Hey all, sorry to you all (and co-writer, Sean) for the delay in getting this recap going. I had a pretty busy and unpleasant weekend. Before we start, I've seen a lot of back and forth among boards and other places about the specific classification of this episode. Is it in Season 1? Is it in Season 2? Does it exist in some seasonal vacuum altogether? And what's it called? "Girl Meets Demolition"? "Girl Meets What the What?"
For our purposes, I'm referring to it as the last episode in Season 1 and calling it "Girl Meets Demolition." Demolition was clearly the intended title and the one the writers (and my TV used), the "What the What" aspect was just for this promotional thing Disney was doing at the time. And it's a dumb name that makes no sense for this episode. And since this had the Season 1 opening, and Season 2 is clearly advertised as premiering in May, I'm calling this Season 1. This is the 21st episode, and Season 1 was always supposed to have twenty-one episodes so there you go. I hope this works for everyone. Some people seem to be REALLY passionate about not making this be part of Season 1, I'm not sure I understand why. It's not like "First Date" ended on some cliffhanger, the next episode would have to pick up on.
Anyway, as to the episode itself. I liked it a lot more than I was expecting to. No classrooms, no Lucas, no Farkle, and almost no Auggie are all generally moves that are going to lead to better scenes and episodes. This was just about Maya, Riley, Cory and Topanga (well, and Aubrey) and that's when this show's strongest. And I think it was funny. The girls were funny, Cory was funny, Topanga was even funny. This was probably her best episode all season, and one in which she really got to shine and utilize one of her few enduing character strengths from Boy Meets World - her general competence. And we got to see that while Riley mainly takes after Cory, and inherited both his impulsivity and wide-eyed optimism and naivete, she also got some of Topanga's brains with her cunning little semi-long con. Sure, you saw it coming a mile away, and I'm not sure I really buy her being that crafty, but it worked. And Riley's still fresh enough that they can introduce big traits to her.
Some complained about Cory, a grown man, being this much of a sucker. But to them I say - have you met Cory? Guy always means well, but he's a weak-willed fool. He gets by in life because he has savvy people around him who bail him out of jams because he's so gosh-darned lovable. His strengths are in interpersonal relationships not business dealings. I'm certain Topanga does the negotiating in any financial decision they've ever made and usually leaves Cory at home to color with the kids. So I was absolutely fine with his behavior and, in fact, enjoyed it.
Hell, I enjoyed the episode, some good lines and bits throughout. Still not wild about Maya and Riley having this eccentric billionaire friend they can call to get them out of jams, but we haven't seen much of her. So, I guess, whatever. As for Debby Ryan herself as Aubrey? She was fine. Strong for a young guest star. I don't watch Jessie (and have seen enough to know it's horrid) so I didn't care about her any more than, like, a Smackle but she's fine. Perhaps we got a little more resolution on her than we needed, considering she's not, like, becoming a character. I'd have just stopped with her comeuppence. Maybe even include the bit at the end implying she may change. Homegirl didn't have to stop by the Matthews' to become part of the family.
Sean - what say you?
It's interesting that the season classification is so divisive. I would actually call it season 2 because it was filmed with the season 2 episodes, which explains why the first thing I noticed is how different Rowan Blanchard looks. On the other hand, her acting hasn't really improved at all. It's always been fine, I just hoped she might have cleared out her sinuses by now.
I don't know who the guest actress is. I have a sneaking suspicion that the audience recognizes her, though. A quick investigation reveals that they must recognize her from the straight to DVD movie "Barney: Let's Go To The Firehouse." A classic.
I got a strong whiff of that Disney influence when Topanga started asking Aubrey about "good influences." I was immediately terrified of the episode ending with a trademark change-of-heart, and indeed it did. This is the problem with these one-off episodes. Everybody loves a good redemption arc, but it's absolutely insane to make it happen in thirty seconds. Imagine if Harley changed his ways at the end of the season 2 BMW opener after that confrontation with Turner. Or, perhaps a better comparison, the angry students in Life Lessons later in season 2.
You might think I'm harping on that issue too hard, but that issue is the episode. "How do you deal with a bad person when your parents can't help you."
Well gee that's easy. You just get your eccentric billionaire friend with too much free time to show up and dispense valuable life wisdom.
What's that? You don't have one of those? What do you mean you don't have one?
It's such a shame, because the buildup was good! I was interested! How do Riley and Maya deal with a bad person when Cory and Topanga can't help? That's a great concept for a story. But they blew it.
That's all I have to say.
Well, there you have it folks! Not too much to say about this one, but it was pretty darn filler. Still, I enjoyed it more than Sean did, and I think if we were Siskel and Ebert, this may be a thumbs up/thumbs down scenario. I actually kind of liked it. I recognize all of Sean's complaints and think them valid but, maybe the bar's been set low, but the schmaltziness and needless redemption of Aubrey just didn't bother me too much. And I thought, for GMW, the humor was pretty on point.
Episode Grade: B+
Episode MVP: I'll give this to Danielle Fishel.
And so ends Season 1 of Girl Meets World! It lasted from June until April which is a pretty epically long season. But with many interminable gaps. Season 2 begins on May 11th, which five episodes in one week which'll be... just... loads of fun over here. Those five episodes are pretty big though - Shawn's in one, Eric's in another, and Feeny's in a whopping two of them. One of which is the one Shawn's in, which means Shawn/Feeny interaction. So, we got all that coming up.
In the interim though, we have two weekends. And those weekends shall not be idle. Starting this Friday (and much more promptly, I promise) we're going to have a look back in Season 1. Sean and I will share our thoughts about what worked, what didn't, maybe some thoughts about best and worst episodes, and what we think of all these new folks.
The next weekend, will be a look ahead at Season 2. What we think based on the (myriad) of information released about it so far, including the first look at characters like Eric and Angela on GMW. Also what we're hopeful for, what we're afraid of, and what we expect.
Look forward to all that!