Initial thoughts on Game Changers: Season 2

So, you’ll notice that after the first episode I have not kept up with my thoughts after watching each episode.

After the second episode, I thought, “Well, not much happened, I’ll just bundle it into the next one.” And then that happened again. And again.

This season should have been a movie.

When I look back over this season, the only thing that really sticks with me are these facts:

  • One episode chronicled Nick’s really long walk to a hotel.
  • One episode was all about eating too much candy/setting up a betting ring.
  • Sofi and Evan broke up because he wants to play hockey 24/7 and she… doesn’t.

None of these are particularly interesting. I love Nick, but his walk to a hotel cannot be stretched out by the kid’s talent for a full 22 minutes.

Oh, a candy betting ring + over eating. Oh the hilarity.

And kids, you’re twelve, whether or not you want to play hockey professionally is not something that will destroy your relationship. It was boring manufactured drama, and I didn’t care in the slightest, so when their breakup and the group’s response to it was dragged out over multiple episodes, I was bored senseless.

And now let’s get to my main beef with this season.

First, let me preface this with saying this is no shade on Lauren Graham, the actress who plays Alex. When I’m raging at Alex and calling her stupid, I’m calling the character stupid. The actress is holding this show together, despite how stupid her character is.

Actually, that’s true for everyone in the show. What is bad would be truly awful in the hands of a less talented cast. What is boring would have been eye-stabbingly dull, with a less talented cast.

The cast are great.

However, Alex Morrow is an annoyingly stupid character. Her entire season arc is “oh let’s swim in the lake and have sleepovers”. At a very exclusive and expensive hockey camp run by an NHL pro.

I’m not particularly fussed about the super-rich people. I’m talking about people in my position (or less financially comfortable) – an under average-wage job, with a bit of extra spending money, but not enough to do anything substantial with.

If I sent my hypothetical kid to this camp, which they qualified for with their skill level, and they want a future in the NHL, you bet I’d be fucking raging that I’d sold my car so my kid could have top-level coaching, only to find out that some moron from Minnesota had fluttered in with her dreams of re-living her own summer camp days, and completely derailed the programme.

Alex, that was a very expensive camp, with very specific promises. None of which were delivered on because of your insistence that everyone do things you want to do. Based on your own nostalgia for summers you spent not at hockey camp.

For someone who struggles with money, you seem to have no fucking awareness that other people do too, and might be furious that they didn’t get what they paid for – especially when it relates to their child’s future.

And I just can’t enjoy the series because I’m constantly pissed off about her selfishly forcing change that literally nobody asked for. Hell, even her kid swaps teams so he can get what was promised in the camp.

On the subject of sons swapping teams, does Jace even like hockey? I know we’ve had plenty of moments that show he choked and his dad didn’t handle it well. But when all that gets resolved, I still have no clue whether he likes hockey. But by the end of the final episode, Evan’s like, “dude, you gotta go pro because I can’t.” How is that any different to playing because his dad wants him to?

Jace, seriously, nobody owns your future. You don’t owe Evan your life because his talent “has a ceiling”. Play if you want to. Don’t play if you don’t want to. Raise llamas for all I care. Do what makes you happy. Fuck Evan and his angst.

Other issues? The lack of Duck alum present. As always, I’m going to my favourite well here: Cobra Kai. I’ve just asked my husband to ask his friends on Facebook if they’d have watched season 2 if nobody from the original Karate Kid franchise had returned after season 1. I’m feeling that the answer probably ranges from “I’d have given it a go, but with slightly less enthusiasm,” to “Nah, probably not.”

I’ll update this when I get an answer. (I don’t do Facebook. It’s depressing finding out how many people I work with think that “All Lives Matter” or that they “just want to protect my sex-based rights”. Although occasionally I take screenshots and send them to HR.)

I can understand that I’m not the target demographic for this. I’m sure if I was a tween/teen, I’d have a crush on at least one of the kids and be deeply invested, but as an fandom original, I’m just not particularly interested in the legacy of a hockey logo.

When we had Bombay, that made sense, and while having other Ducks cameo was exciting, it wasn’t necessary for it to be a continuation of the story. Now the baton has firmly been passed, Disney are going all out in getting actual hockey players to cameo instead, which I’m sure is a delight to people who watch the sport, not the movies.

Also, I think Emilio Estevez was done dirty on his lack of return. It was certainly strongly implied that he wouldn’t return because he was anti-vaxx, when the truth was that he worked through long COVID, and he and Disney had very different ideas about the future of Game Changers, both as a story and how work would be done on it. I’m sorry he’s gone, but it kind of sounds like a shitshow, so I hope he’s doing something he loves and believes in now.

Finally, in the match in the final episode, whose brilliant idea was it to put both teams in identical colours? A player just scored! Am I happy or sad? No clue. I need to wait for the Alex reaction shot to tell me.

And the bad guys use the Flying V, oh betrayal! Except that move has been around since 1992, in universe. It’s not the WWE, you can’t make a certain move exclusive to one faction. Although that would be funny. Maybe now that Vince McMahon has “retired” from WWE he could buy some hockey teams and set up World Hockey Entertainment.

Oh, and remember how I said that if Stephanie wasn’t in it, I’d riot? I stand by that. I know that she wouldn’t have worked logically, but I missed her. So if season 3 happens, she needs to come back. (Having just checked TV Tropes, apparently fandom hates her. Dude… what’s your beef? She’s value.)

And also: you think I didn’t notice that you stretched out D2 to fill a season? Well, I did.

And somehow no more cameos? Wouldn’t it have been nice to see Jesse Hall or Julie Gaffney (or anyone who hasn’t already come back) offering their card to Evan for a small college. So maybe they didn’t go pro, but their love for the game carried through their life and took them into teaching? We already know the main Ducks didn’t end up in hockey careers, not even Adam, who had the most talent, but there’s some truth to that saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” And it seems like a dis to say, but I mean it as a compliment. It’s great that you can still do the thing you love as a career, even if it wasn’t your first choice.

And now, because I don’t want to end this on a downer, here are some highlights, in no particular order:

  • The Bash Brothers cameo. I love the implication that Portman moved to hang with his bro. (Or, if you put your goggles on, that Bash Slash happened.)
  • Nick being Nick. Excellent as always.
  • Koob. Even though the singing scene was awkward as fuck, I’m delighted to hear his voice, and hope this, coupled with him being on the Disney payroll, means great things for his future.
  • There were a lot of nice little moments. I just can’t particularly remember them. Again, it’s down to how well the kids are cast.

I’m not sure if I’ll watch season 3 if it happens. I probably will, but my interest is waning. This show gets high scores on Rotten Tomatoes, so I’m glad a new generation is enjoying it.

This oldie is just bitter than when her fandom got rebooted, they didn’t keep much of the old. Especially when my husband’s fandom is Cobra Kai, who have taken the route, “Oh, we are going to call literally everyone who was even tangentially involved in this franchise. Your head will be spinning when you see how many people we can get back.”