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.

The next scene where Eric gets to interact with everyone in the living room is the same deal. It started out amazing, it was everything I've ever dreamed of. Eric's a genius when it comes to helping people, his dialogue with Auggie instantly reminded me of Tommy, he felt comfortable with Riley, and he hasn't missed a single beat with Cory and Topanga. A+ gold star. But once again, they turned it up to overdrive when they didn't need to. And that problem is not unique to this episode. My abridged reaction to everything in this series is "By the end I was thinking maybe dial it back a bit." That's my senior yearbook quote for Girl Meets World. I'm sitting here with it paused right as the scene ends and I genuinely don't know whether Eric is actually the mayor of something. That's fun, I like that I'm not sure.  

Same with this next scene in the bedroom. Fantastic for the most part, Topanga is at her best yet again, and there's plenty of big-hearted Eric to go along with the season 7 bozo Eric. But by the end I was thinking maybe dial it back a bit.  

I liked Farkle's gun.

ZAY YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH, DON'T YOU EVER SPEAK IN HIS PRESENCE- sorry, I'm sorry, I'm gonna keep it locked, I promise. 

We're 14 minutes in here and... there hasn't really been any plot. It took 14 minutes to find out what Lucas said to Maya. This has mostly been a showcase for how hilarious Will Friedle can be. And that's fine, it's honestly preferable, but it deserves saying that there's really nothing going on here. There's obviously no chance of lasting damage to the Riley/Maya friendship, so from the very beginning we were all just tuning in to watch Will work his magic. Same thing as Girl Meets Home For The Holidays, but with Eric instead of Shawn.

This is hard for me to say because I love Eric so dearly, but he didn't do anything in the hallway kumbaya scene. He barely started the conversation, which Cory could have easily done from the very beginning, and then the problem worked itself out with some linear conversation. The real star of solving this problem is Topanga. Her little talk with Maya near the end is one of the best things I've seen on this show. "A couple of short stacks of pancakes like us can do just fine." 

Believe me, the last thing I want to do is say something negative about Eric, but he contributed nothing. And then Topanga absolutely nailed it. Seriously, Pangers kicks ass on this show.

The last coffee shop scene was very cozy, and I'm glad Eric got to make me laugh a few more times. Will Friedle is amazing, and his time as a voice actor has only improved his timing and delivery. And then the very last scene during the credits was... uhhh....

Okay so what'd I think? I laughed more than any other episode of this series. Will Friedle maintains his god status. Topanga is an absolute boss. ...But I'm not really satisfied. Eric didn't actually do anything, and we were given almost no information about his activities during the last 15 years. They didn't even MENTION Mister Feeny. The moment Shawn walked on camera in Home For The Holidays we learned what he's been up to and they even addressed Angela right away. All we know about Eric is that he's possibly the mayor of somewhere. I want more. Fortunately, we're going to get more. And hey, Shawn's first episode was definitely his weakest, so if this is Eric's weakest episode, then we've got a whole lot to look forward to.

Fuck Zay.


P.S. I finally changed my display name to Sean. Looks like my comments are still as ConfidenceKBM, but yeah. From now on everyone will see my username as Sean.

I don't know what's so hard to understand about this, Sean. It's pretty clear what's going on. Eric Matthews is the duly elected mayor of St. Upidtown, New York, a small town upstate on the border of Canada full of people dressed in rags and full beards who are probably crazy. Eric dresses like that because they do and he needs to fit in to be their mayor. Obviously. Keep up.

I don't even know what to think about this episode. It's absolutely not what I wanted for Eric, it's not the Eric that means the most to me. Did I enjoy the episode? Absolutely. So much. Even this Eric is great, and hilarious, and more fun than anyone else. But it's not all it could be or should be, because of this mistaken notion that the writers (and maybe even Will himself) have that this is the Eric that worked best and everyone prefers. Which I just don't believe is true. But this has been touched on so much, I just don't have the energy anymore. But again, what bothers me even more than going with latter days Eric personality is this bizarre whittling of the character down to his role in one episode. Making Plays with Squirrels such an intractable part of his personality when it was just a little gimmick used one time out of 150 or so episodes, and by turns, defining him by his ability to heal friendships which, like, was hardly "Eric's thing." It's like the writer of this episode only ever saw one BMW episode starring Eric. And the writer was Michael Jacobs. I just don't GET it. 

So, what I'm going to try to do is evaluate this episode on its own merits. This is the Eric they're going with. It's a valid Eric, he existed on Boy Meets World. And he's not as bad as he could be, and his life isn't as ridiculous as it could be. After all, he's not actually a hermit who married a moose. In fact, he's not actually Plays with Squirrels. They evoke him in the title, but he's never referred to as that. And they don't mention how him dressing like that has any connection to when he broke up that fight in college. He's a small town mayor, not a crazy hermit. And he's actually only dressing like that because it helps him seem one with his constituents. That's... I mean, it's something. Actually, if you think about it, this isn't too far from the life Eric almost had if he'd stayed in that Sprinkletown in "You Can't Go Home Again." "Out there I'm nobody, but here.... I could be king." That's exactly what happened. Now, I can complain that at the end of that episode Eric decided that wasn't good enough for him but... I also never really quite bought that. There's nothing wrong with being a leader in the community of a small town. That doesn't have to be settling. And Eric would actually probably be a good politician, as long as he was coached with talking points. He's charismatic and likable and he cares about people and can show it. He could have worse jobs.

So, what do you think? Do you think there's any hope for us getting any meaningful Eric development during Girl Meets World? Will he find love or fulfillment? Does he have hopes or dreams? Any chance they touch on any of that at all? 

Anyway, yeah, Will Friedle sells the hell out of all of this. He hasn't lost a single beat. And, I can't say this enough, he's really, really funny in this. I won't bother to enumerate what his funny moments were, because there were just too many. Some were bad, but he still sold - namely things that were just regular stupid and not  funny-stupid. Life confusing the meanings of meditation and mediation, stuff like that. I did really like him being dismissive toward Topanga. While Eric is defined by his big heart, I do like when he's also kind of arrogant and snarky. Will does that well, and somehow the cockiness and the big heart go in tandem really well with Eric. 

