Friday, September 18, 2015

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Cory and Topanga" (#2.16)

The final round of the Character Battle is live! You can vote between Shawn Hunter and Eric Matthews to decide the king on the previous post. It's even closer than Cory vs Feeny, so every vote counts!

Christian and I already yelled at each other one-on-one over this episode, something that we desperately need to stop doing. Hopefully we can recapture that same energy here.

As we cringe our way through the opening scene, today's springboard becomes apparent: Riley feels insecure as she compares herself to her parents. You are not going to convince me that Cory's some sort of Bill Gates, but I agree that Topanga is a pretty big deal. This setup is one of the best things they've ever done with Riley. Three lines in the first six minutes cemented it for me: 
1. "What am I ever going to do?" 
2. Regarding Magellan, "They were afraid to go out?"
3. "So I have to go and find my own way. I have to go and create my own individual path." 
This is more development from Riley than we've ever seen. Her insecurity isn't exactly new, but this is the first time she's actually standing the fuck up about it and taking action instead of just whining to Maya and waiting for her parents to say it'll all be okay. 

RILEY FINALLY HAS A POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ARC. SHE HAS AN END POINT. Eric wanted to go to college, we wanted to see Eric go to college. Riley wants to step out of her parents' shadow, WE WANT TO SEE RILEY STEP OUT OF HER PARENTS' SHADOW. I have never been excited about her character before this episode. The thing that really burns my soul, though, is that fucking Christian, the guy who is ALWAYS defending Riley from my criticism, disagrees with me on this. So look forward to him explaining why this isn't a big deal. It makes me angry just thinking about it.

Like I said before, I personally don't see Cory as some superhero, and the nonsense at the circus did nothing to help that. However, I love what they're going for, so I'm willing to accept that Riley sees her father differently from how he's portrayed. And that's honestly not crazy. People raise up their parents on pedestals on the time.
The payoff for Riley is... underwhelming. The insertion-into-flashbacks is technologically neat, but I'm not drawing the same conclusions from them as Riley and Maya did. They're like "WOW YOU'RE YOUR PARENTS!" But... how is she like them? Just because she uses her imagination sometimes? Then I must also be the child of Cory and Topanga. And it's sort of self defeating, isn't it? She wanted to be out of their shadow, so the solution was to see how she's like them? That doesn't make any sense! Shouldn't we have focused on how she's different? It's stupid. "Stupid" is such a lazy word, but this ending is stupid. On the bright side, I'm convinced that this is merely a piece of a much greater story for Riley. We'll visit this theme more as time goes on, hopefully culminating in some grand act of independence.
So that's what I have to say about Riley. Those are the most important points. It started extremely strong, the trip to the convent was extremely strong (as it continued Riley's quest with a good splash of humor), then the circus was extremely weak (because it was total bull shit and lasted way too long), and then the flashbacks were Chernobyl.

We had a fairly rare system in this episode in that Maya was almost completely uninvolved in the story. She was mostly comic relief and dialogue-partner. And it worked! I wouldn't advocate for it in general, but for this particular story it was smart to shift Maya to the background, where she still managed to thrive.

Auggie functioned simply as a punchline delivery machine, but that worked as well. Very well. Easily his funniest moment in the series.
Kid needs a haircut. 
Artist's rendition
The other thing to look at is Farkle and Lucas. Peyton is continuing to improve, for what that's worth. And that's not easy for me to say. It's much easier to hate him for being perfect looking and famous, but he evidently does care about his craft and is working to improve instead of skating by on his looks. The story itself is fine. I like that they're continuing to build Lucas's friendship with Farkle instead of just insisting that it exists. On the other hand, it felt disjointed from the main story. Like these were ideas for two different episodes that were just similar enough to be smooshed together. 
Pictured: Smooshing
The boys come back to the classroom at the end with the knowledge that life itself is a team sport. Which is true. It's honestly fine, it's nice to see Farkle and Lucas complement each other, but the trouble is that they're saying it to Riley. Like this message is for her, related to her quest. But it's not. She was doing a personal independent thing. If the overall message was "You can lean on your friends," why didn't Riley ever need to lean on her friends? Maya sorted of walked with her through the flashbacks, yes, but she didn't contribute the way Farkle contributed to Lucas. So I just don't buy that these two stories were related, but if we imagine that they're separate it all works. 

And there's no PROBLEM with separate. Eric had separate stories all the time. But for some reason they tried to force a connection at the end and it didn't work.

I think that's all I have for now.

My thing is that I just think you're making too much of this. A storyline in one episode and suddenly this her whole character arc? The end point we're working to? We have no reason to suspect this isn't just "this week's thing." And next week she'll have a whole different thing. You're like all in about this in a way I just don't understand.

In addition to it not really working with Cory (and it doesn't, there's no reason to act like Cory's a big deal you have to live up to in-universe) it's also, I don't know, not really an arc I'd be into. It sort of makes Cory and Topanga into unwitting antagonists instead of people who help her with her problems (how can they help her, when they're the problem?). I don't really want to see her constantly struggling to get outside of Cory and Topanga's shadow. What would frequent episodes of that even look like? Like pitch actual episode ideas that advance that story. 

Honestly, to make it work, you just need to turn Cory into a completely different person than the guy he's been, not only on his own show, but so far in this one too. Even Topanga didn't feel totally right, either - yes, she's always been awesome and the best at whatever she tries, but there was a haughtiness to her here too that I didn't like. She kind of undermined Riley a bit, only coming up with sleeping as something Riley's good at herself. She's done that before too in another episode in Season 1, only coming up with Riley wearing a cute top as a positive attribute of hers. Fuck that Topanga, I don't want to hang out with her.

To me, this was just a combination of two things: 1) mapping the real-life issue some BMW fans have with this new kid meeting the world. Cory and Topanga are a lot to live up to as characters, so they act like they're a lot to live up to as people. But Riley's not Cory and Topanga and she doesn't have to be, she's Riley and she'll be her own person and maybe it won't be the same show but it's okay it's not supposed to be and blah blah blah, and 2) an excuse to get copious Copanga flashbacks into the show. 

I think it's a gimmick episode, nothing more. You got uproariously ahead of yourself on that. 

That said, I mostly thought the non-flashback parts of the episode were alright. I ADORED that bit was Auggie, it was absolutely the best use of him in this whole series. I really thought Sabrina Carpenter was fun throughout this entire episode, and I mostly liked that opening scene with Riley and the spaghetti and Cory reading Maya's paper and stuff. 

The flashbacks really sucked and I hated them, though. For a few reasons. There's the obvious fact that flashbacks are lame, and flashbacks that involve characters going back in time... in their heads... and perfectly recreating (simultaneously) exactly what happened back then, like they're in a fucking Pensieve from Harry Potter, is especially lame.  But it also felt off tonally - like they were forcing these flashbacks to fit in to scenarios that they didn't fit in. Riley and Maya of them were standing around gaping and marveling at pretty unremarkable stuff. And the conclusions they drew didn't always fit the scene. At the end of the basketball scene, they conclude Cory was a goofball as a kid but Topanga was as awesome as ever. They got that from that scene? Cory was way more normal in that scene than she was. She spoke like a robot, didn't understand the fundamental rules of basketball, and made her shot by walking up to the basket and delicately placing it in. It's a great scene, and she's fun in it, but you don't want walk away from that scene thinking "Wow! She was a superhero even back then!" Really, she's more impressive in the second scene with "Doughnut in the Sky" which shows a decidedly soulful young Topanga.

