Friday, June 5, 2015

Matthew Lawrence returns as Jack Hunter

Well, the news broke yesterday but may as well make a post about it now. If you missed it - Matthew Lawrence will officially be returning as Jack Hunter in an episode later on this season, specifically "Girl Meets Semi-Formal."

As can be seen in this picture, mercifully, Eric will be appearing in this episode too. I doubt Shawn will be, but I guess an episode focusing on Shawn/Jack and Eric/Jack probably wouldn't have left much room for, y'know, Riley and Maya. Still, as much as Eric's antics took up the lion's share of his storylines (since, let's face it, Eric and Jack were the B-Team, and Shawn was on the A-Team), I do think Shawn is (or, at least, should be) Jack's most significant relationship on the show. As much as I hate to say it *sigh* they should probably bring Matthew Lawrence back for one more episode after this to see where he and Shawn are now too. 

Possible spoilers after the jump. 

Here's some things of note: 
  • This is the episode Will Friedle wrote, Eric's third appearance in the show. So, we'll get to see how Will Friedle sees not only Eric, Cory, and Topanga, but Jack as well. 
  • Eric and Jack look very dapper in this picture, don't they? Good for them. 
  • Note the flag pin on Eric's lapel. Ladies and gentlemen... methinks we're looking at Senator Eric Matthews (I-NY). I was going to say I'm not sure I like this or not but... you know what, no, I like this. I like that, however the hell it happened, Eric wound up a success and I like that this position will keep him looking good and not... like Plays with Squirrels. 
  • I think I read somewhere that the plot of this episode concerns friends being romantic rivals for the same person and so my guess is that Jack is here (with Eric) to impart the lesson about not letting having feelings for the same person destroy a friendship. It keeps with the theme of BMW vets returning to impart a lesson based on who they were: Harley returned to talk about having been a bully, Eric returned to talk about not going all Seven the Hard Way, Turner's returning to talk about how some teachers can have unconventional styles and that's not bad, Chet's returning to talk about how, when your wife goes missing with your home, you don't abandon your son to try to find her. So, Jack's here for this.
    • What's most interesting about this one, though, is to wonder who, of the kids, might be in the midst of a triangle? I don't think it would be Lucas/Riley/Farkle because they've been dealing with that one for a while, and no one seems to have hurt feelings over it. It would be weird for Farkle to all of a sudden turn pissy. If you ask me that leaves one more obvious triangle - Riley/Lucas/Maya! But, then, this is an episode toward the end of the season so, who the hell knows, maybe this is between Josh and Zay for Maya or some such nonsense. But I'd dearly like this to be a Riley/Lucas/Maya triangle episode.
As I said, according to the running order, this should be Episode 18, closer to the end of the season, so we probably have some time to see how this plays out. While I've made no secret about not being a fan of the character of Jack and not seeing his return as very necessary, this wouldn't be a bad way to use him (as long as he didn't fly in to help Eric solve this problem, let's just have him in NY on business, shall we? Or, actually, he's from New York. He can just live there and not generally hang out with our heroes.) But yeah, if they brought back the likes of Harley and Turner, there was never any way they wouldn't bring back Jack at some point, but it could have been handled worse than this seems to be handled. Imagine if they tried to squeeze him into an episode without Shawn or Eric? 

Sean, what do you think? Commenters, what do you think?

P.S. I was kidding about why Chet's back.

Apparently I (and the rest of the country) can get a free donut at Dunkin Donuts today. I'm not going to, but it's monstrously empowering to know that I can.

My friends, Christian hates Jack. Like a lot. This guy was willing to argue the position that Jack is worse than Lucas. 

Sh sh sh, don't cry Jack, it's okay. I don't hate you nearly as much as he does. After Girl Meets Mister Squirrels, it became clear to me that Eric does need some sort of shenanigans-referee. The Catcher In The Shenanigans. When Eric is allowed to go Season 7 with reckless abandon like in Meets Mister Squirrels, I don't have a great time. Obviously Jack didn't do that job very well, not as well as Cory or Alan ("Listen, porky...") or Jason. But he gets a lot of flak solely because he has to be the spoiler, and I'm not sure it's all deserved. 

My favorite thing you said is your last line. What a total disgrace it would be to even suggest that Jack is friends with Cory and Topanga, or that he'd be involved in Riley's life without Eric. 

It is wildly exciting that Will wrote this Jack-returns episode. We'll never know what sort of constraints are placed on the script that he had to abide by, but I think it's safe to assume that there are some. And Eric is probably a senator. Not because he deserves it or because it's good storytelling (both of which are up for debate, I'm not sold either way) but because it's obvious that no one ever loses anything or faces any real form of disappointment on this show.  Be honest, are we ever going to see "I didn't get in..." on this show?

Love triangle plot makes sense for bringing in Jack. Not excited about seeing it in the kids. As much as we want to explore the chemistry between Maya and Lucas, I don't want to see these compelling female leads reduced to "fighting over a boy." They are best friends and fighting over a boy is the cheapest, easiest plot device for young female characters. That is the worst thing they can do. I'm sure Jacobs realizes that though, so there's no way we're going to see Maya/Riley/Lucas. And outside of "Maya and Lucas have interesting dialogue" I'm not really sure why you're so excited about it. So yeah, it's going to be something stupid like Zay/Farkle/Maya. Bleh.