And, wow, I never thought there could be a friendship-threatening argument dumber than in The War but... they found it. I don't buy Maya reacting this way at all. Being called a "short stack of pancakes" enrages her? It's barely even an insult. Grow up, Maya. What the hell's the matter with her? I can not believe the extent to which she can dish it out but can't take it. I mean, I literally can't believe it. It doesn't seem like her at all. Maya wins LVP for this episode.

Well... except for Zay. FUCK Zay, guys. Remember when he said "Who is this guy?" all snide to Eric. Who is HE? WHO ARE YOU, ZAY?!


You're absolutely right about everything you said about Zay. He doesn't belong here. It's like they bring in some other guy to write his dialogue. Oh, and having no butt? That's Shawn's thing from "She's Having My Baby Back Ribs." COME UP WITH YOUR OWN THING, ZAY! He's just so obnoxious. His little hallway hustler thing is just not working at all, and is not charming.

Yeah, the thing with Farkle's gun was cool.

You're right that Eric didn't really do that much to help, but I guess he did facilitate the conversation, which is sometimes all mediation's about. I was disappointed, though, when Eric said it goes deeper than that. It looked, for a second, like he was going to be the first one to hit on Maya having feelings for Lucas. But... no. 

Oh, I think you said this in another episode, but I also like that they're calling Riley "Riles." I have a cousin named Riley, and my dad always called her "Riles." SO IT FEELS TRUE TO MY LIFE.

That ending... I don't know what to say about that ending. I guess in the next episode Eric will be running for senate. But I kind of want to watch that episode. 

Anyway, at the end of the day, I enjoyed this episode in spite of itself. It's got some funny jokes, but it's not particularly well written all totaled. And the characterization of Eric is a mistake. Will Friedle's funny enough to sell it, because he's Will Friedle. But it's a waste. Still better than "Girl Meets the Secret of Life" though. Yowza. 


You asked me "Do you think there's any hope for us getting any meaningful Eric development during Girl Meets World? Will he find love or fulfillment? Does he have hopes or dreams?" Looking at the second question, I'm not even remotely interested in Eric finding love, and it doesn't seem like Eric cares much either. And it looks like he's already found fulfillment. Hopes and dreams though, that's a good question, but can you tell me the hopes and dreams of any character on this show? So it would surprise me if we got that deep into Eric when Riley doesn't even have hopes and dreams. I'm betting that all of the Eric appearances this season are going to be fanservice and that we might get to something more meaningful in a later season if/when Will finds a comfortable state of mind.

I thought the Maya/Riley thing was believable. She wasn't offended by being called a name, so it's not that she can't take it. Maya just wanted to know that her best friend had her back. Maya would NEVER let someone say something like that about Riley, even if it were true. I think it's fair that she expected the same treatment from Riley. What's really surprising to me is that Maya never brought up Riley's attraction to Lucas. Her infatuation with Lucas ought to be relevant to her unwillingness to stand up to him. Coulda been some interesting dialogue there.


Last point. You mentioned in a comment somewhere that you'd like Shawn and Angela to have the sort of friendship where they occasionally like each other's posts on Facebook. I love the sentiment, but for the sake of humor I wanted to say that Shawn is absolutely that kind of person to be like "oh, no, I don't have a Facebook." 

Oh god. Those people who don't have Facebook, I dunno. Or worse, the people who are always yo-yoing back and forth between having it activated and then inactivating it. If you're under 50, you have no business not having Facebook unless you just... don't like staying in touch with friends or getting invited to things. There's no rule that says you gotta be on it all the time or have to post about what you ate for breakfast this morning. Oh, and they're all so impressed with themselves for not having it, like it's part of some spiritual cleanse. Sorry, rant over. Still, you're not wrong about Shawn. The only reason he may have it, is that he's a writer for an online magazine and thus he likely has to maintain some sort of social media presence.

Well, wasn't what Eric's "this goes deeper" really about (since it wasn't what I wanted it to be, Eric figuring out Maya liked Lucas) that it actually did bother Maya. That it wasn't just about her not defending her. Maya was absolutely portrayed as really being hurt that everyone thinks she's short, and being super self-conscious about it. And that's just dumb. She's not midget short, she's just kind of short. A lot of girls are. It's not generally seen as problematic for girls. 

And I didn't like how Maya reacted by saying "Oh yeah, Riley? Well what if I made fun of how you're super awkward and clumsy?" and proceeded to do an impression of her in front of the whole school. All Riley did was not disagree when Maya was called short. Which is just an indisputable fact. She didn't make fun of her or do an impression of her. And Maya's insistence she'd never let anyone else call her that doesn't mean much to me when she still lets the whole school see her mock Riley for it. At that point, who cares who says it? Maya sucked in this one. Big time. 

Part of what has always kept Shawn, whom I do adore and is 8 times out of 10 freaking awesome, behind Eric and Cory for me is that the other 2 times I found his angst to just get annoying and tiresome. I liked angst in characters, but I don't like self-pity. Shawn who has problems, is privately sad about them but tries to put on a brave face but people know when he's hiding it and try to reach out and help him. I like that Shawn. The Shawn that feels like he huddles in his room listening to "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" on repeat and crying. That Shawn can suck it. So far, Maya's been avoiding this for me - having angst when angst is called for only. This was a time when angst was so flamboyantly NOT called for that I don't even know what to say about it. 

Yeah, I don't know what's up with that Yogi kid. I think someone must have told them he was a lot funnier than he is. And the kid, like, seriously can't act. Like we make fun of Peyton and....*sigh* I guess I better learn Zay's real name, hold on.... Amir Mitchell Townes for not being good actors, but this kid really can't act. Like he's just saying words when he talks. I don't believe he even knows what they mean. I think he's just repeating things, macaw-style.

Aw, not remotely interested in Eric finding love? That's a little harsh. Shoot, I am. He's pushing 40 and as near as I can tell he's never loved anyway or had anyone love him. That's a bit of a bummer. I want Eric to be happy. I mean, he's not... asexual. He's had romantic feelings for women. We've seen him at it! I get that it would be a little much with the whole Shawn/Katy (Shaty?) story, but they don't have to do it like that, and they can wait until Shaty (yup, I'm going with it) is settled one way or the other. I'd like to see him wind up a husband and (acknowledged) father. I think he'd be really good at both those things, and get a lot out of them.

Speaking of Eric and what he needs... here's a fun fact! So, Will Friedle's in three episodes this season (so far as we know) this one, the next one which is called "Girl Meets Mr. Squirrels Goes to Washington" and obviously continues the storyline from the end of this one, and then the last one is "Girl Meets Semi-Formal" which features Eric and was written by.... Will Friedle! I believe this makes him the first BMW-er to write an episode (either here or in the original) so we'll presumably get to see Eric exactly as Will Friedle thinks he is. And Cory and Topanga for that matter. Should be fun. 

We're in no rush on this one, so feel free to respond as fully as possible! Let's keep this party going! But if you're all done after that, I'll wrap it up. 

It is extremely difficult to feel any sympathy for Maya. Even if she's in the right, which is clearly a matter of great debate, we're still never even close to invested in it because Big Daddy rocks. Eric is consuming all of my attention.

Christian and I have made subtle references to our joke-theory that Eric is Riley's biological father. There's an episode in season one of BMW where Topanga has a crush on Eric, and the picture above is fairly self explanatory. There's a lot more between Eric and Topanga throughout the later seasons, including some very convincing dialogue in the series finale, as well as the fact that Riley is much more similar to Eric than Cory. Auggie is all Cory though. So yeah. This is a fairly decent time to bring that up. 

I mentioned in a comment that this Miley plot deserved its own episode. We haven't seen the two girls this hostile before, and everyone fights, so it was a worthy endeavor, as a concept. I want to see what happens when Riley and Maya are at odds, but it was completely overshadowed by "holy shit it's Eric." 

Yogi's mom is blowing Michael Jacobs. What other explanation is there? It doesn't make ANY sense. I'm trying to imagine what happened in the writers' room. Like who was the guy that went "Hey, you know what we need on this show? The classroom isn't a big enough circus yet, so here's what I'm thinking..." 

What's an episode with the Boulevard of Broken Dreams Shawn post-season-1? The only time I can think of is the road trip, but hey, his dad died. That's dangerous territory though. Dissecting Shawn Hunter is a lengthy business. 

Back on point though, no, I don't want to see Eric getting married. Love is a wonderful thing, but I am sick to death of being told that it's the only way to find fulfillment. I think it's awesome that Eric is satisfied just helping other people. We don't need to see every adult on the show getting married for their big Disney happy ending. We've seen how great Eric is with kids on BMW and he is currently great with Auggie and Riley. Do you really need more? Of course he's not asexual, but that doesn't mean he can't have other priorities. 

Sean, Sean, Sean. There is no greater aspiration than to have love in our lives. Romeo knew it and died for it. Others know it and... prepare salads. And those who don't know it? Will sit in detention for the rest of their lives.

But, seriously folks, I don't disagree with you in the larger sense. And, to that end, I didn't need to see Shawn fall in love with Katy. Mainly because I've already seen him be in love. And, honestly, it didn't really make me enjoy the character more. But, while love doesn't need to be the end all be all for everyone, I do think it's pretty tragic for someone to live their whole life and never experience it and thus far Eric, who's about halfway done, has yet to so far as we know. And that makes me sad, because he's obviously got a lot of love to give. Yes, we've seen Eric be great with kids already but we also saw him as the only character who expressed a desire, even back in BMW, to be a father. But he knew he wasn't ready yet. It's 15 years later, what's the hold up? So, it's not that I think this needs to be everyone's thing. I just think it maybe should be a thing of Eric's. I mean, come on, he's already got one kid he didn't get to claim because he's a nice brother.

Doing both those things may be too much, so how about just a story where Eric finds out he has a kid he didn't know about if that's not too mature for Disney Channel with the implied one-night-stand vibe. Hell, the kid can be a contemporary of Miley and the gang. And so he gets a fatherhood storyline without it also having to be about falling in love too. I don't know... I guess I just want to see him at something more... emotional. Something more soulful. That's when Eric was at his best, even in his ridiculous years.

An episode with Boulevard of Broken Dreams Shawn post-Season 1? Well, tons. Wrong Side of the Tracks? Cult Fiction? Family Trees? The entire breakup arc of Season 6? He wasn't even Boulevard of Broken Dreams-y in Season 1. Hell - you even posted a picture from an episode that had Boulevard of Broken Dreams Shawn. (Sorry, I know you love The Eskimo, and I like it too, though it's not a personal favorite, but he got a little too whiney up on that billboard) I feel like maybe you didn't mean Season 1?

I mean, it seems like the Yogi thing all started from that one throwaway joke where he and the tall blonde girl with the crazy eyes (who's generally been the most vocal extra in the show) hook up and haha, it's funny, he's so much shorter than her. But why anyone think that necessitates a recurring role is beyond me.

Yeah, Eric is Riley's father, everyone. He and Topanga had a brief but passionate affair shortly after their arrival in New York finally acting on years of hidden burning desire. After Topanga became pregnant, Eric, guilt-ridden over how he'd betrayed his brother, decided he had to leave, and so he moved to St. Upidtown. Topanga stayed with Cory, convinced him Riley was his, and they eventually had Auggie (Auggie's true blue Copanga spawn, don't worry, guys) If you notice, Topanga and Eric were a touch frosty with each other in this episode... I think they both sort of blame the other for what happened and are miffed it didn't work out and blame the other for that too.

Eric does have love in his life though. Just not romance. I guess my main hangup is a sort of crowding in the show. If we weren't already wasting so much time on Shawn taking on a father role, then I'd be good with Eric going through that arc. And I agree that I'd rather see it for Eric than Shawn. But as it stands, the show is so crowded with romance stories already that I don't think I'd be interested in another one. It's not a soap opera, you know? 

I was thinking of The Fugitive when I said post season 1. You think Shawn was too whiny on the billboard?! That's like his best scene in the series man, oh no oh no oh no, what am I doing here, I quit. Direct deposit my last paycheck man, I can't do this. 

Wrong Side of the Tracks is probably the poster child for that ridiculous side of Shawn, but it has that replacement actor for Harley Keiner, so AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, that episode isn't canon. 