 Meanwhile, Cory's not half as goofy in that scene as he is nowadays. Season 1 Cory was basically a normal kid, albeit a bit of a loudmouth, and that's exactly how he was depicted in that scene. Season 1 of BMW has gotten the most flashbacks, and I'm not sure I get why. That's hardly the "golden" era of the show, and the Cory and Topanga of then, who I liked as a couple quite a bit actually, have just absolutely nothing in common with who those characters became.  Plus, what are they in these scenes, 12? Heck, Riley and Maya are older than that, and feel older. I think they have more in common with the gang circa Season 2. Shoulda done flashbacks from there. 

Also, "I know there were other bay windows...." First of all, I'm so not into the bay window as like... an icon. Yeah, they sit on a bay window sometimes and talk. I think they think I pay attention it more than I do, they're even doing an episode called "Girl Meets Bay Window" later on this season? Get over the bay window. But, seriously, did anyone ever notice or care about that, I guess, bay window tucked into the very back of the Matthews' kitchen by the stairs? I didn't. No one ever sat on that bay window. Hardly anyone was ever over there. If you told me that had never been there and they inserted it CGI-ily into this episode, I'd believe you. And they set it up like "Oh, you know which bay window we mean!" Uck. God, all of that was uck. 

Yeah, the Farkle/Lucas stuff just felt like "Yeah, we need something for Farkle and Lucas to do, I guess." It was fine, whatever. I didn't care about it. 

Overall, the episode probably would have been in B territory without the flashbacks, the flashbacks were D stuff. So, let's say average it out...

Episode Rating: C
Episode MVP: Sabrina Carpenter (Sean didn't like this, but though it's a Riley episode I thought her performance was better than Rowan's)

You are so righteously nonchalant, aren't you? "Oh, you're so worked up Sean, why don't you be less worked up like meeeeeeee. I'm so alooooof." I'm excited because there has been literally nothing ever before to be excited about. What the fuck are we even DOING here if not "Hey this might be something!" You're right, I could absolutely be wrong, maybe this episode will get swept under the rug, but I don't understand why else we're here. Are we only allowed to comment in hindsight?

We were like "This is what Jack's story COULD be!" I didn't need to show up to work with skeleton'd episodes of Jack's story to say it might be a good idea. But now, what, it's "Ehhh there's no reason to think this is a story." It honestly feels like you're committed to disagreeing with me on this. Especially since the "end point" I've theorized is exactly the end point you claimed to want just a few days before we watched this episode. 

Okay, fuck yourself with "uproariously," Christian. I'm not ahead of myself, I deliberately said "POTENTIAL development arc." You're so proud of yourself for not being excited. Excuse me for having an ounce of fun for once. 90% of the time I'm barely treading water trying to say anything positive about this show, and now you're trying to shut me down. Well I'm not backing down. Needless to say, I'm very interested in seeing the comments on this one.

You're all in on "this is a meta episode about BMW vs GMW" and I disagree just as strongly.
You REALLY think this show on this channel is doing a meta episode for maybe the half (AT MOST) of its audience that watched Boy Meets World? And why was Topanga so heavily involved? If it were purely a "Riley vs Cory" episode, we could at least have a conversation. But if it were merely a gimmick episode to differentiate main-characters, then why is Topanga so important? 

Fortunately, I can stand to look at you again once we're past that. The show does have this weird obsession with Season 1 of BMW. That's when Corpanga worked the best, but those characters do not at all resemble the Cory and Topanga of Girl Meets World. It's very strange that all of GMW's flashbacks have come from season one. Oppressively strange. And the "Bay Window" needs to stop. It's like trying to make an icon out of Chubbie'sor pretending that "The Row of Lockers" has symbolic significance. It was just a place where the characters frequently ended up. My computer chair is not symbolic, it's just the place where my ass goes.

Episode Rating: All that lives contains both Light and Shadow. The forces of Good and Evil are in constant flux, struggling to maintain balance. This episode's Light receives a B, while its shadow deserves an F.

Well, you sure turned me right around on that "worked up" thing... YOWZA! I'm not being righteously anything, nor am I feigning nonchalance. I'm legitimately nonchalant over this. I have no chalance. There isn't a drop of chalance to be found. 

It really didn't come off as theorizing. You genuinely seemed came off convinced, to me, that this is exactly where they were headed. If it's really just that it's where you hope they're headed, then, fine, okay. I still am not wild about the idea, though. For the audience who wasn't there to hear my idea of how the show should end, I eventually boiled it down to a situation where after graduating high school, Maya's planning on not going to college and goes backpacking around Europe, and Riley comes with her for the summer, with the plan to come back to the states in the fall to go to Pennbrook. Eventually, through the course of the episode, they would switch. Riley would ultimately decide she needs to discover herself more and eschew what is expected of her by friends and family and she doesn't come back to go to college and instead strikes off on her own. Maya, on the other hand, realizes what she wants is to come home and establish some stability in her tumultuous life, and be with her family (which would now include stepfather Shawn, and a baby sibling) and maybe give a real romance with Lucas a try (but, maybe not, Sean HATED the idea of Maya and Lucas ending up together when the show ends so much I dropped it)

That's kind of a gimmicky ending too. The switcheroo, the idea that kind of "Hey, Maya was the Cory and Riley was the Shawn all along!" thing, but I still like it. Anyway, I don't know. I genuinely didn't make any connection between this dumb episode and that until you made it, and while I get it, it's also like... that isn't how I want it. Not via apparently an arc's worth of episodes of Cory and Topanga being THE BEST and Riley being sad about it and not feeling like she's as good. I'm not interested in that at all, I think it'll make me kinda stop liking Cory and Topanga. Either way, my issue was mainly just that I didn't get why you seemed so convinced this is what they were planning. Now that you say it's not that you are, it's just what you want, I don't have a ton of issue.

And are you KIDDING with paragraph four? Do I really think they'd do meta stuff relating to Boy Meets World? To quote one of Season 1 Cory's catchphrases, "What are you, new?" Have you MET Girl Meets World? Of course they'd do that. They do meta jokes about Boy Meets World all the damn time. They're obsessed with doing little meta jokes and meta commentary about Boy Meets World. It's like their absolute favorite thing in the world. Girl Meets Gravity was one entire meta joke (with a lame eulogy at the end). They're obsessed with meta. Yes, I'd absolutely think they would do that. I'm surprised it took them this long. And, really, as far as meta jokes go, it's not a terrible one. It just wasn't handled well. But I'm 100% convinced that this was all meant to be a little meta story, a parable for fans of the show that just because Riley isn't Cory and Topanga and GMW isn't BMW doesn't mean you should write it off. I couldn't be more convinced of that.

As for why involve Topanga? Why not? There's two BMW characters on this show, not just one, so involve them both, especially since they get to do Copanga flashbacks which they seem to love. Plus, as little sense as Riley idolizing Topanga AND Cory as people makes, it makes even less sense if it's just Cory she's idolizing, while her mom's sitting here being objectively better in every way.


I think those are more like references than meta jokes, but I get your point. I don't know, if it's supposed to be a retrospective comparison, why invent a bunch of new stuff that makes Cory and Topanga look good? They aren't comparing Riley to the real Cory and Topanga from Boy Meets World. 


  1. Okay...I wrote this comment two days ago. It's really long, but it's mostly on topic, so I'd love to hear what you have to say:
    I watched this episode twice. I wanted to give as fair commentary as possible and not let the novelty of the ‘flashbacks’ sway me one way or the other.
    So, the first three minutes are fantastic in my opinion. Riley realizes her parents are making an honest-to-goodness difference in the community. Topanga’s being a lawyer, Cory’s being a teacher. Maya acknowledges that Riley’s very lucky, and in a notable change of pace from most coming-of-age shows, Riley’s not embarrassed by her parents, but in fact feels inferior, that she isn’t doing enough.

    Classroom…this is one of the worst classroom scenes of the entire show, and certainly Season 2. “Gravity” made me groan, but this…Cory’s lesson was so inaccurate it made me want to scream. *Yanks on History Minor Hat* Alright, nobody educated thought the world was flat when Magellan made his voyage. The realization that the Earth is round dates back to the ancient Greek philosophers, most notably Eratosthenes, who estimated the Earth’s circumference with astonishingly close accuracy.

