That's So Raven: Things Only Adults Notice In The Show

Even though "That's So Raven" aired for four seasons from 2003 to 2007, the show's humor and positive messages still hold today. After all, it was such a good show that it was nominated for two Emmy awards for outstanding children's program. And anyone who's watched "That's So Raven" can totally see why they were nominated for those awards, as the show went above and beyond when it came to taking serious topics like racism and smoking and turning them into episodes that informed as well as entertained. And now, with the show available on Disney+, those positive messages can be shared with the next generation!

If you've started re-watching the series as an adult, then you've probably noticed a few things that you didn't catch when you were a kid. We've gathered some of the most noticeable things that only adults would notice when watching "That's So Raven." Keep reading to see what they are!

The disguises on That's So Raven were pretty unrealistic for a high schooler to pull off

One of the first things that any adult will notice about "That's So Raven" is that many of the situations the titular character and her friends get into are pretty crazy for any high schooler. And if you're familiar with the show, you know that just about every kooky situation Raven gets herself into requires an equally kooky disguise for her to get out of it. Raven, Chelsea, and Eddie donned some of the wildest costumes, and all of them usually looked pretty convincing. One of the best ones was the disguise Raven wore in the episode "Mother Dearest" when she pretended to be her mom for a parent-teacher conference. She went all out to conceal her identity, wearing an extreme amount of body padding, a curly wig, dorky glasses, and huge fake teeth to hide who she really was.

However, viewers had to suspend some disbelief when watching, as it's not incredibly likely that any high schooler would have been able to pull off disguises like the ones featured on the show. Wigs alone can cost up to $2,000, if they're made of human hair, according to Wig Outlet, and there's no way a high schooler has that kind of money lying around!

A major part of That's So Raven was the early 2000s fashion

"That's So Raven" always made it a point to draw attention to Raven's style and her obsession with fashion. The show came out in the mid-aughts, so, while her outfits were super on-trend at the time, they look a little dated compared to today's trends. Still, the 2000s fashion choices from the show were super iconic, and any kids watching at the time definitely wanted to raid the main character's closet. From the flared jeans and the embroidered jackets to the matching pantsuits and the numerous hair accessories Raven wore on the show, the clothes and accessories are sure to give adults a little bit of mid-aughts nostalgia. Even outlets like BuzzFeed and Bustle have published long lists featuring their favorite looks! Clearly, Raven's fashion choices were never short of awe-inspiring.

"That's So Raven" was never afraid to push the boundaries of the high school character's looks. Her style was part of the reason why the principal in the episode "Clothes Minded" made the entire school wear uniforms. Fortunately, the school uniform rule didn't stick.

Raven's parents were portrayed as pretty clueless on That's So Raven

Disney Channel does a pretty good job of creating intelligent and imaginative lead characters for young viewers to look up to. Shows like "That's So Raven" and the Hilary Duff-starring "Lizzie McGuire" all had complex leads who weren't afraid to speak up when things went wrong and who were driven to be the best at whatever their heart desired. However, in order to have such creative and outgoing young characters, the parents on all of these shows, especially "That's So Raven," had to be pretty oblivious to what was going on. These parents pretty much let their kids do anything they wanted, as VH1 pointed out.

While Victor and Tanya Baxter did provide a lot of laughs on "That's So Raven," it sometimes felt like they were portrayed as pretty clueless in order to make Raven and brother Cory — who's supposed to be in middle school — seem wiser and more capable. It was entertaining, but adults rewatching the show now will definitely notice that kids in real life would never be able to get away with the things the Baxter kids did.

Body positivity was a theme on That's So Raven

Raven-Symoné didn't play your typical Disney Channel lead on "That's So Raven." She was sassy, curvy, and outspoken, and she championed for causes like body positivity way before it became a hashtag on Instagram. In the episode "That's So Not Raven," this was addressed head-on. In the episode, Raven Baxter enters and wins a magazine's fashion contest, but, instead of using a photo of her for the design, the magazine photoshopped Raven's face onto a thinner body. In addition to that, the publication used a taller, thinner white model to show off the design on the runway, which is something that Raven stops to prove a point. In the episode, Raven gave us this iconic line: "Because in case you haven't noticed, people come in all shapes and sizes, and they're all beautiful. Put that in your magazine." Way to go, Raven!