 Cult Fiction is difficult. I like it until Shawn starts yelling at the ceiling. Family Trees is... even more difficult. You left a pretty detailed comment on that review. 

I dunno man, seasons 6 and 7 are almost entirely a waste of time for Eric. He and Shawn probably have an about-equal number of character-destroying episodes. Maybe we should just say Alan's the best and put it to bed.

Well, I MAY have agreed Alan's the best until you prompted me to peruse your Family Trees review and reminded me of when it turned out Alan was never in the Navy, and was in fact a cook in the Coast Guard, and thus, I guess, I dunno, lied to his fucking sons about it? Or something? God, I hated that. That's my least favorite retcon in the whole series. I'll take Cory and Topanga getting engaged in utero before that.

Eh, family love for Eric doesn't count. You get that without trying. I want him to have romantic love. I mean, at least once in his life! C'mon. But I agree that Shawn getting all these stories makes it difficult for Eric to do the same. I can wait for them to finish with this, or for Rider Strong to get bored with Girl Meets World and stop doing episodes.

I like the billboard scene, but sure he was a little whiny and emo during it. That's not one where he bothered me too much, he's just a little Boulevard of Broken Dreams in it. I like that adjective being used to describe when someone's being like that, by the way.

I agree that Eric has just as many (if not more) character-destroying episodes in Seasons 6 and 7 than Shawn does. It's just that the way they destroyed Eric's character, though even more disheartening, doesn't ever make me roll my eyes and go "God, stop whining, you little shit." Shawn usually doesn't make me do that either, to be clear. I love Shawn. But he sometimes does. 

Yeah, it's tough for me to even watch Wrong Side of the Tracks with the Harley replacement. The thing is, the guy's not even a bad actor. And he actually makes a good bully (and is probably a far more accurate representation of how they act than real-Harley) but he's just... not Harley. Harley needs have greased hair and talk in a calm, florid, often polite voice while cracking his knuckles and threatening to pound you.  "So... I guess you got sent away for... bad grammar?" God, Griff ruled.

I liked Cult Fiction as a kid, but as an adult I think it's garbage - worthwhile only for Alan's reaction to Mr. Mack and I guess Eric's funny in it. It (and If You Can't Be with the One You Want) are the Boy Meets World equivalents of Girl Meets Flaws - episodes that bungled and oversimplified an important topic so completely that there's no benefit to them having done the episode at all. Though One You Want is a far superior episode to the other two since the first two-thirds of it is about Cory acting out as a result of the breakup, and that part is actually all excellent. It only starts getting bad when Shawn shows up to class drunk. It should have just been about Cory acting out because of Topanga and the Matthews' blaming Shawn and not realizing Cory was to blame. That would have been like the best episode and single-handedly made the breakup arc worthwhile.

Sorry, way off topic. 

Anyway, I think we've covered this one pretty well.

Episode Rating: B (The only thing that makes this worthwhile is Eric, it's otherwise not so great, and even this Eric isn't ideal. But Eric on his worst day is better than almost everyone on their best)
Episode MVP: Don't waste my fucking time. 

So, Hell Week is officially over and we're now five episodes deep into Season 2. We now have two weeks off until the next episode, airing on June 6th. Will we post at all in the meantime? I dunno! We've probably earned a break. But you guys have any ideas for GMW or BMW-related posts for us to do in the off weeks? Let us know. The blog's been going gangbusters and I think the regular postings have helped that.

Speaking of which -  this is the first post with over 1000 views! Nothing had cracked quadruple digits, although "A Word About Eric Matthews" came very close. 

"God, stop whining, you little shit." In Family Trees, Shawn agrees with you! He says to himself, "Gah, stop whining, I hate you." It's a good line. 

"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" as an adjective is fucking hysterical. 

Is anybody still reading this?


  1. Nice review.

    I might have to agree that this was probably the funniest episode of the series for me. And heck, I didn't even like season 7 Eric very much, but Will Friedle's delivery is so impeccable that his stage presence was REALLY missed on this show for me (and pretty much any other show that has no Will Friedle in it). I found that--while Eric was a bit over-the-top sometimes with the silliness--they mostly did a decent job giving him some sentimental moments mixed in with the fun. Tying it into "The War" wasn't a bad idea, although I agree that it was a little weird/vague sometimes what Eric was actually up to.

    What I think is going on is that he's actually the mayor of a small Canadian village, possibly a tiny Amish-type community or something. Not 100% sure if that makes the most sense for his character, but we'll see where it goes.

    The "My niche" joke is kind of amazing when you realize that it's a 15+ year payoff.

    I liked Riley and Maya's little tiff too. It was an original idea for both this show and BMW (the truth vs. having someone to rely on), and it actually fleshed out Farkle and Lucas a tad too. Zay isn't working for me at all, except for that one moment when he mentioned how it hurt to sit down.

    Props to Will for getting back out there. It feels like Eric hasn't lost a beat in the transition!

    By and large, this has been a fun week. This set of episodes as a collective whole is pretty encouraging for the future of the show, and I hope they keep it up.

    1. "Hello niche" is legendary. And that's a great point that this is one of the more original setups we've had on this show.

      I agree, it was a good week.

  2. have 2 more chances. Just 2. Don't fuck them up, cause you are very close to making me have to address something that I don't want to in regards to your presence on the show. Make your time worth it, kid. Please, go talk to the writers and take some control over your character. Ask to see if they can write you better, and please change your delivery. You are fixable.

    Now, on the episode. ERIC MOTHER FUCKIN' MATTHEWS! That second he was on screen, everything just felt better. Instantly, and I laughed at every line of his. Every single one. And as a generic rule in comedies, if you can make me laugh, I can forgive a lot. The writing in this wasn't great, and the actual issue became muddy, but Eric made me laugh. And serious Eric was just as good. Did he really solve anything, no. He was just a guide, and the kids figured it out themselves. Was it all I wanted his appearance to be, not at all. Yet, it was enough for me. The fact that he could possibly be a mayor of some small town was funny, and in no way what I'd thought he'd be doing. So, I hope that's legit.