    And that bit about the horizon—darned if I can remember any actual names here, but when boats with tall masts sailed, the boats would disappear gradually. Observant men discerned then the world must be curved. I realize that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but compare it to walking across a field, geometrically speaking a plane.
    There was debate as to the size of the Earth, but not whether it was round. And then there’s Magellan himself, who kind of DIED before the expedition was finished.
    The one saving grace of this scene is that the kids, while blurting out answers and talking over Cory, don’t actually redirect the focus. Cory pretty much just uses Farkle as an excuse. Anybody could have seen the assignment coming. So at least it isn’t as bad as “Crazy Hat.” But I’m calling Feeny and I’m going to ask him to give Cory a ‘G’ for being a bad teacher.

    1. With that said, the scenes at the cathedral and orphanage, while a little eye-rolling, were very good. We see the girls go places, and it makes their world bigger. And apparently the Matthews are Catholic. While the artistic licenses taken with the legal system are annoying, I’m actually not so sure they’re that big a departure. Not to go too far off-topic, but there are cases...but that's a little too far off-topic to get into.

      The spotlight thing was a little silly, but not too bad. More to the point, this is “Show, don’t Tell” at its finest…okay, silliest. But the point remains. We get to see Topanga doing good. Feeny would be proud, but Cory still has detention for being a bad teacher.

      On to basketball. Lucas made me laugh harder at his “America’s most favorite thing with America’s least favorite thing” joke than at literally anything else he’s said throughout the entire show. Credit where credit is due. Not much to say here. B-plot is b-plot. Gym is funny. Classroom is cringe-inducing. ‘Round the bases’ is repeated waaaaaaaaaaay too many times.

      Circus! A little more eye-rolling but still not too bad. Funny Clown. Funny Riley. Funny Maya. A little over the top. I wonder if Cory’s as bad a teacher to the clowns as he is to his eighth-graders. Trapeze was not funny, that is all.

    2. Moving on to Bay Window. Auggie and his spaghetti was funny, a nice call back. So…the flashback. I’m not sure what they were going for here. How on earth does the flashback work as an imagine spot? Sure the joke was better meta than usual, but it raises more questions than anything. Apparently Grandma and Grandpa Matthews did move away. Riley seems too mystified by the old set to have seen it before.

      The second classroom scene was cheesy. A little over the top with its life lesson. Athleticism and for the love of the game is nice enough…but it feels too forced.
      The second flashback is odd…I don’t think I remember anyone, even Morgan, sitting in that Window Seat in the original show. I honestly forgot about it. It doesn’t seem to fit. Riley’s insecure about her parents’ altruistic accomplishments.

    3. It doesn't make much sense to flashback to there unless the message is to let kids know that it's okay to be kids and not know all the answers. That's a fine message, but I don't think it was communicated well.

      Tag scene…do I have to? Okay, this was so cheesy, I was able to run down to the supermarket and pick up some meat and lettuce and tortillas and I made tacos for everyone. I’d like to use these as an apology for my role in the snafu last week. Taco?

      I’m not sure what to think. It’s almost like they took two episode ideas and spliced them together. Riley feels intimidated when she sees the work Cory and Topanga do. That’s a good idea and for the most part, it works rather well.
      But I don’t think the flashbacks fit this scenario—Riley realizes her parents were weird and then grew up to do good? It’s okay, but I’m not sure that’s what they should have gone for. Sure there’s merit in telling younger kids not to worry too much about their futures, but Riley’s a teenager, not an elementary school student. You could raise the bar a little.
      Also, Riley embraced her eccentricities as recently as the last episode, so her realization of “I don’t think I’m weird; I think I’m unique” feels off. Why not have Riley resolve to commit to doing good deeds herself, make her impact, be a superhero? Nothing really happens here.
      The flashing back itself is a bit of a problem too—Riley’s heard the stories so many times she can imagine it? While I don’t doubt that Cory and Topanga have probably told her the stories that many times, Maya almost certainly hasn’t been told many stories. It’s just weird to see them imagine Cory and Topanga as kids as an imagine spot. Digging through a photo album or old yearbook could have done the same thing.
      And why the sock basketball flashback? And the lipstick dance flashback? Sure they’re the most iconic scenes from Cory and Topanga up until “You are you and I am I” but they still don’t fit. Those scenes would fit if Riley was embarrassed by her parents’ antics and wanted to know why they still act like their weird blend of high school lovers and an old married couple.

      In fairness, I’m not sure whether there were any flashbacks that could work here. Off the top my head, I don’t recall Cory and Topanga being particularly involved with their communities as teenagers. Cory stuck his neck out for Shawn and occasionally Frankie and that was about it. Topanga was Mrs. Cory. Even Chibi Topanga wasn’t that altruistic.
      The classroom scenes, I’ve said enough on the actual content I think. But I will say that I don’t think they were necessary. I went back and checked. They took up approximately four-and-a-half-minutes, counting the tag scene. I’m not sure how they could have set up Riley’s parents learning of her feelings of inferiority but there has to be some other way. And I would have preferred to see Riley and Topanga interact a bit more. I would have liked to see Topanga interact a bit more with Riley. We see Cory play Dad, but we don’t really see Topanga play Mom.

      Grade: B- I’m being generous here, I know. This episode seemed to be a mesh of what could have been two very good episodes. That Riley doesn’t deliberately redirect the class’s attention on her, unlike “Crazy Hat,” for instance, saves it from a failing grade. Also, this was only the second episode Joshua Jacobs wrote. He’s still pretty green, but hey, there are worse sins in this world than nepotism.
      Character MVP: Can I give it to the clown or the nun? Please? No? Then I got to give it to Rowan. Most interaction with the guest stars, actual moments of uncertainty in a non-love-interest scenario, genuinely funny humor—“I want to relinquish all worldly possessions except for all of my stuff.”

    4. Can I add one other thing? This ties back into the classroom scenes, which frankly I did not enjoy at all. Aside from the completely inaccurate history lesson, there's some troubling things going on.

      Okay, okay. Cory devotes far too much class time for his daughter. We’ve all said it. But here, it’s really, really off. Uncomfortably obvious favoritism. Turner played favorites, but half of it was banter after the assignment was given; Feeny turned his favorites into his personal projects, likely overstepping his boundaries but a lot of it was outside the classroom; Cory…forget history teacher, or English teacher like I suggested, he should have been a guidance counselor. “Life With Derek” had a guidance counselor and he was the best part of the show.

      Really, there’s only a very few scenarios where Cory could acceptably redirect his attention from his class to his daughter: if Riley is sick with the flu and has to be sent home or, in a more serious episode, Riley contracts appendicitis and needs emergency medical attention; the only other scenario I can think of is if Riley, among other classmates, is genuinely disturbed by the course materials. Say if Cory was covering material on the Second World War and Riley gets nightmares.

    5. We got another Life With Derek fan in the house? AWESOME!

      Also i'm totally giving my MVP to the nun now. Well, either her or Topanga in the flashback because that poem bit has always been a favorite of mine. XD

    6. I enjoyed Life With Derek a lot when I was a kid. And I think it holds up--Disney aired it before they got caught up with the starlet craze that they still haven't gotten over.

      Just saw the promo for the new episode. I'm getting strong "Girl Meets Flaws" vibes. An average-to-good first half, a not-so-good second half.

    7. What is the next episode going to be about?

    8. Promo here:

      According to the material released for IMDB?

      "After Maya hurts Riley's feelings, the group learns that Riley is overly sensitive because another classmate is making fun of her. Riley's friends encourage her to like herself for who she is."

