About that mysterious ‘Lizzie McGuire’ reunion photo

After years of prayer, Disney Channel disciples finally got the Lizzie McGuire reunion they have been waiting for—under some of the most mysterious circumstances since Miranda’s absence from The Lizzie McGuire Movie. 

On Monday, Jake Thomas (better known as Matt, Lizzie’s brother on the show) uploaded this awe-inducing pic:

So this happened last night… #LizzieMcGuire

A photo posted by Jake Thomas (@sirjakethomas) on

Yes, that is Miranda. Yes, that is Lizzie. Yes, that is Matt. The three former Disney Channel stars were together once again at a bowling alley, setting social media on fire with murmurs, questions, and “omgs.”

So how did this happen? It’s still unclear. But Hilary Duff did reveal on Tuesday while appearing on radio show Valentine In the Morning that she was not only using dating app Tinder, but was going on a date later that night at a bowling alley.

Hours later, and the reunion is displayed on Thomas’s Instagram. But did Duff go on the date and run into her former costars? Did she plan to have them there just in case?

And the plot thickens. Thomas and Lalaine shared the photo on both their Instagram and Twitter accounts, but Duff tweeted to her followers some less-familiar faces.

So while Matt and Miranda were so excited to share the mini-reunion, why did Lizzie omit from posting the festivities on her own online presence? Is “bowling squad” truly stronger than a Disney Channel reunion? 

We speculate:

Perhaps it’s the the rocky paths that have befallen Lizzie’s costars. While Duff conquered radio stations with hits like “Wake Up,” recently rising from the ashes with her new TV Land show Younger and fresh music (listen to “Sparks” ASAP if you haven’t), Lalaine and Thomas have fallen into semi-obscurity.

True ’90s kids will remember that Lalaine’s character Miranda was absent from the final episodes of Lizzie McGuire, and didn’t make it to their class trip to Italy on The Lizzie McGuire Movie. She performed “Cruella de Vil” from 101 Dalmatians in 2005, but rumors that she was disliked by Duff’s mother made the rounds as a possible reason for Miranda never meeting Italian teen-pop idol Isabella. Lalaine also appeared on two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer while Lizzie McGuire was still airing, but she quietly disappeared from the public eye with roles few and far between.

Then something peculiar happened. She reappeared in the 2010 movie Easy A (credited on IMDB as “Gossipy Girl”). The film also featured other Disney Channel star Aly Michalka, famous for Phil of the Future.  In 2013, when I attended a concert of Michalka and her sister (“Potential Breakup Song,” anybody?), I hoped that the blonde would have the answers regarding Lalaine’s absence from the end of the Lizzie heyday after being in Easy A together and also being members of the Disney Channel Illuminati. Unfortunately, Michalka did not respond to my queries of “IS IT TRUE HILARY DUFF’S MOM DIDN’T LIKE LALAINE AND THAT’S WHY SHE WASN’T IN THE MOVIE?” when I yelled them from the crowd.

As for Thomas, after playing Lizzie’s troublesome little bro, he appeared in eight episodes of That’s So Raven spinoff Cory In The House. Since then, he’s had a flurry of guest star spots on shows like NCIS and Ghost Whisperer. Now grown and sexy, he also really into photography, according to his Instagram. His television big sister has had much more time in the spotlight.

Hey, i know this guy. Never pass up on some studio selfies. #studiophotography #me

A photo posted by Jake Thomas (@sirjakethomas) on

Could Lalaine and Thomas’s social status as so yesterday have played a role in Duff snubbing her two old friends? 

Everything in the bowling alley snapshot implies that this was a joyous occasion and unlike an unwanted bump-in with old high school friends at your hometown Starbucks

Exhibit A: Lalaine’s hand is truly on Thomas’s shoulder. A hover hand would clue us into faker in our midsts.

Exhibit B: Smiling. But not those big-ass smiles you do in family reunion photos because you’re being shady. A genuine lil’ smirk from Lalaine, half-thousand watt veneer flash from Duff , and a “look, it’s us, we cute” formation of Thomas’s mouth. Nothing exaggerated that signals an underlying desire to GTFO. 

Exhibit C: Yes, there is a little bit of space between Duff and Thomas, but this is most likely the natural curvature of back as she leans into the embrace with Lalaine. 

Also, where is Duff’s Tinder date while all of this is going on? Is he just hanging by the sidelines and bowling solo, watching as his date juggles social obligations to her costars and her present-day squad? Was there even a Tinder date, or was Duff’s admittance to using the app a simple ploy to make her seem more relatable?

Thankfully, Oprah is here to help ask the hard questions.

Tumblr

Furthermore, Duff didn’t even retweet either of Lalaine or Thomas’s photos. Meanwhile, the photo she posted to Twitter looks like it was filtered and shared on Instagram first. And when you try to share an image on Instagram to Twitter, it usually only tweets out the link to the Instagram. That means Duff must have gone through the trouble of going to Twitter and uploading the image after already sharing on Instagram. Two whole different processes.

Bowling squad strong. @lowenban @erin_mcp @alisialeibel @moflo1 @megso

A photo posted by Hilary Duff (@hilaryduff) on

*strokes chin*

It’s unclear what exactly is the story behind these photos. We can only hypothesize. But in this time of uncertainty, we return to the Lizzie McGuire opening theme song.

“If you believe / that we’ve got a picture perfect plan /we’ve got you fooled / ’cause we only do the best we can,” the singer croons. “And sometimes we make it /sometimes we fake it.”

Photos via HilaryDuff/Twitter, sirjakethomas/Instagram

Gabe Bergado

Gabe Bergado

Gabe Bergado is a Daily Dot alumnus who covered dank memes, teens, and the weirdest corners of the Internet. One time, Ted Cruz supporters turned him into a meme—or at least tried to. In 2017, he started reporting for Teen Vogue's entertainment section.