27 August 2004 | vertigo_14
The beginnings of hyper-absurdity comedy sitcoms. (minor spoilers)
Even Stevens, surprisingly only on the air for three years, was great entertainment for teenage audiences (and younger ones, too) for the simple fact that Shia La Beouf can really make you laugh.
The Stevens are your typical Disney-esquire family arrangement. Concerned mother, sometimes doofus father, stupid older son, brainy over achieving daughter, and the cooky youngest son, Louis (La Beouf). Over time, many members of the family receded from the spotlight as the plots eventually came to revolve more and more around the trials and tribulations of Ren, the older sister, and Louis. Often, their individual adventures and misadventures conflicted with one another. Somehow, Louis's wild, happy-go-lucky plans for fun and mischief often got in the way of Ren's quest for perfection and all the honest values her character consistently espouses. So often, they would butt heads, but in a way that ended in those moralistic endings with sister and brother getting along in the end.
But, really, despite a more dominant presence of Christy Romano, who played Ren, Shia La Beouf was the pure gem of the show, and probably the biggest catch for audiences, particularly among young girls who would love the goofy mischief of Louis and his equally goofy friend, Twitty (AJ Trauth). Beouf has a natural ability to really make you laugh, even though you're just watching a silly and albeit, corny, Disney television series for younger kids. Especially, during the shows when Louis and Twitty were trying to buy brand name shoes to fit in with the fleeting fashion tastes of their fellow classmates; when they formed the band and had a real superficial rock n' roll experience with the full rise and fall of success and friendship; when they made the student film; or when Twitty and Louis took over the janitor's closet to create their own authentic Mexican fiesta lounge. These kids really knew how to make you laugh, and the writers took advantage of that, by creating some bizarre and funny situations for the young actors.
Even Stevens is a funny show because it doesn't hang on to the tired obsessions that other young characters on television may do like Lizzy Macguire or the terrible range of sitcoms on the WB where it is all a high school drama over boyfriends and girlfriends. Even Stevens offered a lot more and was more of a show about camaraderie.
I suspect the show came to an end when it's young stars really got too old to play their respective parts, what with La Beouf and Trauth both approaching their late teens and Romano approaching her early twenties (and Donny, the eldest, approaching his forties, no less). But it was an innocent, funny show that I recommend younger audiences trying out. Unfortunately, Disney reruns the same ones over and over. But check it out. La Beouf won't disappoint you.