      Now that sounds perfectly fine. But that promo does not excite me. Zay's role here is questionable since I don't think he and Riley have had a conversation once since "Secret of Life." Though his bewilderment at Bay Window looks funny.
      I got a vibe that screamed "Presentation" at the end when Riley was staring at the camera in the hallway. And that was a real weakness in this episode and throughout Season One--they spelled out the lessons too obviously.

    9. Cryptid456-Topanga working for a Catholic charity doesn't mean the family is Catholic. I agree with you the flashbacks don't fit. They needed to change the episode plot, or pick different flashbacks. If the point was she was worried that her parents were perfect, then I don't see how a cute puppy love scene helps her.

    10. True Kit Cosmo, but Riley wanting to join the convent indicates the family may be Catholic. This might come up in "Girl Meets Belief," and...well I suppose we can wait until December. Don't want to kick that hornet's nest again.

    11. Riley also wanted to have a Bat Mitzvah in Girl Meets Demolition - for the presents. I think in this case she wanted to get thee to a nunnery because it's a stereotypical (and crazy antiquated) place young women run away to when their personal life is becoming unbearable. It's the kind of overdramatic gesture she'd make.

      As to the Matthews' being Catholic? I tend to doubt it. They're Christian, certainly, but they're definitely pretty low-energy about that sort of thing, and we've never heard attending mass or confirmation or communion or anything else like that come up. I think they're Protestants.

    12. I'm not remotely religious, but I was raised Catholic, and it just seems unlikely we wouldn't have heard so much as a peep about it if they were meant to be

    13. That's a fair point, Christian. I would have guessed that with the emphasis on doing work, that the Matthews would be Methodists. Quakers are big in Pennsylvania but they're pretty obscure.

  2. Riley not knowing what was going to happen next when she was the one telling the story was pretty stupid, but the Penseive thing may prove my long-standing theory that John Q. Adams is the American Wizarding school JKR has been talking about.

    In all seriousness this episode was pretty dumb but harmless. If it does end up leading somewhere I may retract this opinion, but I did not for one second buy the "Cory is a total superhero" thing either. We've seen so many of his....well, non-superhero-esque aspects in this series. If it really was supposed to be a meta-anaylsis it would have made more sense to have it be about Riley worrying about living up to just Topanga because in GMW she has mostly been portrayed as a queen we all must bow down without a lot of character flaws.

    1. I think it's more that Riley thinks Cory is a superhero. A fourteen-year-old girl thinks her Daddy is a superhero. Nothing surprising there. Cory thought the same of Alan--though to be fair, Cory was right; Alan is Superman.

    2. Julia Delbel- "long-standing theory that John Q. Adams is the American Wizarding school JKR has been talking about." At the risk of upsetting our wonderful and talented blog runners, could you please explain/expand on this theory?

  3. Okay, where to begin...

    Stuff I liked: I liked Riley a lot in this episode. Even the opening scene. Yeah, it was cheesy. But this was the first time she felt like a real teenager. Up too late. Eating a midnight snack. Yelling at her brother to get out of her room? That's all great!

    Regarding Cory as a teacher...I wouldn't have done it. It's clear they're trying to make him the new Feeny but we're 1 and a half seasons in and he just isn't a good teacher. For Riley anyway. I bet he's much tougher on classes his kid isn't in. The lesson "What's Your Horizon" sounds something out of an assembly, not a history class.

    Loved the nuns. That was great. The clown one was pretty good. Love the meta humor about Riley being so naivee.

    I liked the B-Plot. Lucas and Farkle hanging out. Was it necessary? Nah. But it helps the "Show us Farkle being friends with these kids" I complained about last week. Still would like to see more scenes with Farkle and Maya or Farkle and Riley alone. This could help build character development. See what Farkle's like when he's not trying to hit on them.

    Stuff I didn't: The flashbacks. I'll be honest, I thought these were way off. If Riley wants to improve herself, they should have avoided Boy Meets World all together. From Season 2 on, Topanga was Mrs. Cory/Genius Girl. Cory was a funny kid but we forget about how lazy early Cory was. The kid got a 16 on a English assignment. During Season 7, every time we saw Cory try something new, it blew up in his face. The penguin mascot, planning a party, etc.

    I would have LOVED "flashbacks" to Topanga at her law internship or Cory getting his first class. Help us see what Cory and Topanga were doing before we met Riley in Season 1. I liked the conclusion that Riley seems to know that she has to be her own person but it feels like we didn't see what we should have to get there.

    Episode Grade: B-
    MVP: The Nun/Rowan Blanchard.

    Side note: This is the promo for Rileytown...

    The guy in charge of promos for the next episode needs to stop pandering to the teeny-boppers. The one for "I am Farkle" didn't even mention autism. If we end up talking about it, I'll share a theory I have regarding the outcome for next week.

    1. You raise a good point about Farkle's role here. Farkle being an athlete really doesn't mesh well with Riley struggling to find her way out of her parents' shadow, especially since I'm fairly sure Farkle's already learned about "For the love of the game" and "rounding the bases." He tries out for plays even though he isn't that good an actor in-universe, but he loves preforming.

      Maybe if Farkle's B-plot was his own insecurities about living in his parents' shadow. His father is an extremely wealthy businessman, self-made. That's a lot to live up to, and it probably explains his Machivellian (sic) tendencies.

    2. Shipping Wars Are Stupid-"I would have LOVED "flashbacks" to Topanga at her law internship or Cory getting his first class. Help us see what Cory and Topanga were doing before we met Riley in Season 1. I liked the conclusion that Riley seems to know that she has to be her own person but it feels like we didn't see what we should have to get there."
      I agree with this 100%. They should have showed us clips of her parents failing and making mistakes, which could be at any stage in life.

  4. Watching the episode, I never thought Corey wasn't superhero enough to be a part of Riley's struggle. We always list the teaching profession as a career most appreciated, and the students love him.

    I don't know if I quite understood the actual struggle. It felt like Riley was afraid of not knowing her future and what she'd end up accomplishing... and then imagining her accomplished parents when they also didn't have it figured out was meant to help her see that it's ok... That she'll find her path eventually. But what is accomplishment? It means different things to different people. I'm sure we'll go into this as Riley and her friends get older.. so I don't think it's silly to think this a potential setup for future storylines.

    The flashbacks were pretty cool though, and I must admit I have a soft spot for the bay window. LOL The one in Riley's room that is used mostly between her & Maya. It will be iconic to GMW in my own mind. hah But I never noticed that bay window in the Matthews' kitchen.

  5. Sean, I totally agree with your take on the episode and on Riley. I'm glad they are starting to develop Riley a little more. She's more than comic relief. Not the best episode, but I see them kickstarting off of this into an interesting arc for Riles.

  6. You guys see that ad for Girl Meets Texas where Lucas gets murdered by a bull? RIP

    1. It's true, that's the same episode where Christian and I guest star as Lucas's gay adoptive parents.

    2. His name is 'Dead Lucas', I suspect he may not be telling the truth



      Pretty sure he died

    5. Omg I thought you were kidding about the promo. XD Guessing this is gonna be out "big dramatic hospitalization" episode of the series. We all knew it was coming. I thought it might be Graduation but all sings point to it being this one.

    6. I definitely thought he was bullshitting. That looks really REALLY lame.

    7. I'm getting serious Full House "Michelle Rides Again" vibes. Ughhhhhh...And it's a three parter over a weekend.

    8. *Bangs head against wall*

      I got nothing. I, Cryptid456, cannot think of anything to say. The Caricature of a stack of papers signed "By Cryptid" is no more.

    9. HAHAHAHAHA MICHELLE RIDES AGAIN, you're so right, that's exactly what it feels like. Oh god.

    10. I guess I have a little left in me:

      It's not all bad...Farkle develops a taste for Texas-style barbeque. Okay that's pretty bad, but who doesn't love barbeque?

