Friday, May 15, 2015

Episode Review "Girl Meets Mr. Squirrels" (#2.05)

Hi hello greetings, it's gold font best font once again as Christian is off doing something far less interesting tonight.

When was the last time Auggie had a line that wasn't immediately followed by audience laughter? The entire source of humor is supposed to be "Hah! A kid just said that! He's a kid! Gosh darn!" And I can't stand it. 

You may have heard me groaning just now as Zay came on the screen. Who is writing this guy's lines? It's insane, it doesn't match the style of anything else on this show. Regardless of his background or the acting or anything else, he's written in such a standard "high school sitcom" way, it's like he's from a different show!  

Okay let's talk about what matters. We'll start with his entrance. We already knew what would happen from the teaser, and the audience did the thing where they scream and prevent the actors from saying their lines, but none of that stopped me from feeling like I had just seen the sun after fifteen years of rain. The lollipop gag was another in a long line of recycled jokes passed off as "callbacks", but again, that didn't matter because I loved every second of it.

They over-did it with the marching tune... thing... Why does this show have to crank absolutely every joke into overdrive? I don't know. Let's move on.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Episode Review "Girl Meets Pluto" (#2.04)

Hey everyone, Sean here, I'll be kicking things off tonight.

And... wow. This is a jam packed episode, firing on all cylinders from start to finish. I don't even know where to start, but I suppose the beginning is a solid choice.

I like the Churchill quote, I like how Cory breaks it down, I like how he has a conversation with his students instead of the students completely taking over. Is this what we've been waiting for since the ice age? Can we expect to ever see this classroom dynamic again? It's hard to say, but this is exactly what I needed to re-energize my interest in this show. 

Riley's desk is off-center there for some reason and it must be an accident; neither Riley nor Farkle would ever allow such disorder. Also Zay is missing, it seems they replaced him with a different black guy for this episode. 

So we're doing a time capsule, and to my great surprise the only people whose contributions seem to matter are, of course, The Four. The first coffee shop scene introduced the time capsule dilemma and showed us once again how much fun Maya and Lucas are together. They are the most fun I have with this show. Anyway, it's a good scene and Katy finishes it off with some very personal life advice for The Four. She is certainly a testament to following your dreams even when things seem bleak. I have to give props to whoever came up with this "Katy works at a bakery that Topanga takes over" idea. It was a very smooth transition to allow her convenient appearances, which then help the audience to grow attached to her. 

The whole "shovel" thing was very Cory-and-Topanga. They're both in the roles where we enjoy them the most, and of course Shawn makes the whole machine move even more smoothly. Shawn is WD-40 for the machine that is Girl Meets World. I'd have to go back and check, but is this the first time these three have been on camera without anyone else? I feel like Auggie or somebody else always interfered in the scenes with our Boy Meets World veterans. That would be neat if this were the first time.

They've recreated Feeny's backyard here, and it's close enough that nitpicking on the differences would be in bad taste. I'm just happy to be here. Although, they never actually say where they are, so anyone who didn't watch BMW would be totally lost right now. The good news is, I don't care about those people. 

The meeting with Feeny is delightful, but it was painfully short. And listen, I'm probably alone on this, alone in the middle of Siberia, but I wish they hadn't done the Feeny Call (which Christian expertly recognized from the teaser, for which he deserves high praise). They even took his "Dude let's go" at the end. The girls did a wonderful job with the whole thing, but... it's Eric's. I don't think anyone on the planet should be doing the Feeny Call except for Eric Matthews. 

Okay two last things to talk about. The opening of the adults' time capsule was fantastic. That scene is a dream for any Boy Meets World fan. LAUREN'S FUCKING LETTER? That's brilliant! I was blown away, I didn't expect it at all. I knew what it was when she pulled it out, but still. Excellent decision from Jacobs. Shawn's items were of course the things he found in Angela's purse way back when. I was never a huge fan of Shangela, but it was another excellent storytelling decision for the narrative that this show wants to follow. I like the kids' time capsule items as well, Farkle's in particular. I don't have anything else to say about that. Maya's, on the other hand, seems extremely forced, but there's really no escaping this matchmaking shit.

Which brings me to my last point. The Parent Trap. I don't like it. I disliked it the moment it popped up in Girl Meets Home For The Holidays. The first coffee shop scene had some flirty banter between Shawn and Katy and it was awesome until we were (quickly) reminded that Riley and Maya are way too invested in it. The final coffee shop scene worked too! Shawn and Katy definitely have chemistry (let's be honest, Shawn god damn Hunter can mix it up with anybody), and it's fun to watch until they cut to Maya and Riley lurking in the shadows nearby. This matchmaking gambit from Miley is ruining it for me. How long until the episode where the girls tail Shawn and Katy on their first date? I can write that entire episode for you right now. Here, look, I'm gonna draw the episode right now.

