Saturday, September 20, 2014

Episode Review: "Girl Meets 1961" (#1.09)

Episode Title: "Girl Meets 1961"
Episode Number: 9
Boy Meets World Episodes Borrowed From: Oh, any of the time travel ones. I suppose Season 2's "I Was a Teenage Spy" is the closest chronologically, while Season 5's "No Guts, No Cory"had a similar way of doing time travel where no one specific character actually time traveled, we just saw the characters as they'd be back then. 
Cory's History Lesson and Relevance: Cory's teaching them about the '60s and they time traveled to the '60s, so, sure, very relevant.
"How Ya Doin'?" Count: I don't know, and don't want to rewatch this one to count.
Episode MVP: Sabrina Carpenter... but.... faint praise.

Episode Review:
As predicted, this was a bad episode. The time travel episodes from Boy Meets World almost never worked, and even still this episode was worse than them. Because in addition to being a stupid time travel episode, it also came about way too early. “I Was a Teenage Spy”, the first time travel BMW episode, came about midway through Season 3. The other time travel episodes, “No Guts, No Cory” and “As Time Goes By” were in Seasons 5 and 7, respectively. By then, the show and characters were well established, so you can at least understand the thought process that it might be fun and interesting to explore them in a different time period. It largely wasn’t (especially in “I Was a Teenage Spy” which just isn’t very funny, and “As Time Goes By” which is sheer pointless
nonsense, like many episodes in Season 7) but there were at least elements in “No Guts, No Cory” (the strongest of the time travel episodes, in my opinion, which isn’t saying much) where I did kind of think it was funny to see those characters in that situation.

The problem is, we’re on only the ninth episode of Girl Meets World. We barely know these characters as they are, it’s way too soon for an alternate universe version of them. Their relationships don’t mean too much to me (well, maybe Maya and Riley’s does, but certainly not them as a foursome), so I don’t find anything heartwarming about the fact that their great-grandparents all met once at a cafĂ© in 1961. I don’t care about their great-grandparents when I barely care about them.

Speaking of great-grandparents, let’s deal with the existence of Rosie McGee. I imagine many, like myself, had the knee-jerk feeling that Rosie McGee probably doesn’t make any sense with the established chronology. Let’s examine it, shall we? First off, we must acknowledge that Rosie McGee is from the Lawrence branch of Riley’s family tree, and few sitcom families are more rife with continuity issues than the Lawrences of Boy Meets World, so if Rosie McGee DOESN’T fit with what we’ve already seen, she’d be carrying on the one family tradition they have.

But, okay. So Rosie McGee is Topanga’s maternal grandmother – i.e. the mother of Rhiannon (Chloe) Lawrence. If she had to be Riley’s great-grandmother this is probably the best possible option. Her being a Matthews would have been an immediate problem – we’ve met both of Cory’s grandmothers, and they weren’t Rosie, and Amy and Alan both were absolutely already born in 1961, both based on the ages we’ve heard Alan refer to himself as in the show, and the fact that by 1978 Eric would be born, and Alan and Amy were not teenage parents.

Now, while Amy and Alan absolutely have to have been already alive in 1961, I suppose that’s not necessarily the case for Jedediah and Rhiannon. Let’s say one or the other was born just one year later in 1962 – this would make them 31 in 1993 when Boy Meets World began, and 38 by the final season, which is when they were the most central to the storyline. Topanga, in the final season,  should have been roughly 20. This all remains technically possible. We have heard that Topanga’s parents got married very young – and with Nebula long erased from existence, Topanga is now their first child.  Hell, maybe Rhiannon was pregnant with her and that’s why they got into their ultimately doomed marriage in the first place? Now, can you buy Peter Tork, Michael McKean, or Mark Harelik (the three Jedediahs) as being only in their 30s when we saw them on Boy Meets World? I can’t, particularly Tork and McKean. So, thankfully, GMW made the wise decision of not making Rosie be his mother either.

She’s Rhiannon’s mom, and while I couldn’t buy Annette O’Toole (lovely as she is) as being a thirtysomething in her episode, it’s Marcia Cross that I suppose we should take as the currently canon mother of Topanga, because she’s the one we saw last. And Marcia Cross is significantly younger than all the other parents Topanga’s had and, in fact was born…. In 1962. Though Jed and Rhiannon got married young, if we imagine Rhiannon was also even younger than Jed at the time, and maybe Rhiannon was 18 when Topanga was born, and Jed was maybe…. 21 or 22? That makes her 38 in Season 7, him 42-ish, and I can buy Mark Harelik’s Jed at that age.