Also, tonight's episode sounds like it has potential. Riley lying to her parents to go to a party, that's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. The only question is, how many awkward bad-poker-faces paired with audience laughter are we going to get in the process? Three? I'm going to guess three instances of stopping the dialogue to allow audience laughter in that scene.

Aw, man. My apartment is, like, right next door to a Dunkin Donuts. And I even considered going in to get one this morning because my Uber was taking forever to show up. But I didn't! And I think it closes long before I expect to be home tonight! Curses!

Oh, I can make a strong argument for Jack being worse than Lucas.
  1. Lucas didn't show up half-way through a series that was already working really well only to add... nothing but making the best character less fun and dynamic. He was there from jump. I don't like characters that suck very much, but I like characters that suck that were part of the original plan of the show than character who get added midway through, fucking with the dynamic, only to... suck.
  2. A lot of Lucas' problems stem from how young and inexperienced his actor was, and that actor, at only what, like 15, is already showing lots of improvement. Jack was a young adult the entire time we knew him, he has no excuse. 
  3. Lucas at least seems... relevant. He's the love interest to the main character, like him or not. He has a pivotal reason to exist. Jack had no reason to exist.  
  4. I blame Jack for what happened to college years Eric. At least, partly. Jack's lack of role as anything but straight man necessitated the need to ramp up Eric's silliness so that a straight man is required
I grant that some of these are connected and maybe could be the same point. Sure, Jack had more entertaining moments. He was on the better written show. But solely as a character I really think Jack was a failure. It took him until Season 7 to even get a personality, and the one they gave him (vain snob) wasn't even that great. Yes, maybe Eric needs a shenanigans referee but anybody can do that. In "Mr. Squirrels" Cory and Topanga took up the charge. And those characters also can do other things like... be the main characters of this franchise. Jack has nothing but Eric refereeing, and he generally did it in this mean-spirited way. 

Remember the movie Anchorman? Probably you do. I remember Will Ferrell once commenting that they had a rule when writing scenes with Steve Carrell's Brick that they had a rule that none of the other characters could get too angry or frustrated with him otherwise it wouldn't seem funny anymore. And I think that applies here. Jack felt too angry or disdainful at him, all the time. Jason thought Eric was an idiot too, and he made fun of him too, but it always felt like they liked each other. Most of the time, and especially in Season 7, I just didn't think Jack liked Eric. And that bothered me.

Still, I don't begrudge Jack a curtain call. If it's thought that Minkus, Harley, and even the deceased Chet deserved one, then Jack certainly does. And this is a proper context for it. I didn't need to see him, but I'm not pissed that it's happening. 

Yeah, my number one comment in the early days of this when people would suggest a Jack or Rachel return is that it just doesn't make sense because the characters they were connected to are not the ones who are the main characters of GMW. Jack and Rachel weren't so much friends with Cory and Topanga as they were friends-in-law. Take Eric (or Shawn, in Jack's case) away and they have no reason to see each other. So, back when Will's participation seemed tenuous at best, it never made sense. But now that he's going to be around a lot, sure, bring Jack in.

Probably don't bring Rachel in though. And I like Rachel best of the three newcomers, because while she added nothing, she also rarely pissed me off. But even if Rachel came back in an episode with Eric I'd be like "But like... why?" Jack's in a tier of prominence ahead of her. 

As for Jack's role being as his campaign manager (or chief-of-staff, he's already been elected by this point) as was suggested in the comments. The Leo to his Jed if you will (eh, Sean? Eh?) I will admit that's a pretty good role for Jack if you're, like, looking for a way to keep Jack involved. He's financially savvy, so he could raise money for him, and he understands the way Eric's mind works and could maybe turn his weird ideas into practical plans. I'm fine with it, as long as it doesn't mean Jack comes along for the ride in all Eric episodes. Because I do not want that. 

A commented mentioned the picture of the whole cast from that episode; 

First off, I know it doesn't help that they're wearing the exact same thing, but Eric... might be Lucas' biological father too. But seriously, they're wearing the exact same thing, is that like on purpose? Or is it a lighting thing, and Lucas' shirt is white while Eric's is light blue?

And, look at The Farkle looking all tall, dark, and handsome. Black on black? What a little badass. Although it's also the kind of things the dorkier element wore to dances to look dark and mysterious and it wouldn't work. Still, he looks good. Nice haircut. I like this Farkle. He's clearly sprouted even more as he's practically the same height as the others (not an impressive feat, the BMW boys are all notoriously short)

Jack looks a lot less Mr. Cool Guy than he used to. He may still have that 6% body fat, but I don't think there's nearly as much muscle going on as there used to be. Plus, with no more late '90s spiky hair, this guy looks more like Season 5 Jack. A gentler Jack.

Cory, I got nothing to say about. Hi Cory.

