Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Questionable Things We Ignored In Wizards Of Waverly Place

Even though it followed the traditional format of other Disney Channel sitcoms, "Wizards of Waverly Place" never shied away from being fantastical. After all, whenever the teenage wizard in training Alex Russo (Selena Gomez) would use her magic powers to solve problems, it would usually lead to trouble for her brothers Justin (David Henrie) and Max (Jake T. Austin). That trouble usually manifested itself into odd situations like body-switching, transformations, and even massive threats to all of wizardkind.

However, "Wizards of Waverly Place" was always a sitcom first, and because of this the show never spent a large amount of time fleshing out the magical mythology of the series. Not only that, but there were also a handful of suggestive jokes thrown around that younger viewers might not have noticed if they watched it years ago. Here is a rundown of some of the most questionable moments in "Wizards of Waverly Place," ranging from strange plot holes to secret winks at adult themes, that fans may have ignored.

The logic behind the Wizard Competition

The main story arcs of "Wizards of Waverly Place" revolve around Alex, Justin, and Max training to be young wizards. At the end of that training, the three compete in their family's Wizard Competition, the winner of which will become the family wizard. Importantly, the family wizard will keep their powers, while the other two will be forced to surrender the skills they have been developing. There were two Wizard Competitions held for the Russo siblings, with one depicted in the television film "Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie" and another featured in the Season 4 finale, "Who Will Be The Family Wizard?"

However, the entire concept of the Wizard Competition just seems odd. What is the point of learning to be a wizard if it gets taken away from you in one inevitable? The only thing the Wizard Competition does is inspire unnecessary conflict between the three siblings and ultimately screw over the ones that don't win by making the years they spend studying worthless. It also doesn't help that Alex wins the competition at the end of the series, but Justin also gets to keep his powers when he gets a job in the wizarding world. Max, however, is apparently out of luck.

That one person who worked everywhere

During Seasons 1 and 2, a recurring gag is that a certain woman appears in a different job in several of the places that Alex and her friends travel to. Portrayed by Amanda Tepe, this woman holds several positions in both the real world and the wizarding world. Some of her job titles include the manager of a clothing store in "Crazy 10-Minute Sale," a hostess at a restaurant in "I Almost Drowned in a Chocolate Fountain," as well as two security guard jobs in "Curb Your Dragon" and "Art Museum Piece."

The actress is always funny when she is on screen, speaking in a deadpan voice that never changes regardless of where she is currently employed. However, it's strange how many jobs she ends up having, especially since she holds multiple positions in the wizarding world. Even more strange is that she doesn't appear in Seasons 3 or 4. Does she finally get a permanent job? Why does she keep getting fired from so many? Is she a wizard herself, since she held positions in that world as well? This mysterious character introduced far more questions than the show ever bothered to answer.

Justin's invisible nudity

Alex and Justin's rivalry is one of the most commonly explored plotlines in the show. Justin's academic excellence causes Alex to feel inferior at times, and she usually retaliates with magic. In "Justin's Little Sister," Alex makes a wish with a genie to get people to stop comparing her to Justin, but this instead causes everyone to forget who Justin is entirely. Alex tries to undo this by making another wish for people to see Justin clearly for who he is, but this ends up turning him invisible.

When this happens, Justin strips naked so he could be completely invisible and his parents won't see his floating clothes. This leads to Justin's father Jerry (David DeLuise) accidentally sitting on a naked and invisible Justin. Later on, viewers see Justin grab a pillow to cover what he refers to as his lower half. It's never spelled out for viewers, considering this is a Disney Channel series, but we all know what explicit area Justin is covering. An area that his father just sat on, by the way. Invisible nudity is still nudity, and Justin's transparent exposure is one of the more questionable moments on "Wizards of Waverly Place."

Alex takes off her pants in front of everyone

There are several different magic items that are encountered throughout "Wizards of Waverly Place." One of those items is the Smarty Pants, an article of clothing that gives the person who wears them increased knowledge. Alex wears them in the episode "Smarty Pants," eventually using them to help her friend Harper (Jennifer Stone) win an academic competition. However, Alex's increased popularity also causes a rift in their friendship. Not wanting to lose Harper, Alex makes a public display by taking the pants off.

The gag here is that the Smarty Pants have several side effects if worn too long. One of those is skeleton legs, which removes the skin off of your legs and reduces them to bone. Not only is that a gross image, but Alex takes off her clothes in front of several of her classmates, including her current boyfriend and his friends. Even if the skeleton legs were not there to shock everyone into silence, Alex still would have essentially flashed a group of teenagers.

Teenage art teacher

Alex meets a wide variety of fellow magic-users in "Wizards of Waverly Place." One of them is T.J. (Daryl Sabara), a wizard who has no problems using his powers to hurt others. In "Art Teacher," Alex discovers that her instructor is actually a teenager who used to go out with T.J., but their break-up angered him so much he turned her into an older woman. Alex restores her to a normal teenage girl, but this entire plotline raises several questions, as fans have explored on YouTube.

Does no one notice that a teenage girl goes missing? Do her parents never try looking for her? Why isn't T.J. questioned about her disappearance? How does she become an art teacher and assume a new identity? Does she try to go to her parents about this? And why doesn't Alex expose T.J. for potentially robbing this girl of her youth? All of these unanswered questions make this the most unintentionally dark plotline of the series, especially considering it gets almost entirely dropped halfway through the episode when the focus shifts to a totally different storyline about artistic expression.