Any other problems? Well, we did hear that Topanga’s grandfather proposed to her grandmother on Pearl Harbor Day in “No Guts, No Cory” and this was back in 1941 – a whopping 20 years before the events of this episode. But, we don’t know exactly which grandparents they were. If this was Grandpa and Grandma Lawrence, Jedediah’s parents, we’re still fine. Jedediah could be a late-in-life kid for them, the youngest of 10 for all we know.

 So, no, there’s not technically a continuity issue here. It feels off. But it’s all possible. A problem lies in the fact, I think, that they had to make these characters be the great-grandparents of Riley and gang in order to make it work, because of the fact that Riley’s grandparents are all people we definitely know. But, someone Riley’s age is highly unlikely to have great-grandparents who were roughly 20 in 1961. It would make her great-grandparents in their early 70s now, and it’s unusual for anyone to have great-grandparents that young, especially someone from her (forgive me) social class. And it’s not just her, it’s all four of them! They were all great-grandparents. You’d think at least some of them would have been regular grandparents.  Riley, Maya, and Farkle all have young parents who had to be in their very early 20s when they had them, but there’s no reason, at the moment, why Lucas’ parents couldn’t be a more standard fortysomething, with grandparents in their early 70s. As it stands, it just is kind of a stretch that all four of these roughly 20-year-olds in 1961 would wind up with great-grandchildren

Frankly, what I think they should have done, is have made Rosie actually be Rhiannon, and make this episode take place in the early ‘70s instead. There’s no reason it couldn’t have been about the ‘70s and not the ‘60s. Furthermore, flower children like Clutterbucket weren’t really very common in 1961 (which was still a lot more like the 1950s than what is commonly thought of as the 1960s) while they were still going strong in the 1970s. It also makes the Topanga Canyon thing more poignant, since it would be Topanga’s own mother hearing the name for the first time and loving it which would mean more (because Rosie ultimately does not name her daughter Topanga, she apparently just… tells Rhiannon she likes the name)

But actually what they should have done is not make this episode. Because it’s garbage. As I said, they attempted something like this way too early, before we care enough about them, and even if this was later on, time travel episodes are hokey and lame. Too much of the episode had to be carried by the main foursome, as Cory and Topanga weren’t in it much, and Auggie wasn’t there at all. It also wasn’t very funny or well-written, and involved a lot of questionable characterization – like Riley, Farkle, and Lucas all being anti-History Class. Which doesn’t sound like them. Also, having these 12-year-old bop around like hippies and beatniks looked stupid. And was. Only Sabrina Carpenter really sold it, which is why she’s the episode MVP, but I still wish this hadn’t happened. Also, wasn't it really cool how, despite apparently being given a guitar for the first time, Maya randomly already knew how to play it? The answer is, no, it was not. 

Really, this episode felt to me like a worst case scenario version of what Girl Meets World could be. A show that screws with the continuity of BMW, barely features the characters I like, and centers all around characters I don’t care about while expecting me to care about them very much. And not funny. It’s a terrible, terrible episode (as evidenced by the fact that I chose to make most of my review an analysis of if there’s a continuity error in Rosie McGee’s story than actually tackle the episode head on.)

It’s not good. Don’t watch it. And poor Rider Strong, given such a shitty episode to direct.

Episode Rating: D

P.S. I will say, that Maya and Lucas continue to have better and better chemistry. It was like this week, they didn't even try to have Lucas and Riley interact, and all the good conversation was between them. I still don't like Lucas, but interacting with Maya is the only place he's any fun. They need to get on that stat. And I think that might be a good story, Riley maybe realizing Maya and Lucas are developing feelings for each other and her being torn between her own feelings and wanting her friends to be happy. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Smackle" (#1.08)

Episode Title: "Girl Meets Smackle"
Episode Number: 8
Boy Meets World Episodes Borrowed From: Let's see, what do we have here. Season 2's "Turnabout" for one - a nerdy girl gets a makeover to look hot, and questions are raised on how this changes her. This one's definitely got a better message though, as becoming pretty definitively did change Gretchen into a more shallow person, while Smackle was momentarily tempted but ultimately remained true to herself. Basically, take "Turnabout"'s premise and Season 4's "Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow"'s message, and there you are.
Cory's History Lesson and Relevance: The Trojan Horse. It was pretty okay, as far as his history analogies go. It's certainly something that looked like one thing and turned out to be something else. I do think stretching that to connect to outer beauty and inner brains is a stretch though.
"How Ya Doin'?" Count: 1
Episode MVP: Rowan Blanchard

