Lizzie McGuire: Things only adults notice in the iconic Disney Channel show

Disney Channel's Lizzie McGuire premiered in January 2001, introducing a young Hilary Duff to the world and inspiring countless preteen girls to acquire all of the accessories. However, early 2000s fashion aside, Lizzie McGuire really was a defining show for an entire generation. And, as reported in August 2019 (via Variety), that generation will be reunited with their old pal with Disney's reboot of Lizzie McGuire on the streaming service Disney+. 

Duff spoke with People about the exciting news, revealing that the reboot will follow Lizzie McGuire as she navigates a new, scary stage in life — her 30s. "I think it's the right time to set back in and have her go along with you in your 30s and all the fun times, and all of the big monumental moments, and all of the challenges that you're faced with," Duff told the publication.

We can't wait to meet the 30-something version of Lizzie McGuire — but, before we do, let's take a critical look back at one of our favorite childhood shows through a bit of an older (and wiser) lens. Here's a list of things only adults notice in Disney Channel's Lizzie McGuire.

Lizzie McGuire's Miranda should have definitely gotten professional help for her eating disorder

The plot of the Lizzie McGuire episode "Inner Beauty" follows Miranda, Lizzie McGuire's best friend, as a series of ill-timed remarks and incidents send the middle schooler into a body image spiral. This all comes to a head when Miranda nearly passes out while practicing a dance routine because she hasn't eaten all day. After being confronted by friends Lizzie and Gordo twice regarding her concerning behavior, Miranda finally confesses that she's purposely been limiting her food intake as a response to other stressors in her life, telling her pals, "Eating is the only one thing I have any control over. Eating is something I have a say in."

Though Miranda has just been showing signs of a developing eating disorder, her willingness to confess to Lizzie and Gordo seemingly makes any negative feelings magically go away. Unfortunately, as adults, we know that's not how these things work. Miranda should definitely have seen a professional to talk about her body image issues and other struggles — and, at the very least, her best friends should have told a trusted adult about what was happening. 

The copycat episode of Lizzie McGuire was basically a short horror film

The episode "Just Like Lizzie" follows Lizzie McGuire, who is super excited about being a cool, new eighth grader, as she takes on the task of mentoring Andie — a lowly seventh grader. While the arrangement seems innocent enough at first, it doesn't take long for the overzealous Andie to take her admiration of the older, wiser Lizzie a bit too far. First, Andie copies Lizzie's hairstyle — and, as any grown-up fan of Lizzie McGuire knows, the girl puts a lot of time (and butterfly clips) into her hair. She even starts dressing like her mentor, once donning the exact same tiger tank as Lizzie. Admittedly, we're also dying to get our hands on that weird, beautiful shirt now that we've been reminded it exists.

Lizzie finally confronts Andie after she realizes the girl is trying to take over her life, and the copycat moves on to her next mentor (or victim) –  middle school villain Kate Sanders. And while the episode ends happily for Lizzie and pals, the plot is just unsettling enough to make our skin crawl.

Was Lizzie McGuire's Gordo the original hipster?

Perhaps the most glaring revelation to be had while watching Lizzie McGuire as an adult is the realization that Gordo was a hipster before being a hipster was cool. In fact, the show even dedicated an entire episode to Gordo's old, hipster soul. Titled "Come Fly with Me" (an obvious nod to Frank Sinatra), the episode follows Gordo as he finds himself obsessed with Rat Pack-era Las Vegas — because of course he is! Incidentally, the middle schooler's passion for all things jazzy and old school inspires to his peers to get hooked on classic Vegas lounge culture, as well. That's showbiz, baby!

However, being the hipster that he definitely is, Gordo abandons his interest once it hits the mainstream. When Lizzie asks Gordo why he's no longer a Rat Pack guy, he blames the popular kids, exclaiming, "When Kate Sanders likes something, it's officially a mindless vat, and I don't want any part of it!" 

Eventually, he comes to terms with his classmates' newfound affinity for big band music and swing dresses — but it's safe to say that Gordo probably grew a handlebar mustache at some point during college.

Wait, is Lizzie McGuire's Ethan Craft an actual relationship guru?

In the episode "Just Friends," Lizzie McGuire asks Ethan Craft, her longtime crush, to be her date to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Unfortunately, Ethan tells Lizzie that, while he appreciates her friendship, he just doesn't see her as his "romantic type," which Lizzie hilariously remarks to Gordo is probably "some wild, crazy Drew Barrymore type of girl." 

After observing Ethan's hobbies and interests, Lizzie tries her best to play the part of her crush's dream girl — even going so far as to pretend she likes golf. Unfortunately, even becoming what is essentially Ethan's female counterpart doesn't get Lizzie out of the friend zone. As Ethan puts it, they just don't have "that subject in high school that [he's] never gonna pass," a.k.a. chemistry. 