It's worth noting that this episode mirrored Raven-Symoné's feelings about body positivity in real life. In 2015, she told The Viewa show known for some explosive episodes, that she was shamed for being curvier, even when she was only 7 years old. The former "Cosby Show" kid has also gone on record about how she wishes she'd grown up in today's more inclusive era. She told People, "In this day and age you have all kinds [of bodies] ... We didn't have it enough last time."

The high school in That's So Raven was pretty similar to this other TV school ...

If you think that the high school that Raven and her friends attended in "That's So Raven" looks familiar, then you're onto something! It shared a set and a school name with the '90s hit "Saved by the Bell," according to HuffPost. Adults who grew up watching both shows might not have caught it back in the day, but, after rewatching both series, you can definitely see some of the similarities. For example, in some of the shots of "That's So Raven," you can see a short staircase on the left side of the hallway. You can see that same small staircase on "Saved by the Bell" as well.

J-14 took this one step further and found all of the sets that other popular network shows shared in addition to "Saved by the Bell" and "That's So Raven." According to the outlet, "Glee" and "The Wonder Years" shared a set, "Full House" and "Friends" shared a set, and even "Gilmore Girls" and "Pretty Little Liars" shared one, too!

This Boyz 'n Motion plot on That's So Raven would never have worked in real life

The Boyz 'n Motion was a fictional group, but nothing about the craziness that the group faced as a world famous boy band in "That's So Raven" seemed made up. The episode "Boyz 'n Commotion" featured Michael Copon, Ryan Hansen, and Columbus Short as the members of the band who are forced to lay low at Raven's house after she tells everyone that they're coming to eat at Victor's restaurant The Chill Grill. Of course, Raven milks her 15 minutes of fame and tells everyone that she can get them to perform at a music festival at school. But when the boy band decides to quit music because they enjoy being out of the spotlight, Raven is caught in a pickle and, once again, has to don a disguise to save herself.

The episode was pretty far out there, and, as any adult would know, something like this wouldn't ever happen, especially in today's age with how fast stuff spreads on social media. Someone would have found out immediately where the Boyz 'n Motion were hiding, and the jig would have been up a lot sooner! 

Anneliese Van Der Pol's That's So Raven character was an environmental activist before it was cool

When you watch "That's So Raven" today, you might be surprised by how progressive the show was for its time, especially for a Disney Channel show. They tackled a lot of different topics and issues, and one of the most common ones was environmental activism. Chelsea from "That's So Raven," played by Anneliese van der Pol, wasn't always the sharpest tool in the shed, but she was a staunch environmental rights and animal rights activist, as evidenced in episodes like "On Top of Old Oaky" and "A Goat's Tale."

Now, adults realize how inspiring it was for young people to watch a character who really believed in what she stood for. Chelsea didn't just talk the talk but also walked the walk. She consistently pushed for animal rights, promoted recycling, and fought global warming, something that she advocated for since she was young, according to the episode "A Fight At The Opera." In that episode, it's revealed that she wished to end global warming on her fifth birthday.

Raven's psychic ability never actually helped the characters out on That's So Raven

Part of what made "That's So Raven" so fun to watch was Raven's psychic ability to see into the future. Episodes would almost always revolve around Raven and her crew trying to prevent a vision from happening or trying to make sure that things went exactly as seen in a vision. However, just because Raven could see into the future doesn't mean that it ever helped her out. Honestly, looking back at the show, her psychic ability was usually more hindering than helpful. 

Whenever Raven got a vision, she would impulsively try to counteract whatever was going to happen if it was something she didn't want — such as having her mom become a substitute teacher for her class in the episode "Teach Your Children Well." In an effort to reverse the vision from happening, Raven tries, in vain, to avoid having her mom come into contact with her teacher. Instead, the opposite quickly happens, and Raven has to deal with her mom being her teacher for an entire episode. Any adult would recognize that Raven's behavior was the reason why her mom was hired in the first place!

