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Lizzie McGuire is an American live-action scripted teen sitcom, whose characters were created by Terri Minsky, who also developed its core format. It featured an animated version of the title character performing soliloquies; these animated sequences were interspersed with the show's live-action sequences. Lizzie McGuire premiered on the Disney Channel on January 12, 2001, following the premiere of Zenon: The Zequel, and ended on February 14, 2004, after a total of 65 episodes were produced and aired. Its target demographic was preteens and adolescents.
The series follows Lizzie McGuire, a 13-year-old girl who dreams of being popular at school, with the help of her best friends Miranda and Gordo. Episodes center on Lizzie's life, dealing with her family, mostly her parents Jo and Sam and her younger brother Matt, and normal teenage life issues. Lizzie has an animated alter-ego that represents her feelings.
The series was created by Terri Minsky. The show's working title was What's Lizzie Thinking? before being changed to Lizzie McGuire. The show's producer Stan Rogow says the visual look of the show was partly inspired by the film Run Lola Run. The pilot was filmed in March 2000, and after the show was picked up, production of the episodes restarted in September 2000. Though production wrapped in June 2002, the show did not end its original run on Disney Channel until 2004. In 2014, Hilary Duff announced that she would be open to a Lizzie McGuire reunion.
Elizabeth "Lizzie" Brooke McGuire (Hilary Duff) is portrayed as an average, clumsy, and accident-prone girl who wants to find her place in the world, although her animated alter ego often tells her true feelings. Lizzie constantly gets into arguments with her younger brother, Matt, but knows right from wrong. She is an A/B student and has a talent for gymnastics despite her klutzy tendencies. Always the first to apologize and incredibly loyal, Lizzie sometimes loses herself in her passionate nature and impulsiveness, but always comes out with a clear head firmly on her shoulders. In "Clue-Less", Lizzie finds out Gordo likes her, but isn't sure how she feels about him, however, by the final episode of the series, Lizzie shows she likes Gordo back with a kiss on the cheek from the message he wrote in her yearbook. By the end of the movie, Lizzie and Gordo are a couple after she kisses him, revealing to him he is the guy she loves.
Miranda Isabella Sanchez (Lalaine) is Lizzie's best friend. Despite showcasing great confidence, she is the most self-conscious of the three friends. Her family is Mexican American, but she speaks little Spanish. Like Lizzie, Miranda struggles with growing up. She did not appear in the last six episodes, nor in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, due to Lalaine's filming schedule for the Disney Channel Original Movie You Wish!
David Zephyr "Gordo" Gordon (Adam Lamberg) is Lizzie's other best friend and has been since they were babies. He offers both sarcasm and good advice. He is portrayed as being very intelligent, practical, and a Straight-A student. Gordo's dream is to become a filmmaker, and he will usually carry his video camera with him, which captures many of Lizzie's clumsy moments. Near the end of the series, it is revealed that Gordo has a crush on Lizzie. In "Clue-Less", Lizzie finds out Gordo likes her, but isn't sure how she feels about him, however, by the final episode of the series, Lizzie shows she likes Gordo back with a kiss on the cheek from the message he wrote in her yearbook. By the end of the movie, Lizzie and Gordo are a couple after she kisses him, revealing to him he is the guy she loves. He is Jewish American, as one episode shows him having a bar mitzvah. Gordo also has a few unusual interests, such as unicycling and the Rat Pack.
Matthew "Matt" McGuire (Jake Thomas) is Lizzie's little brother. He is a clever troublemaker who is never tired of hatching schemes, whether to annoy his sister, confound his parents, or increase his creature comforts. His scheming nature is contrasted against his best friend Lanny, who does not speak on-screen. Despite Matt and Lizzie constantly fighting, they are shown to genuinely care about each other. Matt's catch phrases are "You rang?" and "Talk to me."
Joanne "Jo" McGuire (Hallie Todd) is Lizzie and Matt's mother. She cares deeply about Lizzie but like most parents, thinks she doesn't know how to raise a teenager. As a result, she sometimes tends to "mess up" situations in Lizzie's life while trying to help make them better. At the end of each episode, Jo and Lizzie tend to come to an understanding and portray the unfaltering love of a mother-daughter relationship. Jo always figures out what her kids are up to and is one step ahead of them.
Samuel "Sam" McGuire (Robert Carradine) is Lizzie and Matt's father. Like his wife, he thinks he has little idea of how to raise his children. However, he always tries his best to help Lizzie out and understand her, and is always ready to lend a helping hand. Both Jo and Sam in all reality are excellent parents, always putting their children first and caring for them unconditionally. Like Lizzie, Sam is a bit of a klutz.
Katherine "Kate" Sanders (Ashlie Brillault) is the most popular girl at Lizzie's school. Originally Lizzie and Miranda's best friend, Kate becomes popular because she got a bra after summer camp was over and becomes Lizzie and Miranda's ex-best friend. Kate enjoys trying to make Lizzie's and everyone's life miserable by teasing and trying to be more superior, but Lizzie always manages to outsmart Kate and come out on top. Several episodes show that deep down she still likes Lizzie and Miranda. She eventually becomes Lizzie's friend again in The Lizzie McGuire Movie. In the first few episodes Kate's last name was Saunders, but it was eventually changed to Sanders.
