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.
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.