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Questionable Things We Ignored In Drake And Josh

Arriving on the television screens of kids watching Nickelodeon in 2004, "Drake and Josh" followed two high school-aged stepbrothers with diametrically opposed personalities. The two characters, named for their actors, Drake Bell and Josh Peck, had a series of misadventures dating, working, and escaping the ire of their vindictive younger sister Megan. Both Peck and Bell had worked together on the kid-targeted sketch comedy show "The Amanda Show," which ran on Nickelodeon from 1999 to 2002. Further displaying the charming chemistry they'd offered audiences on that earlier project, the duo's show was a major success for the network. According to Variety, the show was "Nick's highest-rated series premiere in almost ten years," landing "at the top of live-action series with kids 2-11."

And while the series gave audiences plenty of memorable moments and charming characters, there was quite a bit about the show that might make a viewer think twice upon rewatching. Ranging from harmful stereotypes to coming to grips with the grim reality of life in the Parker/Nichols house, here are some questionable things we ignored in "Drake and Josh."

Megan's pranks are sadistic

One of the longest-running "Drake & Josh" gags is the brothers' dynamic with their little sister Megan. While the two brothers are best friends, Megan delights in causing them mental and bodily harm.

But on multiple occasions, Megan has come dangerously close to maiming or even potentially killing the pair. A more tame example of this can be seen in the episode "I Love Sushi," where Megan catches her brothers in a cargo net. In "Peruvian Puff Pepper," not only does Megan trick Drake and Josh into buying an illegal vegetable, but she also sets off explosives inside their house. As shown in "Honor Council," Megan even streams herself torturing a sleeping Josh online, making it clear Megan not only takes pleasure in bullying Drake and Josh but also wants to publicly shame them.

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of Megan's character is her ability to inflict psychological damage upon her victims. Though the physical harm she causes is excessive, Megan's true strength lies in her power to strike fear into Drake and Josh without even lifting a finger. Perhaps the most terrifying example of this is in the aptly titled episode "Megan's Revenge," when Drake and Josh believe they have accidentally killed their sister's hamster. As they await their punishment, the two literally drive themselves mad with fear: they are unable to sleep, exhibit signs of extreme paranoia, and even turn on each other. It really goes to show how truly terrifying and abusive their family dynamic is.

Drake and Josh's parents are completely oblivious

Together, Drake and Josh land themselves in quite a few strange predicaments. Whether it's accidentally burning down their neighbor's treehouse, getting arrested, or misguidedly meatballing a woman they believe is having an affair with their father, the two brothers always seem to land themselves in trouble. Of course, this means their parents have to scold them constantly throughout the show. While, of course, Drake and Josh's parents are right to condemn their sons' behavior, more often than not, they are utterly oblivious to the larger context of a given situation, even to the point of neglect.

The biggest example of this is Megan. Unlike her brothers, Megan manages to get away with nearly everything. Megan blows up part of the house? No repercussions. Megan makes insulting jabs at Drake and Josh? The parents rarely, if ever, scold her. Somehow, Drake and Josh are always responsible for Megan's antics. In the eyes of their parents, Megan is just a sweet, innocent tween girl. But how is that possible? Megan has exemplified her diabolical nature publicly and in front of her parents. She often gets excited when the brothers are in pain or in trouble, and she has openly demonstrated her ability to wire the house with strange devices. Frankly, her manipulative nature is so transparent that it's hard to think of the parents as anything but complete idiots.

Megan's weird online connections

One weird thing about Megan is just how "online" she is for her age. While it's expected that a child may be online making fun web pages, chatting in forums, and otherwise goofing around, Megan seems to have darker motives.

