be introduced before we get to see a non-white non-major character in the school halls and I think, other than a non-speaking cameo in Graduation Part 2, she never shows up on screen outside of the two episodes where she is part of the plot.

So, why --in this sea of whiteness-- is the detention population 1/4 or 1/3 (depending on whether we count Kim) black?

Major fuck up points.

But that wasn't where I was going originally.  Kim is at the tippity top.  These people are at the bottom.  Why would they be able to recognize Kim as a cheerleader at a glance?

She's captain of the Junior Varsity Squad (or she will be captain by the first time hierarchy is expressed) but that doesn't mean that everyone in school knows who she is.

Why would the dregs of the high school bother to know who is on the cheer squad?

Anyway, we get:

Barkin: Possible, meet Vinny and Big Mike.
Vinny: What's up?
Big Mike: Hey.
*total lack of response from Kim*
[snip for Junior entering]
Junior: Whoa! What's a cheerleader doing in detention?!
Kim: Waiting for it to be over.

Two people greeted her with perfectly nice greetings.  She ignored them.  One person demonstrated that he had exactly the same false assumptions as Kim.  She responded in a rude, dismissive tone.

Stay classy, Kim.

One person criticizing the series noted that that for a globe trotting person saver, Kim has a real problem accepting people that fail to fit into her category of "acceptable" when at home.

Kim has been exposed to all kinds of people from all kinds of cultures and as such you'd think she'd be more tolerant of different people in her own culture.  But she isn't.

The important thing right now is that all the pieces are now in play.  It's almost time for a change of venue, but first we work in a cheap but nicely executed gag.

After Kim says that she's waiting for detention to be over, attention switches to the clock.  Time-passing-music plays as the hands race around the clock.

Barkin: Stupid clock's busted again.
*Barkin resets the clock*

It's a cheap attempt for laughs, but it's well done.

Now then, Rufus to the rescue.

Barkin reads from the "Infiltration and Deception Manual" while Junior freaks Kim out by noting how smooth her skin is and then:

Barkin: What's that?! Vermin... mole... creepy.
Junior: Urgh! That ain't right.
Big Mike: Aaaaaaagh!

Ron signals from the doorway for Kim to escape and Kim plays along:

Kim: What could it be, Mr. Barkin?
Barkin: Probably busted out of the science lab. Genetic mutation. When will they stop? When!?
Kim: Maybe we better get out of here.
Barkin: Alright. Evacuate mutant-infested location.
Kim: Yes! *fist pump*
Barkin: Go! Go! Go!

This is Bueno Nacho.  It is Ron's favorite restaurant, a very common place for characters to hang out, and in many ways it's the series equivalent of McDonald's but changed enough so that the creators can't be sued.  ("It couldn't possibly McDonald's," the protest would go, "it's not a burger place.")

One notable difference is that it doesn't have kids' meals.  Kids still come, as evidenced by nameless people walking by sometimes, but the menu doesn't have things targeted to kids.

Anyway Ron, Rufus and Kim are in their usual booth (middle booth on the left side, if you're walking in the door.)

Kim: Thank you, Ron! Much needed bail-out.
Ron: Credit where credit is due. *gestures to Rufus*
Rufus: Hee-hee-he Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!
Kim: You don't know what it's like there. It's the meeting of lifetime losers' club.
Ron: Yeah. *pause* Hey, I've been in detention!
Kim: Oh.

She didn't get to know them, at all.  How would she know if they're losers?

Wade calls in with information that a mysterious aircraft went from the scene of the robo-tick blueprints theft to a private island in the Caribbean that's rumored to be haunted.

Kim: Haunted island? Keep out "meddling kids"? Please.~

Meddling kids earned air quotes.

Wade: Oh, I almost forgot. Check your backpack.
Ron: New toys?! [can't make the word out, some people think "Gravy!"]
*Ron rummages through Kim's backpack*
Kim: It's my backpack!
Ron: I need to familiarize myself with the equipment. Like this high-tech *pulls something out* lipstick?
Wade: Actually that's not ordinary lipstick.
Ron: Ooh.  Is it fruit-flavored?

