19 Things I Noticed Rewatching 'The Thirteenth Year'
Mermaids are definitely having a moment. Freeform ordered a new pilot called The Deep that will be a darker look at the women of the water. Chloe Grace Moretz will play the titular mermaid in a new live-action version of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. And, technically, mermans are having a moment as well: Channing Tatum will soon slip on a tale for a remake of Splash . It's the latter that made me realize that, while mermaids (and mermen) are a supernatural creature du jour, there was once a Disney Channel Original Movie that put these sea creatures on our radar. I am, of course, talking about the 1999 DCOM The Thirteenth Year , a movie about a tween who discovers he's secretly the son of a mermaid. Sounds weird? It was — but it was also kind of awesome.
I loved this DCOM as a kid, and with all of the mermaid stories soon to be a part of our cultural sphere, I decided to re-watch The Thirteenth Year and see if it still held up. Of course, being a full-fledged grownup, there were certain things I picked up on as an adult I would have never noticed as a '90s kid. Here's everything I noticed while re-watching The Thirteenth Year.
1. Cody's Mermaid Mom Looks Like Sheryl Crow
All she wants to do is have a little fun/make sure her merbaby is kept safe. Obviously, it's not Crow in this role: the actress' name is Stephanie Chantel Durelli, and The Thirteenth Year is her first and only film.
2. Uncle Joey Is In This Movie?!?
I've probably seen The Thirteenth Year a hundred times, and I grew up on Full House. How didn't I put together that Cody's dad is Dave Coulier? Maybe it's because Whit Griffin doesn't spend most of his time talking to a woodchuck puppet.
3. The Parents Waste No Time In Taking The Baby
Not even 30 seconds after the Griffins find baby Cody wrapped in fishing net (umm, weird), Cody's soon-to-be mom asks if she can keep him. So... no one is going to look for a potential ship wreck, or put up fliers about finding a baby floating in the ocean? This could have all gone very The Light Between Oceans .
4. The Star Of The Jersey Is Cody's Love Interest
It took me a long time to realize that the actress playing Sam is not Jena Malone. Her name is Courtnee Draper, and she starred on Disney Channel's sports series The Jersey as well as The Bold And The Beautiful. Now, she mostly does voiceover work.
5. The Swim Team Almost Lets This Kid Drown
Class "geek" Jess falls into the pool with his trombone, screams out "I can't swim!" and the only thing that the swim team (who is very capable of saving him) does is laugh. If Cody didn't step in, this kid would still be at the bottom of the school swimming pool.
6. But Cody Is Kind Of A Jerk
Cody develops a "big man on campus" attitude problem after he wins big at a swim meet. When Jess corrects Cody after the swimmer accidentally calls Jess "Josh" he shrugs with an apathetic "Whatever."
7. Cody's Merman Changes Are A Total Allegory For Puberty
As Cody's mom puts it your whole life changes at 13. That's true, and not just for people slowly morphing into mermen. Will Cody have to deal with the struggles of puberty in addition to developing scales?!?
8. Cody Probably Should Have Seen A Doctor When He Developed Scales
I would have immediately thought it was some sort of fungal infection.
9. The Mom Has An Insane Opinion About Doctors
Ah, so that's why Cody doesn't immediately run to the doctors: his mother believes that they are all "quacks with stethoscopes." I can only imagine her opinion on vaccinations.
10. Cody's Argument With His Parents Is Hilarious
"No Cody! You have to stay out of the water until we figure out why you're becoming a merman!" "But Daaaaaad!!!" Parents. They just don't understand.
11. Sam Is You Hanging Out With Your Middle School "Boyfriend"
Sam and Cody are "dating," but we barely see them interact in the movie. Which is pretty much how every middle school relationship goes down.
12. All Popular Boys In The '90s Had The Same Haircut
It's hard to tell the difference between Cody and his swim rival because they clearly went to the same barber as all of the cool guys of the late '90s.
13. TBH, Cody Did Have An Unfair Advantage On The Swim Team
Sure, Cody put in a lot of hard work and time training to be an elite swimmer, but he also has the huge advantage of having swimming literally built in his DNA. He probably should not be allowed to compete on a high school level.
14. Growing Fins Would Be Straight-Up Horrifying
15. Sam Has Zero Chill About Cody Being A Merman And It's So Relatable
Middle schoolers don't usually handle change well. Especially when that change is their boyfriend announcing he's turning into a merman. I don't blame Sam for bolting, or for looking at Cody's entire family like they're a few crayons shy of a full box.
16. Cody Drops A Serious Truth Bomb About Middle School
When Sam asks Cody why he didn't tell her about his changes, Cody says the realest thing: "Sam, we're in junior high. If someone wears the wrong shorts, people talk."
17. This CGI Is Surprisingly Impressive
Good job, Disney Channel, for delivering some American Werewolf In London-style transformations.
18. Cody Is Going To Have The Craziest Summer Vacation Story Ever
How is Cody going to explain that he spent his summer hanging out with his birth mother at the bottom of the ocean? I have no idea, but it would make for a seriously killer college admissions essay.
19. OK, This Ending Is Seriously Cheesy
Go into the light, Cody! Go find your mermaid purpose! Swim like you've never swam before!
Check out the full movie here:
The Thirteenth Year was the OG merman movie. Channing Tatum, you have some big fins to fill.
Images: Disney Channel; Jean Irving /YouTube (19)