How exactly does Megan obtain her spy equipment and other odd machinery? After all, she has access to strange things like a baseball launcher, tons of computers, spy cameras, and other oddities. The episode "Sheep Thrills" really highlights Megan's strange spending habits. She literally buys a sheep off the internet and keeps it hidden in Drake and Josh's room. How and where is Megan buying farm animals without any sort of regulation? In the same episode, when she's asked how she acquired a boombox with the capability to fire paintballs, she vaguely answers, "I know a guy." The answer is she gets everything online. This points to what is probably most concerning about Megan's purchases: her interactions with strange adults.

This surfaces again in the episode "Alien Invasion." Megan convinces Drake and Josh that an actual alien is attacking them. After the guys exit in a panic, Megan thanks the adult man in the alien costume for his service. Who exactly is this man, and why is he with a young child? Megan's unrestricted internet access allows her to connect with strangers, make ridiculous purchases from likely shady websites, and potentially place herself in danger.

The uncomfortable treatment of women

While there are some parts of "Drake and Josh" that may cause viewers to scratch their heads for a few moments and then move on to the next joke, there are some elements that are more troublesome, including the way women are treated. Largely because of Drake's womanizing, the women in the show are often treated as trophies to be won and as props to make out with. Consent is not taken seriously — Drake and Josh both kiss people without permission. Though one of the series' more prominent side characters is literally named Crazy Steve, the women attracted to Drake are often framed as being crazy or at least off-puttingly odd, from girls who can't stop laughing to ones who eat popcorn only after it's been smothered in maple syrup.

In addition to the women who are mere objects of desire, other prominent female characters on the show are hateful and conniving. The most notable is Megan, who delights in torture. But Mrs. Hayfer, Helen, and Mindy all fit tidily into this category. Then there's Mindy, who loves tormenting Josh and was, at the end of "Honor Council," sent to a mental institution.

The transphobic joke

While some elements of Dan Schneider's Nickelodeon comedies have aged poorly (mainly those having to do with feet), one of the "Drake and Josh" jokes that stands out among the series' worst is featured in the middle of the episode "I Love Sushi." When Drake and Josh enter a contest to redesign their parents' living room, the two are hopeful about their chances. After being told that their audition tape was the best, the pair cannot contain their glee. Drake goes over to a random girl and kisses her, saying, "I won a contest!" Josh tries to join in on the fun, grabbing a random woman and kissing her without permission, also exclaiming, "I won a contest!" While Drake's girl responds with "Yay" and more kissing, Josh's pick replies back in a masculine voice, "Congratulations, man." Josh stands dumbfounded, looking increasingly disgusted as the scene ends.

The joke here is obviously that Josh kissed a trans woman, which isn't a joke in and of itself. There seems to be an attempt to insert some plausible deniability into the situation by having Josh pull a wad of gum out of his mouth that he wasn't chewing before the kiss, but the joke's intent is crystal clear. Additionally concerning is how Josh (copying Drake) grabbed a random woman and just kissed her without her consent.

Treatment of Crazy Steve is a bit uncomfortable

One of the most notable side characters in "Drake and Josh" works at the Premiere with Josh and is played by actor Jerry Trainor. Crazy Steve is first introduced in the episode "Movie Job," when Josh's question causes Crazy Steve to blow up in anger and quit on the spot. What starts as a brief joke about an anger problem develops into a more substantial issue as Crazy Steve makes more appearances in the show.

One of the most over-the-top encounters with Crazy Steve comes in "Really Big Shrimp" when someone schedules him to work on a Monday, or "his bad day." He emerges from a theater swinging tennis shoes attached to bras while angrily repeating "Cock-a-doodle-doo, the cow says moo," at various people in the theater. Josh then calms him by singing to him and cradling Crazy Steve's head against his chest.

While his reactions to his coworkers, frequently Josh, are wildly inappropriate, the labeling of the character as Crazy Steve is harmful. Sure, the man has an obvious anger problem, and trouble operating in a normative way in social situations, but calling him crazy is a bit much. This is less an issue with the characters in the show than the writers who chose such a problematic way to frame aberrant behavior.

