Saturday, August 27, 2011

Will the jumbled True Blood Season 4 make sense by the finale?

So what exactly is up with this season of True Blood? Is it just us, or are there too many disjointed storylines happening at one time? There's so much going on, but not in a good way. It's too hard to keep track of what everyone is up to because the various plot lines don't exactly connect. Yet? (Maybe it'll all make sense by the end of the season, but we think we might be giving them too much credit this time around.) Some episodes feel like almost nothing happens for 40 minutes and others are so chock-full of action that it's almost too full.

The season premier was... underwhelming. There was plenty of "WTF" but nothing that really made us psyched for the rest of the season. (We're always psyched for True Blood regardless, but this didn't exactly pique our interest anymore than usual.) Certain storylines seem to be resolved too quickly, without much fanfare or excitement. Others seem to have just been dropped completely, as if we wouldn't remember and wonder what was going on. (Or maybe we wouldn't - since it's hard to care about some of these storylines anyway.) It's possible that they're waiting until the end of the season to bring them up again, but really what are they waiting for? There are only three episodes left and if we don't care about these storylines now, we certainly won't care much in three episodes either.

So here's a partial list of some of the mixed-up, disjointed storylines from True Blood season 4. (It should go without saying that this blog entry contains some major SPOILERS...but okay, we're say it. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.)

  • Sookie and the faeries

In the first episode, they made a huge foreshadowy deal about Sookie going to the faerie realm and pissing off the faerie powers that be and then... nothing happened. It was the entire long crazy opener of the season premiere, but so far it seems as though the only purpose it served was to allow the writers to advance the characters ahead a year without having to actually waste a year. Sookie's fairy godmother returned at the end of episode three, which we thought might be the start of something... but then she was quickly sucked dry by Amnesia-Eric. This can't have been without consequences, but so far there's not much time left for these consequences to occur. Unless they plan on getting involved in the whole vampires vs. witches battle (doubtful), there's really no logical way to bring back this forgotten storyline in a way that makes sense.

  • Portia Bellefleur and Bill
No one was shocked when Portia told Bill she wanted to make their business relationship a personal relationship as well, although some people may have been a little surprised when she turned out to be his descendent. And yeah, we were definitely surprised when she still wanted to sex him up even after learning that they were related (ew!) She was not willing to take no for an answer, so Bill glamoured her to be terrified whenever she saw him. Seems a little excessive no? Aren't vampires supposed to be proving that people shouldn't be scared of them?

  • Nan Flanagan and Bill's PR plan
Nan Flanagan and Bill have been working hard to make sure that vampires no longer look back. In the "post-Russell Edgington world" they can't be seen as evil, violent or threatening.Through out the crazy shit that's going on elsewhere during the season, it's hard to even remember that they're on a pro-vampire campaign until every once in a while we get to check in on their progress (which has been shitty). Now that Marnie/Antonia has fucked up their "Festival of Tolerance" or whatever it was called, we're sure stuff is going to get even worse... that or people will add "witch-hunts" to all their vampire-hating as well.

  • Jason and the werepanthers
In episode three, Jason was kidnapped, allegedly turned into a werepanther, and repeatedly raped by the Crystal Norris et al. It took Jason a little time to get over the trauma, but it seems like he more upset about the panther thing that the rape. Once he realized he wasn't really going to turn into a panther (which only took about an episode) he was fine and quickly moved on to his next disjointed storyline (the Jason-Jessica-Hoyt love triangle). We're sure that Crystal will be back at some point this season (or next) and probably pregnant... but for now we're enjoying her absence.

  •  The Jason-Jessica-Hoyt love triangle
Now this is actually one of the storylines that we've been enjoying. We never would've thought that we wanted to see more scenes of Jason and Jessica, until this season, and now we can't get enough of them! It seems like Jason has bounced back from being gang-raped to being in love with Jessica pretty quickly, but I suppose vampire blood can do that to a person. Watching Jessica and Hoyt's relationship downward spiral made sense to us, you can't domesticate a vampire like Jessica. We were a little surprised by how nasty Hoyt has been after the breakup, one day he's crying that he'll die without her and then he's throwing her out of the house and calling her a monster? But we're happy for any excuse to bring Jason and Jessica together. Now that they've each saved each other's lives, it seems like this could be a pretty interesting couple for the show.

  • The Eric-Sookie-Bill love triangle
Of course we were waiting for this one for a long time... Everyone was excited to see Sookie and Eric get together and since his amnesia has made him so adorable it's kind of hard not to agree. Of course, Sookie totally ignored her Gram's advice that it "won't last" but I guess she's willing to let that fact go in order to get her viking on. Bill has progressively become more and more annoying (and therefore less attractive) but he did redeem himself a bit when he spared Eric's life to make Sookie happy. Obviously, we know where this story is going... Eric's going to get his old memory back (and possibly have no memory of his relationship with Sookie) so he'll go back to his bad boy ways, leaving poor Sookie all brokenhearted and ready to fall back into Bill's lying and loving arms. But thanks for the threesome dream sequence. All that was missing was Alcide taking off his shirt in the background.

  • The Sam-Luna-Marcus love triangle
It's been kind of nice seeing Sam have a love interest again, after all the heartbreak he's had to go through on this show. Of course, falling in love with a shifter whose ex is a jealous, controlling werewolf maybe wasn't the best idea. It's definitely nice to see Sam playing barbies and being a father figure (who'd have thought he'd know how to do that after not one, but two, sets of shitty parents in a row) but we know no good can come of messing with the family of the Shreveport werewolves' pack leader.

    • Sam and Tommy's family drama
    It seemed awfully convenient that Sam learn about 'skinwalkers' right before his brother killed their parents. We have to say that watching various actors portray Tommy is pretty fucking funny. Sam Trammell proved his acting chops this season, by making it totally obvious who was the real Sam and who was Tommy-Sam (the body language and way of speaking are just so different), but our favorite has to be Tommy as Mrs. Fortenberry - her hair alone won us over. These brothers have been through a lot over their short time together: first Tommy tries to kill his newfound brother, then Sam saves Tommy from his parents, then Tommy tried to steal from Sam so Sam shot him in the leg, then Sam helps him cover up the death of his parents... and Tommy goes and shifts into Sam and sleeps with his girlfriend... oh brothers.

      • Arlene's baby and Mavis the ghost
      Since episode one there were hints that something might not be 100% right with Arlene's baby. (In fact, the foreshadowing on this one goes way back to last season.) They threw us off a little bit with the whole Lafayette-Mavis mix-up - which seemed to resolve itself way too quickly. Like... the baby's acting crazy, Lafayette's acting crazy, Jesus hosts a magical intervention and it's all good now. Even Terry didn't seem to be too pissed off at Lafayette for basically ghost-kidnapping his kid after the fact. The thing is, there were signs of something being wrong with the baby before Jessica gave her that creepy baby doll (and really, what insane parent lets their kid play with that monstrous thing in the first place?) so we don't feel like this is finished yet.
      • Tara's secret identity and girlfriend
      Episode 1: Tara is living in New Orleans as 'Toni' with her hot girlfriend Naomi. Episode 6: Naomi comes back, pissed that Tara lies. Tara tells the truth, it's all good. Episode 7: Tara tells Naomi to leave town so she doesn't get killed, bye Naomi! Is that really how this storyline is going to resolve? I guess it's kind of hard to care what's going on in Tara's life anyway.

      • Andy's V-addiction
      Oddly enough, this addiction-storyline is played mostly for comic relief. I guess that's not so odd considering how hilarious Andy Bellefleur's character often is, but can't we give the guy a break already? First no one took him seriously, then he had a problem with alcohol. Last season he finally was given some respect and now they've give him an addiction to vampire blood? Can't Andy just be happy!? This storyline doesn't really connect to the others that much, except in circumstantial ways (he shows up at Hot Shot to get V, he hassles Lafayette for V, he crosses paths with Bill visiting his sister Portia, he almost dates Holly Cleary) but at least they're giving him something to do.

      • Alcide and Debbie
      Well, here's one storyline that was pretty much useless for most of the season. It feels like they just decide "let's check in on Alcide and Debbie" every once in a while just as an excuse to still have Joe Manganiello on the show. Not that we're complaining - we do appreciate every time they come up with an excuse for him to take his shirt off. But when there are so many other storylines going on, it's just kind of hard to care whether these two can make their relationship work or whether they decide to join a pack. We finally started to see a little drama happening in episodes 8 and 9, but even then it feels like the writers are trying to come up with reasons to keep them around.