Episode Review:
As episodes continue, Rowan and Sabrina are very much growing into these roles nicely - faster, I'll admit, than Ben Savage and Rider Strong did - it's difficult to not see Riley and Maya as lesser Cory and Shawn because, well, we had 7 ultimately quality years of Cory and Shawn. But Cory and Shawn as of episode 8 of Boy Meets World? Pretty meh. It took half the season for Shawn to be established as anything but "the friend of Cory's you see most." And Cory wasn't really Cory in most all of Season 1. On the other hand here we have an episode in which Riley and Maya are BOTH supporting characters (a first). This is an episode all about Farkle and Smackle, and maybe a little about Lucas. Riley and Maya are both there, and heavily involved (they sort of have to be) but it's not their story. And yet, they still remain, in my opinion, the best parts about this episode. They're not really going through any arcs themselves, other people are, so they just get to be funny and quirky. Maya continues to sing scat and be puckish, Riley continues to be her own particular brand of neurotic (which, I think is distinguishing itself from Cory's while still paying homage to it) quite nicely. It's fun. I like them a lot. And because they're not at the center of the episode, they're spared having to Get Serious which is often when these episodes take a hit in quality as it's generally done too saccharine which I don't think they, and particularly Rowan, don't do amazingly yet. 

You know who else doesn't have much to do in this episode? Cory. He's a big part of the first scene, then really does nothing else in the entire episode but host the debate. He doesn't appear in any of the scenes taking place at the Matthews residence with the rest of the family at all. The probable reason? This is Ben Savage's directing debut! Frequently actors on shows who direct pick episodes they're not very heavily involved in, as it's difficult to direct and act at the same time. William Russ directed a bunch of episodes of Boy Meets World, and I think it was mainly episodes Alan wasn't even in. Anyways good for him branching out. Next week, Rider Strong's directing, so be on the lookout for that too!

So, the first scene at school's funny. Riley's funny. Maya's funny. Farkle's... not all that funny. Lucas continues to be dull and continues to have more chemistry with Maya than Riley (as faint praise as that is).  Second scene is when the plot of the episode really comes together and it includes my favorite joke of the entire episode. We open up on the debate, and Riley and Maya are in the audience. Riley turns to Maya with angry purpose:

Riley: "I don't understand debate!"
Maya: "I say you do."
Riley: (still with angry purpose) "Okay!"

That cracked me up. I don't know how it was intended, because if it's taken to mean Riley's inability to debate Maya on this subject is evidenced by her simply acquiescing to Maya's assertion, than it's not that funny to me.  But I think if it was meant that way, then Riley would have wilted a bit in her reply. Instead it was like Riley was going to loudly declare what she thought the plot of this episode would be (Riley learning about debate) and Maya just being like "No, that's not what we're going to do." and basically shutting down Riley's assumption that this episode will be about her, and shutting Riley down for having another thing to be furiously neurotic about. It was hilarious to me, seen in that context. "Nope, this one's not about us." "FINE!" Rowan's delivery of it was great.

Hey, Smackle's back! Of perennial John Adams rival Einstein Academy. We remember her from "Girl Meets Popular" and I distinctly recall complimenting the character and hoping we saw more of her. I think it's good they foreshadowed this recurring character by sprinkling her in an earlier episode rather than her just showing up and we all having to act like "Oh, of course, it's Smackle. We know her." I like Smackle, she's great. "I am sad." I kind of wish they played up her robotic unemotional aspects of her more. For people who've seen Cheers or Frasier, she reminds me of a pre-teen Lillith Sternin. Only not as fine. Lillith was fine. Anyway, I think I detected a Kamehameha in there during Smackle's rock-and-roll entrance. Which is perfect. I also like that Smackle is her last name, not her first name, like ridiculous-ass Farkle Minkus.

Anyway, these debates are an utter joke in this episode. I've studied debate. So, this is just... this is just hard to watch. Neither Farkle nor Smackle deserve to win any of these debates. They're both terrible at it. They don't even come close to doing an even remotely competent job. So, I won't be covering any of that anymore. But suffice to say, they suck. I get it's a TV show where you can't spend that much time on this.

