Okay, I’ll admit it. In the heyday of the Hilary Duff vs. Lindsay Lohan rivalry, I was totally pro Lindsay. For a while, this seemed like a good allegiance. Lindsay did Mean Girls and Hilary did mediocre pop music. Who looked like she was going to fade into obscurity? Come on, who?
Flash forward to 2013 and Hil is still going strong. So in honor of her 26th birthday (and the fact that people aren’t worried she’s going to make it to 27), let’s commemorate Hilary’s seminal role: Lizzie McGuire. Because as much as you loved or hate-loved Beauty and the Briefcase, you’ll always have a soft spot for her so-bad-it’s-good acting on the Disney Channel.
1. Matching outfits = drama.
This isn’t merely the stuff of middle school Tumblr angst. This is some real shiz. When you realize that you and your nemesis have the same taste in clothes, it’s cause for a serious identity crisis.
2. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
Remember that episode when Lizzie becomes friends with bad girl Angel? Lizzie starts pulling HORRIBLE shenanigans, like lying and forging notes and doing a lot of ‘talk to the hand’ motions. She shows up at school the next day with a new Hot Topic-lite look that defies the laws of clothes-buying and hair-dying. Thankfully, in the end, Lizzie learns that being bad is just not her. Also, that she really shouldn’t be sporting a fake nose ring.
3. People change seemingly overnight.
One day you’re BFFs and the next day girl’s at the back of the bus with the popular kids and shiny hair.
4. Perspective is everything.
Or: You probably have enough clothes.
5. Don’t just accept your sloth-like ways; embrace them.
No shame about chilling with your friends and being a not-popular kid. Sometimes the only FOMO you should have should be the FOMO on the latest episode of Breaking Bad.
6. Trite lines may be trite, but they have wisdom.
It’s painful to admit that cheesily-presented, moralistic lines (AKA every line on every Disney Channel show ever) have some wisdom, but…sigh. They do. Though we can also think of a lot of other things that are way more important than who you sit with at lunch. Like, say, what you’re eating for lunch.
7. You can’t make someone be your friend.
Friendships are constantly in flux. You fight, you make up, you drift apart. It’s all a part of life. But some friends—your Mirandas, your Gordos—stick with you through thick and thin and all the cliches you inevitably experience.
8. Low expectations mean you’ll get low results.
I get that Gordo was sexually frustrated over his BFF Lizzie’s obsession with Ethan Craft and minor fling with Aaron Carter, but he could also be a downer. Dude, I feel you. But, I mean, maybe that’s why you didn’t get with Lizzie until The Lizzie McGuire movie! Think about that. Which brings us to…
9. Go after what you want.
Even if it’s just a bra. Especially if it’s just a bra.
10. Growing up is inevitable.
It was strange watching Hilary Duff grow up from the baby-faced seventh grader in the pilot episode of Lizzie McGuire to the slightly-less baby-faced graduating eighth grader of The Lizzie McGuire movie. And would you really want her to keep those bangs anyway? Think long and hard about that.