    This episode tried to take on a big subject by disguising it as something smaller, in my opinion. What they were discussing was friends sticking up for each other, even when they might be wrong. Then for some reason, it morphed into being comfortable in ones own body and growing into yourself. The way I saw it, they were trying to handle puberty in a very benign way. Which is fine, but you have to do it better than that. Then again, I could be reading that wrong, and if I am, then all I can complain about is the sudden switch in issue. Kids are complex, tho. Anyway...

    And yes, Topanga was a damn boss in this episode. That ending bay window scene was awesome, and meaningful in all the right ways. It was really cool to see Maya confess how she really looks up to Topanga, and for Topanga to give her the best advice I've seen given on the show so far.

    Episode Grade: B- Eric Matthews' return, while not perfect, was still as glorious and momentous as I hoped. Topanga kicked ass too. Kids were good, as well.

    Episode MVP: Will Friedle & Daniell Fischel. They were the ultimate highlights of this episode.

    1. You're spot on, I don't really know what I can add XD

      How bout that ridiculous attempt at self awareness about Lucas's perfection? I'm so sick of hearing "Look at you!" from every character on the show. I don't care if you're aware of it, writers, unless you're actually willing to change it.

    2. I liked when they all told him to "Shut up". That was pretty funny. Yet, I agree. Obviously, Peyton can't help that he's a good lookin' kid. However, that doesn't mean that he has to be "perfect". And if they aren't wiling to change it, then leave it alone. Or at the very least, write that "perfection" better.

    3. See, this didn't bug me, precisely because everyone else responded with "Shut up." I don't mind his perfection when it's treated as something that makes him unrelatable and apart from the others. Sometimes when you're growing up, you see people that do seem to be perfect and have it all. Sometimes they don't have some obvious flaw. They just seem perfect the entire time you know them, and it makes you feel jealous and self-conscious by comparison. So basically Lucas works for me when he's not a character in his own right but just something for real characters to react to.

  3. I like the review and I know there is still more to add but I hope you both touch a bit more on the maya/Riley conflict because I thought some serious truth bombs were dropped and honestly I was on Maya's side the whole way. "When being right is more important than being friends than that's the end of being friends" honestly it was a really good conflict and just good writing. By not telling us what the insult even was until halfway through the writers emphasized to the audience that that is not what this episode is about and that is not why Maya's mad. She's mad because she needs to know she can count on someone and maybe that's even more important to her because she can't count on her family the way Riley can. Riley is really her only person in the world and it didn't come off at all hypocritical, almost everything Maya's done in the series was in defense of Riley. Riley tells maya that maya can disagree with her when she's wrong. I really liked when maya answered with "you're always wrong. Or maybe you're always right. I don't know and I don't care I'll defend you automatically." I thought this was probably the best and most meaningful and relatable conflict the kids have bad in the show yet easily. And in the end it all just came down to insecurities which is incredibly accurate as well. This was also the first story I really liked that was not a well rewritten boy meets world story. It was an equally well written original girl meets world story. I can definitely relate to being blinded by the shining sun that is Eric Matthews, but I hope you both try to see the maya Riley story as well cause as you can see I was very impressed !

    1. Yeah. The problem is that... it's a great concept for an episode. Why stick it behind THE RESURRECTION OF ERIC, you know what I mean? That Maya/Riley could have stood proud and strong as its own episode. It was good in this episode, don't get me wrong, but I would have loved to see it on its own.

    2. You're absolutely right. I feel like they were just trying to tie it into that really smart thing he said during the war episodes because that's all Jacobs seems to remember about him. Also the ending was a little mixed I feel like they were combining the friendship and insecurity stories that probably should've been two different episodes. Wouldve loved to see more Eric for this episode.

  4. First off, I want to say MAD PROPS to Will Friedle for getting back out there in front of the camera! For those that don't know, he was on a podcast this week and spoke about how he suffers from anxiety and panic attacks which have prevented him from doing on camera work. He felt starting back with a familiar cast and crew would help him ease back into it, and he did so well tonight. Can't wait to see more from him!

    So on to the episode: I do think I liked this one more than yesterday's. Mr. Squirrels was fun, but I feel it was kind of fanservicey in a way previous episodes will BMW guest stars haven't. Still, it was fun having him back and trying to solve the argument. It was also cool that this was the context he was brought back in, since it seems a lot of people wanted him to be a teacher or helping people. The mayor thing was weird though.

    I also liked the Topanga/Maya moment at the end. When GMW first started I was concerned they wouldn't have Topanga do much, or just reduce her to the background mom role, but she has been awesome, especially this season. Her moment tonight and the one with Riley and Lucas on Tuesday were the highlights of the episodes this week for me.

    Looking forward to the rest of this season, especially Tell Tale Tot, Hurricane, and New Teacher. I know they're still shooting and this season is going to have a minimum of 26 episodes, so we certainly have a lot to look forward to.

    Episode Grade: B

    My ranking of this week's episodes from best to worst:

    - New World
    - Secret of Life
    - Mr. Squirrels
    - Gravity
    - Pluto (I wish this were higher but I have to be honest)

    PS: I have to disagree that the first Shawn episode was the weakest, though that probably has more to do with the fact that I can't stand how much more forced and contrived his storyline gets with every episode he appears in (see my comment on yesterday's episode for more).

    1. Yeah Christian mentioned that podcast a few posts ago. It was tough to hear about Will's hurdles, but it's awesome seeing him tackle that head on. He's doing an amazing job.

      Topanga's been on fire this week, 100%. Your two big comments have hit everything except Zay. Where are you on Zay?

    2. I'm not really a big fan of Zay so far, but I guess he's had his moments? Though I remember feeling this way about Ava last season and by the end I was really sick of her so it may turn out like that with Zay, or maybe he'll get better like Farkle last season or Lucas this season.

    3. I'm getting a panic attack seeing the names "zay" and "ava" so close to each other.

    4. Omg what if they're in the same episode sometime. *shudders*

    5. Interesting episode rank. For me:

      1. Pluto
      2. New World
      3. Mr. Squirrels
      4. Gravity
      5. Secret of Life

  5. Sean, I disagree with you, that Eric didn't really do anything to solve the problem; he set the wheels in motion. And, then the kids worked it out for themselves. Isn't that normal?---There is a natural evolution to be had here, and while it's pertinent for some authority figure to intervene, I think it is also important for adults to realize, that taking a step backwards, and watching what kids can do for themselves, after they subtly 'set the wheels in motion'. So, he didn't stand up in front of the class, and say, "Okay, this how to fix the problem." Or, "....This is how I fixed the problem...." But, credit where credit is due, he stepped in, did his thing, and then stepped right back out again, knowing *his* work was done.