Justin gets handsy with his girlfriend

Justin has plenty of opportunities for romance in the series, with both mortal and magical characters. He dates centaurs, angels, werewolves, and even tries to hook up with an elf. His longest relationship is with a vampire named Juliet (Bridgit Mendler). Justin and Juliet's relationship is very rocky, with the pair separating and getting back together on several occasions. In the episode "Three Monsters," Justin takes an extracurricular wizard course on monster hunting and accidentally informs professional monster hunters of the location of his vampire girlfriend. 

When Justin and Alex are eventually successful in saving Juliet, she and Justin hug. Juliet notices that Justin's hand is "a little too low," but it was really just Alex messing with them using a fake arm. There aren't a huge number of dirty jokes on "Wizards of Waverly Place," and all things considered, this is a pretty safe gag to pull on a children's show. Still, it's not cool to grope your brother's girlfriend, Alex.

The Shakira plotline

There have been many big guest stars on "Wizards of Waverly Place," and the show has even featured two of them appeared in the same episode. In "Dude Looks Like Shakira," the famous Columbian pop star makes a guest appearance on the show. She is then magically transformed into Kelbo Russo (Jeff Garlin), the Russo siblings' uncle who tends to use his wizard powers irresponsibly. Kelbo reveals that Shakira isn't actually a real person but rather a persona he created several years ago.

Much like the situation presented in the episode about the teenage art teacher, this storyline raises several questions and hints at some serious plot holes. After all, Shakira is a well-known figure within the Latin music industry. She's released several studio albums, founded her own charity, and has two children. How Uncle Kelbo can do all of that, even if some of those things hadn't actually happened within the timeline of the series, without anybody finding out his real identity, is never explained. Since Uncle Kelbo never appears on the show after this episode, we may never know the answer to this question. Maybe he committed fully to his Shakira persona?

The death of Stevie

Very few people on "Wizards of Waverly Place" try to challenge the rules of the Wizard Competition. Stevie (Hayley Kiyoko) is the rare exception to that rule, and she leads a revolution so that no wizard in training has to lose their powers. Alex initially joins Stevie, but it's later revealed that she only does so to get close enough to stop her from enacting her plan. When Stevie thinks she has won, Alex casts a spell that freezes Stevie in stone. With everything seemingly resolved, Max accidentally bumps into the frozen Stevie, causing her to fall and shatter all over the floor.

Leaving aside the already questionable nature of the Wizard Competition and the way the show frames Stevie as a bad guy for wanting to change it, the entire incident is pretty crazy. At the very least, it seems odd that the Russo siblings gloss over the fact that Stevie dies in front of them. Not to mention the fact that the show never mentions her or what happened after this episode. The story of Stevie is a tragic one, and it's even more messed up that the show brushes off her absence.

The duplicate Justin

Alex is always thinking up new ways to mess with Justin on "Wizards of Waverly Place." One of the biggest pranks she pulls Justin is seen in "Delinquent Justin," where Alex reveals that she secretly used magic to clone Justin and send him off to college for four years. The episode then follows Alex as she merges the real Justin and his clone, although their clashing personalities create severe problems for Justin's actual graduation from high school.

Ultimately, "Delinquent Justin" is another instance of magic creating a plotline riddled with strange and unanswered questions. The idea of a Justin clone going to college is too elaborate to pull off. How was Alex able to get a clone of her brother into college, pay for financial aid, and keep several other people from finding out about this? Beyond that, the episode establishes that Alex has something of a lazy personality, seeing as how she doesn't bother checking on the clone in the four years he was away. If that is the case, how does no one figure out a Justin clone is running around without supervision?

The magic revealing Wizard Competition test

The most important rule the Russo siblings must follow is never to expose mortals to magic, although this guiding principle isn't really followed after Harper and Justin's friend Zeke (Dan Benson) find out. Still, the Russo family tries their hardest to ensure that the public doesn't find out their secret. However, that arrangement is put to the test in the Season 3 finale "Wizards Exposed," when the Russo family believes that the government has found out the existence of wizards and their world is in danger. In the following episode, the Season 4 premiere "Alex Tells The World," Alex tries to save the wizarding world by telling mortals about their secret to try and get more people on her side. As it turns out, all of this is an elaborate test in the competition to see if the Russo kids would expose their magic to the world under pressure. 

Considering that this test involves kidnapping the family, forcing them to travel back home without using their powers, and making them believe everything they care about was suddenly gone, it's no wonder Stevie wanted to lead a revolution against the competition. The entire episode feels less like a test and more like a cruel form of elaborate magical gaslighting.

The Maxine problem

One of the unique things about "Wizards of Waverly Place" is the show's multiple story arcs. These include the Russo siblings battling vampires, saving the wizarding school WizTech, and two different showdowns against an angel of darkness. A minor arc in Season 4 begins after an elaborate Wizard's Competition test causes Alex and Justin to fall behind while Max pulls ahead. When Max tries to move the competition date up while Alex and Justin are behind, the two accidentally turn Max into a 12-year-old girl, Maxine (Bailee Madison).

Since Alex and Justin are unable to reverse the spell until several episodes later, Max is forced to live life as a little girl. There are a couple of weird issues at play here, but mostly it's strange how Alex and Justin never get into serious trouble over this with their no-nonsense father, Jerry. Beyond that, it is interesting that Jerry doesn't take any steps to change Max back, and how Alex and Justin don't bother to try and fix this problem as soon as it happens.