That's So Raven was way ahead of it's time when it came to talking about racism

Disney wasn't always known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to talking about social issues, so that's why the episode "True Colors" was such a game changer. In the "That's So Raven" episode, Raven and Chelsea both apply to work at a trendy store in the mall. However, when the less-experienced and less-skilled Chelsea gets chosen over Raven for the job, Raven becomes suspicious — and her suspicions are confirmed when she gets a vision of the manager saying that she doesn't hire black people. Raven and her friends then hatch a plan to catch the manager in this act of discrimination.

The episode really dives deep into what being black in the 21st century means. In addition to Raven's experience, Eddie shares a story about when his childhood best friend was told not to play with him because he was black. The show also made sure to show what true allyship looks like as Chelsea committed to helping Raven catch the manager's racist behavior and make things right. 

The episode was also a nod to Black History Month, as the storyline was interwoven with Cory's journey on writing a paper about African American history.

Raven's mom defied what it meant to be a stay-at-home-mom on That's So Raven

On "That's So Raven," Raven and Cory are both strong, intelligent, driven characters who are true to themselves no matter what. And while their dad, played by Rondell Sheridan, was a great influence on them, it's pretty obvious that the characters got their brains and strength from their powerhouse mother Tanya, played by T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh. Over the course of the show, we find out that Tanya Baxter chose to halt her own education to become a lawyer in order to raise her family, which is incredibly selfless. In the fourth season, Tanya isn't on the show because she's gone off to England to finish law school, as noted by MTV News, something she started working on in the third season starting in the episode "Five Finger Discount." 

Tanya not only showed us what it's like to be an amazing mom who was always there for her kids, but she also showed us what it means to continue to invest in yourself and follow your dreams regardless of where you're at in life. What an inspiration!

Raven's internship experience was super relatable on That's So Raven

Anyone who watched Raven struggle through her internship in the "That's So Raven" episode "Dues and Don'ts" was probably more prepared for their college internships than those who didn't. In the episode, and in the subsequent episodes that featured Raven's internship under Donna Cabonna (which certainly sounds like a mix of Dolce & Gabbana and Donna Karan), Raven grapples with what it's like to work in the cutthroat fashion industry. Over the course of her internship, Raven is belittled, mistreated, and insulted — and yet, Raven pushes through it all to have the coveted name on her resume. And that's just what many adults in real life have done, too.

While it is exaggerated for the show, a lot of the things that Raven had to do for her boss — like walk her dog and fetch her coffee — are things that actual interns have to do. Many outlets like Elite Daily, Fashionista, and Teen Vogue have gathered some of the worst fashion internship stories out there, and next to Raven's fictional experience, it's hard to tell which stories aren't the ones written for a TV show!

That's So Raven made it a point to talk about the dangers of smoking

"That's So Raven" went out on a high note. In the show's final episode, entitled "Where There Is Smoke," Raven has to deal with the possibility that her little brother is smoking cigarettes when she finds one in his pocket. He's not, as noted in the beginning of the episode, but Raven goes absolutely berserk when she thinks he is — especially when she believes he's lying to her about it. 

The episode descends into mayhem as Raven tries to catch her brother in the act, but every adult watching knows her heart is in the right place. Teen smoking continues to be a trend, according to the Center for Disease Control, especially as juuling and vaping make it easier for kids to smoke. Disney shows like "That's So Raven" didn't always talk about serious issues like these, but it's incredibly inspiring to know that a show that was so enjoyable was also looking out for young viewers at the time it aired.

That's So Raven was incredibly diverse

Looking back, "That's So Raven" was ahead of its time on a lot of things, and its diverse casting was definitely one of its stronger points. In addition to having a black family at the center of the show, the series consistently showcased actors of all races. Viewers routinely saw white, black, Asian, and Latinx actors of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. The antagonistic girl gang that always clashed with Raven early on, for instance, was a made up of a diverse group, consisting of Alana, who was Hispanic and routinely spoke Spanish on the show; Muffy, who was white; and Loca, who was black.

In a 2004 story on Multichannel News, the Disney Channel president of entertainment at the time, Rich Ross, said having Raven-Symoné star on the show was part of a focused effort to bring diversity to children's television. "Most of the comedians that have come before Raven have been mostly white," he said. "But kids look at her as just Raven. At the same time, I understand that African-American girls can look at Raven and see the mirror of themselves on television."