Disney Channel Masterpiece Theater: The 48 best things about ‘Wish Upon a Star’

One of the things we’ve learned over here at Disney Channel Masterpiece Theater is that Disney sure loves a good switcheroo story. That is, one where two characters walk a mile in each other’s shoes — literally or figuratively — and develop a newfound appreciation for their lives. A few weeks ago we covered Model Behavior, in which a teen model and a geeky high school kid get annoyed with the tedium of their respective lives and decide to switch places. This week we’re talking about Wish Upon a Star, a Freaky Friday revamp in which two feuding sisters switch bodies and learn what it’s like to be the other.

  1. Elder sister Alexia Wheaton is portrayed by a pre-Roswell, pre-Grey’s Anatomy Katherine Heigl, whose wardrobe for this movie seems to be made up of weird pleather vests and matching frosted lipstick. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the ’90s were kind to no one.
  2. Younger sister Hayley Wheaton is portrayed by Danielle Harris, who did the voice acting for Debbie Thornberry in The Wild Thornberrys. Unlike her sister, she only wears baggy ’90s clothes and has a bubble gum problem.
  3. How problematic it is when the teenaged Alex gets catcalled by the gross middle-aged construction workers and she responds with a smug smile and a shrug. The times, they have a-changed.
  4. The Parents Wheaton, both psychologists, refuse to actively parent beyond reverse psychology, meaning their kids are allowed to do basically anything they want. An interesting tactic, to say the least.
  5. Hayley and her friend Caitlin spend their afternoons poking through Alex’s room. Caitlin spends her time pouring over Alex’s diary, while Hayley stares at a photo of Alex’s boyfriend Kyle and occasionally presses kisses to the glass. Yup, that’s not creepy or weird at all!
  6. The shot of Alexia rolling her eyes and checking her watch while she and Kyle are making out in his car.
  7. Hayley makes the wish to become Alex while simultaneously stargazing and spying on her sister and Kyle in the hot tub. I didn’t truly appreciate how creepy Hayley’s pining was until watching this as an adult.
  8. The first thing Hayley-as-Alex does is reach for her chewed gum that she apparently keeps on the nightstand while she sleeps. Girl, just get new gum in the morning.
  9. In an attempt to switch their bodies back, Alex-as-Hayley brings Hayley a cake with some candles to blow out, a wish bone to snap, and a handful of pennies to throw in a “wishing well” (aka, their toilet).
  10. When Hayley-as-Alex says, “Today you’re mine,” to the picture of Kyle in Alex’s bedroom, his face changes to a scared expression.
    Gif credit: BuzzFeed.com

    Gif credit: BuzzFeed.com

  11. Alex forces Hayley on a fruit and vegetable fast for the upcoming spring festival, which begs the question, why do life-swapping movies always have one of the girls dieting? It’s also a thing in both Model Behavior and Freaky Friday. Would this still happen if we re-created this movie now? I have a lot of questions.
  12. Catcalling, part two: when the construction workers catcall Hayley, she waves and smiles. I want them to edit the movie so that she flips them off instead. Don’t try to tell me that it wouldn’t be Disney appropriate, there’s plenty of non-Disney-friendly content coming.
  13. When Hayley realizes how revealing Alex’s cropped gym clothes are, she hunches over in an attempt to make her crop top and short shorts meet.
  14. When Hayley introduces Caitlin to Alex’s group of friends, Caitlin immediately blurts, “Hayley and I always wondered what it would be like to eat with you guys. She’ll be bummed to have missed it.” Zero chill, Caitlin. Zero chill.
  15. Alex’s group of friends has a series of secret rules, one of which outlines a three month maximum for every boyfriend they have. “Rule three? Designed to maximize our experience with different boys?” one explains. Efficient, but maybe a little too practical.
  16. The Kyle break up plan they remind Hayley-as-Alex of: “Invite him over for dinner, do a little hot tub, call him “a sick puppy,” and send him on his way.” Yikes.
  17. Hayley takes advantage of being in Alex’s body to ask her astronomy teacher if Hayley is his favorite student.
  18. The horrified face Alex makes when she discovers her sister and Caitlin’s afternoon routine.
  19. After Hayley makes up with Kyle and they’re making out in his car, she dangles her chewed gum dangerously close to his varsity jacket’s collar. Points for consistency on the whole gum thing.
  20. Mr. Wheaton hardcore eavesdropping and explaining the fight his daughters are having after Alex discovers the hickey on Hayley’s neck: “It sounds like Alex got a hickey and Hayley finds it distasteful.”
  21. Alex declaring war on Hayley with a good amount of foot-stomping in the backyard: “You might have my body, breasts, and boyfriend, but you are NOT me.”
  22. The next morning, Hayley finds that Alex has strung up an index card over her bed that says, “Get ready for day two … you’re going down!” I’m very curious as to how she did that without waking her sister.
  23. Hayley discovering that Alex’s message means that she’s dressed Hayley’s body in a chain-riddled dominatrix getup — riding crop included.
  24. After Mr. Wheaton defends Hayley’s (Alex’s) right to wear whatever she want, Hayley gets back at Alex by dressing in the same clothes she wore the day before, sans shower.
  25. Alex expresses her distaste by snapping the riding crop on the breakfast table, effectively scaring her parents..
  26. Alex writes “HAYLEY WHEATON IS A WENCH!” on the bathroom wall, seemingly about herself to the outside world.
  27. To get back at her, Hayley crosses it out and writes ALEXIA in lipstick.
  28. After Hayley makes a mockery of the rules, one of Alex’s friends exclaims, “We signed these rules in blood!” I’m sorry, I didn’t know we were watching The Craft.
  29. Caitlin decided after Hayley acted weird for one day that she fits in better with Alex and her friends. I’ve decided that Caitlin is a social climbing nightmare.
    Gif credit: BuzzFeed.com

