This week on Raven’s Home, Raven’s daughter Nia begins to feel like the small apartment isn’t roomy enough. She turns to her dad, Devon Carter (Jonathan McDaniel, reprising his role from That’s So Raven) for help. With the series premiere, it was an obvious strength for Raven’s Home to continue its sense of nostalgia by bringing in guest stars, and the second episode takes that knowledge to heart.
Although in just its second week, Raven’s Home is stumbling as it deals with the growing pains of expanding upon the world in That’s So Raven. The show has to find a balance between the characters we know and love, like Raven and Chelsea, and the new characters, mainly their children. In ‘Big Trouble In Little Apartment’, Raven’s Home confines itself to the apartment, but misses the opportunity for more character growth in such an intimate and confined setting.
The episode’s main plot deals with daughter Nia struggling to find her place in the apartment now that Chelsea and her son Levi have moved in. Raven’s moved her daughter onto the couch until arrangements can be made, and it’s understandable that Nia would be frustrated and upset by the situation her mother’s put her in. The children’s father, Devon, arrives for a visit, and Nia contemplates moving in with him.
In the premiere episode, ‘Baxter’s Back,’ Raven decides to spy on her kids at school after she has a vision that an argument will occur. There’s no Raven vision in this episode, (and even her son Booker’s vision is merely an afterthought) but the element of Raven spying on her children persists as she tracks Nia’s phone to the restaurant where she’s having dinner with her father. It’s definitely in character for Raven to be a helicopter mom, but if every episode of Raven’s Home begins to follow this formula, viewers are going to tire of it quickly.
Revealed at the end of the episode is that Chelsea has decided to move out of her room, managed to redecorate Nia’s old room, and install a bunk bed in Raven’s room for the two to share so that Nia can have her space. When did all that happen?! Throughout the episode, Chelsea remained the one-note joke that she was for much of the premiere. It’s a shame, because as this episode proves, there’s a lot Chelsea is capable of, and Raven’s Home would be wise to give it more screen time. The show could’ve allowed Chelsa and Levi to develop on screen by showing the hard work they put into remodeling Raven’s apartment.
While Nia and Raven were at ends over the living situation, Booker had a vision that Levi was going to be moving out of the apartment. After talking to Levi, Booker assumes it is because Levi misses the luxuries he had before his parents got a divorce. He asks Raven to buy a trampoline like the one Levi used to have, is told no, and proceeds to do it anyway — charging $500 to Raven’s credit card. It only gets more unbelievable from here — the trampoline arrives the same day, and Booker manages to sneak it into the apartment and installs it. The massive trampoline takes up the entire space of his room (and the cameras even have to go into a wide angle, almost fisheye effect to accommodate.) I might be able to believe a child steals his parent’s credit card and charged an inordinate amount, but there’s no way a trampoline of that size is getting same day delivery to an already cramped apartment with no adult noticing.
The entire subplot is just messy and preposterous, which makes it feel even more egregious that the show didn’t spend its time more wisely. The premiere of Raven’s Home brought back a sense of nostalgia, but the second episode failed to have such charms. Although targeted at a young audience, millennial fans of That’s So Raven are still tuning in and should be treated to a show that can entertain them, too. ‘Big Trouble In Little Apartment’ didn’t get its footing, despite playing to its strengths and featuring a familiar face in Devon Carter. Better luck next week, Rae.