      •  Marnie/Antonia: Witches vs. Vampires
      Marnie was just an idiot, messing with a power that she didn't understand while Antonia certainly has had some serious wrongs done to her that she wants to avenge... but of all the crazy, mixed-up storylines this season, the main one seems to be the most annoying. We're kind of sick of it at this point. So many of the plotlines disappeared halfway through the season or magically resolved in one episode, but this one just won't go away. It's kind of hard to know who to root for in this magical battle of witches vs. vampires. Marnie vs. the vampire who raped Antonia back in the day? Easy, we want Marnie to win. But Marnie vs. Eric or Pam? Fuck that, we're on team Fangtasia. But Pam vs. Lafayette? Um... that's a tough one. It's hard to root again people who have been terrorized and raped by vampires, but Tara was just too annoying this season and Marnie/Antonia is starting to wear on our nerves. When it comes to pitting Eric against Bill at a tolerance rally? Sorry M/A, you're going down.
      • Pam's face
      This is really part of the "Witches vs. Vampires" storyline, but we just wanted to give it its own special section because we love Pam and we love any season that gives her more to do than just stand around behind Eric looking fabulous and menacing.  Pam's storyline this season has been hilarious and sad... she is literally decomposing. And we love it. She better not meet the true death though, because we want to see more of Pam in the future... whether it's pretty Pam or scary yucky Pam.

      There are only three episodes left... can they writers possibly tie it all together by the finale (which eerily, airs on September 11)? What do you think?

      Good Luck Charlie inspires me to throw a luau-themed party

      As we await Hurricane Irene's arrival, my daughter and I have been watching a lot of television.  We always watch a lot of television, but we have actually upped our daily quota in anticipation of a power outage. We have to get our TV-watching in now, before we are trapped in a house without electricity.

      She starts a new school - middle school! - on September 6th, so I've decided to celebrate her transition by throwing an end-of-the-summer party. While we were cleaning out the DVR, we watched about seven episodes of Good Luck Charlie (Disney) and found our party inspiration. In a special two-part episode, Charlie, Teddy and the rest of the Duncan family traveled to beautiful Hawaii.

      Although the storyline revolved around an ancient curse, Hawaii still looked very exotic and fun. As we sit here watching rain fall against the gray sky, there is no other place we'd rather be right now than Hawaii. So we've decided that our "Hurricane Activity" is going to be planning a Hawaiian luau for next week, when hopefully the weather will be nicer.

      Throwing a luau is extremely easy. All you need to do is take a trip to the party supply store or visit an online store that specializes in birthday party supplies and novelty items.The most obvious items are leis, grass skirts and straw hats. If I'm feeling extra "festive" I might even throw in some coconut bras and Hawaiian shirts for the adult guests.

      I can't stop at attire; decorations are also key. Inflatable palm trees, shells, grass table skirts, and tiki torches are always a nice touch. I might even throw in a plastic pineapple or two, for good measure.

      The word "luau" actually means "feast", so no luau-themed party would be complete without a delicious spread of food. I'm not sure how many tweens have a taste for authentic Hawaiian cuisine, but I will have to include a few classics like roast pork and pineapple. I plan on mixing non-alcoholic daiquiris and pina coladas for the girls, as well as a big bowl of tropical fruit punch.

      The more I think about planning this luau, the more I think about all the TV shows that I grew up watching. The "Aloha Hawaii" trope has always been very popular and I can think of countless series that have had a very special "Hawaii episode". Both the Jeffersons and the Bradys went to Hawaii on vacation. Years later, the casts of Growing Pains, Full House, Saved By the Bell and Sabrina the Teenage Witch all traveled to Hawaii. More recently, Modern Family had their own "very special Hawaiian episode" and the show Hawaii Five-O obviously takes place in Hawaii.

      If you have any suggestions for the luau (or want to remind us of more TV shows that have used this trope in the past) please comment and let us know!

      Photo of Good Luck Charlie courtesy of Disney. All photos of party supplies are courtesy of

      Thursday, August 18, 2011

      Teen Movie Tropes

      Back when I was writing the Magic Tween TV Formula, Lil' Lilith's help was invaluable. (It's nice having your very own tween correspondent right at home.)

