Tuesday, May 12, 2015

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

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

Nah. You know what? This was pretty good.
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 Dewy Doy subplot. I loved it. Topanga was always comparatively un-quirky compared to the boys, but one of her few quirks is her occasional manic need to be seen as perfect, and I like using that as Topanga having a manic need to always be right and have everything done correctly. She was very good in this, and that kid who played Doy was just cute as could freaking be. No more Ava. More this kid. Although, really, this is the one time the plot of this episode could work and that's really all Doy's got.

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. 


Quick observations:

"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!

Oh, yeah:

Episode Rating: B+
Episode MVP: Sabrina Carpenter (but solid showings from Rowan, Ben, Danielle, and even Peyton!)

26 comments:

  1. You know, just like you I was worried about this episode, but then when I actually thought about it, it makes sense... dealing with dating around and the effects it has on peer reputation, as well as one's self esteem was one of BMW season 2's strengths, and that's exactly what this episode was. I would argue this is easily the least forced and most natural episode of the show so far, and therefore my favorite. Not even to mention the continually improved acting skills from Riley, Farkle, and even Lucas.

    And another thing that this is doing well that BMW did was making you expect a typical sitcom cliche, and then turning it on its head. In that coffee shop scene after Riley mentions not knowing much about sports I expected another typical tryhard GMW lesson to beat over my head, probably to the likes of "Wow guess we don't have as much in common as I thought. We should stay friends" or some predictable garbage, trying to be heartwarming garbage like that, but instead, we got a legitimately hilarious Knicks rant that intentionally takes the viewer by surprise, that besides just making the Lucas/Riley relationship a bit more real, also adds some much needed personality and interests to our previously bland protagonist.

    It sure isn't perfect, but it is an obvious step in the right direction. The problem with Girl Meets Gravity, and much of the show in general, was it tried to be overly ambitious and besides the final scene, forgot actual heart in the process. Less style like that and more substance like this.

    If the show continues using BMW cameos and references as a crutch, as much as I hate to say this, cut them out, because they are preventing far more natural, less over the top, and overall quality episodes like this one.

    Overall, easily top 3 so far in the show, maybe the top 1. Let's hope they take cues from this and not Gravity.

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  2. 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..."

    Man, wouldn't it be something if it turned out to be tomorrow?

    But yeah, this is the Girl Meets World people were screaming for, and it only took a whole season +1 episode.

    Also, it's Liley according to Disney Channel themselves: https://twitter.com/DisneyChannel/status/598287972597903360

    Also, if you had watched Peyton Meyer on Dog With a Blog you'd know that Lucas' shirt is called an urban blouse.

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    1. Nah. I'm not calling them Liley. They have a shared 'L', so they're Rilucas. Like Shangela used the shared 'A' or Copanga uses the shared 'O'. Them's the rules. And Lucas and Maya can be Lucaya.

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    2. Yeah, I don't like 'Liley' either(which I'm pronouncing with a long 'i'). I'm not really for this whole 'ship name phenomenon. But, for Riley&Lucas(if I'm going to play into it), I like 'Rilcus'. ....with the 'u' after the 'L', I'm not sure how to pronounce it. Or, there's 'Rucas'....but, this sounds too similar to 'Brucas'.---Anyone?-No.
      Now, 'Lucaya' is a damn perfect 'ship name, that just rolls off the tongue. They should be taking advantage of this.....eventually. Forgive me for this, but the stars are aligned for 'Lucaya'.
      And, then there's 'Farley', for Riley&Farkle; they'll go far....Sorry couldn't resist.---Please don't judge me, too much.

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    3. Nothing beats Rowina though. Especially since (like Miley I guess) it happens to form an actual proper name in the process.

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  3. From beginning to end, this episode was as close to perfect as a GMW episode has gotten without the help of the BMW cast guest spots so far. Everybody felt natural, and funny from the word go. The little meta scene was good, but coming off of yesterday, I didn't need it. I liked how Riley, who we complain about as being narcissistic, was doing everything in her power to not make the episode about her. Until, she realized that she had to deal with it. I bought her trepidation and fear about it. That's natural. Great opening scenes. Oh, and I loved the health book gimmick in the classroom. That was pretty great.

    When it came time to talk about where they stood, it was executed flawlessly. You could feel the stress and pressure Lucas and Riley were under. When he asked her out, it was so uncomfortable, but that's what dating in middle school was like for many. So, it was very believable.