Riley's a hoot and a half in all of this. "If I knew [why Farkle's interested in me], I would stop!" "Youwannacomemyhouse?" "Hey! Good job being smart and everything!" "Wonderful debate, Farkle, it'll be a memory that stays with me right until the next thing happens." And she's not being rude or disingenuine with that last one. She's just a flake, full of things she feels very strongly about and will rant over until she gets distracted by a passing bumblebee. I like this side of the character a lot. I don't need her to be overly concerned with following the rules. I don't need her to also be the smart one. Just play up her being a neurotic ditz with a big heart - accidentally befriending people and then just going with it and trying desperately to hug them right away even when they don't know how. 

Okay, guys. Topanga and Auggie guy. Take a seat. Get a cigarette ready to smoke afterwards, because you're going to be feeling some sweet sweet release you didn't even know you needed. Auggie rushes in (rips off his shirt like he's fucking Brando or someone which is hilarious) And then this about Auggie's girlfriend Ava - who I kind of forgot about it.

Auggie: "She thinks we might not be together for the rest of our lives! She thinks there might be others."
Topanga: "Of course, that's only natural."
Auggie: "No, it's not. You're supposed to meet someone, fall in love, and be together forever."
Topanga: "Oh, honey. Who put that crazy idea in your head?"
Auggie: "You and Daddy."
(a beat)
Topanga: "Huh. I wonder how many people the idea of Cory and Topanga has ruined?"

Well, folks. That's just... wow. Meta in the most absolutely fabulous way. I don't join the legions of fans who claim couples like Cory and Topanga gave me an unrealistic view of love because, well, I never took Cory and Topanga that seriously and never really believed relationships worked that way. But it's a common criticism leveled at them, and they're right. I've often complained that for a show ostensibly about an average kid growing up and learning how the world works, Cory's relationship with Topanga was ridiculous uncommon. Boy Meets World generally treated it as a healthy, normal way for a relationship to work, and that people like Shawn, who played the field... when he was 17, were screw-ups and doing it wrong. For GMW to finally cop to the fact that C0ry and Topanga are a ridiculous couple, that no one acts like them, that it's insanity for anyone to expect to have that, is very very rewarding. And it's such an interesting aspect that their 6-year-old son might just... think that's how relationships work, and might feel pressure to know who his soulmate is now at this age, because he's heard that's how his parents did, and where else is he going to get ideas like that? Great. 

Not much else to say about this story. There's only like one more scene that has to do with it, and it just wraps it up. This whole C-plot was basically just an excuse for Topanga to deliver that line.

So, Cory and Shawn remake Smackle into a pretty girl. I actually wrote that sentence. Yes, I obviously meant Riley and Maya. But I'm going to leave it there, so you all know. But I actually want to note something here. Cory and Shawn were obviously very different from one another, but you know when they were most entertaining for me to watch? When they were the same. They were always best as a funny, mischevious duo. Episodes like "Bee True", to name just one that I happened to recently rewatch, are them at their best - when they're always on exactly the same page, neither is any smarter or stupider than the other, and they have the exact same values, ideas, and priorities. Sure - Cory's a nebbish square who's used to nothing but safety and comfort and Shawn's an angsty rebel whose life is an un-ending slog of pain and abandonment - but somehow these two can be exactly the same a lot of the time, and it's really fun when they are. I bring this up, because generally Maya and Riley's differences have been played off each other, but this episode establishes them as a duo better. They stop pretending Riley's not just as much an alpha chick at John Adams as Maya is, and just let them both be kind of superficial do-gooders who go around helping people because they feel it's their duty as the two coolest girls in the world. It sounds like I'm insulting them, but I'm not. I like their dynamic like this. Just like I like when Cory suddenly becomes as reckless as Shawn and Shawn suddenly becomes as immature as Cory in order to be on the same level to be a duo. 

And... this took a lot longer than I thought it would, and I'm running late for something. Part 2 tomorrow!

Also, how the hell tall is Rowan Blanchard? Six feet?! Smackle goes up to her chest. 

Part 2:
Feels like I already did the lion's share of the reviewing in the first half, so let's just finish it up. There's the typical, perfunctory unhip person tries to behave like a cool person by mirroring their lingo... like it's a commercial for Apple Jack's from the '90s or something. The point being that Smackle believes she has unlocked the keys toward speaking like a typical ditzy teenager by mimicking certain key phrases and inflections. 