    I also loved the exchanges Cory and Eric had in the background..<<"My brother!"---"My, Brother!">>

    So, while 'Pangers', helped Maya along, with their heart-to-heart, which was wonderfully executed, and written. Eric, indirectly, helped the kids solve their problem, and getting them to go deeper.---As Eric said to Cory, "...Saying their best friends again isn't the resolution of the issue, they/we already knew this, their wasn't any danger to losing this." The issues went deeper than that, and Eric was the only one to know this, realize it.

    My next thought comes with the scene, of taking the *whole* class into the hallway, to 'finish the lesson'.----Where was this idea in 2.03, "Secret of Life"? Why were Riley, Maya and Farkle the only ones following Cory out of the classroom, following Lucas go out to Zay?

    And, YAY! Zay is back this episode.[sarcasm sign] ....But, you know what I didn't detest him, this episode. Unlike last time, in 2.03, he didn't bring the scene to a crashing halt, IMO(other than with 'his intro').---And, the 'but' thing was actually kind-of funny---not Eric funny---really, it was amusing, at best, but I liked the callback to Shawn 'having almost no but' from season 7 of BOY. And, his repeated question, "Seriously, does it hurt anybody else to sit?" was funny.

    Girl Meets, Mr. Squirrels was a hilarious episode. And, really, I don't know why I'm surprised, maybe other than how well Will slid right back into being Eric, after 15 years. I was laughing, and smiling so hard during this episode, that I was almost in tears. ERIC IS DEFINITELY BACK!

    Episode MVP: [Is there even a discussion here?] It's WILL FRIEDLE, of course.
    But, once again, for the 5th episode in a row, the entire cast had there 'A' game on.
    And, I loved Ben and Will together again.

    Episode Grade: A

    1. Yeah but any adult in a thirty mile radius could have "set the wheels in motion". They didn't need Eric for that. I coulda done that. Topanga or Cory or Katy or HARLEY could have done it.

      Cory kept talking about Eric's expertise, but I didn't see any expertise or finesse. It was all pretty straightforward. So you're right, he didn't literally "do nothing," but you see what I'm saying.

    2. No disagreeing here, with the fact that any adult, living locally, could have been the mediator here. However, there was something organic with it being Eric.----And, part of this goes to the credit of Will for falling right back into the character with such ease and grace, and timing. And, part of it goes to how credible I found Cory to be(Ben as Cory), in his insistence and faith that Eric was the only person for this job. Which also stems back, slightly, on Cory always looking up to his big brother.

      Now, my thoughts, on who could have replaced Will here:

      *Starting with Cory; he is the most logical person for this job, as this is his class*...Where Riley & Maya are the centers of, which is probably never going to change(God help us all), it might be dialed back from time to time,but it is *always* going to be there. Okay, now back to topic, sorry went off on another tangent. *So, Cory could have done this, and it would have been credible(to a degree). But, here's my issue with him in this situation, we've just started seeing Cory being good at being a teacher, it being written this way. Therefore, if he were to take on this, wouldn't he be falling back into an old pattern, of sorts, which he isn't even completely out of now?
      [I'm not completely satisfied with how I articulated Cory out of the job, but lets move on]

      *Now, Topanga; while her scene with Maya (and Riley) felt true, natural and organic, like a loving mother, mother-figure, and it was a beautiful moment, no question. I feel like had Cory brought his wife in to fix the problem, to the class, it would have been forced and contrived.---I mean we've barely seen Topanga interact with Lucas or Farkle, but now she's supposed to be engaging and inspiring to the whole class..

      *Okay, Harley; I think he is probably the most plausible option, besides Cory.---1. He already works in the school, 2. We've seen him interact with, The Four, and relating to them, and well at that[IMO]. And, while this could have been an interesting development to see. I much rather preferred seeing Eric again, but not just again, in this role as mediator.

      *Katy; Again, this would be interesting to see. And, I am now intrigued to see this happen, eventually. Although, not with the rest of the class, my reasons are similar to Topanga's here, in this situation. ...Just with Riley and Maya, and maybe Lucas and Farkle too.

      *Now, back to Eric(adding to what I've already said, while trying not to repeat myself). How did he do in this job, as mediator with the class, for Riley and Maya; standing by my previous comments, he did great at subtly leading the kids to a resolution, with the kids still getting there on their own.---Which I stand by as being a natural evolution for anyone, in fiction or in reality. While it might seem like you, or someone else does nothing in a given situation, to help solve, or move something along, those quiet actions are more important than anyone usually realizes.
      And, with this, I am posting the link to a scene from the series Joan of Arcadia; S2-E18, that explains this better than I can:
      [Go to 39:04-40:40]

  6. I just want to say that the Episode MVPs should've been the two shadowy figures in that ending.

    Also, fuck that ending. That was legitimately stupid. They could've ended that on Farkle's joke about taking over the world and save that for Mr. Squirrels Goes to Washington. But no. They had to go full stupid.

    I'm really not sure how Christian is going to react to this. It depends on how balanced he thinks Eric is, I guess.

  7. An interesting discussion, came to light with this episode:
    While it is important to have friends who have your back, and can also rely on you, does that mean you should disregard right and wrong? Or, blindly take their side, no matter what?

    Riley and Topanga had good points to their side, although it was Topanga who voiced them into a valid argument. Just because you're best friends(or any type of friend), that doesn't mean you should simply take their side, solely because of that.

    Yes, standing up, and defending a friend is important. But, so is having the courage to stand up to your friend, when they are wrong, or even just being illogical.

    This episode wrapped with the conclusion, that you have your friends back no matter what, and putting the other side of the argument, as the 'wrong' side.

    I agree with Maya's side, and Cory was their too. However, there is more to it than that. It is not a black and white situation, then again nothing rarely is.

