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Series / Ready or Not (1993)
aka: Ready Or Not

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Ready or not! (Can't wait another day!)
A little in shock (What'll your mother say?)
But here we go anyway, now I'll see what you got
Give it your own style, Give me a little smile
Everything's better now, When we go
Ready or Not!
— Opening Theme

Ready or Not is a Canadian television series that aired on the Showtime Movie Channel from 1993 to 1997, on The Disney Channel from 1996 to 2000, and also on Global Television Network. The show ran for five seasons and had 65 episodes. The show began as a short film titled Thirty-Two Double A, which was eventually turned into a series.

Amanda Zimm (Laura Bertram) and Elizabeth "Busy" Ramone (Lani Billard) are two teenage girls who live in the suburbs of Toronto. Amanda is an only child raised by liberal former hippie parents, while Busy is from a rather traditional Italian-Canadian Catholic family with three older brothers. The girls start the show as sixth graders and continue to the ninth grade.

Towards the end of Ready or Not's original run, Showtime Movie Channel and Disney Channel began airing episodes in the United States.

It is unrelated to the Ready or Not (2019) film, the 2005 sequel to the Young Adult novel All-American Girl (Meg Cabot), or the upcoming video game about a SWAT Team.

Ready or Not provides examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: Both Busy and Amanda deal with this on separate occasions given they're only in junior high.
    • Bully Chrissy admitted in one episode how people don't expect Amanda to act a certain way because of her looks unlike herself, citing how the younger girl is "sweet, innocent and flat".
    • Another episode had both friends trying to impress some French foreign exchange students with Busy stuffing her bra and unfortunately said tissue eventually being discovered. Thankfully, the boy was still interested in her.
  • Abusive Parents: In "Monkey See, Monkey Do", Busy befriends Peter over their shared love of music, and he offers Busy a chance to play drums on his demo. But while practicing at Peter's house, Peter's manager father is shown to be physically abusive towards his son, prompting Busy to tell a social worker about the situation.
  • Alpha Bitch: Older classmate Chrissy was your stereotypical popular, pretty mean girl who usually picked on Busy and Amanda.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Amanda finds out as she gets older that she's Jewishnote  but is unsure about following the religion due to anti-Semitism displayed throughout her community.
  • An Aesop: Episodes usually commented on serious topics, like body image or bullying, and ended with a moral lesson (though notably not in a cheesy way).
  • And Starring: Only two actors are listed in the opening credits, so to give the actors equal weight while emphasizing their individuality, they are billed as "Starring Laura Bertram/And Lani Billard".
  • Babysitting Episode: Amanda babysits for a bohemian couple and invites Busy over. It is this couple's house where the two girls come across the "Guide to Sex" book.
  • Big Brother Instinct: When Busy asks her eldest brother Manny a question about sex, he tells her she should never feel pressured to do it in the future. In “When a Kiss is Just a Kiss,” Frankie has a guy friend named Jonah stay over during a basketball tournament. Busy shows interest in Jonah and he reciprocates, but Frankie warns Busy from getting too attached.
  • Blaming the Victim: In “Crossing the Line”, Busy spends a day with older guy Steve at an amusement park. Later, Steve forces himself on Busy and accuses her of leading him on just because she hung out with him.
  • Broken Pedestal: In "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not", Amanda gets her latest crush of the week, a famous singer name Bonzai and spends the rest of the episode fantasizing over him. That is until she gets to meet him and is dismayed to discover he's a huge jerk who calls the handmade bracelet she personally made for him "a piece of crap" before handing it to his security guard.
  • Carload of Cool Kids: Amanda and Busy join a group of older teenagers. Busy is uncomfortable, but Amanda wanted to hang out with cool kids. They take a ride in a car that belongs to Amanda's mum's boyfriend (without his permission). As they drive in the city, they are noisy and make fun of several people.
  • Coming of Age: The show follows the girls from middle school to grade nine and doesn’t shy away from all the attendant hallmarks of early adolescence—crushes, first kisses, first periods, and so on.
  • Consistent Clothing Style: Amanda is almost always wearing something purple.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Lucy suffers a miscarriage and Busy calls out her dad for making her work too hard at the butcher shop.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Busy usually has the sarcastic one-liners to offset Amanda’s cheeriness. She would often call out people on their phoniness, like Chrissy supposedly starting an environmental club for altruistic reasons.
    Busy: What nerve! Since when is the beauty queen interested in recycling?
    Amanda: I don’t know. Maybe she’s serious about this club.
    Busy: Yeah, right. How is she gonna help save the environment? Use her hairspray once a day instead of every hour?
