Saturday, November 29, 2014

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Brother"

So, I think the solution to the problem of my lack of interest is just to do shorter/less intense episode reviews. Not an episode-by-episode walkthrough requiring me to re-watch it all and take notes as I go, but just a general summation.

Episode Title: "Girl Meets Brother"
Episode Number: 15
Boy Meets World Episodes Borrowed From: There are a few episodes in BMW that deal with one of the Matthews brothers feeling jilted by the other, but I actually think the closest analogue is actually "Brotherly Shove" way out near the end of the series. Despite the differences in Cory and Eric's stage of life then vs. Riley and Auggie's stage of life now, Auggie still plays the role Eric did - jealous of their sibling rather than spending time with their friends than him, especially in an activity that was supposed to be just the two of them. 
Cory's History Lesson and Relevance: None! No class! Yay! 

Episode Review: This was a pretty good episode, one that restored a modicum of faith in me after the one-two punch of train wrecks, in my opinion, that were "Girl Meets Flaws" and "Girl Meets Friendship". Maybe I'll get around to doing mini-reviews of them (I probably should) but if I don't, suffice to say they were both bad. "Girl Meets Flaws" took an insultingly simplistic look at the very real problem of bullying that helps absolutely no one and in no way reflects real life (it's subplot of Riley wanting an award for being special and ending up getting the bestest award of all at the ceremony was equally insulting) and "Girl Meets Friendship" was just a horrendously written clusterfuck. 

But this episode? Not bad. Not bad at all. Not perfect by any means, but a lot of this worked. Cory and Topanga felt like themselves, were pretty well written and funny, and felt like pivotal parts of the show. It focused on the Matthews family (+Maya, which is fine) and that's a FAR stronger part of this series than the school stuff and class stuff is. The school scenes are just so badly written, and they move Cory rather abruptly from the best part about the show into one of the worst parts, and the friendship dynamic still doesn't work either. Maya and Riley's friendship individually works, and in fact works probably better than Cory and Shawn's did 15 episodes into Boy Meets World when Shawn still felt undefined and part of a vague "Cory's gang", but Lucas and Farkle's inclusion into a foursome isn't getting any better. 

In fact, the complete lack of Lucas (and the only minimal inclusion of Farkle, which was just enough of him) was probably part of what made this episode so strong. Riley really shines when he's not around to be an albatross around her neck. I like her much better as goofy, awkward, and painfully square but Lucas in Riley's orbit turns her into a boring generic Disney girl. As discussed, he works a lot better with Maya, but I still think he works best just... not there.

Some negatives? Well, Auggie felt off sometimes. He kept saying like... aggressively sweet and endearing things, and while he does that sometimes, it's not usually as in your face as this ("Riley makes me smiley!") It made him feel a bit less real. 

Oh, and that whole Herbie Hancock thing was lame as all celebrity guests on these shows are when the shows make a big deal about him. Did you instantly recognize him as Herbie Hancock? I didn't. I consider myself at least slightly more with-it about older music than today's preteens, and I couldn't have picked Herbie Hancock out of a line-up if my life depended on it. And yet the audience all clapped and recognized him instantly, and the show played up the wink/wink/nudge/nudge of "Hey, you should play music for a living!" This may have worked if it was, like... I don't know... Elton John or Stevie Wonder or someone more instantly recognizable. But it just felt really forced and uncomfortable and embarassing for everyone. Obviously, Girl Meets World is not going to be get big-name celebrity guests. Just like Boy Meets World, whatever celebrities it gets are going to be random and C-list and not worth the "WOOOs!" we're forced to endure for them. Just don't do it.

I also think we're going to the flashback well a little often. We're half a season in and I think we've now seen that "Cory and Topanga's first kiss" flashback twice, yeah? Drop it. We know what their first kiss looked like. Earn your moments on your own merits. 

Episode Review: A- (I'm trying to keep in mind... the series, for BMW this wouldn't have been an A- episode. But I actually think this was probably the second-best episode of the series after "Girl Meets Maya's Mother")
Episode MVP: I'm going to give it to Rowan Blanchard, but Ben and Danielle were both strong candidates too. 

Oh my god, you guys. Next week? I can't even handle it. 

4 comments:

  1. I really liked this one, too. Lucas's absence didn't even register for me until Farkle showed up, and his bit with Topanga was really cute. I hope if they do more episodes like this without school scenes, they continue to use Farkle and not Lucas as the "guest" character, because you're right, he definitely works in small doses like this. The egg-smashing bit with Topanga really worked for me, too. That was unexpected and adorable.

    It's also that the flashbacks are too abrupt. They trim them so tightly that they take me out of the scene--instead I'm focusing on how differently filmed they were from GMW--much less saturated colors (or is it more saturated?). And then they're there for a split second and gone already. Maybe it's intentional because they don't want to take up time with them, but to me they feel rushed.

    Is it next Friday yet?!?

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  2. Much better than last week. Then again, that's an incredibly low bar. We got to see Cory more as a dad than a teacher, which I thought he was much more comfortable in. The classroom scenes are more hit and miss in story set up and its hurting the show.

    This was our first real glimpse of Corey and Topanga "the couple" that we've seen all season. Yeah, we've seen them be parents, but not a loving couple, and it brought back memories for me from the BMW days. Their mini date in the subway was cute and quirky and it fit them both. They get my MVP vote, and were the strong point of the episode.

    The babysitting plot was cute, and it did tug at my heartstrings a little, but I think they relied a little to much on the delivery ability of a 5 year old boy. Auggie should be used for emotion and one liners only. Giving him full lines of dialogue isn't doing the flow of conversations any favors. Use him to his strong suit, and that is being an adorable little boy. Rowan and Maya were fine, and ended up being the responsible big sister(s) that we knew they would be. They also had some great one liners themselves. Farkle and Lucas were not missed, and I hope the writers can interject some life into these two, more Lucas than Farkle.

    Is it Friday, now?!!

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  3. I don't know if you have a Twitter account, but the show's writers did a Q&A yesterday that was quite informative in regards to the end of this season, and Season 2.

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  4. literally will friedleOctober 26, 2016 at 12:02 AM

    Re: Cory and Topanga not having a "date" in "three weeks and four days". Were they talking about fucking? D: DISNEY WHY. And assuming they were, I'm glad it didn't even register with Auggie and Riley <_<

    I will say, I recognized Herbie Hancock, but that's only because I watched a video of him talking about some music stuff in the last couple weeks. If I hadn't I would have had literally no idea who the fuck he was.

    anyway it was decent, although auggie was too saccharine

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