    1. literally will friedleNovember 6, 2016 at 8:26 PM

      I think a big part of being someone's best friend is being willing to listen to their opinions and valuing them even when they differ from your own.

      i don't think that really works in a situation like we saw in this episode, because maya is objectively short (sabrina carpenter is only 5 feet tall, so i was taller than she is when i was about ten years old [BUT THEN I'M A GIANT]), so it's not exactly something she can disagree with. i wonder if maya was expecting something more like "who cares if you're short?" rather than "NO WAY YOU'RE NOT BLKEHA;LB" or something? that might be part of the resolution then

      The whole thing reminds me a bit of Cory freaking out over being a geek and Shawn not giving two shits. "You're Cory, I'm Shawn...just like it's always been". They weren't arguing during the episode (at least, I don't remember them fighting or anything), but it's still the same lesson.

      anyway yeah

  8. You need to go back and pick an LVP for every episode now.

    1. Does the episode have Ava? LVP is Ava.

      Otherwise, flip a coin between Lucas and Auggie.

    2. Yeah, I was going to make a similar comment that the LVPs will so often be Peyton Meyer that it's not even worth it. I didn't like Ava either, but she bothered me a lot less in that we didn't see her that much and she was *supposed* to suck.

      He doesn't add much to the show, but I don't have many qualms with Auggie. Farkle probably bothered me more than Auggie.

  9. Christian, you hit the nail on the head on one of my criticisms that I didn't go over. Maya's reaction. Now, it is kinda explained that the insult wasn't the issue and that Maya wasn't really even mad at Lucas, yet to blow up like that isn't realistic. That whole thing could have been handled at the bay window, not in the middle of class by the teacher's weird brother.

  10. We could have a 30 minute show where Eric just stairs at the camera, and i would have thought it was the best tv in 15 years!

    With that said: I am so disappointed in how GMW handled this week! Just imagine for a second how great this would have been. ...

    They make one 2:30 show, and just break it up into five 30 min show each night. It would have allowed them to dig deeper into what this week was really make BMW fans happy.

    The first 2 nights could have delt with how they wanted to introduce Peyton's back story. Then used the last 3 as a vacation for the family back in Philadelphia.

    How amazing would it have been, if they stayed in the Mathews family home? It would have allowed Riley and Maya to get a "life lesson " from the amazing Feeney! We would have seen Eric and Fenney one last time doing what they do best.

    Overall, im always happy to watch Will Friedel work the camera better than 99% of Hollywood! But, i want to throw my phone at my tv because of what Jacobs did this week. Because each episode stood on their own with no continuation. ...they had to waist 15 minutes each episode. ...just to set up what all was going on. Which left us wondering WTF has been going on in their lives the past 15 years!

    (Sorry for any grammar, or rambling issues with this post. Im on my cell phone, and i cant proof read the post for some reason? )

  11. I don't like Zay, but he didn't bother me in this episode like he did in his introduction. Also, where was he in that video Riley and Maya got from Lucas' old Texan friends? They make it out like he's Lucas' true best friend, but we're introduced to him in the stupidest way possible?

    Ah, well, at least he's not the Evil Black Guy, like from "Girl Meets Flaws".

    Eric... My favorite character from BMW, after Feeny. He came back in top form, hasn't lost one beat, and I'm very happy about that. The Plays With Squirrels outfit being his townspeople's traditional garb was... Odd... But I know towns like this actually exist, so it's not as weird as it could have been.

    I seemed to find this episode as a blend between season 7 and season 5 Eric. He's more like he was in "Security Guy" than he was in "The War". I'm probably the only one that sees it that way, but that's how I see it, and as long as I see more of THIS Eric, I'll be happy.

    The conflict was ridiculous and stupid. Maya does so much and none of it has ever looked like it was overcompensating for being short. That Yogi kid (where the hell did he come from and which of his parents sentenced him to this sad fate of being named after a picnic basket chomping bear?) is shorter than her, in the same grade, and shows even fewer signs of growing than she does, why is she really so hung up about this? He doesn't seem to mind being a Hobbit.

    Has this been the best episode thus far? Probably not. "Girl Meets Pluto", aside from all the dopey Riley scenes, is probably still the best, but this ranks as the funniest. I'm so very happy that all the Bow Meets World cast members are still in top form, even Harley and Minkus and DEFINITELY Eric.

  12. I don't know how anyone can hate on this episode (not y'all, I realize that comes with reviewing).

    I loved it, and for some reason even the flaws I can forgive. Was the issue dumb? Yup. Did Eric actually do anything? Nope. But he tried is darnedessed, and you know why?

    Feeny. The Feeny vibes were real for me, you could tell that Eric wanted to help this kids out because of how much Feeny helped him. He wanted to be like that and I love that part of the story SO SO SO much. I want to kiss it on the face.

    Will is still one of the funniest human beings. Everything was funny, even the jokes that went on too long I didn't mind cause it just meant more Eric. He pulled out HIS OWN WHISTLE guys, the niche joke had a 15 year payoff, and the face that Will Friedle is putting anxiety and panic attacks on a rocket ship from here to the planet Flafluga is GLORIOUS. I'm so proud of Will and that's a huge part of the reason I'm so forgiving of the minor issues in this episode. So proud of him.

  13. Also, I have some other thoughts on Eric and I'd like to know what you think.

    I mean, as an older brother he still had a lot of loyalty for a hired mediator as I'm sure he would've done it for Cory no matter what. It was interesting to see what the next step of his master plan was for getting Riley and Maya back together. Like Eric said, you lose one friend, you lose all your friends, you lose yourself, and if you don't get to bring friends then what's the point? It's like when I saw a bird with a clipped wing one time - he didn't fly so good. Eric is a good person to Maya, I'm pretty sure Riley told her that even though you may be short, Maya, he's a big guy for you.

    1. Nobody cared about him until he started wearing the beard.

    2. You might say that, some memes simply become the Bane of the Internet.

      Sorry. I had to do that.

