The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder ‘s Episode 9 puts the spotlight on LaCienega Boulevardez and her Quinceañera in a fantastic episode filled with guest stars.
During the run of the original The Proud Family series, sometimes viewers would be treated to episodes that didn’t revolve around the protagonist Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt) and her family. For example, there’s “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” which focused on Penny’s friend and neighbor LaCienega Boulevardez (Alisa Reyes) attempting to win an American Idol style singing competition. In an ironic twist, that episode focusing on LaCienega also featured a number of guest stars like Alicia Keys, Randy Jackson, and Tim Curry. History repeats itself in “Raging Bully”, Episode 9 of the first season of the revival series, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.
The plot of Episode 9 of Louder and Prouder focuses on exclusively on LaCienega and her family as they prepare for her Quinceañera. When her cousin, LaBrea Avanúñez (Guest Star Princess Nokia) and Tía (aunt) Melrose (Guest Star Eva Longoria) arrive, they immediately clash with LaCienega and her mother (Melrose’s sister) Sunset (Maria Canals-Barrera). LaCienega is jealous of LaBrea, who impresses all of her friends with her transformation from chubby to thin and pretty. Sunset finds herself constantly trying to impress the boasting Melrose, going all out for the Quinceañera, much to the chagrin of her husband and LaCienega’s father, Felix (Carlos Mencia).
Taking the focus away from Penny for an entire episode shouldn’t become a frequent thing, after all this is a show primarily about her growing up with her family and friends, but I’m definitely not opposed to it. Episode 9 has no subplot, and we spend the majority of the runtime with LaCienega and her family, who are probably the only one in this universe who could match the uniqueness of their neighbors, the Prouds. Sure, Penny and her friends are there, but make no mistake, this story at its core is not about them. “”Raging Bully” centers on family, bullying, and growing up through the eyes of supporting character LaCienega. Kylee Evans and the rest of the writing team deserve kudos for switching up the formula and creating something that showcases a different perspective in this world rather than focusing on Penny again.
The writing of Episode 9 gives LaCienega time to shine but it also peels back the layers of her character a little bit. In both the original series and the revival, this character has had a love/hate relationship with Penny Proud: she’s kind one minute and making fun of her the next. Making her the “Bully” in the episodes title makes sense, because she’s been shown to get jealous of others and snarky as a result before. Episode 9 takes her on a nice little growth arc by introducing her cousin LaBrea, putting them at odds, and having them work through it. The episode also provides an explanation for LaCienega’s bullying of her cousin, showing that she isn’t just being mean to LaBrea for the sake of it, she’s actually a (mostly) good person. There is also a nice little callback to Episode 5 with the return to Oscar’s theme park, Snackland in “Raging Bully”. Little things like that only add to the worldbuilding and show that those involved haven’t forgotten what has happened throughout the season.
The jokes in this episode are wonderful, with Felix’s breakdown over the amount of money that Sunset is spending on the Quinceañera being a standout.
Both LaBrea and her mother Melrose receive solid arcs in this episode, even if LaBrea’s doesn’t feel as earned as those that her cousin and mom receive. Her arc feels more hastily wrapped up at the last minute, which hurts the story slightly. I feel like I might’ve heard the name Princess Nokia before, but I’m not sure where. All I know is that she is a musician, and for an artist to come in with a mostly convincing voice performance like the one in Episode 9, it impressed me. Princess Nokia made me feel for LaBrea and was the main reason I can overlook the rushed nature of her arc. Eva Longoria is a delight as Melrose, channeling her bitchy and sympathetic sides throughout the episode. Episode 9 also features some surprise cameos from Tina Knowles-Lawson (mother of Beyoncé and Solange, members of Destiny’s Child, who sang the theme song of the original Proud Family) as Suga Mama’s hairstylist friend, Gina and famous DJ Kid Capri as a fictionalized version of himself. These cameos feel organic to the world, add to the story, and don’t really come out of nowhere, which is great.
Spending this time with LaCienega and her family is really refreshing because it’s a different perspective, and shows that Penny’s friends do have their own lives outside of their interactions with her. Episodes like Episode 9 will only help to flesh out the characters around Penny in the future and make their interactions with her hold more weight. The same can be said for Zoey’s subplot from last week, with the only difference being that she wasn’t the main focus of the narrative, but rather a piece. Episode 9 opens the door for different characters and stories to take the lead for a whole episode and that won’t be a bad thing as long as the writers don’t overdo it.
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder ‘s Episode 9 puts the focus on someone other than Penny and it works pretty well. LaCienega being the protagonist adds a different perspective to the series, gives that character more depth, and is above all else, fun. There are jokes that wouldn’t work with Penny, because her family, despite being similar to the Boulevardez’s, isn’t completely the same. This story is unique to LaCienega, which makes the episode further stand out from what has come before during the revival’s first season. As long as Penny remains the true protagonist of the show, I would not mind at all if Louder and Prouder took a break from her to tell more stories like this led by the show’s other characters.
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder ‘s Episode 9 is now available to watch on Disney Plus.
WATCH THE PROUD FAMILY: LOUDER AND PROUDER: EPISODE 9:
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