    Gif credit: BuzzFeed.com

  30. Disney doesn’t show this whole part, but Alex reveals the dominatrix outfit to the rest of the school by climbing up on a cafeteria table to sing a song. Hayley gets back at her by publicly making out with Kyle and demanding he give her another hickey.
  31. After Alex and Hayley make up, Alex tries to appeal to Hayley’s astronomy teacher. When the subject of Alex herself comes up, he says, “What do you expect from a girl like that?” I want to see this teacher fired.
  32. The look on the principal’s face when she hears the Parents Wheaton theory on parenting via reverse psychology.
  33. When Hayley does the algebra problem as Alex, she finishes it off with a heart exclamation point.
  34. Their iteration of the classic misunderstanding in all switcheroo movies, in which Kyle sees the neighbor boy kiss Hayley in Alex’s body and think that she’s cheating on him.
  35. That weird fuzzy scrunchy Hayley wears to bed. The ’90s!
  36. Hayley’s distillation machine she created for the science fair looks like a fancy espresso maker.
  37. Alex uses a Twizzler as a fake microphone when she’s pretending to interview Hayley for her college interview.
  38. The complete lack of sympathy I have for Caitlin when Alex’s friends try to throw a rager at her parents’ house.
  39. The motto of Alex’s friend circle is “act superior.”
  40. The big reveal is that Alex also wished to be her sister, something she’s known the entire time she tried to get Hayley to switch them back.
  41. When the camera spins at the end of the movie to signal that the two sisters have switched back to their own bodies.
  42. When Hayley asks how Alex feels when she’s back in her own body, she simply says, “Tall.”
  43. The band playing at the dance is Moonpools and Caterpillars, performing their (sort of) famous song “Hear.”
  44. Both sisters wear formal elbow length gloves to the dance.
  45. Alex’s friends want to forget about all the rules except number nine, which requires them to be friends forever. Ostensibly a nice rule, but I’m over here wondering why that one only ranks at number nine.
  46. When Kyle confronts Alex about the “other guy,” she offers no explanation except that there is no other guy for her and that she’s in love with him. I don’t see how that makes Kyle forget that he actually saw them kiss, but whatever.
  47. Hayley transfers her deep adoration of Kyle to the neighbor boy in about five minutes.
  48. The two sisters end the movie by staring at each other for too long while they’re dancing with their dates. I’m not going to lie, there’s some weird tension there.

Bri is a 25-year-old born and raised in the swamps of Jersey. Just kidding, she lives at least twenty minutes from those swamps. She’s a publishing professional that moonlights as a writer. She enjoys going to concerts (anything from Rooney to Springsteen to NKOTBSB), roadtripping, and complaining that she truly belongs in the 1950’s, the 1920′s, or the 1980′s depending on her mood. She definitely owns more books than she should and reads every chance she gets. If you stop hearing from her, it’s because the book piles have fallen over and smothered her to death in the night. You can contact her at bri@theyoungfolks.com. Twitter: @bri_lockhart