Growing up, Disney Channel Original Movies were my livelihood — and they kind of still are. At 24 years old, I continue to watch old school DCOMs (anything before 2009) and write about them all. the. time.
Disney Channel movies are my jam, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn a Disney Channel Original Drinking Series exists in the world — and near my apartment, no less. Videology Bar & Cinema in Brooklyn hosts several different events every month, but their Walt Drinking series caught my eye.
Once a month, they show a DCOM late at night, providing free popcorn and childhood nostalgia. Last Saturday’s (February 27) flick was none other than Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, aka a personal favorite of mine. Naturally, I met up with some friends and we ventured out on this DCOM expedition.
For starters, they sold out of tickets; every seat was filled in the small screening room. I had to order my ticket online weeks in advance, because my friend told me they tend to sell out quickly. Clearly, this video series is no joke.
After everyone orders their drink of choice, our two hosts come out and introduce the movie, which most people in the audience admitted they haven’t seen in at least 10 years. Ten years without Zenon? Unacceptable.
The drinking rules were pretty straight-forward: Every time you hear a character say, “Zedis lapedis,” “Major,” “Minor,” or “Inked/Inky,” you take a drink. Now, if you’re familiar with the movie, you won’t be surprised to know most of the room was already tipsy before Zenon (Kirsten Storms) even makes down it to Earth. Seriously, they say “major” and “minor” wayyyy too often in 97 minutes.
Our hosts would sparingly provide commentary during the movie, and all of us in the room realized something that hit us right in the childhood: Greg (Gregory Smith) is a Grade A creeper. Seriously, the kid has issues. Sure, you probably had a crush on him growing up, as did I, but rewatching this movie — with alcohol flowing through my veins — made me realize Zenon’s little Earth boyfriend is kind of a stalker.
Seriously, homeboy is always staring at her. He did it so often, I’m surprised that wasn’t one of the drinking rules. To prove my point, I made a collage of several times he stares deeply into Zenon’s soul, usually when she’s not looking.
Another rule during the movie, while not a drinking one, was to loudly hiss anytime Commander Edward Plank (Stuart Pankin) came onscreen. There was a lot of hissing going on, let me tell you. Our hosts said we’re hissing because Plank is the villain of the movie — until we learn that Parker Wyndham (Frederick Coffin) is actually the bad guy, and then spend the rest of the film hissing at him.
As I watched Zenon, I was amazed to see that no one was on their phone. Seriously, people were actually watching the movie and not on Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any of their 800 other social media accounts. When’s the last time you saw a movie where no one checked their phone during it? Personally, I can’t remember the last time, movie theater or not.
To me, this demonstrates just how strong of a hold classic DCOMs have on millennials. The average age at the event looked to me to be about 22 or 23 years old, yet us technology-driven young adults were completely enthralled with an old Disney Channel movie with severely-dated special effects.
And when Proto Zoa (Phillip Rhys) finally came onscreen for his big musical number, all the girls in the audience screamed like they were at a One Direction concert. I’m sure Rhys would be thrilled to know his spiky-haired legacy still lives on, 17 years later, in a Brooklyn bar.
When it was time for “Supernova Girl” to drop, everyone in the audience was fairly sloshed, yet still just as captivated as we were when the hosts hit play. I can’t even begin to describe how magical it was to sit in a room full of millennials, singing and clapping along to every “Zoom, zoom, zoom.” (I’d also like to point out how Rhys’s Twitter bio just says, “Actor, Director, Zoom.” Win.)
Going into this event, I wasn’t sure how mixing childhood (Disney, innocence) with adulthood (alcohol, age) would go, afraid my memories of watching Zenon would be tarnished. Thankfully, the exact opposite happened. I gained a new appreciation for the movie, and met some rad people in the process. Zenon only got better.
It was such a unique experience to watch a kids movie almost two decades old, surrounded by alcohol, millennials, and not a phone in sight. Our 21st century may not be the same as Zenon’s, but it’s definitely just as lunarious.