Wade: Elastic-constricting agent.
*Ron tries to pull it off his face*
*he fails*
*it shrinks down to a spot of pink stuff at his nose*
*his finger is stuck to it and thus his nose*
*Rufus falls over laughing*
Kim: My compact! I've been looking for this.
Ron: (said with fear) What does that do?
Kim: It's small a mirror, that allows me to check my face. Come on, Ron. Let's jet!

Ok, so,  Wade puts stuff in Kim's backpack without her knowledge.  Fun.  Ron was totally taken with the possibility of fruit-flavored lipstick (which led to his downfall.)  We get the first show of the way Team Possible is equipped: "This may look like an ordinary tube of lipstick, 007, but when you push this..."

The screen shot there is one of the ones I used for talking about the credits sequence.  Since I already had one for this scene I figured why not use it.  I had forgotten, however, that it was a result of Ron being interested in fruit-flavored lipstick.  Clearly punishment for such un-manly interests.  (And, God I hope that's not true.)


At the lair.

*alarm starts blaring*
Shego: Intruder Alert.
Drakken: Can't hear you; intruder alert too loud.

Stealth may not be Kim, Ron, and Rufus' strong suit.  Sometimes they manage it, but here on their first on screen outing they seem to, kind of, suck.  Soon our heroes are captured and placed on a platform above an indoor lagoon with two very large sharks circling.

But who cares about that? I said I'd give you a picture of Drakken once he was in better lighting so you could see his actual skin color.  Here:

Drakken: I have heard of you. The world famous teen hero, Kim Possible.
Shego: And her... chum.
Ron: Did she have to say chum?
Drakken: And surely you know of my work.
Kim: (bored) Sorry.
Drakken: Think for a minute. It'll come to you. I'm a genius.
Kim: (bored) I really don't kn--
Drakken: Doctor... Doctor D... Doctor Dra... Doc... Doctor Drakken! Drakken!
Kim: (bored) Doctor Drakken.
Drakken: (triumphant) Ah-ha! Ah-ha-ha. I see my reputation precedes me!

And thus we meet Kim's arch foe.  I'm not sure what to say about this except that it really is a pretty decent introduction to him.  Just like before when he tried to be the cool enigmatic villain ("My plan will reveal itself in due course, Shego") but then failed ("Who wants to build a robot tick?  I do!  I do!") he comes on with a decent start, "Of course I know who you are, Mr. Bond" but then it all falls apart because he's ... well, Drakken.

His plans can sometimes be like that too.  This one certainly is.

Kim: You have something that doesn't belong to you, Doctor... uh...  What was it again?
Ron: Doctor, he said it was, uh, "Duh", something.

There is a theory that the reason that Drakken flat out refuses to ever remember Ron's name is because of that line.  I'm not sure that I buy the theory given that almost no one remembers Ron's name regardless, but it is worth thinking about because in the original series finale things will seriously come back around to Drakken and remembering Ron's name, so if it did start because Ron said he didn't remember Drakken's here, then it serves to bookend the series in its original, three season, form.

Drakken: Enough chitchat! My pets are famished. Perhaps you two could stay...
Kim: For lunch?
Drakken: I wasn't going to say that.
Ron: Oh dude, you were so "for lunch."
Drakken: Fine! Yes! Then, stay for lunch.

If the two sharks are circling, shouldn't the other shark be in the background on the righthand side to be opposite the foreground shark on the left hand side?

Ron: Why not otters?  I wouldn't mind dropping into a tank of otters.  They're fun!

Kim deals with the sharks by using the elastic constricting lipstick on their mouths.

Kim and Ron sneak in and retrieve the disk while Drakken and Shego bicker over the use of the term "nano" vs "mini" in terms of coolness vs. ease of laypeople understanding.

Short version, Drakken designed an explosive that will fit on the back of the robot tick, so once the tick attaches to the victim they'll "bow to [his] will or:"

Drakken says, "Kaboom" while his slideshow shows "Kaboom".

We haven't actually gotten to a decent picture of Shego yet.  Her skin is blue here, but she's actually green skinned.  While one could assume that it's just that they hadn't decided things for the first episode (this is one of only two episodes in which Barkin is a blonde) her skin is actually changing color from scene to scene in this episode.  A bit later on it'll be cyan.

