Looking Back On… Braceface
I was definitely not the target audience for this cartoon when it aired but it still caught my attention and I watched a few episodes. I There might be a lot of comparison to Lizzy Macguire out there since the cast sort of looks similar but the shows couldn’t be any more different and ironically Braceface was easily more mature in its handling of things. The show overall is pretty damn good after watching all 78 episodes so let’s take a look back.
The premise is of a girl Sharon Spitz who just became a teenager and has to deal with things a 13 year old girl would so just imagine Doug but for girls and taking things a little more serious. To make her life a little worse she also gets braces right before and they’re the gimmick of the show as they’re electrically charged and often get Sharon in trouble at the worst times by activating cellphones or lights depending on the episode. Sometimes it works to her advantage though and thankfully it was not a gimmick that was used all the time as we would only see it used every other episode and it was most times not that crazy in what had happened with them as the first episode might lead you to believe.
This was a Canadian show so it wasn’t very conservative and openly dealt with topics that kids becoming teenagers would as many other shows would. In one episode we see Sharon getting her first period and having menstrual cramps on her first date before accidentally dropping all the pads that she gets everywhere. It’s not quite Degrassi levels but something Lizzy McGuire or Doug would’ve never tackled on their shows.
Not only that but she also comes from a divorced family and deals with it in a better way than most shows do even if it’s still a very stable family relationship and not much drama is focused is there. Her friends relationships are what you’d expect with each one having their own character tropes but they worked and they did change things up from time to time.
Things like love and crushes are handled fairly well and by the end of the first season you already had the forever crush asking Sharon out and even breaking up in the beginning of the second season. It takes shows their entire run to get to that moment so it’s nice they weren’t afraid to do these things. Not every episode was like that as plenty of them are more formulaic and what you’d expect from these kids in school shows but at least they mixed things from time to time.
The continuity of the show is rather weird, it’s implied they began middle school in the first season but by second they’re entering High School and the ages don’t match so I guess it was retconned into being 8th grade instead of 7th. Even then that means the second and third seasons are all the Freshmen year. I mean it’s not a show that I’m going to worry much about it but then again if enough people pester me about it I’d totally do a continuity timeline to know what happened when.
The final episode doesn’t actually give an amazing conclusion, I”m guessing they expected more seasons but it’s decent enough. And even then there is a clipshow that references the final episode so I guess that one is the last episode which is even more open ended. Sharon Spitz is rather unlikable if you think about it and notice how many times the problems are all because of her insecurities causing a mess int he episode.
Alicia Silverstone voices the character for the first two seasons and she does a great job, she gets a decent replacement in the third season but it’s definitely inferior. I think more could’ve been done with what they were going for and too much time was wasted in random plots but it’s a fine show. I think it did a good job for what it was aiming for.
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