Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars premiered on the Disney Channel this past Friday. Feeling it was churlish to moan about it without seeing it I DVRd it and watched it yesterday. So now let me roll up my sleeves and begin. (And if Ms. Fitzhugh is reading this from on high — only do so if you want a laugh.)
So you’ve got Harriet, a rather pleasant high school student and her two friends, Janie and Sport. You’ve also got Marion and entourage. All in a Gossip-Girlish-looking high school, but without a smidgen of sex, amour, anything of that sort. No, no, no; they are all wholesome kids being mean in the mildest and Disneyish way. We get brief vignettes of Janie and Sport being Janie and Sport (sort of) and a few more of Harriet spying (and I have to say the one with the painter is very creepy because it is about him preying on women, but of course it is totally unsexual as this is Disney), Marion rolling eyes, some bantering with the cook/trainer about tomato sandwiches, and various other similar badly-done references to the original book.
Notebooks, check. Disinterested parents, check. Ole Golly, che…er…OMG…Golly, as she is now known, looks to be about five years older than Harriet and dresses more or less the same (well, no short private school skirt, but you get the picture, I hope). I could deal with the kids being in high school and being so flattened out, but (Ole) Golly turned into a deadly dull drippy Nanny Diary ish nanny? Who **spoiler** leaves Harriet to take over a coffee bar? Jeez.
So anyway, Harriet is in a very lovely private school where there is to be a competition for a “class blogger.” Evidently there is a tradition for one student in the class to write a blog just for the class. Harriet and Marion are selected to vie for this; whoever produces posts that get the most hits and comments wins. As a teacher in a very lovely private school who has been blogging with her students for some years this rang so false I can’t even tell you. It was lame, lame, lame. Schools do not do this. They do not, they do not, they do not. Stupid, stupid, stupid. So okay, I got that off my chest.
Now we go even further into the depths of horrid book adaptations. Harriet’s father is now a movie producer and is doing one with a teen heart-throb. Long story short — Harriet stalks the guy to get stuff for her blog to get the necessary hits to win. Shenanigans on set and off ensue. Harriet is revealed as having exaggerated her relationship with the star and all are mad at her. More stuff happens, more hijinks, and finally all is sorted out. Harriet becomes class blogger, check. Harriet’s friends come back to her, check. Harriet’s parents hug her, check. Golly hugs her, check. Movie magazines hug her, check. The end.
Final recommendation: don’t bother.