EDIT: Be sure to check out the blog the week of the 28th (this week) for something special and awesome, even though we won't have an episode to review.
Christian's drunk at work or something else equally awesome so I'm kicking things off tonight.
This is the first time I've watched the show live on Disney Channel, and thus I caught the last two minutes of Camp Whatever. It is perhaps the worst thing that has ever been and everyone ought to be ashamed of themselves.
I'm afraid I don't have much of a review for you all, since reviews are meant for episodes of tv shows, not the backroom event at a circus. The second half of this episode was the backroom event at a circus. I was taking notes since I couldn't pause the episode and type, like I normally do, so I'll share this part with you.
|The first line is in reference to the horrifying commercials, of course.|
Now listen, I'm an aspiring artist myself. I love art and I completely agree with the intentions of this episode. But come on. "You're right! We didn't try thinking about things differently, that changes everything! We're so bad at our jobs!" Jacobs knew what he wanted to do, and for some reason went with the very first execution he thought of. That super easy plot line you think of immediately when you want to "save the arts." All that was missing was the kids handcuffing themselves to an old tree when the bulldozers show up.
There's some quality in the first half though. The scene in art class was great. Riley's personality was used in the perfect way for humor, but I think somewhere in the script they told Sabrina to be "even broodier than usual." The art teacher comments a lot about Maya's talent and... I have a personal distaste for the word "talent," because it makes people feel like if they weren't born good at something then they'll be painting Riley's purple cats forever. Why can't Maya be skilled instead? "Skilled" makes you think "if I work hard, I can be that good," while "talent" says "You weren't born good? Shit outta luck." That's not really here nor there, but it's something I feel very strongly about.
I also liked Farkle's hair. Farkle's hair has looked SO good lately. Who's with me?
The last important thing to talk about is Zay. This is the episode where they wanted to make us like Zay or die trying. And it wasn't a total failure. His commentary on Lucas and Maya looking at each other in class was a complete misfire, but maybe some Lucaya shippers saw it and identified with it, I don't know. That's what the writers were going for, I'm sure. Another one of those "Yeah we're listening! We're in on it too!" But as always it was too heavy handed.
The rest of Zay... Yeah not bad. The best he's been, for what that's worth. He took charge, which will always get points from me, his acting is looking at least as good as Peyton's, and his dialogue was enjoyable once we got to the bakery. That's what I referred to as "Zay's redemption speech" in my notes up there. It's a shame that his opportunity to shine had to have such an unsatisfying climax. Did you ever think for a moment that they wouldn't save the arts? No, you knew that the kids' talent show was going to magically poof more money into the budget. It just felt so effortless. I don't think anybody even tried when they wrote this. It was Friday afternoon and everybody wanted to go home. Like I said, every line from the kids had this air of "Can't argue with that, can you, you stuffy datamuncher?!" And it's like yes, they can argue with that Maya, because they're professionals, did you look at the graph?
But let's be fair. We were on a hot streak. Yearbook and Semi Formal are frontrunners for the whole series, and we were hungry for more. Starving. So there were two options. We could stay hungry until September 11th when the next episode airs, or we could eat this. This episode is stale chips. It's stale Doritos. You're like "maybe they're still good," so you go ahead and eat a few handfuls because you're starving, but... they're gross. You regret eating them. You kind of wish you hadn't, and you certainly won't eat them again. But... at least you're not hungry anymore.
I'll add more pictures when I get the episode on my computer. There was magically a picture combining both Disney and Doritos in the first handful of Google image results for "stale Doritos," so there you go.
Not a great episode. Not totally devoid of merit, and you actually perfectly articulated the cringiness of that whole final bit better than I could, so I won't say much on that front except to say... blech.
One thing I did like, and I believe a commenter brought this up as well, was an excellent point Maya made that I don't actually really hear being made much. America has become so low in math and science test scores in comparison to other countries, that maybe it's time to realize it's not where our strengths lie - because meanwhile we lead the world in art, music, film, literature, everything else. (Not that great art isn't produced elsewhere, just like it's not as if we don't have some scientists and mathematicians here) so maybe that should actually be what we're boning up on.
There's a quote I like from the patron saint of Boy Meets World, John Adams:
“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy*. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music..."* Until around the 19th century, the word 'philosophy' meant the study of nature, and thus was also what today we would call science.