 Barf. Christian?

Whoa! Animation?! I can't follow animation! Sean, wanna produce a cartoon show together? I particularly enjoy the use of sky blue to be Riley.

So, this episode... well, Jesus Christ. I knew it involved the gang hanging out in Feeny's backyard, so I knew I would like it.... but it was legitimately awesome. Sure, it was super fanservice-y, but there are fanservice-y episodes I like just because I'm the fan being serviced (like Girl Meets Home for the Holidays) and those I like because they're also good (like Girl Meets Master Plan.) And... well, this was better than both of those. This was good from the jump. The cold opening which was just a scene in class was good. The discussion about time capsules between the foursome was good too. None of which inherently rings my chimes. It's just a good episode. Top to bottom. Well written, funny, and with this series' best classroom scene ever. Everything Cory, Topanga, and Shawn did worked for me. Everything Riley and Maya did worked for me. Hell, the way they all threw their shovels down worked for me. It was just so, so good.  And yeah, that it's 2015 and I just watched one last episode of television that involved Lauren's fucking letter knocked my socks off. Great, just absolutely fantastic great. Unlike you, I did not know what they were up to when they pulled the letter out. Even when Topanga said the letter wasn't from her, and then Shawn reacted I was like, "Wait, so... this is what Shawn put in the time capsule? I... don't understand." 

Anything I didn't like? Well, maybe. Some of the callbacks were a little too on the nose (they clearly went out of their way to give Cory an opportunity to say "They want you to take the rolls!") and I still don't like how hung up Shawn is on Angela. Shawn and Katy had an exchange where he mentioned Angela was someone from his past, and Katy acted like "Hey, I'm right there with you." Except Katy's ex is an ex-husband who is the father of her child and who she tried to build a life around. She's allowed to still have issues. Shawn's ex is... some chick he dated when was 19 and hasn't seen since it seems. It really bothers me that he still cares so much about her. Not because I think that relationship was meaningless, it wasn't. But because it just feels like they put Shawn in a time capsule himself. That he's reacting the way he might if this was Season 8 of BMW and Trina McGee-Davis is off the show and that breakup just happened and is still raw. It's hard to believe that this is a real guy who had 15 years worth of life experiences when he acts this way. 

I don't mind Shawn still being a broken little dandelion. That's just who Shawn Hunter is. He's eternally damaged, and he should be. And stuff like Chet and Virna should definitely still be an issue. But I wish it was just that he'd had a cavalcade of failed relationships, not just The One. Because, honestly, I'm like eight years younger than Shawn, and I'm also single. And it's because I have a cavalcade of failed relationships behind me not because I can't get over my one high school girlfriend. And I think that's how it goes for most people. I'd rather see that.

I also agree that I don't quite like how they're handling this Shawn/Maya/Katy thing. I feel like it's an issue of they don't have Rider Strong as often as they'd like so they need to make every interaction count. But I want to see the two of them just... hang out more and be fun together so I understand why Maya so desperately wants this guy to be her dad. There hasn't been enough of that. Every interaction we see can't lead to a meaningful moment where they sit next to each other and decide to be important to one another. But I feel like because they're thinking "Oh, shit, we only have 5 Rider Strong episodes this year. What do we do with them?" they're rushing these moments.
But that's a lot of complaining for an episode that's obviously getting an A+. This episode rocked. It just fucking totally rocked. 

I feel like if you didn't watch BMW it would be clear that this was Feeny's backyard, but it misses any mention of the thing about Mr. Feeny's backyard that is most critically important to Cory - that it's adjacent to his own childhood backyard. No mention is made of "And, if you'll look to your right, that's where I spent the first 18 years of my life." Do the Matthews' still live there? Is Josh probably like... 10 feet away from Maya, and it doesn't even come up? That's odd. I get that they don't have much time to cover everything, but it's weird. Maybe the Matthews' moved to a smaller place once they were down to just them and Josh in the house.

Meanwhile, Shawn and Katy definitely have chemistry. Sure, Rider would have chemistry with anyone, but I also give Cheryl Texiera her due. She's just as integral in that chemistry, if not more so. She's doing a really, really good job. The character of Katy really works, and I kind of... want to see Shawn date her now, even if it's super neat and tidy. I just like her a lot, and I like them together. Oh! Here's something. Remember that episode where that student teacher hooks up with Eric and then gives him the answers to the test? Know what her name was? Tori Hart. I choose to believe that's Katy's older sister. And that she's going to come to town and reconnect with Eric. 'Cause that girl was hot. 

