Last week, to celebrate the impending arrival of Halloween, I ranked the top ten Halloween-themed sitcom episodes of all time. This week, I have decided to head on over to Disney Channel. Ranking the top ten Disney Channel Halloween specials may have been a gruelling process that left me feeling ashamed, but I have created a comprehensive list that I hope you will enjoy. Excuse me while I go throw up the taste of Dog with a Blog from my mouth, though.
10) Girl Meets World – Season 1, Episode 11: Girl Meets World of Terror
This episode is, frankly, straight-up garbage. Narrated by younger brother Augie, or, as I like to call him, the absolute worst, we are treated (no pun intended) to three separate, increasingly stupid Halloween stories about the main characters. The thing I never liked about Girl Meets World is that the middle school kids are given dialogue that makes them sounds like old, wise scholars. It’s sometimes a fun show with interesting drama, but often times just life lesson BS when there doesn’t need to be a life lesson. To the struggling adult actor who paraded himself around in a tutu screaming “Tu! Tu! Tu!” to accompany the ominous soundtrack, I hope they gave you a lot of money.
9) Hannah Montana – Season 1, Episode 17: Torn Between Two Hannahs
This was a difficult episode to rank. I could have awarded it a good position for its entertaining plot or classic villain comeuppance, or, I could have taken away points for its number of cringe-inducing moments. Clearly, I went with the latter. Miley’s cousin LuAnn visits (played by Miley herself), and is just an offensive, caricature of a person with an absolutely ridiculous Southern-accent that can be summed up in her first line: “Howdy, ‘cuz! Well, yee doggies, this is one hum-dinger of a shack!” This is coupled with a neighborhood man inviting a bunch of little kids over to his place to “ride his pony” (he does own an actual pony, but the point remains.)
8) Liv and Maddie – Season 3, Episode 4: Haunt-A-Rooney
This is a good episode of Liv and Maddie. It is. The problem, though, is that a good episode of Liv and Maddie does not necessarily mean that it’s a quality thirty minutes of television. This episode succeeds on two fronts: one, it moves its worst character, Joey, to the background, not giving him much of a chance to take part in his typically annoying antics. And two – Liv, the far less interesting twin, is finally given some more complex material to work with. On the other side of things, everything with Johnny Nimbus and the haunted port-a-potty is a reminder that this show’s failures will always outweigh its triumphs.
7) Shake It Up – Season 3, Episode 25: Haunt It Up
Let me sidebar for a moment if I may – CeCe’s little brother Flynn remains an enigma to me. He’s written as an immature boy who likes baby-ish pranks and stuff, but, at the same time, he can cook for himself, leave the apartment whenever he wants, and parades around in clothes straight out of GQ Magazine. AND, to complicate things further, his best friends seem to be dudes in high school. How old do the showrunners want this boy to be?!? Anyway, as for the episode itself – this is a decent, if not forgettable, installment in which CeCe and Rocky realize they miss trick-or-treating, and Ty and Deuce get scared at a haunted house. Standard stuff, but an above-average episode of Shake It Up in the grand scheme of things.
6) Wizards of Waverly Place – Season 3, Episode 2: Halloween
Interesting premise here, as Alex decides to use her wizarding powers to make the Russo Family Haunted House the best on the block. Truthfully, though, this episode’s flop-to-hit ratio is way out of whack. However, it would be irresponsible of me to not give a show of this esteem the benefit of the doubt. With some scene stealing work here by the affable David DeLuise, I feel comfortable allowing this pedestrian episode to earn a respectable spot on my list.
5) Dog with a Blog – Season 2, Episode 3: Howloween
Earlier, I said that I wanted to throw up the taste of Dog with a Blog. Look, I’ll be honest with you; I only said that to sound cool. I love Dog with a Blog. It’s f*cking hilarious. Stan the Talking Dog will always be one of Disney Channel’s greatest creations. In this episode, Avery wants to throw a spooktacular Halloween party to impress a boy from school (played by Lucas from Girl Meets World! Crossover! Yay!) Stan takes the opportunity to disguise himself so that he can actually talk to people without them knowing he is a dog. He becomesa robot named “Jack O’Lanternberg” – claiming to be the son of a Jewish rabbi from Ireland – this is one of the rare Dog with a Blog episodes where every single wacky plan seems to work out.
4) Boy Meets World – Season 5, Episode 17: And Then There Was Shawn
Boy Meets World, a significantly better show than its successor, Girl Meets World, makes its foray into Halloween territory by spoofing Agatha Christie’s mystery novel And Then There Were None. (A book that I am not ashamed to say gave me nightmares for most of 7th grade). Some of this episode is pretty bad – the incessant screaming comes to mind here – but a lot of it is actually really funny. For example, the gang mutually agreeing that Kenny will be the first to be killed because he isn’tpart of the main cast is the type of meta-comedy that Disney Channel needs more of. Unfortunately, I cannot reward it a position within the top 3 because it was all a dream.
3) Zack and Cody – Season 1, Episode 19: The Ghost in Suite 613
This is not only the scariest episode on the list by far, it’s so scary that I’m not really sure how Disney Channel allowed it to happen. I mean, the part where Esteban becomes possessed by a ghost is straight out of a horror movie. I get that putting the laugh track in the background is supposed to alleviate my terror, but it only made the episode that much creepier. Outside of that, this one is notable for allowing Cody to get the upper hand on Zack – something that’s rare during the show’s run. n.
2) Jessie – Season 2, Episode 1: The Whining
I really wanted to award this one first place. In terms of sheer content, it is probably the best by a longshot. Taking on the daunting task of spoofing “The Shining”, Jessie delivers one of their best episodes ever. Masterfully utilizing a number of elements from the movie – such as the blood in the elevator and the creepy twins – this episode succeeds on a number of levels. However, there is a horribly out of place Scooby-Doo chase sequence toward the end that just takes away from everything that theepisode originally struggled to achieve. Couple this with a rushed wrap-up leaving a lot of unanswered questions, and it becomes hard for me to give this one the top ranking. Look, I know I’m harsh, but it’s all for the sake of justice.
1) Good Luck Charlie – Season 2, Episode 25: Scary Had a Little Lamb
It’s not surprising that the best show on this list (Wizards of Waverly Place may have something to say about that) would have the best Halloween special. Pushing the Teddy storyline to the side, this episode succeeds by giving its real stars – Amy, Gabe, PJ – the most material to work with. PJ dresses up as a goth with a moustache, but it turns out that he truly became goth to impress his new girlfriend, and his costume was just the fake moustache. Everything about this episode – from Amy and Bob dressing up as each other, to Gabe wearing a lame second costume because “the second time around is all about volume” – is fantastic, and the episode is highly deserving of first place in this list.