The Disney Channel has come out with a lot of television over the past twenty or so years – some works standing out as far better than others.
Even Stevens, also known as the source of Shia LeBoeuf’s breakout role as Louis Stevens, is undoubtedly considered one of the network’s better television series.
From Louis Stevens’ endearing yet oftentimes disturbing relationship with his sister, Ren, played by actor Christy Carlson Romano, to the hilarious and abusive goings-on at Lawrence Junior High School, this early-2000’s Disney Channel classic continues to entertain us.
Of course, though, as with any Disney Channel television show, there is bound to be some dark secrets hiding just beyond the surface of Even Stevens’s clean and seemingly innocent façade. Most obviously, we will always wonder if starring in the show played any part in Shia LeBoeuf’s post-Even Stevens antics as a teen/young adult. And did you know that the Disney Channel has a tradition of pushing its young stars into a singing career – which explains why there are so many music-oriented episodes throughout the run of the series?
As goofy and enjoyable as Even Stevens was to our tween selves, there are inevitably some dark secrets looming behind the show.
Read on for the 15 Dark Secrets Behind Even Stevens.
15 Shia Laboeuf Doesn't Hang With His Disney Channel Co-Stars Anymore
Despite Ren and Louis’s constant clashing, we always knew that at the end of the day, they really did love each other. In fact, the Stevens family, despite their dysfunction, were actually a pretty adorable bunch!
Sadly, this did not play out in as seamless of a way in real life. Although some cast members do still see each other, Christy Carlson Romano revealed in an interview that she hadn’t spoken to Shia Labeouf since 2008 – although she did speak of him still in favorable terms.
In terms of other cast members being in touch with Labeouf, the possibility seems unlikely. Although Tom Virtue, who played Louis’s dad as Steve Stevens, starred in a minor role alongside Labeouf in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, they never even appeared in the same scene, so it is unlikely that they even saw each other again.
14 Coach Terry Tugnut Was A Name Made For Cheap Laughs
Possibly one of the most iconic characters that stars in Even Stevens is Coach Terry Tugnut, the slightly horrible yet hilarious gym teacher at Laurence Junior High. From the emotional and sometimes even physical abuse he imparts on his students, to the ridiculous ideas and turns of phrase that come out of his mouth, Coach Terry Tugnut provides some of the show’s more inappropriate comic relief.
In fact, in an interview with MTV, Jim Wise, the actor who portrays Tugnut, admitted that the name Tugnut is most likely a double entendre, claiming that “the Disney Channel executives loved that stuff.”
While some may be surprised by the dark humor behind some Disney Channel masterminds, those who are familiar with some of Disney’s older stuff will know that this is nothing new. There are several hypotheses surrounding possible sexual innuendos in films like The Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, and The Rescuers.
13 Jim Wise Was Almost Seriously Injured During Filming
Speaking of Coach Terry Tugnut, remember the moment in The Even Stevens Movie when a giant vat of spaghetti is dropped on his big, pompous head? Hilarious, right?
Well, did you know that the actor, Jim Wise, actually almost suffered an injury from performing this stunt while filming?
In his interview with MTV, Wise informed his interviewer that despite spaghetti being a softer substance, the sheer amount of the stuff almost knocked him out – he was literally seeing stars, and he could feel the impact from the top of his head down into his neck!
Although he ended up being fine, death-by-massive-vat-of-spaghetti is a pretty morose prospect. Who knew that performing stunts in The Even Stevens Movie could be so dangerous?!
12 There Is Even Stevens Fan Fiction
Now, if you really want to talk about darkness, you have to talk about the abyss that is the internet. There is so much on the world wide web that we don’t know about.
For example, did you know that Even Stevens had fan fiction? That’s right, you heard it correctly.
While you may have thought only cult classics and ridiculously popular franchises would have a large enough fan-base to have fan fiction, you were mistaken. Even Stevens also has fan fiction, and what you’ll find that this world is extremely weird, and extremely sweet. Generally PG-rated, the fan fiction explores the romantic possibilities of a future for Twitty and Ren or Tawny and Louis. It’s actually quite adorable, as obscure as it might be.
