Last week I was talking about the general lack of AP in media, but if you can find just a few comics and cartoons that portray it, it’s almost impossible to find live-action instances.
Most of those, in any case, are old age AP, and they are not appealing to me at all. Curiously, one of the few live-action Aps I find attractive occurs in the childish Disney Channel show Phil of the Future, in an episode titled Age Before Beauty.
The premise of the show is simple enough to understand even if you, like me, have never watched anything else from the show: Phil is a boy comes from the future with his family, in possession of amazing technology. He becomes best friends with a present-day girl named Keely Teslow and they have the classic school mishaps you can expect from a Disney Channel show.
Now, as you can guess, Keely, who is 14, is about to transform into an adult in this episode, marking one of the extremely rare occasions a female girl to woman TF happens on live-action. There’s not much to say, so my descriptions should be brief, but I’ll share plenty of pictures for reasons that will become obvious. These images are also in much better quality than those you can find in You Tube.
It all starts because Keely, who is already very cute, has failed in keeping a plant for a school project. The poor thing has died under her negligent care and now she’s sure to fail.
Enter Phil, who we discover can’t help but falling for his friend’s every whim. She has no time to grow a new plant, so his technology from the future is the only option. He uses a hand-held machine to accelerate the growth of a new plant.
Keely wonders if it works in humans and if he has ever used it to age himself, discussing the curiosity she feels about such a thing. He says it’s too dangerous and explains that his little sister regressed his father into a child once, but she pouts and pleads for the opportunity. This time, Phil puts his foot down and refuses.
We cut to the next day, when we see Keely running upstairs at school. Her furtive demeanor can only mean one thing…
Yep. She stole the stuff.
She adjusts the display to the age she wishes to be.
And chooses 25! A great sign, since that’s my preferred age for AP subjects.
She also seems to like the notion. She’s very excited.
Keely fires the device while pointing at herself.
She speaks off-camera. One of the best aspects of this production is the voice change. As a girl, Keely has a high voice, but as an adult, her voice is very sultry. Her reaction to her reflection is “Oh, yeah! I’d totally date me!”
They keep the mystery of her new appearance a bit longer, as she walks towards Phil, her back against the camera.
Phil doesn’t recognize his best friend.
Finally! We see adult Keely and if your tastes are anything like mine, I think you’re pleased. The thing that really make this show stand out is the choice of such a beautiful actress. She’s probably the most attractive APed girl eve in live action. She not only has a downright lovely face, but her body is curvaceous and you can see her cute outfit is much better filled than before. Her hair is also a bit longer.
This is one of those moments when I’m glad they chose to use a different actress. Putting the same girl in a business suit and make-up, as other shows have done, is not AP in my book
So, back to the story, but don’t worry. Still lots of pics to enjoy…
“Is that orange juice for me?”
“Ah, you mean that little cutie Keely Teslow…”
“The one who’s smart…”
“and one day gonna look just like THIS!”
Now he gets it. “Keely, you look INCREDIBLE!”
Despite his excitement, Phil isn’t happy about her stealing the New Ager.
She pouts again. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to see what I’d look like.”
She looks for the device on her purse and tells Phil he can zap her back to 14.
But not before saying dreamily “Can you believe it?” and giggling. Phil himself looks a bit coy.
They’re interrupted by a creepy and ridiculous teacher who has just broken-up with his girlfriend.
He starts crying right there and sends Phil away. I like how Keely is now taller than both of them. Before the transformation, she was just a bit shorter than Phil.
Before she can leave, the Teacher sees Keely and asks if she’s a parent, a sister or a teacher.
Keely passes herself as a substitute teacher.
The guy asks her to cover for him in his class, not asking what kind of teacher is she or if she’s available. Kiddie program logic, which is fine. He's also a bit touchy.
Keely appears before her former classmates.
“Ms. Vanderhoosy.” Suits her, somewhat.
She asks Phil to make his presentation, and he teases her a bit about awaiting for his partner Keely.
She barely listens to the presentation and instead makes a necklace.
The Teacher returns and thanks her for the substitution.
They go away, but not before Keely awards Phil with the necklace
The Teacher catches her as she leaves and invites her to a coffee.
She hesitates, but he takes it as an acceptance. Phil overhears everything and the Teacher says he’s got a date with an angel.
She’s drinking gracefully as Phil approaches. She boasts about how great it was being a teacher, but Phil asks her to stand still as he fires the New Ager.
Back to normal, but still excited. In order to make the morph easier in post-production, there's no height shift. Pity.
For some reason, Phil is worried about the ridiculous Teacher, and tells Keely he’ll be depressed if she doesn’t go to the date. Keely doesn’t seem to mind, as he’ll never see “Ms. Vanderhoosy” again.
Phil concocts a plan that involves aging himself and pretending to be Vandderhoosy’s boyfriend and recuing her from the date with the Teacher. Because THAT won’t depress him. Keely isn’t sure if the Teacher is going to ask her out again, but Phil says, very uncomfortably: “I’ve seen you all grown up.”
In other words, “You’re one hell of a hot woman as an adult, Keely, and the creepy teacher can't resist you.”
No on-screen transformation this time. She’s already an adult and at the café with the Teacher, who bores her.
Phil sneaks there and pulls out the New Ager.
Keely reveals she has a “boyfriend”. The teacher doesn’t believe her and thinks she’s only saying that to get rid of him. Right, cause a woman like that can’t possibly have a boyfriend.
To prove she’s telling the truth, she calls for Phil.
Something clearly went wrong…
Phill accidentally aged himself into a 75-years-old.
Keely plays along. The Teacher is more depressed because she’s dating an old man, but they both give him some generic advice and lift his spirits.
Phil loses his false teeth at some point.
Which makes zero sense, but whatever.
The Teacher parts in good terms with them and that’s all. No off-screen regression either.
Next time we see them, they’re 14 again. Keely regrets fooling around with the device and promises not to do it again.
The Teacher is back with his former girlfriend and he tells them about the wisdom an old man imparted to him. “Sort of grown up stuff you kids wouldn’t understand.”
“No, we wouldn’t” laughs Keely.
“When we’re older.”
And the episode is over.
In all it’s a fun ride for me as an AP fan, if not much else. It has the classic bad jokes of that kind of show (at least it doesn't have the studio laughs, thankfully, though it features LOTS of stupid sound effects) and it can’t go further than Phil’s subtle comment on Keely’s look.
Then why am I giving it 4 TF start out of 5?
The reasons are simple and previously stated. It’s not just one of the few live-action APs ever, but adult Keely looks amazing, especially in that outfit. And that’s enough to warrant its place as one of the best.
If the show wasn’t enough for you to believe me, here are a few more pictures from Brittney Powell, the actress who portrays her, even though she’s now much older than back when the show was shot:
It’s interesting to know that Powell also played adult Keely in the last episode of the series. That wasn’t a transformation, though. Just a flash-forward. I don’t have that material, sadly.
Also, Alyson Michalka, who portrayed the young Keely has grown on her own, and she’s now 26-years-old herself.
And while I don’t think she looks anything like the show predicted, I doubt one can argue she isn’t amazingly beautiful on her own right. She has also grown surprisingly tall and athletic, being almost a towering 6 feet nowadays.
So this is what would have happened if the New Ager had been real: