Nah. You know what? This was pretty good.
From top to bottom... pretty good. We start off with a whole meta cold open, and while... they perhaps need to stop relying so much on that, I really enjoyed it. It was funny and cute. Riley trying desperately to make the plot of this episode be about anything than examining her relationship with Lucas was pretty clever, and they did it pretty well without shoving it down our faces.
Most shockingly of all, though, is that Lucas and Riley's last scene, at the coffee shop... they actually showed some chemistry. That was actually a pretty cute scene about them. Even before it turned out Riley was a closet die-hard Knicks fan (which caught me off guard, but sure, I'lll go with it, I like it). Peyton Meyer is still the least talented person in the cast, but... he's getting better. He really is. He's loosening up, he's being a little charming from time to time, and he was actually pretty funny on occasion. Sabrina Carpenter's performance was so funny and adorable that she's guaranteed the Episode MVP slot, but Peyton did a very good job in this one and I've never been so impressed with him. He still stumbled... he was pretty bad in that non-musical reprise of Grease's "Tell Me More, Tell Me More", and in some other instances. But progress. Plus, it didn't help those weren't good scenes.
The big problem with Riley and Lucas, or at least one of them, is that their dynamic was never really established. On their "date" Lucas questioned why they couldn't talk like they always used to be able to and I was like "When? When were these great talks?" And they hadn't existed. This was the first one they had. And I didn't hate it. Does he still have more chemistry with Maya? Sure. Am I now firmly aboard the good ship Rilucas? Absolutely not. But at least now there's something here. And, really, that was perhaps the biggest hurdle of all.
Speaking of the scene at the coffee shop... there's a coffee shop. People have complained that Svorski's wasn't a believable hangout for teens. Well... certainly no argument can be made for Topanga's. That's a great set. While I think the renovation was smart (both for the show and... financially for the business) it kind of seems... cold to change the name of the business so soon after the woman died though. But then Mrs. Svorski was pushing the "Modernize this place." message pretty hard yesterday.
Lastly we have the
So, those are my initial thoughts. This was good. I don't want to... overstate it. We're still looking at something in the B-range. But considering how low my expectations were... wow. There are certainly better GMW episodes, but those episodes are helped along by having much better stories. The storyline of this episode was a recipe for a bad episode, if Season 1 was to be believed, but the execution was just pretty damn good.
I didn't say anything about Farkle and Maya's subplot. That's because I didn't care about it. But Maya was great in this one. And I'm very curious what the deal is with Minkus and Wife. They seem to be still married but unhappily. We condemn Farkle for his creepiness with women, but... at the end of the day. It's probably Minkus' fault.
Very interested in your thoughts, Sean.
"Yayyyyyyyyyy." Is that a catchphrase? Does Riley have a catchphrase? I wish she would stop.
I'm digging Farkle's new puberty voice. I'm sure we were all done with the shrill nails-on-chalkboard voice from the first season.
The kids immediately take over Cory's class and I just don't even care anymore. I don't even caaaaaaaaaaaare. I don't even caaaaaaaaaaaaare.
I'm glad Maya has started calling Riley "Riles." It's this series' "Cor."
I think Cory's only purpose on the show is to make this scrunched up, confused face.
It's... How do I say this without betraying my dignity... I... I liked Lucas in this episode.
Is that okay? Should I leave? Like Christian said, his acting is still spotty, but apparently making Lucas imperfect has completely changed the game. Now that he's actually a human being the show is infinitely more cohesive. I still have no idea what he and Riley talk about, but I'm willing to accept their claims that they're good friends off-camera. What really got me was this exchange at the coffee shop:
"We're boyfriend and girlfriend now."
"Those are just words, Riley. Words don't change people."
That's wise as fuck, and it's about time Jacobs dropped a truth bomb like that. That's the kind of dating stuff that got me so obsessed with Boy Meets World. Obviously I know that now, but if I had heard that when I was the target-audience's age? Shit. So that line made the episode for me and redeemed poor Lucas in my eyes. Plus, I like his shirt.
I'm as surprised as you are, Lucas.
Okay I should have finished the episode before I wrote that. They're officially not together anymore, because... they don't want to rush it? They've been good friends for a year now. I don't think that's rushing it. Topanga claims that they're caving to outside pressure, but both Riley and Lucas wanted this on their own. I'm honestly pretty confused about this decision, but hey, like Lucas said earlier, the label doesn't matter.
The most important element of comedy is surprise. If the audience has any sort of inkling what the punchline is going to be, the humor is lost. Riley's humor is almost as predictable as Cory's scrunched up confused face, but this time they got me. Riley's rant about the Knicks was hilarious because they finally caught me completely off guard. Second best laugh I've had from this show, behind Belgium Farkle.
Doy was okay, sounds like you enjoyed it more than I did, so I don't have anything to add there.
Loved Maya, sad that Minkus is in a dead marriage. I'm surprised Jacobs threw in that joke so flippantly. That's kind of a big deal to just casually mention on the sly.
