Before Transformers, a cage dance to Sia's "Elastic Heart," and the paper-bag incident, Shia LeBeouf starred in a little ol' Disney Channel series called Even Stevens. The quirky comedy series followed LeBeouf as Louis Stevens, who is the underachieving misfit in a family of overachievers — his older brother Donnie (played by Nick Spano) is a star athlete in high school and older sister Ren (Christy Carlson Romano) is super smart. Where does that leave Louis? Well, he's the schemer and had been ever since the pilot aired in 1999 and until the show ended in 2003.
I recently decided to give the first episode another watch. It focuses on the brother-sister dynamic of Louis and Ren, which is prevalent throughout the series. His partners-in-crime — best friend Alan Twitty and lady friend Tawny — are only briefly featured in the pilot, but that doesn't take away from the hilarity ensuing. Louis tricks Ren into going on a date with Ernie Morton as "community service," because Ernie promised Louis a trading card in return for a date with Ren. But like a lot of Louis' schemes later in the series, he does learn a valuable lesson and ultimately shows that underneath that wacky kid is one who loves his family and friends — and would do anything for them.
Here are some of the things from the Even Stevens pilot you may have missed the first time around.
Louis and Twitty Are Into Nerd Cards
The pilot opens in a very boring computer class (filled with old school desktop computers) and Louis Stevens making his debut by lusting after what looks like an exclusive "Roaring Dracon" card from Magic The Gathering? Or Yu-Gi-Oh? That doesn't matter. What is a big deal is that in order to get this card, Louis promises Ernie Morton a date with his older sister Ren.
Ren's Rival Was Adrienne Dunmore
Before Ren Stevens ruled the school, blonde overachiever Adrienne Dunmore apparently used to beat her out for everything, including History Club present. And then, if I remember correctly, she was never scene again. Perhaps Ren finally beat her out at everything?
Donnie Did Selfies Before They Were Selfies
His gift to Ren for her birthday? Framed selfies of himself. You could say he's full of himself, but he's actually ahead of his time, because now you can order selfies to get framed. How 2015 of him.
Ernie Morton's Montage is So 90s
Mash up the Real World credits with Clarissa Explains It All and you've got Ernie's ever-so-90s introduction montage. Sure, Ernie was a dirty, sloppy pre-teen back then, but recently he's appeared as Marty Faraday, an artist at Sterling Cooper in Mad Men. Ernie cleans up good.
Ren and Ernie's "Date" is at the Same Mall as Clueless
The fake date/community service project goes down in Los Angeles' iconic Westside Pavillion, which is the same mall Cher frequents in Clueless.
Louis Has a Heart
When Louis spies Ren looking longingly at a necklace at the mall, he reconsiders this devotion to the trading card. Ren soon realizes Louis' set-up and hunts him down at home, where he gives her the necklace. Turns out, he bought her the necklace with the money he received by selling the necklace.
Those were the days, weren't they?