Sep 14, 2008

The Saddle Club: In which Lisa settles for the least bitchy friends.

Saddle Club S.1.01 : “The Saddle Club”

OK, first of all, I want to thank all the contributors to this blog for allowing me to submit this guest review. I read the Saddle Club and Thoroughbred when I was a kid. Thoroughbred I kept, the Saddle Club I gave up on. When I started catching episodes of the Saddle Club on the weekends, I thought it would be fun to review the show for this blog. Since I haven’t read the books in years, I can’t tell you how faithful the series is to the source. Therefore I’ll treat the series as a stand-alone.

M’kay, in the first thirty seconds we are introduced to Carole and Stevie who are out on an ill-advised gallop. We also meet Lisa and her mother, Mrs. Atwood. We are also quickly made aware of the fact that Lisa’s mom is a bitch. I get the feeling that if Lisa were to fart in public, her mom would disown her. I’m just saying…

Anywho, Lisa’s on her way to her first riding lesson and is understandably nervous. She sees Carole and Stevie on their horses, Starlight and Comanche respectively, and is enchanted. Lisa’s mom mentions something about not being nervous and “You want to meet the right kind of people, don’t you?” I hope these people don’t mind their kids getting nearly run over, cause Mom’s not watching the road, girls aren’t watching for traffic, and… predictable drama complete with Comanche rearing up and whinnying in distress. Lisa’s mom, being a bitch, gets out and yells. Carole and Stevie, being prepubescent spoiled brats, get off their horses and yell back. Lisa, being sane, looks horrified.

Enter cute opening sequence. It may not be my favorite theme song, but it doesn’t try to disguise what the show is, lighthearted, girly fun. It’s adorable, but sugary enough that you might want to skip over it on future episodes.

We then meet Max and his mother, owners of Pine Hollow. Mrs. Reg gets points for comparing Mrs. Atwood to a mare with her first foal. Bonus points for effectively telling her to piss off rather than stay and watch Lisa’s lesson.

I want to say right now, no matter his flaws, Max is a complete sweetheart. He can tell Lisa is nervous and goes out of his way to make her feel welcome. He puts her on Patch, a “push-button pony.” Carole and Stevie watch Lisa, making a few snarky comments and generally being bitchy.

Enter Veronica. Veronica buddies up to Lisa quick, trying to impress her by introducing her to Cobalt, her expensive black stallion. (Sidebar: WTF?!? She’s what, twelve? And she has a stallion? Seriously?!?)

At the pre-lesson gathering, mention is made of a Mountain Trail Overnight (MTO). Then it’s time for the lesson.

At the lesson, when it’s Stevie’s turn to jump, Lisa’s cell phone goes off. Jeez, I wonder who that could be? Stevie gets dumped and there’s more dramatic rearing and whinnying from Comanche. Stevie’s pissed and even Max gets crappy with her about it. Poor Lisa.

Back in the barn Lisa tries to apologize, but Stevie took her bitchy pills today so that doesn’t work. Veronica swoops in and manages to make things worse. Lisa strikes me as really desperate for acceptance because she lets Veronica walk all over her.

Veronica’s mom shows up and we get to see exactly how spoiled she really is. Apparently she has her own phone line, a fax, and a pager, but not a cell phone. WTF? But that’s solved with one half-assed hissy fit. Seriously, Cindy could watch this show and take notes.

Carole and Stevie are brushing Comanche and snarking again. Carole recognizes that Lisa is nervous and doesn’t know anyone, to which Stevie replies that Lisa doesn’t belong there. Naturally Lisa is passing by and hears this.

There’s a lot of stuff happening in the next few scenes. Stevie has apparently spent her MTO money, Veronica criticizes Stevie for not having her own horse, and then says she‘ll get Lisa in on the MTO, which beginners aren‘t usually allowed on. Lisa tries again to apologize, which seems to be working until she says “Moms can be so lame.” Turns out Carole’s mom is dead. Oops. Veronica tells her they’re never going to like her, so get over it. Wow, compassionate.

The next day, Veronica plants her pager on Comanche’s saddle pad. She then shows her new cell phone to Lisa, claiming it’s the smallest cell phone in the world. Wow, irrelevant. She then says she only has one call to make, to her pager. She then tells Lisa that she’ll have her taken off the MTO if she tells anyone. Wow, bitchy.

Bless her, Lisa doesn’t even think about it before telling Carole. The two of them take off after Stevie and manage to get the pager off after it started beeping. Smiles and high fives are exchanged. Veronica’s pissed, but the girls essentially blackmail her with her pager. Max then informs Lisa that Carole and Stevie have asked if she can join the MTO, which he’ll allow. Yay. They then form the Saddle Club. Yay, again.

End credit song, same tune, crappy lyrics. It kind of hurts my brain.

This show is actually very cute if you have a large tolerance for cheesiness. It’s obviously intended for younger people than this twenty-three year old, but the asinine level probably falls between Disney movies and the New Gen Thoroughbred. If anything, this episode really suffered because of all the introductions, and that’s a problem with all show pilots.

(Heather is our first guest blogger. She will be recapping and reviewing The Saddle Club television series.)


Molly said...

So...what exactly are they going to do when Cobalt DIES like three seconds into the series? Or do they not off him on the show?

Heather said...

Yes, they do in episode... ten, I think. I haven't watched that one yet. I'm slightly dreading it. Broken legs are a majorly hard thing for me, because we had a three year old put down for that reason (pasture accident).

Elizabeth said...

AHAHA I can't believe someone's watching the TV show! Netflix doesn't have the first season yet, or I'd be, well, Netflixing it. I did watch a couple of the smashed-together-to-become-movies episodes, but they were from the later seasons. Maybe I'll have to buy it.

In a way I almost wish they'd used none of the plots from the books. With the pagers and cell phones and random little sister for Lisa, they're really not like the books at all, and I think I might get less insulted about the show if it were some entity separate from the bookverse. Or maybe not.

Monique said...

I will admit I did own season 1 on dvd. and watched it twice. it would make a kick ass drinking game.

Take one shot when:
- Veronica smirks at someone's back.
- Red looks hot.
- Lisa fucks up.
- Stevie looks like a Down Syndrome patient.
- Carole does some feat no other 12 year old would do.

Molly said...

"- Stevie looks like a Down Syndrome patient."

OH MY GOD I FEEL SO BAD FOR LAUGHING AT THIS BUT I AM. Mostly because I always thought the kid playing Stevie looked kind of..."special." And the three leads are seriously the worst actors ever.

How appropriate that my word verification here is "arghp." That's exactly the noise this show makes me make.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone realize these kids can't ride if their life depended on it? I watched it a while ago, but I still remember clearly NONE of them had their heels down in a show and/or class and all were praised for great riding... rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhtttttttt.....