  • Death Is Such an Odd Thing: Played with in "Saint Carla". When a classmate named Carla passes away in a car accident, whereas everyone else in the school is shocked or reeling from the loss, Busy feels bad for not feeling as bad as everyone else.
  • Double Standard: Chrissy lampshades the fact that after being caught in the closet with one of their male classmates made him a stud but her a slut.
  • Dramatic Irony: When Amanda butts heads with her mother over her dating life, she tells her, "Good! Then maybe I should just move in with Dad, he doesn't throw himself at every woman he meets!" Much later, Amanda finds out her father's infidelity was one of the reasons for her parents’ divorce.
  • Embarrassing Damp Sheets: At summer camp, boys do a raid on the cabin Amanda sleeps in, causing her to wet her sheets out of surprise.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Not her own death as she would survive everything, but after Mrs. Ramone's miscarriage and as devastated as the rest of the family is, she tells her daughter that she has accepted the loss, even calling it "God's will".
  • Family Business: Sam Ramone operates a butcher shop where his kids sometimes help out.
  • First Kiss: Busy has her first kiss with Troy and Amanda has hers with Danny.
  • First Period Panic: Busy gets her first period during band practice at school and anxiously runs out of the classroom. When Amanda learns about it, she screams in excitement over the phone and is a bit jealous that Busy has “reached womanhood” first. She helps Busy with pads and tampons despite not having begun menstruation herself because she's learned everything there is to know about periods.
  • Girliness Upgrade: Subverted: Amanda was already pretty girly, especially when compared to Busy, but in the episode where she "befriended" Chrissy, she also begins to curl her hair, wear makeup and experiment with wearing heels. However, once she realizes that Chrissy was using her, she soon reverts back to her regular style.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Amanda aspires to be an actress, so she gets envious when Busy gets picked over her to star in a TV commercial.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Busy and Amanda are best friends and incredibly close. Busy has three older brothers and Amanda is an only child, so they become very close and basically grow up together. The finale features a flashback scene showing when they met as small girls, with Amanda crying and Busy helping her out.
  • Hidden Depths: Chrissy is established as a bully, but the first two seasons progressively show other sides to her. Her parents are also divorced, which becomes a bonding point between her and Amanda.
  • Hippie Parents: Phyllis, Amanda’s mom, has a more bohemian attitude towards life and is not averse to things like posing nude for an art class.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Busy and Amanda decide to switch lives for a weekend because Busy longs for a quieter home life and Amanda wants to know what it’s like to have a big family.
  • In with the In Crowd: Amanda has fallen into this trope a couple of times; in one episode she hangs out with Chrissy under the impression Chrissy genuinely sees her as a friend, only for Chrissy to use Amanda to complete a school assignment for her. In a later episode set in junior high, Amanda falls in with a group of girls who have a dining club, only for Busy to accidentally reveal an embarrassing secret about Amanda which causes them to ostracize her.
  • Just Friends: In the episode aptly titled "Just Friends", Busy realizes she has a crush on her friend Jamie, who in turn reveals he has a crush on Amanda. Jamie just wants to be friends with Busy, which she has a hard time accepting.
  • Just the Way You Are: Amanda is the more appearance-conscious of the pair. The episodes “Model Perfect” and “Glamour Girl” show her dealing with the costs of looking a certain way.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The show featured multiple plot lines about bullying, but it also commented on kids’ cruelty in other ways. In “Members Only”, the boys at Busy and Amanda’s elementary school rate girls’ looks on a scale of 1-10, holding up the scores in the hallway.
  • Little Sister Is Watching: When Frankie starts hanging out less with Busy and takes up smoking, Busy tries smoking herself.
  • Malicious Misnaming: In “The Big Gulp”, the girls attend a house party where the kids refer to one of the guys, named Emory, with the derisive name "Emma".
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Not marriage, but Busy's father disapproves of her relationship with her Black boyfriend, Troy, even at one point accusing him of stealing money from the cash register.
  • Men Can't Keep House: When Lucy Ramone temporarily moves out, the Ramone men are initially lost when it comes to upkeep in the home. In a later season episode, Busy and Amanda switch lives. At Busy’s home, Amanda is made to clean up after the Ramone brothers.
  • My Brother Is Off-Limits: Amanda has a crush on Busy’s older brother Dom, but Busy isn’t bothered by it because Amanda is not serious about it. It’s when Amanda gets close to Frankie, Busy’s other older brother, that things get awkward between the two friends.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Amanda is generally optimistic and a romantic to a fault. When a boy kisses her, she naively believes he immediately desires a relationship with her.
  • The '90s: The show was filmed and aired in the 1990s. While some of the technology can be outdated, the girls' experiences are still relevant today.