      This might sound like an odd question, but wasn't Morgan due to return this season? If she grew up to be a doctor...

    11. They did say Morgan would make an appearance in season 2. I guessing that she could show up in Graduation. Wouldn't be strange to see family attend the graduation or a party afterwards.

    12. Yeah, that's what I pretty much figured. It's just that every other guest star was plot-relevant. Extended family in town for graduation is more or less fan service.
      But hey, we'll finally see Cory and Morgan say more than three sentences at a time to each other!

    13. I dunno, guys, while I recognize the potential for melodrama, I don't think we have any reason to suspect this will be Michelle Rides Again bad. I actually have no issue with a episode plot of Full House being Michelle injuring herself horseback riding and her family concerned and rallying around her. The problem with that episode is that A) It's an episode of Full House and thus it's terribly written and B) Rather than, I don't know, breaking her leg or something, Michelle GETS AMNESIA.

      So, I think as long as Lucas is amnesia-free, we're good. I don't know, I think this one sounds kind of cool. I like that it's a little trilogy, I like that we're in an all-new setting, and I think it looks cool that we're placing one of the characters in danger because, like, accidents happen, and bull-riding is dangerous, and etc.

      You know what does look kind of bad to me, although that might be the strange, hard-to-read promotion they're doing for it - Rileytown.

    14. Fair enough. If Lucas doesn't get amnesia, it'll be some injury and possibly some "love triangle" drama. At least the settings look much different. I've heard a lot of good things about Rileytown- people have said the live tapings were really emotional. It's just the promos that suck; even Rowan's been mentioning it on Twitter how irritating it is that the promos look too unserious.

    15. I don't want to see the girls and Farkle worrying over Lucas. I don't want Lucas's parents to be like "Yall've made some real great frayands up in N'Yerk. Ah seen how they care aboutcha. Ah wantcha ta stay up therr." I just don't want any of it.

    16. I hope it's just some minor concussion and he'll be fine. But this is a tv show so that never happens.

    17. Well, the thing with the parents certainly won't happen, Sean, Lucas' parents live in New York with him, they all moved there. Did you think he got into one little fight and his mom got scared and said "You're moving with your Auntie and Uncle in New York?" I actually haven't heard anything suggesting Lucas' parents are in this episode, my guess is they stay with his extended family. So, okay, maybe Pappy Joe will deliver that line.

      I don't know, I'm not sure why the prospect of all this concerns you guys. I don't like Lucas either, but, an episode where he's in an accident isn't, like, a worse case scenario. Heck, maybe he'll be in a brief coma which means he won't be... delivering lines or anything.

      But yeah, I'm sure it's a serious accident, Shipping. Why make it the focal point of the promo if not? Also, my understanding is that bull-riding accidents are extremely serious. Like people die from that all the time.

    18. Oh, I totally bet it's super serious, Christian. It was more just wishful thinking to avoid any sitcom cliches. I heard a few people on Reddit ponder if Lucas would actually die. That won't happen but we'll have to wait and see. If it's a three parter, I bet he gets hurt either early in part 2 or cliff hanger for part 1.

    19. To be fair to "Michelle Rides Again," it actually wasn't meant to be the finale. There was a ninth season planned and Michelle hadn't fully recovered her memory.

      "But yeah, I'm sure it's a serious accident, Shipping. Why make it the focal point of the promo if not? Also, my understanding is that bull-riding accidents are extremely serious. Like people die from that all the time."

      That's a fair point. And I'm betting Lucas only decides to ride the bull because Maya teased him about the mutton-riding. Pappy Joe and all. So there's a chance we may see Maya blame herself for what happened. Displaced guilt is a standby for dramatic episodes, but there's a reason for that--it actually works as a plot point.

      While I am excited to see a new location--and I'm assuming this is the kids' spring break--I am worried about whether or not the kids can carry the drama. Sabrina does a decent job; Rowan will have to prove herself in "Rileytown" first;'s a toss-up, depending on whether or not one liked "I Am Farkle" but I think he did a passable job; Lucas and Zay haven't really had a chance to be serious on their own, considering "Secret of Life" was kind of mediocre--righteous anger is not a character flaw. So we shall see.

      What's more promising is that the writers have said that this will shake things up, settle the love triangle, and most notably, this is not the Season Finale. We're going to see fallout from this no matter what.

      So long as Lucas is NOT related to Rachel in any way, shape, or form, I think I might enjoy seeing his extended family.

    20. I don't think you're right about that, Cryptid. I watched it when it first aired, it was heavily hyped as the series finale, the actors came out and did a curtain call bow which was traditional when sitcoms ended at the time. It was the last episode for sure. There was no ambiguity there.

    21. I remember the curtain call bow, but I could have sworn I read on Wikipedia that there had initially been plans for a Season Nine and two episodes had been written. Then again, Wikipedia--and it was quite a few years ago, back when I was in middle school. It's what I recall...but I very well may be wrong.

      And holy cow--look at what they're doing for the spin-off!

    22. Hey guys did you see where Christian wasn't all WORKED UP like the rest of us? Man that guy is cool.

    23. Also yes, for some reason I thought his parents shipped him to New York, but that doesn't make any sense. In my defense, I was 90% asleep at the time. That line is GOING to be in the episode though. Either from extended family or his old buddies. It'll be there.

    24. As I recall, Lucas moved to New York because his military father got transferred. Same thing with Zay. So all things considered, although I'm not wild about the character or the backstory, the idea of Zay winding up at the same new school as Lucas is entirely plausible--if I remember correctly, Christian wasn't very happy with Zay going to the same school.

    25. All I can think of are how many great BMW episodes had hospital scenes, Shawn and Mr. Turner, Cory when Josh was in the hospital, and other ones I'm probably forgetting. I'm not worried. The plotline seems like it has real dramatic tension. How do the characters react when they don't have control over what will happen? As long as they don't make this their amnesia episode, it will probably be fine.

    26. Kit, the episodes you brought up were "Cult Fiction" and "Resurrection." And although I loved seeing Alan confront Mr. Mack, I wasn't wild about the scene where Shawn implores God to intervene. I think it was actually the technical writing then the actual presence of a plea for divine intervention. For the record, I still love watching "Touched By An Angel."

      And "Resurrection" did have very nice hospital scenes with Alan and Amy, but it's spoiled by Cory pouting that Topanga won't be silly and whimsical when his infant brother is literally fighting for his life. Heck, I don't think there was a single scene where Cory was anywhere near the Neo-natal ICU. He spent all his time in the waiting room.

      "We'll Have A Good Time Then" is pretty good though, despite the relative uselessness of having Morgan in the scene. That's literally the only time in the entire series she speaks to Shawn.

    27. Toward the end when Shawn came back; Cory, Topanga and Shawn all went to talk to Josh in the ICU and that is when Shawn gave the short speech about not leaving your family because they are the people that really care about you.

    28. Oh yeah, I had forgotten. Thank you, Seth. That makes me not quite as disgruntled with the episode.

    29. Shawn and Morgan talk when he babysits her and teaches her to play poker in the first season, while Eric and Cory are tailing their mom to see if she's cheating on their dad.

    30. Cryptid456-I liked "Resurrection," because it shows how drastically different responses to the same thing can be. Cory was being immature and wanted Topanga to make things better, but she couldn't. To me, it's a telling moment. Topanga has grown up more than Cory has. Cory wasn't demanding they leave to go the zoo or a theme park. He was just dealing with the situation in a very different way. As a viewer it was interesting to see both on display.