Helen is a terrible boss

Part of the appeal of "Drake and Josh" is the sheer relatability of some of the scenarios that the brothers get into. And what can be more quintessential to the teenage experience than having an unrewarding job with a horrible boss? When Josh lands a job at the Premiere in the episode "Movie Job," he ignores a few red flags that pop up during his initial talk with Helen. After asking a question that makes Crazy Steve quit, Josh is offered a job on the spot only after being asked if he is mentally ill. Then Drake gets promoted after taking credit for some of Josh's work and sucking up to the boss.

Even after Drake stops working there, Helen gets worse. She goes from making Josh do unpleasant jobs to making conflicting demands that leave him unable to do his work. A more troubling trend is Helen's affection for Drake. She begins by thinking he has good ideas as an employee but grows alarmingly fond of him. In the episode "Really Big Shrimp," Helen makes her most casually concerning comment toward the 16-year-old Drake: calling him hot in the middle of preparing for her own wedding.

Mrs. Hayfer's fixation on hating Drake

She's labeled by Josh as the nicest teacher in school, but English teacher Mrs. Hayfer simply cannot contain her disdain for Drake. At one point in the episode "Mean Teacher," she asks what language the "Iliad" and "Odyssey" were written in. After Drake responds with "Greek," Mrs. Hayfer says he is wrong and calls on another student, who replies confusedly with "Greek?" Mrs. Hayfer then congratulates the student on their correct answer. Not content with refuting Drake's recollection of facts, later in the episode, Mrs. Hayfer asks Drake to name his favorite novel of the 20th century. After he answers "Catcher in the Rye," Mrs. Hayfer declares that he is wrong and immediately moves on without discussion.

Given that Drake isn't a gifted academic student and doesn't try to get better, it's understandable that any teacher might be frustrated with him. Drake also dates Mrs. Hayfer's daughter, giving her even more of a reason to dislike the kid. However, there doesn't seem to need to be any particular reason for Mrs. Hayfer to prefer literally any other person to Drake. What seems really extreme is how Mrs. Hayfer routinely tells Drake "I hate you" to his face.

Josh's obsession with Oprah

In the episode "The Bet," Drake and Josh try to go without their biggest vices: Drake forgoes candy and other junk food, while Josh gives up video games. The episode takes a deep dive into how crazed Josh becomes when taunted with the prospect of someone else playing all his video games, but there's one thing Josh loves more than playing on his GameSphere: Oprah. And Josh isn't just a casual or even really an avid fan of the television personality — he's flat-out obsessed.

The best episode that encapsulates this is "Josh Runs Into Oprah," where Josh gets to do more than just talk about his favorite TV host. In the episode, Drake tries to make Josh's birthday special by getting him tickets to attend a live taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." This all goes awry when the brothers wrestle over the steering wheel in the studio parking lot, and Josh hits the accelerator instead of the brakes, running over Oprah. After sending his idol to the hospital, Josh tries to visit her room to apologize, only to be repeatedly electrocuted by stun gun-wielding security guards.

At the end of the episode, Oprah is fine, but Josh's front bumper got more time with her than he did, so he's a bit bummed out. But something comes in the mail that changes his melancholy into ecstatic glee. As Josh opens a signed restraining order, he can't help but excitedly announce that he has Oprah's autograph.

The entire courtroom episode

One of the most off-the-wall episodes of the entire series is "Honor Council," a courtroom drama in which neither Drake nor Josh are actually under threat of any reprisal from the legal system. Instead, it's a trial in their high school with a jury of their peers. The whole ordeal starts when Mrs. Hayfer's car appears in her classroom the morning after it was stolen. Interestingly, the car seems to be completely functional, as the alarm goes off when Drake and Josh sit in the front seat, which sits where their desks are usually arranged in the room. Drake, the immediate first suspect, is set to be suspended for the crime. Josh finds a way to fight the suspension: to argue Drake's innocence before a jury of fellow students.