      In case you don't remember the formula, it went a little something like this: 
      Marketable Lead + Wacky Ensemble + Normal Stuff + Crazy Twist + Hilarious Hijinks + Surprise Guest Stars = Huge Hit
      Lil' Lilith was home sick the other day so we spent way too many hours on the couch watching way too many tween/teen movies. We realized that these movies often follow a similar formula... they are almost all filled with a ton of tropes or devices/conventions that pop up in most of these films. When it comes to teen movies, these tropes often fall into the realm of cliche. So she has agreed to help co-write a blog entry cataloging some of the ever-popular tropes in teen (and tween) movies today. (Consider this half a guest blog.)
      • The Morality Tale - A story in which the main characters "learn a very important lesson" whether it's to be happy the way you are, it's okay to try new things, don't be so selfish, don't judge a book by its cover, don't forget who your real friends are, etc. 
      Picture This!Examples: Bring It On Again (a cheerleader quits the squad rather than leave her friends behind); Freaky Friday (a mother and daughter learn to understand each other after magically trading places); High School Musical 2 (a teenage boy gets caught up in the "perks" of his new country club job and temporarily forgets about his friends); Lemonade Mouth (a new girl goes against her principal to fight for what's right); Picture This! (a girl with an overprotective father realizes that he acts that way because he loves her); Sky High (a teen superhero leaves his "sidekick" friends behind after getting his powers).
      • The Karmic Reward - An unpopular kid becomes popular (or beautiful, wealthy, famous, whatever) seemingly as a reward for their past struggles. If this happens without consequence it's a true reward, if it comes with a "life lesson" then it's a Morality Tale.
      Lemonade MouthExamples: A Cinderella Story (an unpopular girl finds her father's will that her evil stepmother had hidden from her); Center Stage (a struggling dancer shines as the star of a modern ballet); Center Stage: Turn It Up (a dancer who was rejected from a prestigious ballet school wins an important role); Lemonade Mouth (a group of underdogs form a band that becomes extremely popular); Fred: The Movie (a weird, social outcast becomes popular after video-taping a fake party); Sleepover (a group of unpopular girls beat the popular girls in a scavenger hunt); Sydney White (the leader of a group of dorks beats a sorority girl for school president).
      • The Karmic Revenge - A popular kid becomes unpopular (or ugly, poor, etc.) as punishment for their past crappy behavior (often happens simultaneously as The Karmic Reward). If they redeem themselves, it's a Morality Tale.
      Examples: A Cinderella Story (the wicked stepmother and stepsisters get their's in the end); Beastly (an attractive teen loses his good looks due to a curse); Sydney White (a wicked sorority girl has her world turned upside down by newcomer Sydney White).
      • Be Careful What You Wish For - (A type of Morality Tale). Sometimes what you think you want, isn't all it's cracked up to be.  This can be popularity, fame, a date with your super hot crush, etc. This often starts out with us thinking it's a Karmic Reward but then changes.
      Wizards of Waverly Place: The MovieExamples: 13 Going On 30 (a 13-year-old wishes to be 30, but then doesn't like her 30-year-old self); 16 Wishes (a girl wishes to be treated like an adult, a wish that backfires); Minutemen (three boys travel back in time, but their time machine creates a black hole); Read It and Weep (a girl becomes a famous author but fame isn't all she thought it would be); Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (a teenage wizard accidentally casts a spell that her parents never met).

      • Riches to Rags - (A type of Morality Tale) - Someone rich, powerful, famous, popular, etc. loses it all and has to face life as a "normal" person. They learn to be less greedy/selfish/spoiled or they learn to give back. Usually after this change of heart they are rewarded with the return of their previous fame/fortune (unless it's a case of Karmic Revenge, in which they're stuck to suffer forever). 
      Sharpay's Fabulous AdventureExample: Camp Rock (a spoiled teen idol must rough it at a summer camp); Cow Belles (spoiled sisters must work at their father's dairy); Just My Luck (a very lucky woman is struck with some bad luck); Maid to Order (a spoiled girl's fairy godmother takes away her money); Material Girls (spoiled sisters must cope when their assets are frozen); Princess Protection Program (a princess must hide out in a small town); Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure (Sharpay must make it in the big city on her own); Uptown Girls (a spoiled heiress loses all her money and must get a job as a nanny).