  14. Facebook - your'e damned to be a mindless twit if you do, you're damned to be a mindless hipster if you don't.

    1. I feel no shame in not having a Facebook account. I still keep in touch with my friends and family.

    2. Hey, if it works for you, Josh, who cares what I think? But I can assure you're not getting invited to half the activities and gatherings that you would be if you had it. I know I'm always forgetting to invite my non-Facebook friends to things. I don't mean to, I just don't think of it. And all the non-Facebook friends I know are constantly finding out they missed out on this or that because they just didn't hear about it in time. Or, like, didn't know someone had a baby or, like... died. It's just a tool to keep in touch with people. It doesn't have to be anything more in your life than that.

      But it feels like a lot of the people who don't have it have assigned it some larger, darker meaning where to not have it constitutes a victory over something. Not saying you do, but a lot of people do. But obviously, to each their own!

    3. I'm still not missing out on anything. People didn't invite me to anything before Facebook was the norm, so the odds that they would now are slim.

  15. I guess I'll put my final "Hell Week" thoughts and grade here. Based on what I know of typical Disney Channel season orders, this 5 night marathon of new episodes puts us roughly 20-25% of the way through Season 2. First my final rankings:

    New World
    Secret of Life
    Mr. Squirrels

    Going in, I thought we'd get maybe one really great episode, a couple good ones, and a really bad one. Much to my surprise we actually got 2 really fantastic episodes, 2 very good ones, and only one stinker. That alone gives me hope going forward. The other thing I believe we got was character development, and development of acting. Riley/Rowan and Lucas/Peyton both showed out very well this week, especially Peyton. I can only hope this week is a giant step forward in terms of his acting, and by default, his character. We also got to see Cory and Topanga at their BMW best, and Cory's best scene as a teacher and Topanga's best scene as a role model/mother. I also liked how in some form or fashion, each episode did rely on the last a little bit. Except for Gravity. That really didn't set up anything, in my opinion.

    A couple bad things I saw develop was the writers over reliance on meta-humor, and.....Zay. We've covered Zay enough, but I will say that the over use of meta-humor can get very tiring. I hope that they try and focus on writing a story that can stand on its own, while using continuity to their advantage, and still not rely on making fun of themselves.

    "Hell Week" Grade: B+/A-. Really couldn't settle on a letter grade, but I think this range is spot on. This week really put the season on its best foot forward, and I hope the progress continues.

    "Hell Week" MVP: This is tough too, but I'm going to give it to....Rowan Blanchard. She won one of this week's MVP awards, and I think they are figuring out how to writer her, and and she's figuring out how to play Riley. Also, when I found out that Knicks rant was off the cuff, and not written, it sealed it for me. I look forward to more from her.

    1. Even though I think Rowan didn't win a single episode MVP award for me of these 5, I might vote her the MVP of the entire week too.

    2. Yeah, I was basing it on my personal MVP's, but I'm happy you agree.

  16. ***[And I didn't like how Maya reacted by saying "Oh yeah, Riley? Well what if I made fun of how you're super awkward and clumsy?" and proceeded to do an impression of her in front of the whole school. All Riley did was not disagree when Maya was called short. Which is just an indisputable fact. She didn't make fun of her or do an impression of her. And Maya's insistence she'd never let anyone else call her that doesn't mean much to me when she still lets the whole school see her mock Riley for it. At that point, who cares who says it? Maya sucked in this one. Big time.]***

    Yes, Christian. This is exactly my thought on this scenario. What Maya thinks Riley supposedly did, is a non-issue, especially now that we have Maya actually making fun of Riley, with an impression in front of the whole class to boot.---This is a far worse friend, than anything Maya accused Riley of supposedly doing/not doing.---Not disputing something that was true, and Maya knows to be true....Come on, Maya, get real. You're smarter than this.

    Riley's supposed actions, or non-actions<<<This is not, not having your friends back--- Which the episode, insisted on being a theme. And, they completely disregarded the importance of the other side of the argument. Which Topanga and Riley were solidly on the side of, with valid points.

  17. So I have this theory about Boy Meets World. In the early years, Eric is Cory’s cool older brother who is good with the ladies.
    As the years progress though, especially when they go to college, Eric becomes more of a doofus who no girl wants to date.
    I believe we are seeing Eric through Cory’s perspective. As a kid, he thought is older brother was the most awesome guy. But once he grew up, he saw Eric for who he really was.

    1. It's a nice theory, and one that gives Michael Jacobs et al. perhaps too much credit. I don't think for a minute they thought it that well out. :)

  18. Forbes contributor's take on GMW:

    1. Eric finally made it into Forbies. :)

    2. If I was MJ and someone compared GMW to Agents of SHIELD, I would be rather offended, AoS is the most overrated piece of Marvel Cinematic Universe garbage in the history of everything conceivable and beyond.

    3. The writer did say that GMW was better and, and more important. So, it wasn't a direct comparison.

  19. I think I might just read the gold from now on. I can't believe he said Shawn was whiny in the billboard scene. That is my favorite scene in the whole series! Shawn finally realized that although he was not dealt the best hand, he was ultimately responsible for his own actions. That is the opposite of being whiny. He finally realized that what comes of his life is what he makes of it. That is the climax of the Shawn storyline! Also, the comment about how everyone needs a facebook to get invited to things is absolutely ridiculous and shows that Feeny was right in his speech in Quiz Show.

    1. I just want to say that I was kidding about just reading the gold, we all have opinions and I love how these reviews are set up. Thanks!

    2. See this guy understands.

    3. Whatever. I am warm and you are cold.

      I don't agree with you about Feeny and Facebook. Feeny's issue was taking the tremendous tool of technology and wasting it on defeating King Koopa [sic, no one was calling him that anymore even then] and saving the princess. Using technology (via Facebook) to keep in better, faster, easier touch with each other isn't a bad thing. It's one of the best things about the internet. Facebook's only stupid if you do stupid things with it.

    4. Also Mario games fucking rule, Feeny. So shut up. Was that really the big plague that had befallen Generation X? Super Mario Brothers?

  20. Tomorrow brings us a brand new Girl Meets World, and a piece of new info has just been dropped thanks to E! Online. I don't know if this would count as a surprise, but it's been confirmed that Matthew Lawrence (Jack Hunter) will return. I'm excited, as its another BMW cast member returning, although maybe not one I needed. Thoughts?

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