I think the moral of the story here is that if you want to have a character with an unusual skin color you should have a nice well-lit establishing shot before you start playing with what that skin color looks like in orange lighting or blue lighting, or what-have-you lighting.

Regardless, when we get her in daylight we'll see her green skin, though exactly how green it is will always be in flux, not just this episode.

Back to the plan, Shego is on-board with the plan until Drakken reveals that he's planning to use this to get back at "the kids who used to tease me in gym."  Like I said, he starts strong and then finishes ... Drakken-like.

Kim: (whispering) OK, so we're definitely putting this guy in the mad-scientist category.
Ron: (whispering)"Mad" angry or "mad" crazy?
Shego: (jumps to a position behind them) What do you think?
Drakken: Look at this. Why do I even bother with the sharks? *pushes a button*
*large beam weapons drop down from holes in the ceiling*
Ron: Remote-controlled lasers. I'll handle this.
*Ron strides forward with purpose*

Ron: I got nothing.  Kim?

Kim uses her compact to redirect the "lasers" (I use quotes because the beams move at notably slower than the speed of light) causing a chain reaction that blows up the entire lair.  Shego saves Drakken by dragging him out in one direction.  Kim saves Ron by dragging him out in another.

We return at the end of another school day.  Kim and Ron have different experiences of saying, "Hi," to Big Mike.  Kim only said it because she bumped into him, Ron said it as a greeting.  Kim got a response, Ron got a sort of ... um.  I wouldn't call it a growl, but it's a noise that uses a similar part of the throat.  Dismissive rather than threatening.

Ron: I just can't connect with Big Mike the way you do.
Kim: I do not connect with him, or any of those detention guys!
Ron: Sure, you're an only short-timer but you're one of them now.
Kim: So not!
Ron: So so!
Kim: I am not one of them! I am a cheerleader. They mean nothing to me, I mean nothing to them. See. You. After. Practice.
Ron: Kim, it's a good thing! Nobody messes with them! You got street cred!
Ron: (To himself) Man, gotta get me some of that.

Kim never asks why Ron would think not being messed with is a good thing.  Kim never takes an interest in who is messed with.  Kim remains cheerfully ignorant of the problem of bullying at her school until such time as she finds herself trapped in Ron's body.  This ignorance isn't malicious, but neither is it entirely innocent.

Kim could take an interest in those of lower standing, she could talk to her best friend about why he so wants to be a part of the group that isn't messed with.  She could open her eyes to what goes on at Middleton High School.  She doesn't.

We once again get, "I am a cheerleader," meaning, "I'm not like detention kids."  We never find out why she wanted to become a cheerleader in the first place, but given how she seems to stand on it as a way to separate herself from the undesirables here, maybe it was purely about status.

She tries to head off to cheer practice but Barkin is there.  He now knows what a naked mole rat is, thinks it's cute, and realizes that Kim used the situation to skip detention when in reality she knew there was no danger (because Ron-pet.)  Thus Kim heads back to meet Junior, Vinny, and Big Mike again.

(The confrontation between her and Barkin was also the scene where Bonnie says cheerleaders don't get detention.)

Meanwhile in the Caribbean, Drakken is cursing the loss of his one and only nano-tick.  Combined with the destruction of his computers and the return of the disk to its rightful owner, he can't make a new one.  Shego tells him it's still intact but, oddly, seems to be at a high school.  Drakken, familiar with Kim, figures out that she's got it.

So it's about time for her to figure it out:

Kim: Junior, Vinnie, Big Mike,... what are you staring at?
Junior: Cheerleader, you got a zit.
Vinny: Cheerleaders don't get zits.
Junior: Oh. Well, then maybe it's a tiny explosive device.

Ok... seriously?  Not only do Cheerleaders not get detention, they also don't get zits?  Is there some clause that also makes them immune to the common cold and prevents them from ever suffering through a pop-quiz?

Kim pulls out her compact because it is a small mirror that allows her to check her face and discovers that there is indeed a tiny explosive device attached to her nose, as you might have guessed.

Barkin doesn't want her cutting detention again (and assumes it's another trick) so we get her escaping using athletic moves.  Ron pulls up on his scooter just as Kim reaches the door, and reports that Wade thinks Drakken can track the tick.  Sure enough, Drakken then shows up in a hover pod as Barkin shows up at the door.