Like Christian, I'm not quite on the USS Rilucas yet, but this episode was a strong reminder that Jacobs knows what he's doing. Hopefully that continues. That's a rare sighting of my optimistic side, but the cynic has come back to say: HOW LONG UNTIL THE SHIT EPISODE WHERE LUCAS STARTS DATING SOME OTHER GIRL AND RILEY'S LIKE "WAHH" AND LUCAS IS LIKE "WE SAID WE WEREN'T TOGETHER..."
OR OR OR IS IT GONNA BE WHERE SOME OTHER GUY ASKS RILEY OUT AND SHE'S TORTURED BY THE DECISION SINCE SHE AND LUCAS AREN'T ACTUALLY A THING AND AJDLKDFSLADFSJKLADJSFKL
Sorry. Had to get that out there.
Well, hopefully we're not due for another Riley-and-Lucas-examine-their-relationship episode for a while. If they made the decision to leave them friends for now, I think we need to settle into that status quo before an incident like that makes them rethink things. But, sure, an episode like that is bound to happen.
As for Minkus and his bad marriage (I guess I'm going backwards with my replies) I think we maybe already had a sense of that in the episode Minkus appeared in. When he was having dinner at the Matthews' he made it quite clear he still had the hots for Topanga... in front of his son. I actually was wondering if maybe they were divorced, but it doesn't look like it. I believe he's supposed to be in an episode this season? Maybe we'll learn more. Oh, and did you know the writers have claimed Farkle's mom is someone we once met on BMW? But it's not a major character, and it's not someone we saw Minkus himself interact with. Any guesses? I have no idea.
But yeah, speaking of Farkle, he's definitely going through puberty. Bit deeper of a voice, he's now taller than Riley which I don't think used to be true, and just a more man vibe from him in general. Good on him. Seeing him and Lucas next to each other and being expected to believe they're the same age was a problem.
I'll take "Yaaaaaay" as a catchphrase over when she and Maya used to do that thing with their hand and go "Stop it."
I didn't say anything about Cory in this episode because he just kind of was sprinkled in other people's storylines, but I thought he was funny. I liked him taking Doy's side. That whole thing just felt very Cory and Topanga - Cory calling the kid Doy if he wants to be Doy and actually seeming to really get into it, while Topanga trying to explain to him why that name is stupid and he should go by his name which has a proper pronunciation. But you were HATIN' on Doy up there, so I'll move on.
Yeah, I don't know. I wasn't necessarily impressed with Lucas' pearls of wisdom about the nature of labeling. It kind of felt like trite obvious sentiments, not letting be boyfriend/girlfriend define them. But then Lucas is full of trite obvious sentiments. I think maybe Lucas impressed you more than I did. He had good moments, like in his terror in Cory's classroom of Cory's reaction, or in his flirty scene with Riley at the coffee ship at the end. Most of him was still sort of lame, in my book. But then, I think I've also never been as impressed with the BMW take on teen dating like you've been. I tend to think they got it wrong as often as they got it right.
I have a shirt like Lucas', maybe a shade or two darker. Want it?
It's too early to bother with pictures.
I do not want your shirt, no.
I dunno man, I don't think it's trite at all. Watch any other teen-oriented show, "becoming boyfriend and girlfriend" is this MONUMENTAL event. And that's what I saw in middle school and high school in real life, people treating it like it's a huge ass deal. So yeah, I completely disagree that that's a "trite obvious sentiment."
Minkus's wife... I will be extremely unhappy if it's Dana or Lauren.... Heh, what if it's Ingrid. That gold digger.
I should clarify, Topanga and Cory had some of the best interaction we've seen on this show during the Doy story, I totally agree with that. I just wasn't crazy about Doy himself.
Alright, man. Your loss. It's a good shirt. You sure?
Alright, we'll agree to disagree on Lucas' pearls of wisdom. I just have heard characters (and real people) say that same thing Lucas has said, in so many words. Maybe 'trite' is going at it a little hard, just wasn't gobsmacked by the wisdom. But different strokes for different folks.
Lauren's the only one where I'd... get it. Like a feeble attempt to make Cory jealous for poaching Topanga from him. But Lauren's worth more than that. And, really, I don't see Linda Cardellini coming on to do this show, so unless they merely mention her. Ingrid would make sense, but she just feels too obscure. They can't possibly expect the audience at large to remember her. As for Dana... I just don't see why. What would be the point of that? Same with Ingrid, though, I guess. Or anyone. I'm not sure why they felt the need to do this at all. Maybe it'll be a meta-joke about all the guest stars. Farkle's Mom turns out to be some throwaway character from Season 3, and she's like "Hey Cory, remember me? From the '90s?" and he's like "Um... not, really. No. Sorry!"
Ah, okay. Yeah, then I'm with you, Doywise. But I did like Doy too.
And that's a wrap, folks! Since we're 2-minus 25 minutes to the new episode. Seeya then!
Episode Rating: B+
Episode MVP: Sabrina Carpenter (but solid showings from Rowan, Ben, Danielle, and even Peyton!)