BraceFace: S1, E16 “The Good Life”

We start the episode off with Sharon and Maria looking like they’re getting ready to fight someone.

Sharon and Maria on a secret mission

Has Sharon finally had enough of Nina’s shit? Are Sharon and Maria going to tag team and beat the shit out of Nina? It sounds like they’re on a secret mission. Hmm…while I would love to see them beat up Nina, I guess a secret mission isn’t so bad. Oh…wait they’re just going shopping. Sorry guys, if you want to see teen girls going on missions check out “Totally Spies” (another childhood fave).

On a trip to the mall

Sharon is at the mall to buy underwear, but she’s tempted to buy other clothes. I’ve had this problem before. Once I went out to buy a suit for an upcoming job interview, but I was tempted to buy some cute dresses and t-shirts that we’re on sale. Maria pulls Sharon away from a display of clothes when she finds underwear on sale. Sharon gets distracted again when she sees a cardboard of her favorite singer at the mall.

Leena

Maria attempts to pull her away again, but fails as Sharon just wants to take a “peek” inside the store. My mom used to say the same thing to me and my brother when she would drag us along on one of her shopping trips. Sharon grabs a pile of clothes and doesn’t even look at the price tags until she gets to the register.

Check out those prices

She decides to just buy the underwear sitting at the top of the pile and the woman at the register looks over it. At home, Sharon asks Helen to triple her allowance and Helen refuses. Sharon complains that her clothes are outdated and Helen laughs and says “Money can’t happiness”. You know, I hate when people say it. I get why Helen is saying that because Sharon will waste her money on clothes that will be out of style in a couple of weeks. However, it’s not necessarily true that money can’t buy happiness. Money would bring me a lot of happiness right now. I could buy a car, move out of my parents’ house, pay off my student loans, and spend my money on whatever I want without dealing with criticism from my mom. Later, Sharon is on the phone with Maria complaining about her mom refusing to increase her allowance. Maria tells Sharon that Leena (the singer from before and the one who was briefly mentioned a couple of episodes back) is on TV. She turns on the TV to see Leena’s music video singing about how awesome her life is. Sharon begins to fantasize about having Leena’s life while she’s singing the same song Leena was just singing before.

It just occurred to me that in Sharon’s fantasy she’s wearing her braces. I wonder why. If she were to become famous, she could just get dental work so she wouldn’t have to wear braces anymore. Not to mention, the industry probably wouldn’t want her wearing them because they want to maintain the celebrity image of being perfect. Maria snaps Sharon out of her fantasy to tell her that Leena is coming to Elkford to shoot her next music video and they’re looking for extras at local schools. Sharon is overcome with joy. The next day Sharon comes to school dressed like Leena so she can be picked to be in her music video.

Leena fan more like stan

She’s taken being a fan to the next level: Stan

Sharon shows off how much of a stan (Yes, I know I said stan. If you don’t know what that is, Urban Dictionary is your friend) she is by telling Maria and Connor about Leena’s three houses, her line of cruelty-free hair products, and who she’s dating. As she’s talking, Nina is also telling her friends about Leena. Uh-Oh. Looks like we got another Leena stan in the house.

Another Leena stan

Nina mocks Sharon for dressing up like Leena and tells her that she wouldn’t get picked because the glare from her braces might break the camera lens and reminds her of what happened on picture day. We even get a flashback to the pilot episode when this incident took place. Damn seems like ages ago since I reviewed that episode. At the time, I didn’t even know how to do screenshots. I’ve come so far. Nina and her friends walk away laughing. While Sharon is taking a shower after gym class, Nina steals Sharon’s clothes out of her locker while Allyson is on guard.

Can't believe that was a wig

That’s a wig? I assumed Sharon styled her hair that way because she’s blond.

Sharon and Maria come out of the shower just as they leave. Sharon is shocked to see that her clothes are gone and Nina and Allyson make themselves guilty by laughing. Sharon confronts Nina about taking her clothes, but Nina plays dumb and denies taking them. She suggests that she takes some clothes out of the lost and found. I think this would be a great moment for Sharon and Maria to tag team and beat up Nina, but Allyson is there so I’m not sure how they would pull that off. Sharon has no choice but to take those clothes. You know this scenario reminds me of that episode of “Everybody Hates Chris” when Caruso stole Chris’ picture day outfit and he had to wear clothes from the Lost and Found bin. Hopefully the principal doesn’t come and tell her she can’t wear them because she didn’t lose them like they did Chris.