      • It's Okay To Be Who You Are - (A type of Morality Tale). The main character realizes that they didn't have to change themselves to be happy/liked. They should've just had some more self-esteem. In these, the unpopular kid usually wins the love and affection of a popular kid who liked them for who they really are. Either that or they discover that they were wasting their time crushing on the popular guy when they should've been with their best friend all along. 
      SleepoverExamples: 13 Going On 30 (a girl longs to be popular, but realizes that she was better off with her "loser" best friend); Camp Rock (a girl lies that her parents are wealthy in order to fit in); Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (a girl tells far-fetched lies about her life); Hatching Pete (a shy guy secretly acts as the school mascot); Lemonade Mouth (a group of misfits form a band); Picture This! (an unpopular girl wins the heart of her popular crush); Sixteen Candles (an unpopular girl wins the heart of her popular crush); Sleepover (an unpopular girl wins the heart of her popular crush).
        16 Wishes
      • Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover - (A type of Morality Tale, the counterpart to It's Okay To Be Who You Are). That dorky/awkward/unpopular kid that you never looked twice at, is actually a really cool or is a good person. That self-centered popular quarterback actually has a heart of gold and just gives into peer pressure. That beautiful, perfect cheerleader you have a crush on is actually a vapid, shallow bitch. Whatever the case, the "lesson" is that you should get to know someone before you decide what they're all about. 

      Examples: 16 Wishes (a girl realizes that her biggest rival acts the way she does only because she stole her best friend years ago); Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (a fancy new camp competes with Camp Rock, but turns out not to be as great as it seems); High School Musical (members of various cliques secretly want to do other things).
      • It's Okay To Try New Things - (Often paired with It's Okay To Be Who You Are and/or Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover). Maybe you're a jock who really wants to sing and dance! Maybe you're a cheerleader who secretly writes poetry. Whatever the case, you're afraid of branching out for fear of what your friends might say or for fear of failing. The "lesson" in this Morality Tale, is go for it!
      High School Musical (Encore Edition)Examples: Ella Enchanted (an elf wants to abolish the law that all elves must be performers and become a lawyer). High School Musical (basketball player Troy and smart-girl Gabriella audition for the school musical); Jump In! (a boxer joins a double-dutch jump rope team); Lemonade Mouth (a shy outcast becomes the lead singer for a new band); Spectacular! (a rock singer joins a show choir); Step Up (a street dancer tries to join a prestigious arts school).

      • You Should've Been With Your Best Friend All Along - So maybe you had a crush on the hot, popular jock/cheerleader... but they keep turning you down. Or maybe you get who you wanted and realize they were kind of a jerk. There's someone who was perfect for you all along and secretly in love with you the whole time... you just never noticed. It's your best friend! (This trope is so popular in movies, there was even a Hannah Montana song about it.)
      Some Kind of Wonderful (Special Collector's Edition)Examples: 13 Going On 30 (a 13-year-old girl wakes up at age 30 and discovers that her best friend is marrying someone else); Pretty In Pink (a girl dates a rich guy, despite the fact that her best friend loves her); Princess Protection Program (the main character chooses her best friend who always loved her, over her crush); Read It and Weep (the main character chooses her best friend who always loved her, over her crush); She's The Man (a girl disguised as her own twin brother falls in love with her male roommate); Sky High (a teen superhero's best friend was the right girl for him all along); Some Kind of Wonderful (an artist longs for a popular girl, but his tomboy best friend secretly loves him).
      • When Your Idols Let You Down - (A variation of Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover). That dreamy rockstar or actor you had a huge crush on or wished was your best friend? They're actually a fraud... or they're a selfish jerk. The lesson to this Morality Tale is that just because someone is famous, doesn't mean they're a good person. Sometimes they redeem themselves, sometimes they don't. It depends on which movie you're watching... 