11 Beans Became One Of Santa's Helpers At A Mall
In terms of a where-are-they-now feature, there’s not a whole lot that can beat a Santa’s Helper at the mall. Indeed, that’s just what came of Steven Anthony Lawrence’s career, post-Even Stevens era.
The news went viral a few years back, in 2015, when somehow word spread about the fact that Even Stevens’s most endearing character, Bernard "Beans" Aranguren, was working as Santa’s Helper at the Sunvalley Shopping Center in Concord, California.
As soon as people found out, the photos started coming in on social media, and Beans was famous once more!
Is this a dark secret, in that a person went from famous actor to the helper of a mall Santa? Or is it instead a beautiful demonstration of following one’s dream (in this case, acting), no matter at what cost? Either way, Lawrence seems pretty happy in photos, and that’s really all that matters.
10 Shia Laboeuf's Friends Used To Make Fun Of Him For Being A Disney Star
Sure, being famous has its perks – the income of an actor, for example, stands as an obvious advantage!
However, as we’ve seen far too many times, there are also some serious disadvantages. In the case of Shia Labeouf, he admitted in an interview with MTV that his friends would actually make fun of him for being a Disney Channel star. Nobody likes being made fun of as a teenager – even Shia Labeouf.
It can’t have been easy for a personality like Labeouf to have had to represent the Disney Channel. A rebel like him having to represent one of the most wholesome networks on cable television?! Well, at least he successfully managed this portrayal sufficiently well until the run of the show was complete. As for afterward? More on that later.
9 The Thomas Gribalski Double Entendre
Similar to the rather immature double entendre associated with the name Terry Tugnut, according to Jim Wise, the name Thomas Gribalski was also meant to be a far-fetched inappropriate reference to balls.
You’re probably thinking right about now, "Really? They couldn’t do better than that?!" It appears not.
In fact, if you re-watch the whole show, you’ll find plenty of very far-fetched references to various bathroom humor- as well as sexual jokes. While some are more clever than others, we have to give props to the writers who managed to give some of the main characters on the show some low-key inappropriate names and nicknames.
Sure, while Thomas Gribalski certainly seems like a bit of a reach, we still have to give the producers, writers, and directors credit where credit is due for their creativity.
8 Disney Allegedly Pushed Its Young Stars To Pursue Music Careers
Given that High School Musical(s) 1, 2, and 3 were a thing, the fact that Disney encouraged its young stars to pursue a singing career, alongside their acting career, should come as no surprise.
In fact, Even Stevens was one of the earlier Disney Channel television shows that encouraged such a musical-acting crossover, before the advent of Hannah Montana and other mid-2000s teen musical-style comedies.
According to Shia Labeouf in a 2007 interview with MTV, Disney would actually push their stars into a music career. Unsurprisingly, though, Labeouf was an outlier, and resisted this route – that is, other than his feature in those select musical episodes of Even Stevens. And yes, we are talking about the hit classic episode "Influenza".
7 Some Have Argued That Even Stevens Was Shia Laboeuf's Peak
Even Stevens was pure classic Disney Channel, arguably representing its best time in history. In fact, the show won an incredible number of awards, from Young Artist Awards to Daytime Emmy Awards to the BAFTA Awards, and was even nominated several times for a Directors Guild of America award. Shia Labeouf himself won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series.
These are pretty high standards to live up to, and some have argued that Labeouf never really achieved such a high level of success again.
In fact, high-status actors like Harrison Ford and Jim Carrey have all made various comments over the past few years hinting at this. Although they never actually say he peaked in Even Stevens, it’s clear that his more recent films (and outside-of-acting shenanigans) will never quite compare to the innocent, charming, and hilarious persona from his earlier days.
6 Shia Laboeuf Is Not The Only Star To Go Off The Rails Post-Disney Stardom
When we said outside-of-acting shenanigans, we really meant shenanigans. From drunken street fights, to peeing on walls, to overt plagiarism, to racist comments, to more drunken street fights, to just plain old bizarre behaviour, Shia Leboeuf post-Even Stevens is truly a force to be reckoned with.
But Leboeuf is not the only child actor to fall off the deep-end post-Disney Channel stardom! We’ve all watched in awe at the wild goings-on of Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and so on and so forth.