So, I want to broach this last subject and I really want to gauge how you and everyone else feels to see if I'm alone on this. William Daniels' brief appearance made me a little sad. For the first time it hit me... he's old. He's very old. With his bigger appearance, he seemed to be having some trouble with lines and acting and the whole shebang. And, like, that's fine. You're a fucking trooper for even doing this. But is it maybe a situation where... maybe, after this episode, it's time to retire Mr. Feeny? He just didn't feel... sharp or all-knowing or anything. He just felt like a shaky old man. And while maybe there's drama to be mined from Cory, Shawn, Topanga, and dear god Eric, being forced to confront an aged Feeny whose mind is going and can't offer them much anymore, I don't think they'll do that, so instead we're left trying to pretend Feeny's still Feeny and it made me sad to try do that.

Am I alone? Did no one else notice he seemed off? Especially as the scene went on? If I'm alone I'll shut up. 

You're 100% right about Shawn, which is why I kept trying to mention the narrative of this show. If the story they want to tell comes equipped with "Shawn is hung up on Angela," even though it's dumb and we don't like it, I still have to admit that they're making good decisions to tell us that story. If that makes sense.

BUT WHO EVEN CARES? WE SAW LAUREN'S LETTER AGAIN. I'm glad you had the same reaction I did. What an absolute treat. Wow. Thank you for that, Michael Jacobs. 

On the subject of callbacks, the "taking the rolls" bit was definitely trying too hard. I forgot about that one while I was writing. 

I didn't want to say anything, but you're right about Daniels. I'm genuinely sorry to say that you're not alone there. His last line, "What else do you need to know?" I was like "woah is that really the best take they got for that one?" It's a little scary. I'm already getting choked up thinking about Eric struggling with the fact that Feeny is on his last legs. That would be an extremely brave direction for Jacobs to go in. I would cry for a century, but it's the right story to tell. It's the story they need to tell, and I trust Jacobs to know that. 

Any last comments? You can close it out if you want. A+ from me too, this might be my new favorite episode. My MVP is tough to say. Maybe Lauren, even though she wasn't even here. Or maybe Zay, exactly because he wasn't even here. 

Also, I'm glad you like the light blue. I did actually put thought into those color choices.

They're good choices. Black because Shawn gets all dark and angsty, and also he... wears a lot of black. Sky blue because Riley's all bright and happy and blue skies. Red and pink look alike, and Maya and Katy are family, but Katy's a bit more girly-girl and Maya's more edgy and angry. 

I suggest more of a true blue or a royal blue for Cory? Maybe purple for Pangers. Eric? Lime green!

So, okay, with regards to a Eric (and company) deal with Feeny on his last legs storyline... intellectually, I absolutely agree. It would be a great story. Narratively, it's a good move. It would be extremely poignant. That said... no, I don't think they should do it. Because it involves actually having an old man who is also on his last legs and may not be what he once was play an old man on his last legs. It feels sort of like "Hey, Bill. We noticed you're not... um... firing on all cylinders anymore. So, here's a script where Feeny's losing it and everyone looks at him with pity. 'Cause you're probably not getting that from your loved ones every damn day." I wish they could but... they shouldn't. 

Now, they know him better than I do, obviously, and if they truly think he wouldn't mind, or that, heck, maybe it provide some catharsis for him? Go for it. But I dunno. I know I couldn't be the guy to give him that script.

I stole this image obviously.
I didn't spend much time on two things I want to hit. Obviously the focus of this one is on the adults, but the kids were really really good int his episode. That time capsule scene was great and the whole Pappy Joe bit was one of the true highlights of the episode. ("Don't call his grandfather 'Pappy Joe'." "It... actually was... Pappy Joe." "How did you know that?" "Eh, it would've been anything I said.") You're right that, just as Peyton and Rowan have developed at least a modicum of chemistry, the Peyton/Sabrina chemistry has increased all the more. I really don't know what they're thinking not making that the love story. Riley will get over it. She'll be fine. And until she is you've got a heck of a storyline. Do it. 

Also, we mentioned the backyard again, but seeing the four of them interacting there was really just... beautiful. It felt like we're home. Locations and environments can be just as meaningful as people sometimes. And when I'm acutely aware that I'm leaving a place that meant something to me and I'm unlikely to see it again, it can be like saying goodbye to a person. Some of the Boy Meets World sets... the backyards, the house, the John Adams hallway from Season 2 to 4 (Not the lame 5 one), and The Apartment. These are characters just as much as Cory and Shawn. I know we can't realistically expect to see those often (well, really, the only other one we have a chance of ever seeing it the house), but it was really nice to see one in this episode.

Yeah, this is certainly my new favorite episode.  