      Center Stage (Special Edition)Examples: Camp Rock (a self-centered teen idol becomes friends with a girl at a music camp); Center Stage (a ballet student falls for the womanizing star of the ballet company); Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (a girl meets her favorite musician but he turns out to be a drunk); Now You See It (a master magician turns out to be a sorcerer trying to steal a young magician's powers); Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure (Sharpay works for a famous actress who is just using her); Starstruck (a girl is stuck spending the day with a shallow, spoiled singer); Taking 5 (two girls kidnap the members of their favorite boy band).
      • Your Crush is Really a Jerk - (Another varition of Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover). The same as When Your Idols Let You Down, only the object of your affection isn't famous. This can be an actual crush or a boyfriend or girlfriend that wasn't who you thought they were. 
      Sky High (Widescreen Edition)Examples: 10 Things I Hate About You (a girl realizes the popular guy she's trying to date is actually a jerk); Bring It On (a cheerleader's boyfriend is actually a jerk); Princess Protection Program (a girl realizes her long-time crush is a jerk); Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge (a teenage witch discovers that her new cute neighbor is really the son of the evil Kalabar); Sky High (a teen superhero dates a popular girl who turns out to be a super villain); Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (Wendy realizes that her boyfriend is a self-centered jerk).
        10 Things I Hate About You
      • The Jerk Ends Up As Your Crush - The opposite of Your Crush is Really a Jerk, this is a classic example of Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover. The stuck-up quarterback or loner bad boy, is actually an awesome person who you ultimately fall for in the end. (A variation of this is the I Love You/I Hate You trope.)
      Examples: 10 Things I Hate About You (a bad boy convinces a girl to go out with him); A Cinderella Story (the popular football star ends up being a good guy who is just afraid); Spectacular! (a teen gives up his chance at a record deal to help his show choir); Sydney White (Sydney mistakenly thinks that her fraternity boyfriend double crossed her).
        Hatching Pete Movie Poster (11 x 17 Inches - 28cm x 44cm) (2009) Style A -(Jason Dolley)(Mitchel Musso)(Tiffany Thornton)(Josie Loren)(Sean O'Bryan)
      • A Case of Mistaken Identity - When there's a crazy, confusing mix-up in which someone is believed to be someone they aren't. This can be intentional or accidental spell. Hijinks almost always ensue.
      Examples: A Cinderella Story (a boy and girl don't realize the identities of their online penpals); The Best Player (a video game player pretends to be the blind date of his biggest competitor's mother); Freaky Friday (a mother and daughter mysteriously switch bodies); Hatching Pete (a teenage boy takes his friend's place at the school mascot); Princess Protection Program (the main character disguises herself as the princess she is trying to protect).
      • Disguised In Drag - One of the more ridiculous examples of A Case of Mistaken Identity, someone dresses up as a member of the opposite gender as a disguise (often to infiltrate some gendered-activity, like a slumber party or a sorority). Surprisingly, no one ever realizes that they are obviously in drag, even when their real self shows up later on in the movie.
      She's the Man (Widescreen Edition)Examples: Just One of the Guys (a girl enrolls at a new high school as a boy to win a journalism contest); Ladybugs (a boy poses as a girl in order to help a losing soccer team improve); Motorcrossed (a girl poses as her brother in a motorcross race after he breaks his leg); She's The Man (a girl disguises herself as her own twin brother so she can play on the boys soccer team); Sorority Boys (three frat boys dress as women in order to join a sorority).

      • I've Got A Doppleganger! - Often this is the cause of  a Case of Mistaken Identity. Somehow there's another person out there who looks exactly like you, that you never knew about. Sometimes this person is related to you (which makes it only slightly more plausible, but still very unlikely).
      Monte CarloExamples: Monte Carlo (a normal teenage girl passes herself off as a British heiress who she looks exactly like); Model Behavior (an unpopular girl trades places with a famous model who no one has noticed that she looks exactly like); Seventeen Again (a woman is turned 17 again and just happens to look exactly like her 17-year-old granddaughter); The Parent Trap (identical twins separated as babies by their parents' divorce meet at summer camp), Twitches (identical twin witches separated as babies meet in a clothing store).
      • Something Magical Is Happening! - Something supernatural is going on... crazy things are happening. Maybe you're really a witch and you never knew it. Maybe there's a ghost involved. Maybe someone put a spell or curse on you. Everything you thought you knew about the world is turned upside down and you must suspend your disbelief. 
      Twitches - Betwitched EditionExamples: 13 Going On 30 (a 13-year-old girl's wish to be 30 comes true); 16 Wishes (a girl gets to make 16 wishes on her 16th birthday); 17 Again (a man wakes up as his 17-year-old self); Freaky Friday (a mother and daughter mysteriously trade bodies); Halloweentown (a girl discovers that her mother and grandmother are witches); Now You See It (a teenage magician learns that he is really a sorcerer); Twitches and Twitches Too (twins separated at birth discover that they're witches); Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (a spoiled girl must prevent evil spirits from destroying the world).
      • Look What Science Can Do! - The non-supernatural alternative to Something Magical Is Happening. Usually the science doesn't actually make any sense, but it at least pretends to be a more realistic solution to the crazy things happening than just "magic".
      MinutemenExamples: Clockstoppers (three teens get a hold of a watch that allows them to stop time); Minutemen (three social outcasts invent a time machine); Seventeen Again (a boy creates an anti-aging soap that turns both of his grandparents back into teenagers); The Suite Life Movie (twin brothers become the subjects of an evil scientist's experiment); Weird Science (two nerdy guys create a woman using their computer).
      • Sibling Rivalry - All brothers and sisters fight, right? Sometimes it can cause problems. Sometimes you've got to get over yourself and learn to get along and work together in order to save the day.

