Jordan Bradt: Picture me, eating lunch. I sit down in the living room to watch television while I snack on macaroni and cheese. I feel like nonsense, so I turn to Disney where I observe Radio Rebel. It’s a half-hour in, but as I watch, I make a list of all the ways the shows Tells me things instead of Showing, of how much I loathe the ridiculous, overdramatic characters. With a movie that outrageous, I give in to the compulsion and inform Stephanie of the outrageousness. We decided to watch it again, together.
Radio Rebel is a movie aimed at teenagers. A shy girl, Tara, starts a podcast as Radio Rebel, where she’s able to be herself and inspire others. Her stepfather owns a radio station, so he gives her some air time.
I’ll start with the ways things are Told and now Shown:
1. Tara is shy. Everyone, including her dearest family and friends, throw that fact in her face. You might say that was Shown when she freaked out in class. No, that wasn’t being shy. That was suffering from mutism or anxiety. In the opinion of someone with a teaching degree (or anyone with common sense), Tara needs serious medical assistance. She should’ve been seeing a therapist or psychologist. I’m not a huge fan of medicating people, but she should’ve been doing SOMETHING!
2. Radio Rebel is sooo inspiring. Come on, people. Radio Rebel DOES NOTHING. She says something like “be yourself” and everyone is uber inspired. Um, really? That’s all it takes to inspire someone? “Be yourself!” It seemed like no one had ever heard that it was okay to be an individual. Just by watching television or reading a book, you can see that. Even adults in the movie were inspired! It wasn’t just “be yourself.” You should also stand up for yourself. Wow. Thank you, Radio Rebel. I never knew I shouldn’t let people walk all over me.
3. The principal has favorites. This fact was never shown, apart from her being kind to one student who supported her cause. Anyone who supported the cause would’ve been treated kindly.
4. Music is bad at school. How do we know music is bad? They say so.
5. Radio Rebel goes to Tara’s high school. They say they know, but never really show it.
6. Prom is AMAZING. We must LOVE Prom. We love it so much that we can turn against Radio Rebel when she makes the principal cancel it.
7. The principal can expel Radio Rebel. WHY? Radio Rebel did her thing outside of school. It is never properly explained, just meant raise weaknesses.
How about for some cliché characters?
Tara – shy, awkward, wears a hat when insecure, tugs on her sleeves to hide her hands. There was nothing else to Tara except for being shy and acting as Radio Rebel. Couldn’t she have had a hobby too?
Tara’s Mom – flighty, fashion-conscious, self-absorbed, obsessed with prom. She never made an intelligent statement. I felt bad for moms everywhere.
Awkward friends – two friends who have no real purpose. Not a love interest, rather annoying. I only remember the taller boy was named Larry because that’s my dad’s name.
Best friend – the awesome best friend who supports Tara in everything. Her name was Audrey Sharma. I remember that because I went to high school with a girl whose last name was Sharma.
The guy she likes – no idea what his name was. It started with a G. Gavin, maybe? He was cool at first, but then he turned against Radio Rebel…sort of. Like, he knew it was Tara because of the dancing sandwich bit (yeah…), but he was still rude to her when she inadvertently caused the principal to cancel prom.
Principal – evil authority figure. Can’t a movie ever have a cool principal? I’m not inspired to write a movie where the principal is someone the students can really admire, someone who does good rather than being senselessly cruel/psychotic.
On a side note, the actress who played Tara is Debby Reynolds. I decided to watch her in the Disney show, Jessie, in which she is the star. Wow, was that show bad. However, I’ll save that rant for another day.