    The first coffee shop scene was painfully awkward, but was the first time where Lucas (Peyton Meyer) really broke through as a character. It was a baby step, but I saw that this kid does have a very easy going ability to talk. I think if they interject some more of Peyton into Lucas, we could have a decent character on our hands. I'll also take this time to go over the Maya/Farkle plot by saying I liked it for what it was. Maya saw a big, fat rock and was completely hypnotized. Farkle was just happy she said yes, despite his realizing it wasn't real. He didn't care. And it was perfect in juxtaposition to what Rucas was dealing with.

    The following part where Topanga just broke it down for them was great. And it gave us the single best, non BMW involved, scene of the show. For those who don't follow Rowan Blanchard on Twitter, she is a giant Knicks fan. So, I don't know if that was scripted or off the cuff, but that was all Rowan. And it felt REAL. One of the few things that this show has given us a natural feeling, and it was amazing. All that rant was missing was a couple of cuss words for emphasis. And Lucas took another baby step. His reaction was gold, and felt genuine. This episode put Rucas in a good spot, and I hope they truly build from it. Yet, let these two be themselves. It just works, and it was proven tonight.

    The Topanga subplot was cute, and that little boy was adorable. He looked legit frightened of her, and Topanga definitely came across as a little batshit crazy. Auggie was good too. Keep him to solid one-liners and let him be. He's good at it when he doesn't have too much.

    Episode MVP: Rowan Blanchard. That rant was easily my favorite part, cause I am a big sports fan. And they let Rowan be herself, and it was a damn fine scene.

    Episode Grade: A- One of my favs of the show, so far.

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  4. Go back and watch the "date." Lucas orders a smoothie and brings it to the table. They talk about whatever, then leave Topanga's, abandoning a full smoothie that probably cost Lucas $37. Who leaves a full smoothie behind?! No, I don't know why this bothers me so much. Hello, I'm Eri- OK, I'm not.

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    1. Yeah, I was definitely noticing that too. -And, smoothies in coffee shops, or juice places(a Booster Juice, for example) aren't cheap- But, chalk it up to a a TV thing, as GMW, is not the the only show you see such a thing.

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    2. I noticed that as well and meant to say something about it. Yeah, that looked like a pretty nice smoothie. Those rich jerks. Can just let a smoothie go to waste like that.

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  5. Girl Meets New World[2.02], is one of the most flawless, and most natural episodes of the series, so far. The portrayal of the teen/middle-school aged dating, was written and executed so realistically awkward, with a sweetness and innocence, which is hardly ever shown in TV, or movies.---BMW, did this, and Joan of Arcadia[03-05]---Teens aren't smooth, or sure of themselves, sure they want you to think that they have it altogether, have all the answers, but they are stumbling along their path, unsure what to do next.---As portrayed, in this episode, and wonderfully at that, by Riley and Lucas---Rowan and Peyton.
    *I really enjoyed the opening of the episode with Riley and Maya, and the back and forth between them.---Maya, wanting Riley to talk about her kiss with Lucas, and Riley, in avoidance mode, thinking of problems for everyone else in her life.. This whole scene flowed well; I especially liked when Topanga&Cory walk in and ask them to baby-sit Auggie, and Riley goes on the diatribe of what could happen....Maya's YAY!, and Booo... Which leads us to the wonderfully, subtle close of the scene with Riley's acceptance to finally talk about/deal with it, in her softened voice, "What happens now?" And, the expression on both faces, going into the opening theme....Nicely done, all around.
    *The entire cast had their 'A' game this episode.*
    *And, now, for Auggie's part of the episode, which ends up being more Topanga and Cory-centric... And, Auggie's new friend is just the cutest in the world.[Lets hope we've seen the last of Ava.] One thing I was thinking through this, is; come on Topanga, just let this 6-year old kid, who wants to be called 'Doy' right now, grow into Dewey.---Which is basically what Cory's says/points out too. *And, my favourite part of this storyline, and the episode, is how Cory, standing up to Topanga, says, "What is it in you that makes you do this? .... So, will you please let go of your need to right all the time, and just call the kid 'Doy'."---And, this right here, goes back to an old issue between Cory & Topanga, that has never fully been resolved(and probably never will).<<<And, it is fantastic to see it again, with Cory taking it by the reigns. I also loved the bond/chemistry Cory had with Doy.---And, how the three of them, 'Coy', Auggie, and 'Doy' leave Topanga sitting on the couch, pondering what just happened.
    *So, I think that's it for this episode. Although, I didn't comment on Maya and Farkle.---I enjoyed them, for what it was.--I think the part I liked best, here, is when they are walking through the hallway in the wedding attire, and Maya throws her bouquet to Riley, who just rolls her eyes at the cliche, and hands the flowers to the girl behind her.---