    31. The relationships between Cory and Topanga; Cory and Shawn were always similar to me in they were a way for Cory to escape reality for a while. Those two relationships formed their own little worlds in the show that sometimes crossed. Cory could always rely on one of those two worlds to focus on when things around him weren't always going well. In Resurrection Cory was struggling because Shawn wasn't there so he could not escape into that world, so he was focusing heavily on Topanga and trying to force her into dealing with their relationship as an escape to dealing with the possible loss of his brother. Cory's coping mechanism has always been to escape into those relationships and when Topanga resisted going there Cory was forced to deal with his brother's reality and that desperation really drove him to acting out. I also think Eric recognized this by the end of Season 7 and he wanted his own little world with Cory. I think that was the driving force behind Eric's interactions with Cory in Brotherly Shove. He wanted that connection that Cory had with Topanga and Shawn. I think Riley has inherited this coping mechanism from Cory and the Bay Window with Maya is her world that she escapes to. I think she also has a little world that revolves around her friends and family that has a built in fantasy land feel to it where not much bad can happen to her if she is with them. I think that second world however, will start to evolve and become less utopian and more realistic in this next episode.

    32. Seth-Exactly. Cory's solution was to escape, while Topanga was trying to have him confront reality. This is why I'm not worried about Lucas in the hospital. They could easily replay this type of dynamic. If they do this, and I really hope they do, it will be interesting to see who is trying to escape, and who has to get the other(s) to confront reality.

    33. Seth and Kit Cosmo are smarter than I am. Apparently I need to rewatch "Resurrection."

  7. So we open in the Matthew’s kitchen at midnight, and while Riley is pretty funny pretending to be sleep walking, she shows us insecurity is still her flaw (nice callback to “Girl Meets Flaws” (though I know our reviewers didn’t care for that episode). She is certain that her mother and father are perfect and she will never live up to them. While Cory is throwing in some comedy just for the sake of comedy, Topanga really feeds Riley’s insecurities instead of encouraging her. Not Topanga’s finest moment as a mom.

    Maya shows up ready for school and Riley is now in full on meltdown mode. Maya does her best for her friend, but it does no good. In class Cory tries a sad lesson about exploring one’s own horizons. As soon as Farkle let us know what his “impossible” thing was I could tell where this was going. This seemed to be a Farkle/Lucas replay of “The Eskimo”. I guess the writers were going full on for callbacks. Farkle had to do a seemingly impossible thing and Lucas had to help him do it. Then Riley blurts out that she feels that she can never live up to the legacy of Corpanga. She is just a kid, so I don’t have a real issue with her possibly feeling that way. Maya tells Cory that this is today’s crazy, and she’ll try to help.

    Off to the orphanage where Riley looks for sanctuary from “mommy and daddy perfect”. Sister Blinky gets some useful insight from the nun before Topanga walks out and gets accolades for working above and beyond for the good of the people. Even the sister feels sorry for Riley there. This was all pretty good.

    On to the gym and Lucas and Farkle get their story. Big news here folks – 11 minutes into the 37th episode of the series and we have the first scene in the entire show that doesn’t include Riley/Cory/Topanga/Eric. Finally a story that doesn’t involve a Matthews family member. While it was good to see the two friends work together and they were kind of funny, I have to say that it was a tad underwhelming. It took all this time to get a scene involving only supporting characters, so I was hoping for a little more here.

    Now Riley tries running away to the circus. I’ll just let the fact that there is nowhere in Manhattan that this could possibly take place slide by. Jingles the clown is great, while Riley continues to be brilliant when paying the clueless innocent. I loved Maya lamenting that no matter how much she tries to get Riley not to be a chump, she can’t win. The Joke about Jingles the First being a key maker got me laughing pretty hard. And now Cory shows up, as he gives his time to help educate the clowns. Something else for Riley to believe she can’t live up to.

    1. On to the Bay Window and Riley is all “woe is me”. Maya tries to convince her that her parents must have been just like them as kids and Riley should just chill. Riley insists that maybe if she and Maya imagined hard enough while she told a Corpanga story, they could actually see it. Maya comes back with a great line “it’s not like someone recorded everything they did” – that was pretty funny. On to a flashback of “Boy Meets Girl”; I’m not sure why they picked this particular episode to show Cory as a goof. They could have picked almost any early episode for that, but I guess they needed the high five for the next classroom scene. The joke with Auggie was cute.

      Back to school the next day where Farkle and Lucas hit us over the head with today’s lesson. The callback high five felt very forced and not funny. But at least Farkle is continuing with his growth. Sports really is out of his comfort zone.

      Back to Riley’s room so that Riley and Maya can take another imaginary journey to “Cory’s Alternative Friends” so Riley can see that Topanga was fully capable of being weird and not perfect. This seemed to be important for Riley. She needed to understand that her parents were not perfect as kids and they turned out great and her journey shouldn’t be hampered by her feeling inadequate. She is just like every other kid who thinks that their parents are supermen and that she should just worry about trying her best.

      So they tell us that Riley now sees that she is just like her parents were, and she realizes that with the best part of both of them she should be ok. Not subtle, but the target demographic probably needs not subtle.

      On to the epilogue where Riley is finishing her report and telling them she realizes her future is bright and she has hope. I liked Riley putting on the Phillies hat and Cory asking where she got it. Riley’s answer reflected her realization that she is Cory and Topanga. When she told Cory he gave it to her and he didn’t remember doing it, it was a philosophical statement. Cory gave the hat to Topanga (in Alternative Friends) and since Riley now knows she is Corpanga, it is like Cory gave it to her. (I’m a sap for stuff like that, and also love BMW season1, so this all worked for me)

      Grade: B – MVP: Rowan

      Things I liked – the first 14 minutes were very funny and Lucas and Farkle got their own little story. The flashback to “Alternative Friends” – pretty much not anywhere else they could have gone to show Topanga being not perfect, except maybe “Hair Today – Gone Tomorrow”. I liked the ending and Riley’s growth. I also liked the subtle message about the hat and how she got it. That was the message for the adult crowd, not exactly “show don’t tell”, but close enough for me.

      Things I didn’t like – Topanga’s attitude to Riley in the opening, it was almost condescending. The flashback to “Boy Meets Girl”. I feel like they could have picked another episode from season 2 or 3 when Cory was closer to their age to show he was still a goof, but they wanted to force in that high five. I hate when callbacks feel forced when they could have been done in a better way.

      I have to say I leaned slightly more towards Sean’s review for this one than Christians. But they both had some valid points.

      And can you guys see how we individually vote in this poll? I want to make sure if I vote for “Sean and Christian are both stupid” you can’t tell I did so.

    2. While I think you have a legitimate point about Topanga being a little condescending, this isn't the first time it's happened. The first was "Maya's Mother" when Riley was frazzled about her friends' accomplishments in school. Topanga seemed to realize that the drama was just plain teenage drama, a mountain out of a molehill. And here, I think it was more of Topanga's way of telling Riley to go back to bed--it was midnight, after all, and Topanga still had work to do.

      That being said, I mentioned in my review/comments that I would have preferred to see Topanga encourage Riley. It's been a season and a half, and we have gotten only a handful of scenes of Topanga mothering Riley--and since I never saw "First Date," the only ones that come to mind are the twenty second scene with Great-Grandma's journal in "1961" and the we-got-cheated-out-of-a-good-scene in "Popular." We have seen Topanga be more of a mother to Maya than we have seen her mother Riley.

      Unless they're establishing an episode where Riley blurts that she isn't sure whether she thinks her mother likes her (It's a given that Topanga loves her, but does she actually like her), then this is something that needs to be fixed. I want Mommy Topanga to interact with Riley instead of devoting all her time to Auggie.

    3. 1960poster-I am so glad you brought up "The Eskimo," because that's what I was thinking about. It's a great idea, and I wish it had been used a bit better. I do like the lesson Farkle learned. This was a case of two unrelated plotlines just not working together.