The moral of the story? Sometimes, you simply don't have a love connection with another person, but that doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. It's a solid piece of relationship wisdom, no matter your age — but we never expected it to come from the sweet, dumb, grape soda-loving mouth of Ethan Craft.

Lizzie McGuire's Gordo wasn't exactly a good guy

We hate to be the ones to break this to you, but the cold, hard truth is that Gordo — Lizzie McGuire's "nice guy" best friend — is kind of a jerk. And, yes, we have receipts.

Take, for example, the episode where Gordo's grandma comes for a visit. Gordo gets mad at her for dressing "spicy" (his word), as well as for daring to cook something other than brisket. The horror! His bad side is also on full display in "Gordo's Video," an episode in which he films fellow classmates having private conversations with the intention of showing his weird little movie to the entire school — even if it means destroying Miranda's reputation.  

If you'd asked us in 2001 if we could name a nicer, fictional middle school guy than Gordo, we'd tell you no. However, we're old enough now to see those red flags flapping in the wind from miles away. Gordo knows how to play up the quintessential nice guy stereotype — but anyone who bullies their grieving grandma for not making brisket gets a no from us, dawg.

Wouldn't Lizzie McGuire and her friends be more popular?

If you were ever a confused, boy-crazy middle school girl with a penchant for ending up in some seriously awkward situations, you probably felt a kinship with Lizzie McGuire. The show's ultra-relatable titular character was a large part of its charm — and likely the reason we're even still talking about Lizzie McGuire today. There's a little Lizzie McGuire in each of us — after all, who hasn't hidden in a garbage can to help their friend flirt with a boy? 

However, as an adult, it's clear that Lizzie wasn't exactly the relatable girl-next-door the show would have you believe she is. Sure, she's clumsy and a little awkward — but the girl was out there kissing teenage heartthrobs for heaven's sake! Sorry, but we're having a hard time buying that kids weren't lining up to be part of Lizzie's clique. No matter how popular Kate Sanders was, it seems pretty obvious that Lizzie and Miranda would immediately be promoted to middle school royalty after starring in an Aaron Carter music video (as cringeworthy as it might have been).

Lizzie McGuire's fashion choices still have an impact today

Every preteen girl in the early 2000s wanted to be BFFs with Lizzie McGuire. For starters, the girl was constantly getting herself into some wacky situation that would absolutely never happen in real life — and let's be honest, we wanted to kiss Aaron Carter, too! 

Of course, to our 12-year-old selves, the only thing cooler than meeting our celebrity crush would have been raiding Lizzie McGuire's closet. Her ability to pull off any headpiece she tried and to mix and match clashing prints was unparalleled — and her extensive choker collection had us begging our parents to take us to the nearest Claire's immediately. 

One thing you'll notice while rewatching Lizzie McGuire as an adult is the sheer amount of influence the show's wardrobe styling still has on our own fashion choices. The generation of young people who entered their teen years with Lizzie McGuire and pals on TV have singlehandedly brought crop tops, denim jackets, graphic tees, hair clips, and, yes, chokers, back into popularity. Thanks for the inspiration, Lizzie! Let's just hope crimped hair never makes a major comeback. 

Cartoon Lizzie McGuire looks nothing like human Lizzie McGuire

Something we completely overlooked while watching Lizzie McGuire at the height of its popularity was the fact that the early aughts coming-of-age show was a live-action/cartoon hybrid. Lizzie's tiny, animated alter-ego regularly popped onscreen to break the fourth wall and narrate the middle schooler's inner monologue — however, her very existence was never explained and it was never addressed by human Lizzie. 

While we easily accepted cartoon Lizzie then, we have some questions now. For starters, as much as we love our sassy, hand-drawn pal, why can't human Lizzie tell us what she's thinking herself? It seems like this storytelling technique could have been accomplished just as effectively (and probably for less money) with a voiceover from Lizzie. Secondly, why doesn't Lizzie's animated counterpart look anything like her human self? Aside from the yellow-blonde hair, cartoon Lizzie and human Lizzie share few-to-zero physical characteristics. If you were paying for an animated version of yourself, wouldn't you want your mini-cartoon self to be a dead ringer for your life-size, human self? C'mon, Disney.

We love you, cartoon Lizzie. We just don't quite understand you. 

There's no way Lizzie McGuire and Gordo would have worked as a couple

Though we once considered ourselves proud Lizzie and Gordo shippers, one rewatch of Lizzie McGuire is all it takes to realize that a relationship between these two never would have worked.