Time for a three vehicle chase.

Ron's scooter starts slower than walking, but once it's up to speed it can match the student driving car Barkin gives chase in and Drakken's evil rocket propelled hover-pod.

Shego with green skin (finally) is driving the airborne pursuit.

Kim: Looks bad. He's got some ray-thingy.
Ron: What kind of ray-thingy?
Drakken: Gravatomic!

Barkin: The subject is northbound on scooter, being pursued by an aerial craft of unknown design and origin firing...
Junior: Who are you talking to?
Barkin: During a pursuit, never distract the driver!
Junior: Look out, dude! The flying guy's firing some kind of BEAM!
Barkin: Hang on!
*Barkin drives right into it*
Vinny: Oh, man! That's gravatomic!

Go Junior for pointing out how absurd  Barkin's describing the pursuit to no one in particular is.  Points to Vinny for being able to recognize a gravatomic ray.

Kim has Ron make a U-turn to save Barkin and the Detentionites, but insists that they are not "her boys".

Trying to pull the car back onto the ground was a failure that simply resulted in the licence plate coming off.  Throwing the licence plate at the ray thingy, on the other hand, works wonders.

The boys are returned to the road.

Junior: Oh, yeah, gravamatromic.[sic]

The ray is redirected at a fire hydrant shooting water upward and:

Shego: You! Yeah, you don't touch anything!

Kim and Ron make it through the doors of Bueno Nacho.

Kim: What makes you think we're safe in here?
Ron: I don't think we're safe anywhere, but chases make me hungry.  Chimerito?
Kim: No thanks. I'm trying to focus on the thing on my nose that's gonna blow me up!

Ron is right about not being safe anywhere, Shego uses the ray to rip the roof right off of the building, then jumps down (onto a table) and announces to the screaming masses:

Shego: Kim Possible has something that belongs to us!

It's dramatic and impressive and whatnot which is what makes her next line so funny.

Kim: Guess what? I don't want it!
Shego: It's on you? What, like... stuck?

There is no text on earth that can adequately express the change in tone of voice between Shego's two lines there.

Drakken orders that Shego take Kim's nose if need be and the fight is on.  Eventually Kim is able to throw Shego where she smashes into Barkin who had just burst in.

Junior: See, this is why I never come here, dude.
Drakken: Shego has failed! But she never fails! No!
*Drakken dramatically smacks his head on the console, hitting a big red button*
Machine: Detonation-sequence activated.

We get the Detentionites panicking:

Well, except for Junior.

Wade explains over the Kimmunicator that the bomb is simply too small for them to disarm so they need to find a way to make the robot tick let go and suggests that there must be some way burn the circuits.

Ron: This calls for the most dangerous chemical known to modern man. Diablo Sauce, stat!

Dramatic music as it's thrown through the air in slow motion, a build up as it is opened and the red Diablo Sauce comes slowly closer to the robot tick and then:

Shego: Drop the hot sauce and step away from the nose.

I somewhat wonder how many takes it took for the voice actor to say that with a completely serious tone.  The world of Kim Possible is one in which it makes perfect sense for it to be necessary to say something like that.

Shego is defeated immediately after.  This is the first time Shego is defeated.  She loses by being sat on.  In fact, sitting on Shego is the only strategy against her that works 100% of the time.  (Possibly because usually she isn't around people big enough to pull it off so only two people have really been able to implement that strategy.)

Big Mike was the one to sit on her.  We finally get to see his face.

Kim: Uh,... wow.
Big Mike: Nobody messes with us.  Right, Kim?
Kim: Uh,... yeah. Riiight, Big Mike.

Ron makes a big production of disabling the tick.

Ron's statements include "easy" and "yeah, that's right, squeal all you want, I got you" and stuff like that.  Kim, for her part, just takes it stoically.  As soon as the hot sauce touches the tick it lets go.

Drakken tries to escape but it turns out that he can't drive the hover-pod.  He manages to bounce it off the ground and such, but not actually move laterally at all.