  8. Clips from the new episode:

    Warning: Spoilers (duh)
    Second Warning: Potato Quality

  9. I think this comments to the episode where Corey feels mediocre. Only instead of a huge poster of celery, there is a bay window.

  10. This episode is just further proof at how inferior this show is to BMW.

    I don't know if it's the writing, the actors, or the networks. I suspect a lot of it is the latter. Disney is a kids channel and the programming is all geared toward kids. BMW was on ABC and, while it featured kids, it was geared toward a much broader audience. As a result, it's writing had to be better, the acting had to be crisper, and the plots had to be, well, plots.

    This episode had no plot and the flashback sequences were just incredibly lame. If anything they proved that even Season One Cory and Topanga were better than anything we have seen in a season and a half on GMW.

    1. If I may address your points:

      Well, I think we're all wearing nostalgia goggles whether we want to admit it or not. So there's that to factor in.

      I think we're too hard on the actors for GMW. We have to remember we were blessed with Will Friedle, William "Bill" Daniels, and William Russ as main cast members who appeared in most of the episodes the first time round. BMW simply had a stronger cast. As for the leads, Rowan and Sabrina are probably Ben and Rider's equals in terms of this point in GMW compared to its equivalent in BMW. It's kind of unfair to compare seven seasons of work to only two, so we should judge based on what we've seen.

      Writing is a toss-up. While Michael Jacobs brought back most of his crew, they also hired a bunch of new female writers, with the intent to have women writing the girls. While there is certainly merit in that idea, considering BMW's mixed record on well-developed female characters, I'd have to examine the episodes more closely to see whether or not that idea ended up being a good one.
      There's also the chance that one or more of the original BMW writers did not return and that they were actually strong contributors to the show's quality. Again, I'd have to check the numbers on this, but there is precedent for a sequel decreasing in quality when an original writer does not return. Take "Avatar: The Last Airbender." Aaron Ehasz did not return for "Korra," and considering his record--"The Storm," "Siege of the North," "The Avatar State," "Bitter Work"--there is little question he was a huge part of what made the original good.

      Networks are probably the biggest factor at play. Disney Channel's strict rules restrict live-action shows to four-season limits, which, assuming GMW is privy to, affect pacing. Then there's the actual plots--which is a toss-up. While Disney would never allow a repeat of "Wake Up, Little Cory" for obvious reasons, they may allow a repeat of "Fear Strikes Out." What's most likely is that Disney has a mandated "Get a happy ending" for its episodes. Sometimes this works--"Girl Meets Brother" is a sweet and simple episode, that frankly outshines a good chunk of Season One episodes of BMW and most of Season Seven.
      Sometimes it doesn't--"Girl Meets Friendship," "Girl Meets Crazy Hat"

      Then there's the consideration that Disney initially approached Michael Jacobs with the idea of rebooting BMW entirely. Jacobs refused point-blank and then later came up with GMW. Now the question is why didn't Jacobs argue for it to be placed on ABC? GMW could easily co-exist with "The Goldbergs," "The Middle" and "Last Man Standing."
      There's also the consideration that GMW, by Disney's own admission, underwent "creative changes since the pilot." Translation: We fired the big brother, and more likely than not heaped on the life lessons.

      So I don't really know why we got what we got, but the point is we got it. And Cory and Topanga are back on TV. And in spite of everything, when it's good, GMW is the strongest show on Disney.

    2. I'm so sorry to put this on you anonymous because you are so not the first person to say this but I really can't hear this complaint one more time. "Girl Meets World is inferior to Boy Meets World" "Disney is ruining this show, it should have been on ABC family" "The writing for these plots cant compare to the original". It is the same damn writers! And why does every commenter on the internet act like it is their own brilliant insight that "Disney is a kids network directed at kids" and therefore it should have been on ABC. Seriously I read this everywhere from a thousand different people who all act like it is their own novel idea. And btw there was not some fight between disney and abc to produce this show. ABC didn't want it! There would not be a show without disney and the network seems like it is definitely looking to grow and accomodate more mature plotlines like the ones we saw on boy meets world.

      If you still believe that this show is too kiddy or too disney and that everything in the first season of boy meets world is superior to anything weve seen on girl meets world after episodes like master plan, Maya's mother, pluto, etc then stop watching. It's one thing to suffer through the first season of a show trying to get its footing, but now this is what the show is becoming. There is real potential in a lot of stories and episodes and the writers are working hard to do more than just pay tribute to the original. I don't mean to say that in a mean way either, I just mean that if you still feel that this show will do nothing but tarnish the legacy of the original then this is not the show for you.

      I am so okay with people criticizing little things like how the writing is sometimes too heavy handed, or the sets are too bright, or the plots move too quickly because this sounds like constructive criticisms that the show could fix. And most of us who say these things say them because we see potential in the actors, the writers, and what the show could become. I just feel like if you really hate everything about this show at this point in the game, stop criticizing it and just dont watch it anymore. Because i dont think there is anything the writers can do to please you.

      I'm sorry that that whole comment came off meaner than I intended but just know that I don't mean to target anyone. I'm more just commenting to a very large and outspoken group of people who have been hating on this show since day 1.

  11. I also don't like what they've done with topanga' character, I've said before she is following the same trend as other disney moms...Amy Matthews, home improvement, but she's. Not very nice and treats her family poorly in my option except auggie. I saw something about her being condescending and I have to agree, I think to make her strength look like she looks down on others and that's not who she is.

  12. The problem with GMW is that everything they throw at us is so sudden. That's probably the effect they're going for, but it doesn't rub off very nicely.

    A big example is when Maya found out Riley likes Lucas more as a brother. What???

    And here, we see Riley suddenly feeling inferior to her parents and what impact she'll make on the world. Again, what???

    The flashbacks were lame and at this point, they're trying way too hard to satisfy BMW fans. We've already established Topanga was different. Okay, maybe we didn't already establish that Riley is like Cory and Topanga, but those clips weren't even enough to show that... they were playing with laundry. Laundry.

    Oh, and please, kill Topanga. Literally. Seriously. WHEN are we going to get good mother/daughter stories or even moments?

    The Farkle and Lucas plot was much-needed. But the fact that it was all for a classroom lesson pisses me off. I REALLY hope that in Season 3, Cory is no longer their teacher. He can be their vice principal (he's too immature to be a principal - a move like that made by the writers would be a huge mistake) or even a counselor. ENOUGH OF TYING EVERYTHING BACK TO THE CLASSROOM!

    Stupid episode. Next episode looks promising, though. There's one scene that I saw from the episode and it looks to be the most serious scene in GMW yet.

    1. Every time I watch a classroom scene I feel like I'm in a preschool class. All of this is coming from a 15-year-old.

    2. No idea why I even still put FanOfDC as my username. Call me Jet.

    3. I would love a scene of Topanga and Riley. I think it would be really cute to see Topanga and Riley have a girls night out, and for Corey and Auggie to have a boys night in. It would be fun to see how they interact, and what happens.

    4. ^This please. Some of the commenters seem to think that the writers and actors read this blog so if the writers would like any suggestions on how to improve underdeveloped relationships, a Girls' Night with Topanga and Riley (without Maya) is a great way to start.

    5. I can think of one really nice Topanga and Riley scene: "Maya's Mother" when Topanga looks at the portrait of the big-mouthed Riley and is delighted to see that its a picture of /her/ "silly, little weirdo" while putting her arm around Riley.

      While I think we may be a little hard on Topanga for this episode--the condescending "you're good at sleeping" moment came at midnight, so it was probably just Topanga's way of telling Riley to go back to bed--I do agree in essence. Cory's almost too affectionate with his daughter, case in point, the tag scene in this episode. Topanga's nowhere near affectionate enough.

      And it's a pleasure to meet you Jet. I thought you were killed at Lake Laogai.