Their incompatibility was glaringly obvious in a Season 1 episode titled, "I Do, I Don't." The two best pals are paired together in a "mock marriage" assignment for their social studies class, but it doesn't take long before Gordo lashes out at Lizzie — who is busy obsessing over Ethan Craft's fake marriage to Miranda — for taking him for granted.

Everyone loves a happy ending to a will-they/won't-they storyline, but it's clear to us now that Lizzie and Gordo's relationship — if given a fair shot — likely never would have lasted outside the bounds of middle school. Lizzie was never as into her BFF as he was into her, and Gordo doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would easily be able to move past being constantly overlooked as a romantic prospect. Sorry, folks — there's no romantic Ross and Rachel subplot to see here.

Was Larry Tudgeman the best guy in Lizzie McGuire's life?

As adults, we can't help but feel guilty for once brushing off Larry Tudgeman, the school's resident nerd, as a love connection for Lizzie. After all, Larry consistently proves himself to be more of a nice guy than, say, Gordo — the patron saint of Friend-Zoned Nice Guys. When Lizzie breaks up with him after pretending to be his girlfriend for a day, Larry doesn't place blame — and he doesn't accuse Lizzie of taking him for granted either. Instead, he thanks her for giving him the "best day of [his] life," and says she's the "nicest person" he knows.

While we appreciate his healthy outlook on relationships, our favorite Larry moment is when he delivers one of the show's most feminist statements during the mock marriage experiment in Lizzie McGuire's "I Do, I Don't." Noticing that Gordo feels insecure about being a fake garbageman to Lizzie's fake lawyer, Larry proudly tells him, "Hey, it doesn't make you less of a man. Trust me, I know. My wife [is a] TV personality." 

Larry supports women, and we support Larry. Lizzie, go get this man, girl!

Jo and Lizzie McGuire could have been the next Lorelai and Rory Gilmore

Watch Lizzie McGuire as an adult, and you'll find yourself desperately wishing Lizzie's mom had her own spinoff series. Like her daughter, Jo McGuire has a silly sense of humor and  a wardrobe to die for — plus, she's the kind of person we could see ourselves being pals with now. In a lot of ways, Jo's fun and zany personality reminds us of Gilmore Girls' Lorelai Gilmore — and, as seen in the episode "Mom's Best Friend," Mrs. McGuire shares a special bond with her only daughter. Unfortunately, Lizzie's middle school woes take up much of the series' runtime, meaning Jo McGuire is usually left on the sidelines. 

According to an interview with one of the show's former writers Nina Bargiel, the original script for Lizzie McGuire was actually meant to be about Lizzie's relationship with her mom. However, as Bargiel tells it, Lizzie McGuire soon changed showrunners — and the new showrunner subsequently shifted the the show's focus to Lizzie's friendships with Gordo and Miranda.

If you need us, we'll be grieving the Gilmore Girls 2.0 we never knew we needed until now.

Lizzie McGuire delivered some pretty mixed messages

It's easy to look back on Lizzie McGuire through a pair of nostalgia-tinted glasses. However, rewatching the series as an adult will have you scratching your head and wondering why some episodes ever saw the light of day. 

One of these particularly questionable episodes is called "The Greatest Crush of All." As you've likely gathered from the title, the plot centers on a crush of Lizzie's — who just so happens to be her new teacher, Mr. Keith. Obviously, Lizzie should know that a relationship with Mr. Keith can never happen — but that's not exactly the message this episode sends. Even Jo McGuire, arguably our favorite TV mom, seems to encourage her daughter's crush on the much older man, sympathizing about the difficulty that comes with not getting attention from the guy you like. Um, what?!

Later, Mr. Keith compliments Lizzie and Miranda for their maturity, telling them, "You seem immune to these childish crushes that middle school girls are always getting." No middle school girl should be shamed for being, well, a middle school girl — especially by a man twice their age. What's the deal, Disney?

Social media would have completely changed Lizzie McGuire

It's often difficult to imagine a time before social media became such a central part of the zeitgeist. However, watch one old episode of Lizzie McGuire, and bam! — you'll be slapped in the face with a painful reminder of a much simpler time in which you didn't even know what "selfie" meant. 

Lizzie McGuire is noticeably lacking references to the social media sites we know today like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube because they hadn't yet made their way into the world. However, it's hard to rewatch the series without pondering what Lizzie's life would look like had social media been as big of a tool as it is today. One thing's for sure: Lizzie would have definitely gone viral at some point — perhaps for embarrassing herself at school, or maybe even for kissing one of the world's biggest pop stars (we're looking at you, Aaron Carter). With Lizzie's penchant for getting herself into unbelievable situations and Gordo's amateur filmmaker aspirations, the show could have featured a whole storyline based on Lizzie's newfound viral fame. 

Here's hoping we'll get a "Lizzie Goes Viral" episode with the Disney+ reboot!