Episode Title: "Girl Meets Maya's Mother"
Episode Number: 7
Boy Meets World Episodes Borrowed From: Season 2's "Career Day" full stop. For one... there's a Career Day. For another, while it does feature an appearance from our hero's embarrassing parents, the main thrust is the unexpected arrival (and first ever appearance of) the troubled best friend's wayward parent. I guess there's maybe a little of Season 6's "Poetic License: An Ode to Holden Caulfield" in there too with the best friend being forced and coaxed by the hero into demonstrating their art for the public when they didn't want to.
Cory's History Lesson and Relevance: It's Career Day, so we didn't actually see Cory do much teaching (would the history teacher really be the one running this? Seems like a home room kind of thing. Oh, you know what, Cory should be their home room teacher too. I think that 'class' gives you more room to chit chat.) He does briefly bring up the Korean War as their current topic but it's quickly interrupted and never comes up again or is made into a life lesson.
"How Ya Doin'?" Count: Maybe none? Wow.
Episode MVP: Quality performances from Sabrina Carpenter, Ben Savage, and even occasional-mixed-bag Rowan Blanchard, but, what the hell.... giving it to Lee Norris as Stuart Fucking Minkus.
At long last, we finally get an unambiguously GOOD episode. No qualifications, no convincing myself stuff isn't as cring-y as I know I think it is deep down, this episode was simply great and would have been a good episode if it had been on Boy Meets World as well. This is the kind of thing I'd been hoping Girl Meets World would be when I first heard about it, and while some episodes have been fine and I've enjoyed almost all of them, now having seen this one... this is what I wanted Girl Meets World to be. While there were some lame moments (including Lucas, although he's been worse, and the fourth-wall breaking of Auggie singing opera) most of it was just flat-out funny.
The first act was probably the real highlight. The opening scene was fun (I enjoy that Art Teacher, I hope she recurs) and Riley's a lot more enjoyable for me when she gets to be something other than sweet and smart and helpful - I enjoy her delusional, insecure, even slightly inept side probably better (poor kid, the only thing people could think of to compliment her was "That's a cute top!") . The dinner scene where Cory demonstrated his talent for "close-up magic" was probably the best family scene this show has had yet.
And then, of course, motherfucking Stuart Minkus is back in the house. While I was disappointed he was such a comparatively minor part of this episode, he still ruled. He was hilarious, he was in character, and I'm glad he's continuing the trend of characters (such as spoiled appearances from Shawn and Harley) ending up exactly where I thought they would. A successful, millionaire Minkus (that Minkus International is a thing is my favorite), still stewing over his rivalry with Cory for getting Topanga when he couldn't is perfect - although, I'd like to hear a bit more about the exact Minkus family situation. Are he and Farkle's mom still together? Because he's blatantly talking about how in love with Topanga and how much he wishes he was with her right in front of his son which, uh, might hurt his feelings. Also, I hate that it's "Farkle Minkus" - I think Farkle's parents should just be divorced and he went by his mom's name.
I really enjoyed Cory in general in this episode, as he was spared from some of the overly-serious/maudlin material that I think Ben Savage has been struggling with in GMW and was allowed to just be funny/wacky Cory that he still can do in his sleep. It also helps to see Cory more as Dad and less as Teacher, because he's much better as Dad. Although Maya and Riley still did some of their annoying monopolizing of the classroom time so they can angst about their personal lives.
Then enter Katy. I like her. At first I thought she was a little too much like Chet (showing up at Career Day full of lies about what you do with a thick southern accent will do that) but I was relieved when the southern accent turned out to be just a put-on and that everyone saw through her charlatan antics while no one but Shawn saw through Chet's. She doesn't seem to be the lazy n'er-do-well like Chet is (she's full of pipe dreams, but she's holding down a job, and when she doesn't show up to the Art Fair it's because she's actually working to provide for her daughter) Spoilers have indicated that a big part of Shawn's appearance on GMW will be interacting with Katy - I'm very interested to see how that goes. Also, I'd rather they hang out at the Nighthawk Diner than in that lame bakery that Cory and Topanga own now. That I'm fine never being brought up again.
Lucas still aggravates me (Oh, Lucas is so perfect! Oh, Lucas speaks perfect french! No one in real life could ever be as handsome as Lucas! Riley can't concentrate on what she's supposed to be drawing, she's too busy drawing perfect Lucas! We should all start a religion about Lucas because Lucas is our savior and let's all tattoo Lucas' name on our faces!!!! ) but his reaction to the revelation of Farkle's name was alright, as was his covering up Farkle's mouth when he wasn't catching on that the painting was about Katy. Farkle, on the other hand, is slowly winning me over. This may have been my favorite Topanga episode too. She felt a little more like herself for some reason, hard to put my finger on it.
I gotta say, by the way, they should get a new artist to draw Maya's pictures, if she's supposed to be soooooo good. I wasn't that impressed with them. In particular, seeing her kinda elementary-school-ish drawing of the diner compared to, like, a very impressively drawn picture of a dog was kind of jarring.
At times near the end the episode started heading down that path of going to emotional 10s when a 7 might be more appropriate and less corny - such as in the scene in the hallway with Riley, Maya, and Katy - but it didn't do it nearly as bad as "Girl Meets Father" (which I think was still good enough to mostly overcome it) or "Girl Meets Popular" (which was a decidedly mixed bag as a result) and so this episode stands as, bar none, the best episode of the series thus far.
Episode Rating: A-
I believe the show will be taking the next couple weeks off I've heard? I'll try to use that time to post the reviews for the first 5 episodes.