Lizzie McGuire was one of Disney Channel star Hilary Duff’s first roles. The show centered on Lizzie, a preteen going through the trials and tribulations of middle school. Duff, who currently stars in the Hulu original how i met your fatherwas the perfect portrayal of an awkward but cute girl from the early 2000s – and I was obsessed.
I had a Lizzie McGuire folding chair, a Lizzie McGuire beach towel, many Lizzie McGuire outfits, and even had a Lizzie McGuire– a themed birthday party, so you could say the show was instrumental in my childhood.
I had to rewatch the series as an adult to determine if the Disney Channel show was really as good as I remembered. Here’s what I thought:
Lizzie McGuire’s Cartoon Interior Monologue Walked So Fleabag Could Run
Lizzie shares her innermost thoughts and feelings via a wide-eyed cartoon version of herself. This cartoon is the reason I walked around my house as a kid, talking to myself like there was a film crew following me.
In my opinion, the cartoon character of Lizzie laid the foundation for the fourth wall breaks we see on television today, much like the main character of Amazon Prime Original Phoebe Waller Bridge, Flea bag. Both characters get the chance to address the audience without spilling the beans to the characters around them, and they both exude the main character’s energy.
Platonic friendships are underrated
It’s so important for kids to understand that platonic friendships exist, and that’s why I loved the friendship between Lizzie, Miranda, and Gordo. The trio navigate college together, supporting each other through the highs and lows of being a preteen.
You’ll understand why I was so disappointed to realize that the show was trying to create a romantic connection between Lizzie and Gordo in the second season. This undermines the friendship they had always had, implying that Gordo’s friendship with Lizzie only existed because of his hidden feelings for her.
Lizzie’s Rhythmic Gymnastics Skills
In the Season 1 episode “I’ve Got Rhythmic”, Lizzie decides to train to become a rhythmic gymnast. Her skills impress all of her classmates, including her nemesis/bully Kate Sanders. His routine should be really Well no?
Bad. I practically did a spit hold when Lizzie’s ribbon routine started. Hilary Duff apparently has some gymnastics experience, which she demonstrated during a 2004 interview on Late Night with Conan O’Brien— but based on this demonstration, I’m not sure the rhythmic gymnastics routine performed by Lizzie accurately reflects Duff’s actual abilities. On the show, Lizzie’s great routine gets an almost perfect score.
When Lizzie throws that hoop in the air, I lost it. She blasts this thing into the crowd, and Larry Tudgman catches it right above his head in the next shot. I can’t believe I used to think this is what rhythmic gymnastics looks like.
Ethan was the first Himbo
The Himbo: An attractive, almost golden retriever man who isn’t that smart but has a huge heart. That’s Ethan Craft in a nutshell.
Lizzie, Miranda, and Kate all have crushes on Ethan, which makes sense. He’s cute, athletic, and popular, which is basically everything a 13-year-old could want in a boyfriend. Despite Ethan’s popularity with the girls in his class, he’s actually proven time and time again that he’s a really nice guy.
Ethan gets a Steve Harrington bow in Lizzie McGuire, with the writers originally painting him as a bully, but quickly turning him into a lovable model. The actor who played Ethan even shared in an interview with Initiated that people always approach him asking if he’s really that dumb in real life, so he clearly hit the nail on the head with his portrayal of Ethan.
The episode with Miranda’s eating disorder
Lizzie McGuire attempted to broach an unusually heavy topic in the Season 2 episode “Inner Beauty,” where Miranda begins to show signs of an eating disorder after seeing a photo of herself that she finds little flattering.
It’s a bit of a dark topic for a kids’ show, but they actually got a lot of key things right. Miranda has body dysmorphia, so even though she doesn’t look any different from her friends, she thinks she needs to stop eating to achieve her ideal body. Miranda also shares with her friends that with so many aspects of her life beyond her control, food was the only thing she could decide on her own.
We also see Lizzie turning to her mother for help when she realizes she can’t help Miranda on her own. For a 20 minute episode, Lizzie McGuire has done a surprisingly good job of teaching children the warning signs of eating disorders.
Lizzie McGuire only had 2 seasons
Lizzie McGuire only aired for two seasons from 2001 to 2004, which was pretty standard for similar Disney Channel shows of the time. So…why do I remember the show as a longtime Disney Channel powerhouse when it only aired for two years?
I think the legacy of Lizzie McGuire can be attributed to the universal feeling of being a preteen. Kids could watch the show today and understand just about everything Lizzie and her friends go through, except for a few curly hairstyles. I remember Lizzie McGuire as an important part of my childhood because it was. Even when the show only aired reruns, I could empathize with Lizzie because I was still going through the things she was going through.
14-year-olds shouldn’t be allowed to explore Rome unsupervised
Ah, The Lizzie McGuire movie– the feature film that was to serve as the conclusion to Lizzie’s story, in which a group of eighth-grade graduates race around Rome under the supervision of a singular chaperone.
Do not mistake yourself, The Lizzie McGuire movie is a work of art from the early 2000s. Touring Europe on a Vespa with a popular pop star became my dream, and I definitely tried Lizzie’s hair dryer trick to simulate a fever during the day. I just can’t fathom the fact that this plotline – complete with romance, modeling gigs, and full-blown pop gigs – was supposed to be about a girl who hadn’t even started high school.
Regardless of, “What are dreams made of” was the anthem of my childhood. Words. The outfits. The place. They are all perfect.
It was really so embarrassing to be seen with your parents
Lizzie has always been mortified of her parents in Lizzie McGuire. Looking back, I expected to think Lizzie was just being dramatic or too hard on her parents, but surprisingly, I bonded with Lizzie even more in retrospect.
One of the things that I like Lizzie McGuire is the portrait of how the smallest things seemed so important in middle school. When you’re young and haven’t experienced the experience of being an adult yet, it’s easy to think that a public misstep is the most devastating thing that can happen to you. Lizzie wants to be seen as cool and independent, so being seen in public stores with mom is the most embarrassing thing she could imagine.
Lizzie’s parents are kind and caring, but I remember feeling just as embarrassed by my parents when I was in middle school. Much like Lizzie, I remember being ashamed when my parents wouldn’t let me go to unchaperoned birthday parties or drop me at the PG-13 movie theater. But when you’re 13, those little things really are the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to you (at least in mine and in Lizzie’s case – we’ve both lived uneventful lives).
Disney Channel Original Series Episodes Lizzie McGuire are available to stream with a Disney+ subscription. The Lizzie McGuire movie is also available on the platform, along with many other Disney Channel Original Movies that will remind you of your childhood.