Not a bad outfit minus the shirt

That shirt is hideous, but everything else looks okay.

Connor teases Sharon, but she’s shows him the bunny sweater his grandmother knitted for him and puts it on him.

Bunny sweater

Just then, here comes the casting lady. Sharon hides in her locker as she gets closer. She also walks right pass Nina like she didn’t exist. Whomp. Whomp. Sharon falls out of her locker just as the woman passes by. She stares at Sharon and Connor and comments on how plain and ordinary they look and ask them to be in the video. She sees Sharon’s braces and thinks they’re perfect for what they’re looking for. I wonder how she would have reacted if Sharon was wearing headgear. She compliments them for being just average and throws a little shade towards Nina by saying “They always think dressing like Leena will work”.

Dressing like Leena won't work

It’s the day of the shoot and Sharon rushes out so she won’t be late. She snatches Adam’s breakfast. Helen gives Sharon some snacks because video shoots can take a while. At the shoot, Sharon and Connor wonder if Leena really bathes in mineral water and if she really stole from her sister’s piggy bank, which Sharon read about in the National Implier (obviously parody of National Enquirer). Connor notices the buffet table and the casting lady from earlier tells him that that’s only for the staff and crew. She points them to where the extras are going to be waiting and the buffet table isn’t so nice. Sharon asks the woman when they’re going to meet Leena, but she tells them they’re won’t since they’ll be filming separate scenes. Nina shows up and she was able to be an extra through her connections. And that ladies and gentlemen, is unfortunately how you get a job in this world. *sighs* I’m over the job search. It’s been hours and Sharon is tired of waiting. Leena overhears Sharon talking and starts up a conversation with her. Sharon tells her that she’s making a bracelet and she could make one with her if she wants. Sharon notices that Leena looks familiar and asks her if she’s a stunt double or something while she hands her some beads. Leena says “Or something” and just when takes them, one of her security guards smacks them out of her hand and carries her away. The other guard tells her she needs to be more careful because Sharon could have been a stalker. While he has a point, I think the guards overreacted.

Leena does not look happy

She does not look happy.

Sharon realizes that she was talking to Leena (How did you not know that was her? Someone take away her stan card) and Nina comments on how ordinary she looks. The casting lady comes back and says that they need extras in Nina’s dancing sequence. What happened to extras having separate scenes from Leena? They didn’t organize this well, did they? Everyone is jumping up and down to be picked for the scene. The casting lady obviously picks Sharon, Connor, and Nina because it wouldn’t be an episode if they weren’t featured. Sharon is overcome with joy and jumping around like a kid and she accidentally steps on one of the beads from earlier and falls down.

She never ceases to embarrass herself

She never ceases to embarrass herself.

The casting lady brings them on the set and tells them to wait until they’re called for. Sharon spots Leena and tries to take a picture of her, but her manager Fred tells Sharon that she can’t have any type of contact with Leena. Hell, she better not even think of speaking to her despite speaking to her earlier in the episode. Fred keeps telling Irene, the make-up lady to keep putting more eye shadow on Leena. Leena tries to tell Fred that it’s enough, but he tells her that she better deal with it in order to impress the record executives. Leena’s mom comes in and gives her a snack, but Fred snatches it away from her in order for her to keep her figure. Ruth, Leena’s mom, tells Fred that she has to eat something, but he just tries to distract her with setting her up at a spa and ordering someone to get Leena some herbal tea. The casting lady comes back and tells the kids that they’re needed for make-up. Oh, and are they in for a rude of awakening.

Nina is upset and asks the casting lady why they’re dressed like this. The casting lady explains that the song is called “Rags to Riches” and they’re the rags and Leena is the riches. Did they not know the song they were going to shoot the video for? Leena has to go through multiple takes in order for the camera crew to get the right takes and she’s understandably exhausted. They get to the 18th take (I believe) and they have to stop because Connor is coughing and he’s allergic to dry ice. I’ve just been reminded of one of the reasons why I don’t like Connor. He’s allergic to every damn thing. The casting lady fires Connor, but he doesn’t really mind since this isn’t for him anyway. Sharon overhears Fred and Leena talking. Leena refuses to make her breast bigger and Sharon notices them.