Oh, and now Lucas wants to join the debate team. Because don't just Lucas on his appearance! He's also SO SMART, YOU GUYS. Lucas is DREAMY, and he is PERFECT, and he has ONLY AMAZING QUALITIES, and NO FLAWS, and you MUST LOVE HIM. I don't fucking care. Maya and Riley show up and an... E or F plot is thrown in there where Maya's apparently going to wear glasses (which diminishes your attractiveness only in teen movies) for a while to see if people treat her differently. Rewatching this for the review - does this bit ever even get resolved? The episode's already half over, why are we suddenly doing this now? Anyway, Maya looks cute in glasses and, as they state that things actually look less blurry for her wearing them - maybe she'll start! 

Oh, and in getting Farkle to go out on a date with Smackle, they accidentally imply he'd be dating them. And Farkle fucking faints (alliteration!) which is lame. I've mentioned, I think,  that Farkle's sloooowly been winning me over, but I'm really not a fan of his crush on the girls. The whole by turns loyal-sweet-friend and lecherous-creeper is offputting. It just feels like they don't quite have his character figured out, and I think the character would be better served if he didn't have this obsession with Riley or Maya - and particularly not having an equal obsession with both of them which just makes him look shallow and like it has nothing to do with these two girls in particular, they're just the only two pretty girls who talk to him. 

Oh great. That stupid bakery again. So, Farkle figures out that Smackle's desire to be made over was all in preparation for the debate, which was a nice twist, but it also turns out that the makeover is having some affect on Smackle as well, as she's now getting all giggly over Lucas. Although, it's really not an issue of Lucas now suddenly paying attention to her because she's pretty, Lucas is just nice and polite to everyone. He doesn't come off attracted to Smackle and he doesn't seem to be acting any differently than he treats anyone else. But whatever.  And also, there Lucas goes... being told where to go, what to say, and he just smiles blankly and goes along with it. He's (supposedly) a smart guy, he has to be aware of Farkle's doing, and he has to know that it's kind of mean. But he just blankly goes along with it. Because he's the worst. "Are you sitting here because you want to be my mate?" (and Smackle's tone of voice) is funny though.

Auggie's little sideplot is wrapped up simply by virtue of it being pointed out to him that Ava didn't actually break up with him, and that he got to eat cake, and so he had a pretty good day. Like I said - the entire plotline really seemed to exist for Topanga to make that one joke - but Auggie's five, so I'm fine with him going from miserable to fine with a drop of a hat. 

Debate time again. And it's still nonsense. One bit I did like was that Riley interrupted Farkle's speech to declare that she keeps wrapping paper because she likes to wear the ribbons, Farkle's reaction is an "Okay..." that seemed like he was politely telling her to shut the fuck up. Which is the normal way people react to people in the audience butting in with their two cents rather than being quiet like they're supposed to (Lookin' at you Maya in "Girl Meets Truth")

 Anyway, Smackle's still good at debate despite her looks change. And she wins. Not in a way that makes sense though. Her argument is like half defending Farkle's points. And also these are just the worst debate teams in the planet. And Smackle cites the Trojan Horse like she even goes to this school and would have known about Cory's unrelated history lesson. Oh, and then Smackle has a little conversation with Maya and Riley confirming that they're all going to be friends now. All in front of an audience. The Einstein Academy supporters are like "So... is this still the debate or....?" and the JQA kids are all "Nope. This is just how it works here. We're all forced to watch Maya and Riley have significant life moments."

Oh, and then Farkle acts like he's just learning for the first time that Riley and Maya are pretty which is ridiculous and I don't believe him, and makes him seem like he's Stephen Colbert in character trying to pretend he doesn't see color. That's stupid. 

So, stuff to like. Stuff to not like. I think it gets...

Episode Rating: B

Oh. Great. Next week's a time travel one. Those were always such a treat. I'm so glad that's still happening in this series. I can't wait to see Maya as a hippie and Riley as a beatnik. What a fun new context to put those characters in. I'm so excited.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Truth" (#1.05)

Episode Title: "Girl Meets Truth"
Episode Number: 5
Boy Meets World Episodes Borrowed From: Season 6's "The Truth About Honesty" - an episode also about how, while honesty's important, little white lies are probably okay and that if you absolutely have to deliver painful truths you should probably find a tactful way to do it. Sadly, it seems all of the valuable lessons Cory learned in this episode were wiped away, as he is back to being gleefully and callously honest with absolutely no regard to how it makes Topanga feel - although he's not nearly as much a jerk about it in this one. 