  • Non-Residential Residence: Amanda flees her home because she can’t deal with her parents’ decision to split. She goes to a shopping mall and manages to stay in hours past closing time until security finds her.
  • Not So Stoic: In the episode where Busy's mother miscarried her sister and Busy blamed her father for making her carry heavy things at the store, the next early morning, she discovers her usually stern and unemotional father crying his eyes out at the kitchen table, having also blamed himself for the miscarriage.
  • Oh, Crap!: Amanda hated her mother's one boyfriend Mel and spray-painted "Smel" on his car. While Busy protests her actions, Amanda assures her that the paint is indelible, which she then tells her means "permanent". Cue a slow-motion realization of this from Amanda.
  • One of the Boys: Elizabeth "Busy" Ramone is an only girl with three older brothers who are fairly close in age. She's by no means a pampered baby girl of the family and has to be tough. She loves sports, plays the drums, and hangs out with guys. Her only female friend is her best friend Girly Girl Amanda.
  • Only-Child Syndrome: Amanda is an only child, so she gets jealous when she sees her mom giving her boyfriend’s daughter special treatment. Amanda eventually gains step-siblings through her mother’s remarriage.
  • Painful Body Waxing: Amanda screams out in pain when she has Busy try waxing her leg. The next shot of her is with bright red welts on her leg.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The episode “Tongue Tied” has Busy stuffing her bra because she misinterprets a French-speaking boy and thinks he is pointing out how flat-chested she is.
  • Prejudice Aesop:
    • The episode “Black or White or Maybe Grey” deals with Troy getting a job at Sam’s shop and Sam accusing Troy of stealing money from the register.
    • "White Girls Can't Jump" is about the conflict that happens when Busy, in an argument with the Black captain on the girls' basketball team, repeats a racist comment her dad made.
  • Primal Scene: Amanda walks in on her parents, prompting her mother and dad to separately attempt to have The Talk with her.
  • Rise of Zitboy:
  • Romantic Spoonfeeding: Busy's oldest brother and his fiancée sit close together at the table, sharing one meal and spoon-feeding each other in an episode close to their wedding.
  • Sexiness Score: "Members Only" has Justin and a bunch of other dudes take it upon themselves to rate the girls walking up or down the stairway, holding up their scores as they pass. This particularly distresses Amanda, because she just grew a pimple, so she really doesn't want to be rated.
  • Sibling Rivalry: The three Ramone brothers engage in the occasional teasing and ribbing with each other. When Manny deduces Dom is a virgin, Dom responds by claiming the last action Manny got was from “Mrs. Hand and her five daughters”.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: In early seasons, Amanda has an unrequited crush on Justin, one of the popular guys in her grade.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: Variation in "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not." Busy gets a crush on her male karate teacher, but then later sees him kissing another man. The episode is an Aesop about how there's nothing wrong with being gay.
  • Summer Campy: "My Buddy Buddy" and "The Last Hurrah" were the only two episodes to be set in a different location—at a girls' summer camp. Busy and Amanda bunked in a cabin, had outdoor adventures and engaged in a prank war with the boys’ camp.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: The Ramone family begrudgingly agrees to attend family therapy sessions as part of an agreement with Lucy Ramone, who has returned home after some time living on her own. Despite being unenthusiastic during the sessions, the family later has a Epiphany Therapy.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Busy and Amanda are teenagers and have been best friends since childhood. Busy is a major tomboy who loves all kinds of sports, plays the drums and wears casual clothes like plaid shirts, baseball caps, and jeans. In contrast, Amanda is a romantic boy-crazy girly girl who likes makeup, nice clothes, writing, and wants to be an actress.
  • True Companions: Despite being total opposites in character and interests, Busy and Amanda are each other's closest friend. They try cultivating other friendships when they hit a rough patch, but end up realizing no one else understands them better than each other.
  • Very Special Episode: The series had many episodes of this type:
    • "Black or White or Maybe Grey" and "White Girls Can't Jump" dealt with racism.
    • "Busy's Curse" was about Busy getting her first period.
    • "Model Perfect" was about body image and eating disorders.
    • "Monkey See, Monkey Do" had a plotline about domestic abuse.
    • "Double Talk" addressed slut-shaming.
    • "Crossing the Line" dealt with sexual assault.
  • You're Just Jealous: Amanda accuses Busy of lying to her about Frankie because she’s jealous of not being in a relationship and dislikes being left out.
  • Your Tradition Is Not Mine: Busy comes into conflict with her traditional Italian family when she has to choose between playing a high-profile gig with her band and attending her family’s big reunion party. Sam accuses Busy of dishonoring the family because of her lifestyle choices like getting a nose piercing and going vegan, plus her favoring of the band gig.

Alternative Title(s): Ready Or Not