All societies are trying to get to a point where the're so developed that they can spend their time creating and enjoying art, music, and all the more fun, entertaining, finer things in life. We worked hard for centuries to get to exactly the point we're at now. Other countries, especially the ones who are kicking our ass in math and science, aren't there yet. They're studying math and science, ignoring the arts, so that one day their children can live the lives that we do. Meanwhile, in even less developed countries, they're fighting wars so that their children can get to the point where they're working hard studying math and science to become industrialized.
We did it. We made it. We're Rome. It won't last forever. In this country, most of us simply don't have to work as hard as we used to, and others like China work harder, so they'll pass us up and eventually become complacent too. It's the way of the world, and it's inevitable, so, until we go, let's dance.
I don't know how much of that Maya was actually saying, but it was nod toward that philosophy, and I appreciated it. And that's what I think about that!
I liked that we saw the art teacher again, who we haven't seen since "Girl Meets Maya's Mother" and who I, back then, actually thought would be a fun Turner-esque teacher who'd be closer to Maya, but instead we got stupid Harper who, thankfully, doesn't appear to be coming back like everyone else predicted (though it's probably too soon to tell.) However, I didn't actually like her in this one. She kept comparing Riley negatively to Maya, which was pretty unprofessional. We get it, Maya's a good artist, Riley's a bad one, you don't have to rub Riley's nose in it. And then her getting all maudlin and "Good painting, Maya. Too bad it's your last one forever!" and bitching publically about the school board. I feel like she was intentionally getting the kids to riot on her behalf because she was too lazy or chicken-shit to do it herself. I want art and music back, but that lady fired.
Speaking of Turner, other than those jokes with Cory, what was the point of him in this episode? He showed up simply to say "Hey, out of my hands." I get that with Turner established as an authority figure, you need to address why Turner isn't simply fixing this, but they could've had that be in the dialogue when Cory explained it wasn't his fault: "Well, what about Mr. Turner?" "It goes over his head too, it's the school board's call." And you're done. Don't get me wrong, I liked seeing him, but it wasn't a particularly good use for him. Instead, maybe we should have actually had Harley in this one, since his concern over music classes being cut was previously established in "Mr. Squirrels Goes to Washington." (which, by the way, was nice foreshadowing of this being an issue JQA was already facing)
Yeah, the bit with Zay calling out Lucas and Maya was weird, particularly as it went absolutely nowhere. Like Riley seemed to notice what was going on and didn't like it.... but then she never brought it up again. Still, I did like the touch of the reason Lucas was so up in arms about this was simply because he knew what it meant to Maya. They didn't try to pretend it meant anything to him. Lucas has never seen a paintbrush in his life. Yeah, I know he was in the art class too. I stand by what I said.
Zay still sucked. Yeah, maybe it's his best episode, but he still wasn't good. Sabrina over-sold her angst a little bit, but she was okay. Peyton was whatever. Corey was fine, but the more I think about it, the more I'm actually not into the Donnie Barnes look. I did think he needed a wardrobe change and to look not so ridiculous, but I think he can do that while still being a little colorful. This all black thing is just too much of a switch and makes him feel like not even him.
The best of the kids, by far, was Rowan, who I thought was delightful throughout this episode. I'm really at the point where I think I just plain like Riley better than Maya.
Lastly (FOR NOW!), so, when they shut down art classes (...mid-semester) janitors come and just throw everyone's art away? Really? The students couldn't have just taken their art home with them? Come on.
I meant to say this before, but my favorite part of the theme was when Farkle said "Science feeds creativity. Creativity feeds science." I don't know if I have much else to say. I give this episode a C. It tried. It had heart. There was some quality humor, and Cory actually felt like himself. MVP goes to Cory because I'm not on this Riley train that Christian's riding.
Episode Rating: C+. Not awful besides the final scene, but a wholly unremarkable episode that, now having seen twice, I doubt I'll ever watch again unless, like, Anthony Tyler Quinn dies in a tragic accident and I decide I want to watch his last episode (if we don't see him again)
Episode MVP: Yeah, Ben Savage. Rowan's the runner-up, but I like the return to form of Cory. I was never not enjoying him.
GMW is dark for two weeks, but next week we shall reveal to you a FUN LITTLE SURPRISE that all may participate in which will be our activity in the interim. Much fun will be had!
The show will return on September 11th (Yeah, I know) for an episode that is, I guess, called "Girl Meets I am Farkle" for some stupid reason. It will be Farkle-focused and should feature the return of Minkus and the introduction of Farkle's mom.