There's also shades of Season 1's "The Play's The Thing" what with the kids doing a Shakespeare play, Farkle (like Minkus) being terrible in it, and a Spearcarrier deciding to increase the size of his role. Although, I have to wonder about the wisdom of placing a Spearcarrier in this scene. If he was on guard in that vault shouldn't he have, like, stopped Romeo and Juliet from offing themselves? I think they should have just cast Farkle as Count Paris who actually DOES fight Romeo over Juliet in this scene. But no matter.
Cory's History Lesson and Relevance: Cory's just... teaching his class about "truth", which doesn't really seem to be inside a History teacher's purview but okay. Obviously quite relevant to the episode, even if it's not relevant to his subject.
"How Ya Doin'?" Count: 3
Episode MVP: Ben Savage, easily.
Episode Review: 

So, remember when I said I'd get all five of the first episodes reviewed by the time the next episode aired? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. So, I didn't do that. Partly because with GMW off the air it was sort of "out of sight, out of mind", partly because I'm always busy and taking on new projects it's difficult for me to finish, and partly because the readership of this blog hasn't been catching the world on fire. But, by popular demand (i.e. one person mentioned it in the comments) I am going to review this episode, and then continue on with the other episodes going forward. Maybe during another hiatus I'll review the first four. But suffice to say, I think the first three are all varying degrees of 'meh' and Girl Meets Father's the best one, though still only in B territory.

My recollection is this one, "Girl Meets Truth" had a bed rep - but I remember liking it. Let's see how I feel in a rewatch.

So, it's Romeo and Juliet, starring Lucas Friar (who doesn't seem like he'd be into acting and isn't much good at it) as Romeo, and Riley Matthews as Juliet (natch). 

So. I like Maya. I do. She's the best regular character on this show who isn't Cory. But this first scene shows another example of what a complete and utter narcissist she is. Despite being in the audience, not only does she think it's appropriate to stand up and start interacting with the actors, but when Farkle (who has an excuse, because he's mentally unbalanced) requests she get on stage to get kissed (which... she wouldn't want), she, an audience member, just walks the fuck up on stage, scooches Riley over, so she can share the starring role of Juliet. Oh, she makes a face like she doesn't want to be doing this, but she doesn't protest this for one freaking second. I'm surprised she didn't pull off her leather jacket to reveal she was already in full costume while going "Oh, nooo, I couldn't possibly!" She's just a ginormous attention whore. Riley is too, although she's at least fairly above board about it. It's not my favorite trait of theirs and, as I've said before, I think in real life everyone at school would despise these two insipid girls.

So, yeah, that bit all sucked. And then in the hall Maya's mocking Farkle for killing the play, like she didn't do a whole lot of aiding and abetting on that part. Anyway, Riley's sweet, Farkle's delusional, this is all okay. I did like Farkle's flat out stating "I thought I sucked and if you had told me just then I had sucked I would have believed you but now I think I'm amazing and destined for stardom." 

Oh, and Maya may have stolen a locket. Throughout Maya and Riley's one-on-one scenes in this episode (and often in general) they seem to go for this back-and-forth banter-y kind of Aaron Sorkin rhythm. Often the two will be having completely separate conversations with themselves but they still kind of wait for each other to finish so they can't actually not be listening. It's a cute device when done well, and the dialogue's not bad for it (I enjoyed Maya's spiel about the pigeon in Riley's room) but in general I think the actresses are just a touch too inexperienced to really pull it off, it's a hard thing to do well there's a whole rhythm you really need to get down to sell that. 

Anyway, Riley makes way too big a deal out of Maya taking something that's been sitting in the lost and found for months, but she straddles the line between just being a neurotic goodie-two-shoes about it which is fun ("Why do you want to end up in the slammer?! You won't do well in the slammer!!" "I will so!") and just being obnoxiously strident about the whole thing. And, again, this whole story, I feel, half goes back to Maya's attention whore ways. She knows Riley's going to wonder what the deal is with this BIG HONKIN' GOLD LOCKET and she tells obvious lies when Riley inquires (You got it in Paris, Maya? Really?) which only serves to make her more suspicious. Maya's not stupid. She knows how Riley's going to react. 