However, Josh's nemesis Mindy represents Mrs. Hayfer, and the trial goes poorly for Drake. Even as everyone suspects that Drake is the culprit, Megan is the only character level-headed enough to notice that Drake isn't nearly smart enough to disassemble and reassemble a whole car without help in one night. Throughout the episode, seeing everyone put so much faith in Drake's abilities is surreal, as his only talents seem to be dating, music, and playing ping pong. Everyone presuming Drake's guilt is astonishing since the caliber of the crime is way above anything a slacker like him could hope to accomplish.

Drake's brief marriage to Yooka

Drake has a variety of difficulties with girls over the course of the show. In episodes like "Mean Teacher," he dates girls he wants to break up with. In "Smart Girl," he lies to seem smarter to get the attention of an intelligent girl. But none of Drake's romantic relationships in the show are as strange as his marriage to Yooka.

In the episode "We're Married," Josh's pen pal from the fictional eastern European country of Udonia comes to visit him in San Diego. However, upon seeing that his brother's email correspondent is a young, attractive blonde who is excited to see all that the United States has to offer, Drake sees an in and takes it. Josh tries frantically to arrange for Udonian cultural activities that he and Yooka could share together, but she is repeatedly more interested in what Drake can show her. In the end, Josh finds the only other Udonian in San Diego and sets up an old-world ceremony in the boys' bedroom, which Yooka gladly participates in. However, it is revealed afterwards that the ceremony was a Udonian wedding. Despite finding out that Yooka is set to inherit millions from her wealthy parents, Josh creates a scheme to separate the young newlyweds before the day is done. Thankfully it works out and Drake winds up single again, easily making this the wackiest romance-related episode in the series.

Everyone believing Josh is the Theater Thug

After the television show "FBI's Most Wanted" is set to film an upcoming segment at the Premiere, one of the producers decides that Josh looks enough like a wanted criminal and asks if he wants to be in the episode. On top of the world, Josh agrees and portrays the Theater Thug, as the criminal is known. Josh continues his light mood until he starts being recognized in public for looking like the Theater Thug. Unfortunately, he isn't exactly receiving the Hollywood treatment for his first starring role.

Josh is routinely hounded in public by people champing at the bit to carry out some vigilante justice. The joke is carried on to the point where Drake and Josh subdue the real Theater Thug, and the police tackle and arrest Josh while letting the real guy go. The craziest part about this episode is that it all hinges on Josh being a dead ringer for the guy on the wanted posters. However, the only thing that looks kind of similar is that they are both white guys with similar builds and big heads. Other episodes like "Foam Finger" and "Drew and Jerry" feature much closer Josh lookalikes as parts of their casts. The episode is bizarre given that concerned viewers are attacking Josh despite the television segment clearly being labeled as a reenactment. Considering just how much attention Josh has gotten, you would think the actual theater thug would be arrested in no time.

Questionable police decisions

Stemming from bad luck and chaos of their own making, Drake and Josh have more than one run-in with the police. Unfortunately for them, the police don't really seem to be the most capable people around, often making a bad situation worse. This best exemplified in the episode "Steered Straight." After the boys are brought home by police officers, Drake and Josh's parents are concerned that their teen sons may be out of control. The officers inform the worried pair that the police run a "Scared Straight"-esque program, where teens are involuntarily contained and shown the legal repercussions that await if they continue their bad behavior.

What was supposed to be a supervised, safe police program turns into a living nightmare for Drake and Josh. While they're in the back of a police car, the officer is notified of an actual robbery. Instead of taking the two vulnerable teens away from the situation, the officer instead pivots and takes Drake and Josh to the crime scene. Then the criminal steals the car, unintentionally kidnapping the two teenagers.

What's truly bizarre about this situation is that Drake and Josh are never rescued at any point, nor are their parents notified. You would think that a stolen police vehicle with two innocent teens would warrant a quick response. Instead, Drake and Josh are left to their own devices when it comes to outsmarting the burglar.