Watching Lizzie McGuire Again as an Adult Hits Differently
Just like most tweens in the early 2000s, I was completely and utterly obsessed with Lizzie McGuire while growing up. I watched the show religiously, had multiple posters of Hilary Duff on my wall, and constantly tried to copy Lizzie's signature mix-matched outfits. (In my middle school yearbook photo, I was decked out in the Lizzie McGuire clothing line at Kohl's, crimped hair and all.)
So, when Disney+ rolled out, you better believe Lizzie McGuire was first on my binge-watch list. While I'm glad to say that the 2001 series still holds up after all these years, it definitely hits differently as an adult. Sure, Lizzie still has impeccable taste in clothes, but can we talk about how incredible her parents are? Also, how did I not realize that under all that perfect hair, Ethan Craft is actually the worst? In honor of the show's 20th anniversary, keep reading for more realizations I had rewatching the series as an adult.
Lizzie Has the Best Parents
While Lizzie's parents seemed dorky and overbearing when I was younger, I realize now how smart and caring they actually are. They are constantly thinking of ways to teach their kids valuable lessons by using reverse psychology and always have the best advice. Not gonna lie, I cried over quite a few episodes as I rewatched the series with my own mom. At the end of the day, all Lizzie's parents want is to be close to their kids and help them with life's biggest struggles. Who doesn't want parents like that?
Gordo Is the Superior Love Interest
When I was younger, I shipped Gordo and Lizzie so much, and nothing has changed. In fact, I ship them even more now as an adult. Not only does he love Lizzie for who she is, but he is wise beyond his years. He doesn't care what people think and is constantly encouraging Lizzie and Miranda to be themselves and forge their own paths. Honestly, it's refreshing to see an unproblematic love interest from my childhood still holds up today. Now that I'm an adult and have more experience with dating, I would much rather be in a relationship with Gordo than the brawny but brainless Ethan.
Lizzie and Miranda's Friendship Isn't Perfect
While we all wished we had a Miranda to our Lizzie growing up, the truth is, their friendship isn't entirely perfect. Like all childhood BFFs, they have their fair share of ups and downs throughout the series. On several occasions, Miranda actually ditches Lizzie for boys or the chance to fit in with the popular crowd. Now that I'm an adult, I realize friendship is so much more than just having people who share the same interests as you. It's about surrounding yourself with people who will always have your back and ultimately help you grow as a person. The reason I've stayed so close with my own childhood friends is that, despite our differences, we have supported each other through all of our various life events.
The Only Thing Better Than the Fashion Is the Hairstyles
OK, I get that the fashion was always one of the highlights of the show, but I actually find the hairstyles much more fascinating now. Sure, Lizzie's mesh tops and flared jeans will always be iconic, but can we talk about her pink highlights? What about that crimped/curled hair combo? And don't even get my started on all the bandanas and scrunchies! Perhaps one of the most fascinating parts about looking back on those early 2000s trends is how they've aged over time. While crimped hair and dyed ends are making a comeback thanks to shows like Euphoria, other trends like putting chopsticks in hair are actually culturally appropriative looking back now.
Ethan Is Cute, but He's Also Kinda Awful
OK, it needs to be said: Ethan is actually the worst. Sure, he has a great head of hair and an impeccable jawline, but he never treats Lizzie or Miranda with the respect they deserve. When he gets paired with Miranda for a class project about marriage, he "cheats" on her with Kate and plans on dumping her in front of the entire class, and when Lizzie finally gets the courage to ask him to the school dance, he rejects her hard. He is perfectly fine flirting and stringing them along, but never wants to commit. Even Kate Sanders has a hard time locking him down throughout the show.
After falling for my fair share of Ethans when I was younger, I can see all the signs of Ethan's toxic masculinity much more clearly now. Lizzie and Miranda didn't love Ethan, they loved the idea of Ethan. My childhood crushes taught me valuable lessons, but most importantly they taught me what I don't want in a partner. As I get older, I want someone who is going to lift me up and support me. Great hair is just an added bonus!
The Soundtrack Takes You Back in Time
I'll be honest, one thing I really hated about rewatching Lizzie McGuire on Disney+ is that they took out some of the show's most iconic songs. The next generation will never know the thrill of watching Lizzie and Miranda dance around in the halls to Play's "Us Against the World." Thankfully, they did keep some hits like Smash Mouth's "Why Can't We Be Friends" and Aaron Carter's "Candy." Rewatching those musical moments on the show takes me back to simpler times when I would blast the Lizzie McGuire soundtrack on my karaoke machine and sing Hilary Duff's "I Can't Wait" into my hairbrush. With all the stress that adulthood brings, it's nice to rewatch the show and be reminded of that childhood innocence, even for a moment.
Matt Is Actually a Comedic Genius
I always saw Matt as Lizzie's dweeb little brother, but looking back now, he's actually kind of hilarious. Sure, he is slightly annoying with all of his pranks and wisecracking, but you can't tell me he didn't offer comic relief on the show. And don't even get me started on his wacky friends. Despite never uttering a word, Lanny is a comedic genius.
Lizzie Really Is the Ultimate Role Model
When I was younger, I related to Lizzie because she doesn't really "fit in" at school. She isn't a popular cheerleader or dork at school, she is just unapologetically herself. While all of that still rings true, I realize now she is a role model for so many other reasons. She constantly looks out for her best friends, she loves her family fiercely, and she always tries to do the right thing. In one episode she befriends her mom despite what her friends think, and in another she tries to save the environment by going green.
In many ways, Lizzie really shaped who I am today. She reminded me that I didn't have to conform to someone else's ideals to be happy. It was OK that I actually enjoyed hanging out with my mom. It was OK that I wasn't popular or at the top of my class. I could just be myself, and that was enough.