waynepygram.com: KC Undercover Reviewed: Stormy Weather (S3E12)

waynepygram.com: KC Undercover Reviewed: Stormy Weather (S3E12)

Sup, Spy Dudes.

What is it? 30-minute multi-cam high-concept spy-themed kidcom
Where did it air? Disney Channel
Who stars in it? Zendaya in her post-Shake it Up star vehicle, along with Veronica Dunn, Kamil McFadden, Trinitee Strokes, and Kadeem Hardison who is perhaps known for being in Bill Cosby's A Different World, which you might know because you probably did what I did and Google'd it after they made a joke reference to it back during one of those The Other Side arcs.
Why are we reviewing this? Because Disney Channel, and etc.

I hate to say it but...I think KC Undercover might be Disney Channel's Henry Danger.

When KC Undercover premiered all the way back in 2015 (it was made available on what used to be Watch Disney Channel, now Disney...uh, NOW) it was imperfect, sure. It was a lighter series - not necessarily lighter-hearted (although I think you can make an argument for that, too) but actually lighter in content and narrative. You had K.C., a teen spy...do spy stuff. And, um, that was it. Like many other kidcoms both good and bad, the quality of an episode was often dependent on the delivery and effectiveness of its jokes.

Then they started introducing The Other Side arcs, to give KC an actual nemesis and...yeah, sure, it spiced things up and added some narrative interest and a badly needed source of conflict other than Random Spy Thing of the Week. But they kinda went ahead of themselves and finished off The Other Side a bit early, and then the plotlines started kinda going off the rails. How off the rails? Well, as I opened up with it's been about even with Henry Danger, and no that is not a compliment. That is the exact opposite of a compliment. The new plotlines and villain organizations feel random and written by people who think teens might as well be an extraterrestrial species - yes, much like the feel of Henry Danger at its worst - and the new bad guy spies that have filled in for The Other Side, The Alternate, are in this vein that's just a few notches above being a hot mess.

And indeed, The Alternate arc and its singularly-threaded storyline has been occupying the entirety of the series since what feels like forever - through the entirety of the summer, if not well back into spring, and finally coming to a conclusion in the middle of November just shortly before Thanksgiving. Part of the fault has been in spreading out the episodes to an insane degree, with literal months in between premieres in some cases making it easy to forget that the show even exists. Yeah, if you thought the scheduling of Girl Meets World was bad. Hell, this is literally iCarly bad. Now that I mention it, I have to wonder if there's a common cause - spiraling production costs has caused the network to try to have its cake and eat it too, spreading out episodes as much as they feel they can get away with (and networks are wont to think they can get away with nearly anything) to help reduce and spread those costs across a reduced number of episodes, but still avoid an outright cancellation and lose a major chunk of the network's total audience. 

That said, that's also an insanely long string of episodes for a show that has only done a few long-form arcs and still remains largely episodic, with this arc being by far its longest and most major. And especially given that...it hasn't been a terribly interesting one either. It was initially sold on teasing Marissa becoming a spy, and then being tricked into joining The Alternate against KC, but it became increasingly clear that it was less actually about Marissa and more about Alternate spy Brady who has all the personality of exactly the type of actor cast for looks and not much else you'd find in secondary guest characters on Disney Channel. 

Stormy Weather is the final episode of The Alternate Arc, and again it's as predictable as a bad Henry Danger episode, insisting on a paint-by-numbers plot and running through the most groan-worthy of tropes to the point where you just have to shake your head at how KC could possibly be fooled this way. Except for some basically choreographed fight sequences (and there really are few) there's...not a lot dynamically going on in an episode that's supposed to the climax and conclusion of the show's biggest storyarc in its history so far, a storyarc that's taken up most of the scheduled airing this calendar year, as few as they've been. It doesn't even really feel like filler, it just feels like a big void.

So...yeah. I've been watching the Alternate Arc on and off here and there, mostly in second-run Saturday morning form (often weeks after original premiere airings, especially since I was especially busy this summer with professional development courses) but I think this is actually the first time I've watched a premiere of KC Undercover on its actual premiere night since at least the season premiere back in February or so, if not the entire calendar year. The finale of The Other Side once and for all, where China Ann McClain plays on of The Other Side's most elite agents and what's her face, who was on a few episode of Liv and Maddie but I'm suddenly spacing her name, seemed interesting, but I just simply forgot to watch it as I'd just lost interest in KC Undercover long before that point.

I'll be watching the next episode, Deleted! (yes with exclamation point and all) because Judy-focused episodes tend to be really funny, but I feel pretty satisfied in not being a regular viewer anymore. Which is sad because I'm a huge Zendaya fan and the cast built around her is actually exceptionally talented, especially Trinitee which, age-for-age, might be the most talented actor on the entire network right now at least, and I think Kamil is a really talented, really funny actor too (I also tend to like episodes focused around Ernie)...but the voids around all that just don't make it seem worth it.

Episode Grade: C-. It's...stuff. In a void.
Episode MVP: Veronica Dunn because *throws hands up in air*. At least I'm not giving it to her just because she's really pretty even though...well, she is. But I really do feel like giving her MVP because...*throws hands up in air*. You know, like when you're on Jeopardy! and you accidentally buzz into a clue you have no idea about because you probably weren't even paying attention and your reaction to it all's like...eh. But hey, she is legitimately talented and her character was pretty central to the action so there you go.

Unfortunately I can't award it to Trinitee since she doesn't even appear in this episode...for some reason. I'm still really attempted to give it to Kamil even though he's in it for not even two minutes and literally has like two lines.

Extra Thoughts:

 - yeah, with me trying to clear out my DVR it's probably going to be a while until I get to Andi Mack. Don't get me wrong, I'm trying here. From what I've seen it's an absolutely adorable series - Cyrus' coming out was really sweet, and I guess Amber's making real effort to not be a bitch...maybe. 

 - ...and...I keep confusing Cyrus and Jonah. I know I've been told I'm face blind but it's easier to keep track of those two when they're standing next to each other, or based on the characters they typically interact with and how, then trying to figure out "ok the kid who's actually named Jonah in real life plays Cyrus and the kid named freakin' Asher Angel which I still maintain sounds like exactly the name Disney Channel would give to an actor they themselves genetically created is Jonah and...ugh, I suck at this."
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