Now, here comes the part that makes this episode kind of rock. Cory and Topanga's whole storyline with the chicken. Yes, as mentioned, Cory completely forgets a lesson he learned 15 years ago and is just recklessly and gleefully honest with Topanga for seemingly no other reason than to be a dick - but it's still HILARIOUS. In this context, Ben Savage really shines and I really wish they would give him more of this material and less of him as... overly sentimental teacher, because he's just not selling it. But this is Ben Savage's natural element, and is the kind of way in which he can play Cory Matthews in his sleep. It's the other stuff he needs to work on - he used to be able to do it well, but I just think he's rusty and needs practice. And until he gets there, they need to tone it down.

Going back to the chicken bit, unlike in "The Truth About Honesty" on Boy Meets World, where Cory went too far with the honesty where it really seemed like he was attempting to be deliberately cruel to Topanga, in this situation (which is about a fairly innocent topic) it just seems like funny - like Cory knows he's digging himself in deeper with Topanga but is doing it for fun because he knows it's not something Topanga's ACTUALLY furious about, and that Topanga's anger is also just for giggles too. Like it's just a silly married game they're playing. So, I'm just completely on board with all of it. 

Back at school, we see the first appearance, I believe, of what has already become a running gag of Maya erupting into scat when she's stalling. I really like this quirk of hers, and like that we've seen it quite a bit since. It's a very unique character trait for this kind of show, has no Boy Meets World equivalent, and I dig it. Also Farkle's C story about the play is entertaining "Hey chess club, you can move your king's knight to bishop 6 and then you can EAT IT. 'Cause I'm an actor! 'Cause Riley said so! Hey chemistry club, you know what you get when you put sodium and chlorine together? YOU'RE A BUNCH OF LOSERS!"

Come on. Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good Chickens? That's just gold. All of this is gold. 

Also, you know Topanga says a lot on this show? Variations of "Where's this going?" with a plastered-on mirthless smile. I should make a separate count for that. TANGENT: Topanga's really got, like, a whole other personality on this show. Which, I think only goes to show how poorly drawn Topanga was on Boy Meets World, something being touched on a bit over at Boy Meets World Reviewed. Cory feels the same. Minkus felt the same. I bet you anything that Shawn will feel the same when we see him, and if Eric ever shows, I can't say for certain which version of Eric will get, but I bet he'll still feel like Eric. But Topanga's just not a very multi-faceted character. I hesitate to have the knee-jerk "Men can't write women" reaction, especially since Riley and Maya, flaws and foibles aside, are certainly written as distinct characters (although them just being Femme-Cory and Femme-Shawn helps) but I don't think women on Boy Meets World were very well written. Cory, Shawn, and Eric were far more interesting, well-written characters than Topanga, Angela, and Rachel. Even Alan always had more interesting things to do than Amy. Morgan became useless as soon as she was too old to be cutesy. You know who's the one interesting girl character on BMW I can think of offhand? Lauren in "Heartbreak Cory". You know who wrote that episode? Two women. Just sayin'. Michael Jacobs has mentioned he has a LOT more women on the writer's staff for GMW for obvious reason. It's helped in that regard.

Back on track! Although the Cory-being-kicked-out-the-house-and-trying-to-sneak-back-in gets a little too sitcom-y, there's still a lot of funny material there. "Please don't let people know this is how I live in my own house." "So, what do we do now? Just sit here, or what?"

Oh, and then Farkle plants a long unsolicited kiss on someone who is clearly recoiling in horror and disgust. Mooooooovin' on past that...

Shut up, Lucas. "My moment... will be... my moment." Fuck off. No one cares about your moment. No one likes you. No one knows why a 54-year-old like you is interested in 12-year-old Riley. 

In the end, Maya and Riley run into the locket's true owners in the subway, and there's a meh scene where Maya gives it to the little girl, and is way too dramatic about it in a way that should kinda skeeve out the family. The father never says a word in the entire scene because they want to pay him as an extra and not as a guest star.

And Cory and Topanga get a nice little coda at the end where they make up. One bit of continuity for Copanga that remains is "Kiss kiss!" which is cute. 

Episode Verdict: B+

This might be my favorite episode besides "Girl Meets Maya's Mother" so far. It's consistently funny, I love Copanga's B-plot, and this is probably Cory's best episode so far. I'm not all that into Maya and Riley's story here, but it's not terrible or anything.