Claire Miller (Davida Williams) is Kate's new best friend. Claire is meaner than Kate. In "The Rise and Fall of the Kate Empire" Claire kicks Kate off the cheerleading squad after she dislocates her shoulder and becomes the new cheerleading captain. Claire isn't seen or mentioned ever again in The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
Ethan Craft (Clayton Snyder) is a good looking, athletic boy who is popular at school. Lizzie, Kate and Miranda had a crush on him, despite his lack of intelligence, but he is kind and friendly to everyone. In the season two episode "Just Friends", it is revealed that Ethan loves golf, and that his favorite movie is Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. In The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Ethan is referred to as "Word" by some Italian girls who did not understand what Gordo was telling them.
Lawrence "Larry" Tudgeman III (Kyle Downes): Referred to as "Tudgeman" (or simply Tudge), Larry is portrayed as the stereotype of the school geek. He is treated like an outcast by everyone except Lizzie and her friends. He has also been known to wear the same shirt since the fourth grade. In the season one episode "Scarlett Larry", Larry asks Lizzie out on her first date. Lizzie initially accepts his invitation only to make him feel good, but ends up having a good time. Afterwards Larry believes that they are in a relationship; Lizzie sets Larry straight that she does not like him romantically, and the two remain friends. It is later revealed that Larry has an unrequited crush on Miranda. He is not featured in The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
Lanny Onasis (Christian Copelin) is Matt's best friend. He never speaks on-screen, but Matt seems to have no problem communicating with him. In Season 2 it's revealed that Lanny is a direct descendant of Crispus Attucks. His favorite ice cream flavor is pumpkin. Lanny is not featured in The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
Melina Bianco (Carly Schroeder) is Matt's other best friend, who loves getting him into trouble. Later in the series, they begin to have feelings for each other. She is the only one of Matt's friends to appear in The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
Digby "Mr. Dig" Sellers (Arvie Lowe Jr.) is Lizzie's cool, laid-back substitute teacher. In his lessons, he often implies that he educated celebrities like Frankie Muniz and Christina Aguilera. He befriends Lizzie's dad in one of the episodes and dates Matt's teacher, Miss Jasmine Chapman.
Edward and Daniela Sanchez (Armando Molina and Dyana Ortelli) are Miranda's parents and appear in only a few episodes, including "Night of the Day of the Dead" in which they play a prank on Kate. It is implied that they are very good friends with Lizzie's parents.
Howard and Roberta Gordon (Michael Mantell and Alison Martin) are Gordo's parents, who are both psychiatrists.
Parker MacKenzie (Chelsea Wilson) is a girl in Lizzie's class. In an episode, Gordo has a crush on her. She is a vegetarian, as shown in the episode "Obsession". In an episode, Gordo asks Parker for a dance. She refuses because, in her opinion, he is too short for her. Parker hates Lizzie because she accidentally sat on her Titanic lunch box in the 5th grade.
Daniel "Danny" Kessler (Byron Fox) is Lizzie and Miranda's first crush. He appears in the first few episodes. His family owns a water park called "The Slip Slide". After "When Moms Attack", Danny isn't seen or mentioned again. Lizzie mentions Danny one last time in The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
Veruca Albano (Rachel Snow): An overweight nerdy girl who appears once in Season 1 and more often in Season 2 when Lizzie enters the eighth grade. In "Dear Lizzie", she asks Lizzie for help with a bully problem and even confides to her that "nothing gets out goulash". Veruca's on the Mathletes Team. Near the end of the series it's hinted that Veruca and Larry have a crush on each other.
Amanda "Amy" Sanders (Haylie Duff): Kate's 18 year old cousin, who plays in a rock band. She is like Kate for her snobby and cruel personality, but is much worse than Kate, since she and Amy have a rocky relationship. In the episode "Party Over Here", Amy disregards Kate's plan for her birthday by having a huge party where someone smashes Kate's face into her cake. Lizzie sees how unhappy Kate is, and goes to comfort her. After Kate explains that just she wants everyone to leave, Lizzie calls her mother to come over and end the party.
Coach Kelly (Dot Jones): The strict but supportive gym teacher at Hillridge Junior High. She helps Lizzie in the episode "One of the Guys" when she explains that girls can be both feminine and good at sports. She uses herself as an example, because she teaches gym and likes to sew her own dresses and goes ballroom dancing.
Principal Tweedy (Phill Lewis): The no nonsense principal of Hillridge Junior High. He punishes Lizzie, Kate, and Larry for believing they started a food fight, but the trio ended up writing a letter explaining how none of them started the fight but are grateful for the opportunity to know each other and cleaning the cafeteria (an homage to Breakfast Club), which the principal became proud of. When nobody's looking Principal Tweedy sticks gum under the cafeteria tables.