Ron sucks the tick into a straw, but the bomb isn't disarmed and he doesn't know what to do.  Kim helpfully takes the straw and uses it to launch the tick at Drakken's hoverpod.  It explodes, Draken jumps free, ends up hanging from a giant taco sign, and delivers what will be a common refrain from him, "You think you're all that, but you're not," as law enforcement appears to arrest him.

Ron: Situation...
Kim: Resolved.
Barkin: Not quite. Say what you will about me but Steve Barkin is...
Kim: Tough but fair. I know.

The sound of a jail door shutting and locking.
Middleton High School, the sign reads: Detention: Still Room 12

Barkin: Detention is supposed to be a punishment! A time of quiet suffering!
Ron: You didn't count on the Kim-factor.
Big Mike: I like sparkles.

Junior and Vinny are arguing over who's next, Kim says that they have to take turns.

Barkin lowers his head to the desk in defeat.


So, what have we learned from all this?

Um... Anyone?

Kim only comes around to viewing the other kids in detention as worthy of interaction when one of them saves her life.  Even so you'll never see Kim interacting with Junior, Vinny or Big Mike again.  Big Mike does at least show up in the background in one episode, but not in a scene Kim is in.

Certainly her learning that kids in detention might be worthy of respect won't lead to her respecting other groups she has looked down on (say, geeks.)

Kim spends the whole episode until Big Mike saves her thinking that her status as a cheerleader automatically puts her in a class above the others and believing that they do not (and can not) share common ground.  She eventually does their nails but only because one of them saved her life.  It's a pretty high bar to meet for anyone else who might want to be accepted.

We will never see Vinny "I know what a gravatomic ray looks like" or Junior "then maybe it's a tiny explosive device" again.

Kim didn't so much accept them as learn to cope with being in the same room as them.

Ron finds the prospect of fruit flavored lipstick appealing.

The day is saved by Big Mike and then Ron, with Kim doing what amounts to hazardous waste removal after playing the damsel in distress twice over.

End of episode summation:

Day saved by:
Kim - 0
Ron - 1
Rufus - 0
male not-on-the-team - 1

Kim's Ride Reason:
Saved Village from Flood

Middleton High School Sign:
Term Papers Due Today
Detention: Room 12
WARNING: Mutant Vermin On Campus
Detention: Still Room 12

Ron doesn't fit in society's boxes:
He's into fruit flavored lipstick

Camp Wannaweep Phobia:

Elastic-Constricting Agent lipstick



  1. I feel as if the writers don't actually notice most of the implications of what they write. There's a lot of clever bits that I notice in your summary, here - like the compact being the most useful piece of equipment in the bag, being used both against the lasers and to identify the tick - but wow: Unfortunate Implications are Unfortunate.

  2. It's amazing what you can find when you look at a property like this in a different light. Well done, Chris!

  3. Well, Ann at least has a name, unlike, it seems, her mother-in-law. I mean, "Nana Possible" *might* be her real name for all I know. Twelve years old girl named Nana wouldn't be anything to rise eyebrows about (unless you really-really can't stand either Zola or Russian boybands from the nineties. Or both), but "nana" is also a kid-speak for "grandmother", so having an actual grandmother named "Nana" in one's story is kiiinda... can't even think of the right word here.


    1. It took Ann a long time to get that name, though.

      She gets it in the two part episode that ends the series. That means that the series had to run its natural course, be cancelled because it hit Disney's magic stale point, be the subject of a massive fan movement to bring it back, be brought back for a season, and finally reach the last part of that season for her to get a name.

      "Nana" Possible is in three episodes. Ann is in most of the episodes (I don't have an exact count.)

      In fairness though, as near as I can tell it took James until the first series finale (end of the third season instead of end of the fourth) to get his name.

  4. Nice decon! I like your end of the episode summation.

  5. That's a great episode look. And I can already see wasted potential here - if the show were oriented toward getting Kim to have to realize her status doesn't exempt her from rules, then these sorts of situations would be more common and more interesting for her to deal with. As it is, she's probably just going to go on to the next adventure thinking she's special, because everything's possible to a Possible.

    The summary at the end is excellent, as well.

  6. Back in the day there were anti-copying systems that required one to match shapes out of the manual. So it might be something like that.

    This seems as though it's trying to show an arc for Kim - from "these people are losers" to "these people are useful too" - but it's all pretty sketched in.