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.
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?!
WHO ARE YOU?!!?!?
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.
TOO BUSY FOR PICTURE-HUNTING. MAYBE LATER.
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.
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY THIS YOGI KID IS SO IMPORTANT THIS SEASON?
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?