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The Suite Life: "Poor Little Rich Girl"/S1E13

Posted on January 1, 2013 at 8:20 AM

By Dhruv Rao (Original Air Date: 22/07/2005)

It's rare that a sitcom, especially one that airs on Disney, would write an episode with an emotionally deep plot and sub-plot while using small talk and ice-breakers to generate comedy. When I first heard the  title, I knew that there would be the rich girl turning poor, in this case London, then seeking help from someone poor (Maddie) and finally their friendship will develop. 

However, that's not the only plot in this story. The other one also involves growing up in a certain way and imagining how different it could be. Therefore, as I was expecting that the episode would be a complete failure, I was completely surprised at the depth a teen sitcom could go while still being funny. 

It all starts in Zack and Cody's room, when they discover a tape of their first year as babies. A flashback in the cold open of an episode may not always be a winner, but in this case, it shoots and scores instantly. I mean, Carey with long hair and we hear their unseen father. So, they do a reverse role until they get to know who they really are. We see Cody watching wrestling on TV, striking out with every girl in school, disobeying the teachers, and copying Zack's homework. While Zack likes cheese, gives caring advice and actually does his homework. Oh, and let's not forget calling Maddie Sweet Thang. 

Through the torture of not knowing her kids' real identities, Carey calls the hospital in which they were born to mail her copies of their birth certificates. She then tells Zack that she knows her kids, only for Cody to reply. Finally, their identities are kept, much to my joy. She finally says that she's happy to have her boys back.

Meanwhile, Tipton goes broke, prompting London to get rid of all her material and superficial belongings. This whole thing was like a small test for London to show her how she didn't have real friends and she needed one at this low point in her life. Her new BFF is Maddie, who reluctantly offers London to stay at her place until she can get on to her feet. She views Maddie's room as a let down at first but starts to adapt to normal life slowly. For example, she sits for Zack and Cody instead of Maddie. 

The main point of the episode may have been to illustrate an oxymoron on London's life. It seems strange on how, right before she discovers she's poor, she asks for everything she wants and gets it, either by using money or her power. However, once she's broke, she has to settle and try to do things herself. For example, when she's rich, she gets hot chocolate the way she likes it. However, once she's with Maddie, she becomes grateful for even an extra piece of chocolate she gets. 

Another obvious oxymoron would be the way Maddie and London grow up. Maddie grows up with sleepovers and family dinners which wamed her. But London grows up on planes flying to and fro from mommy to daddy while playing cards with the flight attendant. Moreover, she never had a family dinner and always spent her time with a somewhat mute maid. Doesn't this show the higher yet deeper writing by Disney which might prove that it has class. 

The final thing I would like to capture from the episode is the wrong use of words which may make people deem the show as a little higher than for kids. I can only see the use of the words "penectomy" and "strip". However, excellent episode with great meaning and a positive response from me.  

Grade: A-

Stray Observations:


  • "Look, it's mom in the hospital."   "She's giving birth!"
  • "It's over!" "No! Wait! There's another baby!" "AAAAAAAAA!" "Fast forward! Fast forward! To we were six!"
  • "You guys are so cute! If only you'd sleep..." "And change your own diapers."
  • "I gotta go, mom. Somebody's crying, I think it's my husband."
  • "You both were bald, with no teeth, and drooling. It's amazing how I didn't mix you up with Grandpa Jim."
  • "I will cut it with great care, unlike the doctor who did my penectomy. I tell the ladies it was a shark bite."
  • "I was at this fabulous charity event for orphans, or was it dolphins. Which one's flipper?"
  • "I'm so sorry, London. I wish there I could do something to help."  "Can you give me fifty million dollars?"  "I'll go check my piggybank."
  • "Is this how all poor people sleep?"
  • "It wasn't that bad. I learnt how to say, 'Let me stay up late or I'll call immigration!' in eighteen different languages."

Categories: Other Shows

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