And I'm not going to comment on Maya because it makes me uncomfortable that I'm starting to find her sort of adult-pretty. (Sabrina Carpenter's 16, guys! What do you want from me?! Sixteen-year-old girls are sometimes attractive! I'm not going to, like, ask her out, okay?!)

As for making the female leads fight over a boy... I agree I don't want their relationship reduced to that, but if something happens between Maya and Lucas, I mean, they are going to fight about it. There's no way they couldn't. They have a great friendship, but it's not impervious to fights - hell, we just saw them fight because Riley agreed Maya was short. At that age, friends do fight over guys and girls. All the time. Constantly. I don't see anything wrong in depicting that just because it fits in with what could be construed as a stereotype. As for why I'm excited about it, it's because I actually do really like Maya and Lucas' dynamic with each other a lot, and it's about the only time I like Lucas at all. Meanwhile, I think Riley would be better served as a character if she was given a less idealized love interest.

Yeah, I'm interested in the premise of tonight's episode except I'm not certain why a talking tater tot needs to be involved.

Yeah, his time in the Peace Corps hopefully reduced Jack's dependence on hair gel. 

I don't know, there's a whole lot to argue about here, but I am a mortal man with finite time, so I'll just say that I am excited for this episode with Jack and Eric. About one million times more excited than for the episode with Shawn and Angela, and I think Christian will agree with that..

So yeah you deserve a more thorough response, but I'm gonna save some energy for tonight's review

And If we're allowed to talk about how Petyon is objectively good looking, then we're allowed to say the same about Sabrina. 



  1. Have you seen the other picture that eonline has posted with this story? Maya dressed all girly and Farkle looking all Stevie Moops (the character he played on I Didn't Do It). He has lost the shag cut finally and doesn't look all Austin Powers anymore. About time.

    Truthfully it might make some story sense for Eric to get Jack to run his campaign for him. Eric is a people person, but totally clueless about most other things. Jack has the smarts to handle managing the actual politics of being a senator for Eric. That would be a believable reason to have him involved with Eric after all this time.

    1. I actually like that idea a lot.

  2. I've said it already, but I'll say it again. I don't absolutely NEED Jack's return. Its not necessary, but I like that the creators/producers of the show have tried to get everyone that you could possible think of as important to BMW back to do GMW. And nearly everyone has, which is kind of remarkable in my opinion.

    As far as Eric goes, I like that they went ahead and made him a Senator. Granted, he looks to be a puppet Senator, but hey, anything to get him permanently out of the "Plays With Squirrels" gimmick. And I love the idea of making Jack somehow connected with Eric's campaign or office. It'd be perfect for him.

    To have the "B-Team" come in to deal with a love triangle also makes a ton of sense, and I like that they are. It's the best way to bring Jack in. Which triangle would I prefer, honestly, none. We've already established that Maya and Riley are basically inseparable, and would never hurt each other. So, while seeing more Maya/Lucas interaction would be fun, in the end, it wouldn't serve anything lasting. So, I'm prepared for some stupid, one off triangle, and we'll move on from it.

    In a piece of good news, tonight marks appearance 3 of 4 for Zay. Hopefully, we'll have a long break from him in the future.

    1. pwfan, this is not the first time you've commented on a believed temporary nature of Zay, and I didn't say anything to risk breaking your heart but... I think Zay's probably here to stay and that he's only listed in 4 episodes (all of which are close together) because those are the episodes whose entire cast lists are known. He's not going to be in every episode, but I think he'll be around a lot. I could be wrong, but I think you need to be prepared for the possibility. :(

    2. Still, it looks like he's not in this one, otherwise he'd probably be in the picture. So that's promising. And does at least imply this is not a Zay-related triangle. Probably it'll be that Farkle suddenly decides he's jealous for one episode.

    3. I should have said 3 of 4...this season. My bad.

    4. Thing is, I don't even think that's true. I think we'll see him lots more this season. I just think he's not listed on, like, IMDb or anything yet.

    5. On IMDB, he is listed for only 4 episodes this season. Now, that's so far, as I think there is still some filming left to do. I think..

    6. Right. But that doesn't mean as much as you think it does. IMDb is frequently incomplete, particularly in things that have not aired yet. It seems unlikely they'd jam him in four episodes in quick succession and then not use him for the rest of the season.

  3. Sean, you're not alone in thinking Sabrina Carpenter is adult-pretty. I think so, too...and like you, I feel a bit icky about it. But hey, that's life sometimes.

  4. Love your breakdown on Jack the character. I really believe the only reasons he was introduced was to put the screws to Shawn a bit more. His half brother, who had it much easier than him. Also, I think they did it was because in the 90s the Lawrence Brothers were kinda big, and when they found something to do with one, they went for it.

    I'm also right there with you on Sabrina Carpenter. She is a very pretty young lady. I also went out and bought her debut album. Very good, if you like a pop music/easy listening inspired sound. Thankfully, I like pretty much any kind of music, so it worked for me.

  5. Jack's face kinda reminds me of Fix-It-Felix...