    Episode MVP, for me: Ben Savage. The Cory in this episode is close to the Cory I have been waiting to see, since GMW started. The silliness was still there, but I felt it be on the more understated side. And, bringing back an old 'Copanga' issue, of Topanga needing to be right, the best at everything, but putting it on the lighter side was well played by all involved, the writers included(obviously).
    *In 2nd place, is Rowan Blanchard. That rant on the Knicks, I'm like where the hell is this coming from, and I loved it.[There aren't many moments in kids shows that put you on the edge of your seat, this was one of them.]---One thing I've definitely noticed, Rowan does extremely well at the fast-talking diatribes/monologues, Riley goes on. She also portrays the awkwardness, sweetness and innocence well.

    Episode grade: A solid A.

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  6. I'll admit it. I like the "Stop it" catchphrase. I think its cute/funny. Just me, tho.

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    1. I'm totally a fan too. Not sure why, but it makes me smile every time.

      Not really sold on the "Yayyyyyyyyy" though.

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    2. Taranto! Hey man. Good to see you.

      And yeah, I'm absolutely done with yayyy

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    3. I'm still good with "Yayyyy" too. Fits with the character as we've seen so far.

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    4. I actually am quite fond of Riley&Maya's, hair flip-"Stop It", thing they do. And, one reason being, the main reason really, is it makes Riley and Maya on-par, on equal ground with each other.---Now, we definitely got an overload of this in 2.01. It was something I liked seeing in season 1, though.---The show is getting better at separating Riley and Maya, in a way that isn't Riley wanting to be like Maya/Maya looking down upon Riley---As such, we don't need their hair flip thing as often, it is a fun bit though, IMO.

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    5. Hey Confidence! Thanks. Had to keep posting my thoughts on the BMW/GMW universes!

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  7. Hah, what if it turns out that Minkus' wife/Farkle's mom is MORGAN! Or at least one of the two actresses? I vote Nicksay!

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    1. I mean, it's not Morgan. I think they'd all know if Farkle was a relative. And it would make his crush on Riley even more problematic.

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  8. I really really liked this one.

    I was happy they didn't have Riley and Lucas stay BF/GF because it was clear that they (well, at least Riley) weren't ready for that. I'm beginning to enjoy their dynamic.

    The subplot with "Doy" was odd, but it did make me laugh, so there's that.

    The ring subplot was also funny, especially with the wedding gag at the end.

    Episode Grade: A

    And I don't normally give an MVP but for this episode I have o give it to Rowan because I think she did so well with both the awkwardness and then the Knicks rant later on. XD

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  9. Word in the YouTube comments is that the scene with Riley's Knicks rant was actually improvised (to some extent) by Rowan and Peyton. There is an interview where Rowan says that Michael Jacobs gave them an assignment to develop an improvised scene (no scripts), so they went into a room, came out with something a little while later, it was filmed, and she said it was going in to the episode.

    I don't know whether it's been confirmed that that scene is really the improvised one. But if so, it's interesting that we all liked it so much and it rang genuine to us. And also, why won't Michael let them have scenes like that more often if they're supposed to have feelings for each other.

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  10. ok um im just saying but i LOVED farkles voice before he sounded funnier and now he sounds like lucas all low :| sorry but its true so yeah

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  11. literally will friedleNovember 5, 2016 at 7:45 PM

    Not much to say except that this episode was actually pretty damn good. I thought the Doy subplot was going to be stupid at first (my thought was "Who the fuck is terrible enough to name their kid 'Doy'") but I was pleasantly surprised at the direction it took.

    anyway solid 5/7 ha ha ha ha ha

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    1. this is a meme free zone, my friend. that's one strike.

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    2. and rest assured that i read all your comments, i just don't have anything to say about these old ones

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    3. literally will friedleNovember 6, 2016 at 7:47 PM

      D:

      Yeah, I kind of figured. I'm trying desperately to catch up so I can be relevant

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