      Cow BellesExamples: 10 Things I Hate About You (a popular girl fights with her strong-minded sister); A Cinderella Story and Another Cinderella Story and Ella Enchanted (the lead character must deal with her evil step-sisters); Cow Belles (spoiled sisters fight over how to save their father's business); Den Brother (a teenage boy poses as the den mother to his little sister's Bumble Bee troop); Suite Life Movie (twin brothers fight due to their differences); Twitches and Twitches Too (twins who were separated at birth must adjust to life together, as witches); Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (three wizard siblings must work together to undo an accidental).
      • Best Friends Fighting - Unlike Sibling Rivalry, best friends aren't supposed to fight... But sometimes they do and it causes a problem. Sometimes you realize that your best friend isn't exactly who you thought they were... or sometimes you're the problem and you've got to learn to treat your friends better (Morality Tale). 
      The Cheetah Girls: One World (Extended Music Edition)Example: Cheetah Girls: One World (three friends in a pop group fight over who will get the lead in a Bollywood musical); Ella Enchanted (a girl who is under a spell, must tell her best friend that she never wants to see her again); High School Musical 3: Senior Year (the friendship of two basketball players is tested when one of them decides to go to another college); Taking 5 (two best friends fight over one of the members of a pop group); Step Up (a street dancer's friends do not understand his decision to go to a prestigious arts school).
        Step Up (Widescreen Edition)
      • Opposites Attract - Two totally different people (opposites) fall in love, against all odds.
      Examples: Bring It On (a popular cheerleader falls for the loner brother of her friend); Just My Luck (a lucky girl and unlucky guy trade luck and then fall in love); Step Up and Step Up 2 The Streets (a troubled street dancer and a classically trained dancer dance together and fall in love).
      • I Love You/I Hate You - (A variation of Opposites Attract). Two totally different people (opposites) fight and hate each other... until they fall in love!
      Jump In!Examples: 10 Things I Hate About You (a strong-minded girl is first put off by the bad boy trying to date her, but later falls for him); Cow Belles (the rich daughter of a dairy owner bumps heads with the son of a dairy farmer); Jump In! (a boxer and his jump-roping neighbor fight, but then join the same double-dutch team); Spectacular! (a straight-laced showchoir singer and a self-centered rocker perform together).

        Pretty in Pink (Everything's Duckie Edition)
      • The Romeo & Juliet Effect - (A variation of Opposites Attract). Two people from different families, cliques or social circles fall in love despite the fact that their friends or families are against it.
      Examples: Ella Enchanted (a strong-minded peasant and a prince fall in love); High School Musical (a jock and a smart girl want to sing and dance together, but their friends try to keep them apart); Pretty In Pink (a poor girl and rich guy try to date, but their friends don't approve).
      • Time For a Song! - In a musical film or a movie about musicians, it's expected that one of the characters will burst into song. In a non-musical film, when the lead actor or actress is also a talented singer, they will often write in a random excuse for a song. (This is most prevalent in the Disney movies, where they love stars who can do it all.)
      Confessions of a Teenage Drama QueenExamples: 10 Things I Hate About You (a teenage boy serenades a girl on the bleachers at school); Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (the main character stars in the school musical); Ella Enchanted (Ella must sing for a wedding of giants); Picture This! (the main character must win a battle of the bands in order to get money to get her car back).