While all of these stars have since managed to find a balance between the wholesome Disney persona they were forced to take on as youngsters with the more liberal views they themselves surely possess, we have yet to see Leboeuf strike a balance. Either way, the Disney Channel-child-actor-gone-wild is becoming a bit of a disturbing trend.
5 Christy Carlson Romano Could Have Been Louis Stevens's Love Interest Instead Of His Sister
The sibling rivalry felt between Louis and Ren Stevens is palpable. Can you possibly imagine their relationship manifesting itself in any other form?!
Well, here’s a disturbing thought for you: Originally, Christy Carlson Romano auditioned for the part of Tawny Dean. Tawny Dean, of course, was Louis’s love interest in the later years. Although she didn’t get that part, she was cast as Louis’s sister, instead.
Okay, so, we know it’s only fictional. But because the relationship between the two siblings was so very apparent, the idea of them being anything but siblings is extremely disturbing. Perhaps it’s reflective of both Romano and Shia Labeouf’s skills as actors, but either way, the idea of them together is definitely incest in our eyes!
4 The Show Was Cancelled For A Terrible Reason
So far, the Disney Channel is not looking too good on this list. Well, unfortunately, there’s more.
According to some insane rule active in the late 1990s and early 2000s on the Disney Channel Network, no television show, no matter its popularity, was allowed to go on for more than 65 episodes.
That's is why Even Stevens was canceled. Despite its incredible popularity and surprisingly quality content for a Disney Channel show, it had reached the 65 episode mark.
Perhaps even more frustrating is that, while this show applied to Even Stevens at the time of its finale in 2003, it stopped applying to shows in 2005, just a couple of years after cancelling one of the network’s best television series.
3 Even Stevens May Have Been The Source Of Shia Laboeuf And Jim Carey's Feud In Later Years
The many, many faces of Shia Laboeuf as Louis Stevens in Even Stevens are timeless. However, fans have pointed out that throughout the run of the three seasons of the show, Labeouf seemed to often channel his inner Jim Carrey. One shot of Laboeuf in particular, wearing a yellow football helmet and showing his teeth in a creepy, Grinch-like way, really had fans talking about Carey being a possible influence.
Could this channeling (or some might argue mocking) of Carrey throughout Laboeuf’s Even Stevens run have played any part in the public Twitter fight between the two actors that happened in 2014? The feud went so far as Labeouf dragging Carrey’s parenting skills into the mix.
Whatever was going on there, we have to wonder if Laboeuf’s imitation of Carrey in Even Stevens, whether intentional or unintentional, contributed to the Twitter feud that came about years later.
2 By 2013, Shia Leboeuf Had Made It To Star’s List Of Most-Hated Celebrities
Although making it on to a most-hated celebrity list may not seem like that big of a deal, when you consider who Shia Lebeouf is being grouped with to make it on the list… It’s pretty harsh.
Other actors that have been given almost a permanent place on Star’s most hated celebrity list include Chris Brown – for the physical assault of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, Mel Gibson – for being a blatant racist and sexist, Bill Cosby – for the sexual assault of a ridiculous number of women, and Stephen Collins, for molesting female minors.
So, clearly, the fact that Shia Lebeouf has made it to Star’s list of most-hated celebrities, as well as to a variety of other lists found in the internet, is not a good sign.
Did acting for the Disney Channel have anything to do with his future derailing? We can never be sure, but this list of most-hated celebrities is certainly much darker than first appears.
1 Some Fans See Life With Derek As A Cheap Knock-Off Of Even Stevens
With the conclusion of Even Stevens so many years back in 2003, fans of innocent sibling rivalry were left void of quality-yet-wholesome television that this show had provided for that brief period of time.
In 2005, a new television series came on to the scene: Life with Derek. A Canadian Family Channel production (essentially the Canadian version of Disney), Life with Derek is a teen comedy that features step-siblings Derek Venturi, played by Michael Seater, and Casey McDonald, played by Ashley Leggat. The trouble-making prankster Derek was similar in many ways to Louis, and he droves his new family - especially his uptight step-sister Casey - up the wall.
Unfortunately, the Canadian never had quite the same audience as Even Stevens, and stopped running in 2009. After all, nothing can ever quite match the tone and style of Even Stevens.
Did we miss a juicy detail or dark secret associated with Disney's hit television series Even Stevens? Let us know in the comment!