Mr. Escobar (Daniel Escobar): The drama/chorus teacher at Hillridge Junior High. Mr. Escobar also runs Detention. He is shown in the beginning of The Lizzie McGuire Movie, where he tells Lizzie that she will have to make the valedictorian speech at graduation.
Jeremy Bargiel: Sam's best friend. In "Rated Aargh!" Jeremy is choking and Lizzie saves his life.
David Rosen: Sam's other best friend. Jeremy and David own a chimp named Fredo.
Fredo: Jeremy and David's pet chimpanzee. Fredo gets Matt in trouble and they hate each other at first. Matt eventually becomes friends with Fredo. Fredo's a math whiz, but he's terrible at fractions.
Animated Lizzie is an animated character who represents the title character's inner thoughts, addressing the audience directly in the manner of a Greek chorus. The show was not the first series to use animation to reflect a live-action character's innermost thoughts. McGee and Me and Student Bodies, two syndicated programs about the struggles of a cartoonist for a school newspaper, often used the artist's surrealisticcaricatures of himself and his friends to visually illustrate his interior monologues. Animated Lizzie was voiced by series star Hilary Duff.
The show was completed after 65 episodes. Disney considered continuing the franchise in further films and a prime-time television series with Lizzie, Miranda, and Gordo attending high school, which was to be broadcast on ABC. But the plans were never implemented due to contract disagreements with Duff's representatives.
Another spin-off called Stevie Sanchez was planned. But it was canceled without even premiering, for unknown reasons. Despite that, an actual pilot was shot for the show but never aired and has yet to be released. It would star a girl named Stevie Sanchez, Miranda's younger sister. The show was about Stevie's and Miranda's family working at a zoo in Australia. While the show never aired its pilot episode, Selena Gomez was officially cast in the main role and, had the pilot been transmitted, would then have made her Disney Channel debut long before she actually did, which was in 2007's Wizards of Waverly Place.
The series reran on Disney Channel from February 14, 2004, to September 4, 2006. The episode "Night of the Day of the Dead" also aired on October 14, 2006, as part of Disney's "Hispanic Heritage Month."
In 2006, Superstation WGN (now WGN America) acquired the rights to Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire. It aired on the channel from September 18, 2006, to January 2009, during the week originally airing after each other on weekday afternoons before moving to the late night hours, when both shows' target audiences were generally not awake, with Even Stevens airing Tuesdays and Thursdays and Lizzie airing the rest of the week.
A film based on the show, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, debuted on May 2, 2003, at number two at the box office behind X2: X-Men United. It earned $42.7 million at the American box office, and eventually grossed $55.6 million worldwide. Based on Lizzie and her classmates going on a school trip to Rome, Italy, where Lizzie finds love, fame, and trouble in unexpected places. It received mixed reviews with one critic calling it, "an unabashed promotion of Duff's image, just as Crossroads was for Britney Spears." Other reviews were generally positive and encouraging.
The character of Lizzie continues to be merchandised by Disney, especially through a large set of Lizzie McGuire books, which include novelizations of the episodes, original Nancy Drew-style stories in the Lizzie McGuire Mysteries series, and "Cine-manga" pictorial adaptations (published by TOKYOPOP) with still shots from the show presented in manga style.
A Lizzie McGuire doll was released in 2002 by Dakin Toys. The 10" doll featured many of Lizzie's outfits. A plush doll of the Cartoon Lizzie was made by Dakin in 2002.
Fortune magazine estimated in 2003 that Lizzie McGuire merchandise had earned the Walt Disney Co. nearly $100 million. In the show's heyday, Radio Disney continually promoted Lizzie McGuire and regularly gave away the show's CD.
Several home video and DVD versions of the show have been released in various countries. In the United States, some thematic episode collections were first released and later a DVD box set consisting of 22 episodes from the first season (mostly, but not entirely, corresponding to the first 22 episodes in production order). It is designated as "Volume 1", but no plans are known for the release of volumes 2 and 3 of the series, and poor sales of the first box set may prevent further releases. As of April 2006, a box set of 12 DVDs with all the 65 episodes of the show is available in Spain, and box sets (grouped into three 22-episode "seasons") IrelandTG4 are available in Australia and the UK.
Lizzie-themed toys were included in a 2004 McDonald'sHappy Meal series, which included CD-ROM discs containing Lizzie-related games and graphics and audio versions of Lizzie (not voiced by Duff) reading stories based on episode plots of her show.
There is a Lizzie McGuire bedroom set offered by furniture stores as one of several Disney-themed children's bedrooms and a What Would Lizzie Do? board game where players must judge Lizzie's likely response to various situations. Three Lizzie McGuire video games have been released for the Game Boy Advance: Lizzie McGuire: On the Go (2003), Lizzie McGuire 2: Lizzie Diaries (2004), and Lizzie McGuire 3: Homecoming Havoc (2005).