Episode Rating: A+
This one too.
Episode MVP: Hoo, boy. This is tough. And... not because I'm deciding between Lauren and Zay. Peyton and Corey both had good performances but not MVP worthy, Danielle, Rowan, and Sabrina could all make a claim, as could the dependably good Rider. I'm thiiiiiiiiis clooooooose to giving it to Cheryl Texiera who really nailed both her scenes, big time, but I feel duty-bound to present it to.... Ben Savage. Not only was he really funny and really Cory throughout, but he was EFFECTIVE AS A TEACHER. If that doesn't deserve an MVP, nothing does. 

Next up, ladies and gentlemen, sing it with me....

When a crime breaks out all the cute girls shout get the... GOOD LOOKING GUY
When there's a crime out there, he's going to... comb his hair because the... GOOD LOOKING GUY.
Book'em, Good Lookin'.  

I think William Daniels is very aware of his own state, and is comfortable with it. He knows how old  he is. It wouldn't be disrespectful to ask him to give Eric a final goodbye, and through Eric, give his fans a final goodbye as well. It's what I would want, if I were him. 

There may be a debate over Topanga's color, but Eric is definitely lime green.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Episode Review: "Girl Meets the Secret of Life" (#2.03)

So, first off, I want to say that I respect what they were trying to do with this episode. It was clearly written, more than Girl Meets Gravity even, as a direct response to the criticisms lobbed toward GMW's way. Those two major criticisms being:

1. Lucas is boring, has no identity, and is too idealized.
2. Cory's an awful teacher. Why can't he be more like Mr. Feeny?

Number 1 took up the lion's share of the time and I think it mostly didn't work. He worked in yesterday's episode not because he underwent some radical revamp, but because he simply... was written better. And the actor performed better. Peyton Meyer was just as good in this one, but this attempt to add a dark and mysterious past into Lucas was pretty silly and felt very forced. I don't believe for a second this was ever Lucas' intended backstory in Season 1, and so it felt very retconnish. Even the revelation that he'd be held back read like "We heard you! He looks too old now! Well, it turns out he missed a year! See! We fixed it!"

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Episode Review: "Girl Meets the New World" (#2.02)

VOMIT. Here we go. An episode all about Riley and Lame-o Lucas and their BORING relationship that I HATE. What returning Boy Meets World guest stars do we have? NONE?! Oh my fucking god. SHOOT ME. SHOOT ME IN THE FACE. 

Nah. You know what? This was pretty good.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Gravity" (#2.01)

Alright, just going to dive on in. Season 2. Let's do this.

Hard to know where to start but.... first of all. Mrs. Svorski killed herself. We're all agreed on that, right? That woman gave away all her prized possessions, made sure Topanga was going to run her business and that there were other employees, then basically wrote a suicide note to Auggie. Old broad iced herself. 

But, seriously, what was that? I guess they were going with a "She just knew it was her time." type thing, but... that's nuts. On any other, non-kid show, that woman clearly committed suicide. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Girl Meets World (Season 2): A Look Ahead

I don't have a ton of time right now, but I wanted to get this ball rolling. Let's start with this:

Some things of note:

1. I'm not positive, but I THINK that's Riley doing part of Eric's all-time greatest Feeny call there in Feeny's back yard. Which suggests to me that her biological father uncle once taught her exactly what to do the first time she meets Mr. Feeny. Which automatically makes this show a success.

2.  I don't care about the clones. But I do like new teachers. Maybe Cory won't be their teacher at all this season, rather than them somehow ending up back in his class at the end of that episode. Maybe, right? May. be. 

3. Real non-ghost Feeny is almost as exciting as Eric. I'm so glad William Daniels is still here to be a part of this. Just hearing him say "Mr. Matthews, Mr. Hunter," is like Mozart.  He's in TWO EPISODES of the premiere week. TWO. 

4. I also adore that they actually went and rebuilt the Feeny backyard set (you know there's no way it still existed somewhere) The Matthews house and the backyard are extremely iconic sets to me, so just seeing them really makes me feel something. Now, if they somehow get the school hallway from Seasons 2-4 in there (not the shitty Season 5 one) I may cry.

5. So, okay. I hate that Eric is Plays with Squirrels on a variety of levels. I made a whole post about it. But it doesn't appear he's REALLY living his life as Plays with Squirrels. He's actually clean-shaven and well-dressed. He may have a job! And a home! And DA MATTHEWS BRUTHAS scene at the end looks like it'll be cute, even if they're borrowing a Cory/Josh bit for some reason. The Eric/Cory relationship is one of my favorites, even if it didn't always get the attention it deserved.

So, that's all I have on that. So Sean, you can maybe start us off in full. Your thoughts on that promo, the casting announcements, what you think about it all.