Holy Clevage

Holy Cleavage! -Sharon

Fred reminds Leena that he’s the one making all of this possible for her. Leena asks to take a break because she’s starving and her stomach keeps growling, but Fred reminds her that the record execs can end her career. She continues to do another take, but it ends because she passes out.

Breaking Singer Leena unconscious

Leena is conscious and tells Fred that she’s taking a break. Nina gets excited about seeing her favorite singer having a “diva moment”. She tells Sharon that she heard a rumor about Leena trashing her hotel room because they forgot to put a chocolate under her pillow. Sharon isn’t trying to hear the nonsense that Nina is saying and she notices that Leena doesn’t have any control over her life. Finally, someone here with a brain. Leena goes back to her dressing room crying. Ruth consoles Leena and Leena tells her that she misses her dog and her sister. Ruth tells her that she can just quit and live a normal life again. Leena says she could do that, but she’s been given a great opportunity and she thinks she’s overreacted because she’s hungry. Ruth offers to go the vending machine to get her something to eat, but Leena insists that she’ll do it. Leena tries to get something out of the vending machine, but the snack gets stuck. Oh, we’ve all had that problem. Sharon comes in and asks if she wants some veggie sushi. I didn’t even know that it even existed. Leena recognizes Sharon as bead girl, but Sharon tells her her name. Sharon asks Leena if she really bathes in mineral water and realizes how stupid that question was. Leena tells her it’s okay and debunks all the rumors printed in tabloid magazines. Sharon gives Leena the rest of the food her mom packed for her, but Leena’s bodyguards come and take down Sharon like a wrestler.

Body Guard used Take Down

Bodyguard used Take Down. It’s super effective!

Fred comes in and tells Leena that they believe that Sharon is a stalker. Fan? Yes. Stalker? Your arms must hurt from all that reaching you’re doing. Sharon and Leena try to convince Fred that she’s not a stalker, but he’s not trying to hear it and have the guards take her away. Some time afterwards, the premiere of Leena’s new video is about to start and Sharon’s family and friends are all here. Wait, how were they able to shoot the rest of the video? Connor got fired and Sharon was thrown out because she was accused of being a stalker. As they watch the video, Sharon realizes her mom was right and the celeb life isn’t what it seems. I think that’s what Helen should have said instead of that “Money can’t buy happiness” bollocks.  There’s a difference between being rich and famous.  Sharon’s braces actually do her some good. Instead of breaking the camera lens, they added a special effect to the video. And Nina’s in a fat suit:

Wow Nina put on a lot of weight

I quite liked this episode. I liked how real it was. So many kids and teens idolize celebrities wanting their lives that they don’t realize that the celeb lifestyle isn’t what it seems to be. I’ve been following celebrity culture since my teens and as I got older, I realized how ugly celeb life is like. People sell fake stories to the press for publicity because any publicity is good publicity. Record labels always try to make you put on a certain image to sell. You may have to get plastic surgery or bleach your skin to fit society’s standards of beauty. You have to deal with people saying mean things to you 24/7. You have to question whether someone wants to be your friend for you or just using you for fame. It’s just not a lifestyle I want (aside from the money).  While they didn’t go into too much detail, I do like that they touched on a little bit of anorexia and the sexualization of breasts. There are two episodes in the future that are centered around both issues and I can’t wait to review those. I do like that we got to see more of Connor here and have Maria take a backseat. Aside from the “money can’t buy you happiness” bullshit I mentioned earlier, this was a pretty solid episode.

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About rosecoloredglassesreviewer

Just a 20-something year old who loves writing and critiquing 90s/early-2000s TV shows. NOTE: I don't hate the shows I review. I enjoyed them as a child and I still enjoy them as an adult. My issue is with people who are blinded by nostalgia and believe that the shows they grew up are the best of all time and who believe today's shows suck.
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