The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder features the return of a familiar villain and teaches Penny Proud a valuable lesson in the delightful Episode 7.
Even though Episode 7 of The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder once again centers around a conflict between Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt) and her father, Oscar (Tommy Davidson), much like Episode 5, it manages to bring something fresh to the table. In last week’s review, I expressed my excitement at the impending return of an antagonist from the original Proud Family series, remarking that this episode was my most anticipated of the revival. I’m thrilled to say that both the return and Episode 7 itself lived up to the hype.
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder ‘s Episode 7 sees Penny become incredibly frustrated with Oscar’s overbearing parenting. This leads her to turn to a familiar face for fans of the original show, a fictionalized version of Al Roker (who once again voices himself) with magical powers. Roker grants Penny’s wish to be a grown up, and transforms Penny and her friends into college students.
Writer Ashley Soto Paniagua takes a familiar conflict between Penny and Oscar, brings back the fictional genie Al Roker, and creates something pretty original with it. Episode 7 sets itself apart immediately: the conflict is pretty much established before the opening credits even roll, with the help of a funny Hamilton parody. It isn’t long after that before Roker makes his reintroduction to this world, and he hasn’t missed a beat. Even if you’re a fan of the original show and thus know how Penny’s wishes usually turn out, you’re drawn in just like Penny is by his charm and wit. This episode doesn’t drag at all, even with a couple of short musical numbers thrown in there. The good news about said musical numbers is that they are tied to the plot of the episode better than those that have come in prior episodes. Roker is a definite highlight here, delivering some laughs while tapping into a menacing (but not too menacing) side.
It’s fascinating to see Soto Paniagua’s vision of college aged versions of Penny and her friends (who even have different voices as their older selves). They’re all pretty uniquely written and feel like exactly who these characters will likely grow up to be. At the end of the day though, the characters are still technically middle schoolers, and that’s where the lesson of Episode 7 comes into play. This episode is not only for those children that are constantly wishing that they could be older, but also for adults that seek to tap back into the innocence of that time before they joined the real world. Penny and her pals learn, much like we all did, or have yet to, that adulthood comes with its own set of hardships. While the characters (and the younger audience) might think they’re ready for that, Episode 7 helps teach them to enjoy their time being younger and more carefree. Kids have plenty of time to prepare for adulthood, they shouldn’t try to rush it if they don’t have to, even if dealing with overbearing parents seems like the worst thing in the world right now.
Watching this episode as an adult that has graduated from college makes me miss those younger, more naive days a bit. It doesn’t make me want to be young again, because whether you’re young or old, you have your own set of challenges. The key to life, no matter how old you are, is finding new ways to express and enjoy yourself. Episode 7 of The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder teaches us all not to rush into that next phase and live life and have fun as much as you can. That’s something that can often be forgotten as we face whatever the universe throws at us.
Another thing I loved about this episode is the lack of a real subplot. Strictly focusing on the main plot of Penny’s wish rather than throwing something else in there allows everything to move quicker. Not to mention, it allows Soto Paniagua to get the lesson of the episode across without it feeling rushed or tacked on. Everything flows quite well, and when the lesson of the episode comes to light, it feels earned because the episode most of its run time to Penny learning it. Soto Paniagua tells a good story with a valuable lesson for our protagonist without doing too much or too little.
Episode 7 of The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder takes familiar elements and creates something new with them. The return of Al Roker gives the revival one of the few signature villains from the original Proud Family series, and Roker turns in another wonderful performance. His return helps bolster an episode with yet another conflict between Penny and Oscar. Writer Ashley Soto Paniagua keeps this conflict and Roker’s reappearance from feeling like a retread by giving the charismatic villain plenty to work with, focusing on one plot, and effectively getting the lesson of the episode across. This episode will go down as my favorite of the revival to date and will be extremely hard to surpass.
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder ‘s Episode 7 is now available to watch on Disney Plus.