    6. Shipping Wars Are Stupid- I'm glad you like my idea. Just to clarify, I don't think the writers are actually reading this blog. It's the kind of thing I do and that I've seen other posters do on other blogs/message boards. "Wouldn't X be a great idea for an episode."

  13. I think the review was more entertaining than the episode. The flashbacks were pointless nostalgia. Maybe they want the bay window to be like the white fence between the Matthew's house and Feeny. Except they only pointed it out at the very last episode.

  14. Wow, the "Sean and Christian are both stupid" option's losing ground!

    1. I sure as hell voted for that one.

    2. I did not vote for that one, for I am not stupid and that would be LYING.

    3. Christian, is that a reference to something?

  15. Anyone got the link to the next episode???

  16. Oh, and I just wanted to say I love your banter back-and-fourth, Christian and Sean. It's inspired me about how I want to do my own blogging (gotta find a partner first!)

  17. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that the whole end goal of Riley stepping out of her parents' shadow was pretty obvious from episode 1.

    1. Sure, it makes sense. Most everybody wants to be their own person. The thing about this episode is that Riley didn't really take any action to step out of her parents' shadow. If anything, she kind of embraced it.

    2. Joining a convent/the circus wasn't attempting to step out of their shadow?

    3. She ABSOLUTELY embraced it by the end, with the flashbacks, which is why the ending sucked. But for a hot minute it looked to me like she was actually stepping out.

    4. Joining the circus...hmmm, considering Cory's classroom....I'm not sure I'd notice a difference.

      That's the point precisely Sean. Riley embraced being her parents' daughter...which would be fine, had the episode been centered on Riley being embarrassed by her parents' antics.

      But this episode didn't really do that...if they wanted to say that it's alright to not know what you're going to do when you grow up, which is by no means a bad lesson, then the flashbacks probably should have centered around Cory trying to make a name for himself in the yearbook on the wrestling team. I think that's when we got "You are you and I am I."

      As an aside, Farkle's plot seems a bit too disjointed and frankly, it didn't have to be. If there's anybody who'd be desperate to step out of his parents' shadow, you'd think it'd be the kid whose father is a multi-billionaire, self-made.

  18. I didn't have much to say about this episode but I agree with what someone wrote above. The review was definitely more entertaining for the episode. I pretty much saw it as filler, although sean seems to think it was more than that so I guess we'll see. I think I fall somewhere between sean and Christian. I don't think it was the beginning of a story arc for riley I see it as more of a minor continuation of her show long story arc

    It feels like maybe Riley's long term story is really just her coming to terms with who she is as a person. It began in the first episode of the show when she wanted to be just like maya and cory told her that "The best thing you can do for Maya is to be you, Riley." Then there is girl meets popular when Riley changes her whole personality to be popular with the geeks. She ends the episode with, "The best part of being yourself is that you're always popular with your best friend". Girl Meets Mayas mother and flaws both once again show her questioning herself and what her special talent is and what she as an individual contributes. She experiences growth in season 2 in episodes like girl meets rules where instead of trying to be like maya she defends her position as the exact opposite of maya. She's more secure in herself. Same goes for tell tale tot when she is the cool calm secure one fitting in great with the sorority girls and having a blast at college while maya squirms over her insecurities with josh.

    And then there's episodes where her insecurities creep back in like yearbook and girl meets cory and topanga. Riley had a line at the end of the episode where she says, "I don't think I'm weird, I think I'm unique." I found this line totally out of place for the episode frankly because wasn't her problem that she was living in her parents shadow? I don't think it had anything to do with her being weird. But it did however fit in well with her overarching storyline for the show which just seems to be one long identity crisis.

    Season 2 has shown her developing a confidence she didn't have in episodes like normal and cory and topanga that show her taking pride in her weirdness. This confidence is about to take a huge blow in Girl Meets Rileytown where (SPOILER?) she gets cyber bullied for her weird quirks. The episode could go either way as the show often seems to have trouble with the heavy drama stuff. I guess we'll see next week.

    1. Those are some interesting thoughts, Good Looking Detective. And while it's very nice to see the thought you put into it, I don't know...I'd like Riley to have something more than just finding her own person. Other shows, albeit dramas, are able to do this in a single season.

  19. YOU GUYS, what do you think of my proposed series finale synopsis THOUGH?

    1. Where is that? On the review? Can't find that part, mind writing it again as a reply here?

    2. Ah yes, the Riley/Maya College/Backpacking through Europe switcheroo. Hmm...something about Reg! Reginald Fairfield!

      Not a particularly bad idea, Christian. Don't really see them going with it though. Maybe if it were on ABC, I could see them going through with that, but Disney be Disney. That doesn't mean it's a given that Riley will go to college right away. What might happen is Riley ends up joining the Peace Corps. She certainly has the foundation for it--in spite of everything else, it does appear that Riley is more committed to doing good than her parents were at her age.

      In any case, Michael Jacobs has already said that he has the ending for Girl Meets World written up tight. He knows what's endgame, where the story ends.

      Personally, I'm betting Topanga is going to realize she's going to have another baby.

  20. For those who care - here are some clips from Rileytown. This is pretty much the entire opening. The first 8 clips. Start from the top.

    Haven't found anyone posting the entire thing yet. The usual posters haven't put it up after Rowan tweeted how she and the cast hate spoilers and so now the folks who do it are being cyberbullied about posting an episode about cyberbullying.

    Funny how something like that from a celebrity can make them the biggest bully on the block.

    1. Can't say I blame Rowan. She also seems to dislike the promos being unserious. That said if her fans are bullying people who post spoilers, that's on them, not her or the cast.

    2. Eh, from what I understand, the objections were more about the cheesiness of the promos and On Demand services. Though I could be wrong--there could be more to the story.
      That being said, I am sympathetic to actors and actresses taking issue with spoilers and leaks.

      You have a point though; fans can often react very harshly. Look at what happened to Joss Whedon when "Age of Ultron" came out. And then there's the civil war that broke out in the science fiction community earlier this year...but getting into that isn't only off-topic, it's actually my berserk button and I don't like thinking about it. I'll might explain a bit more when there's a more appropriate time--maybe during "Rah Rah" or "Sludge." There's probably at least a little room for pop culture and what it means for Western Civilization in general there..

  21. I think they completely missed an opportunity to develop Lucas's character as well as Farkle's (which could have helped relate their plot to Riley's as a general "everyone grows/learns in this episode!").

    The set-up: Lucas's joke about how teaching Farkle to be an athlete (or so we think) is his impossible thing.

    The payoff: At the end, Farkle says that he still failed his impossible thing, to become an athlete, but that he learned something new: sports are enjoyable. He turns to Lucas and says, "Sorry we both failed to do the impossible." And Lucas smiles, "What are you talking about? I didn't want to teach you to be an athlete. I just wanted to teach you *something*. You're smart, Farkle, you're going to take over the world one day. I thought it was impossible I could ever teach you anything that would help you get there." (or something to that effect.) Everyone smiles because it's a sweet moment and BOOM, Lucas gets a bit deeper. Instead, he kind of came off as a bit of a mean jock, "Yep, I can't teach you sports. I agree it's impossible."

    1. Good points Anonymous.

      Then there's the fact that Cory deliberately assigned Lucas to help Farkle. Sure it's what Lucas had...but it doesn't cast Lucas the Good in a very good light. It's actually pretty condescending, and it convinces me that without Riley's interference, these two probably wouldn't be friends. The bit of Lucas being angry about physics "ruining" sports was actually pretty darn funny, though
      I saw the assignment coming a mile away, and firmly believe that Cory just used Farkle as an excuse to assign it.
      You raise an interesting point about "everybody being on a team" but I don't know. Farkle might not like sports but the lesson he learned about running the bases seemed a little redundant for him. We've seen him join school plays even though he doesn't think he's good--he just loves performing. And he's on Debate Team even though Smackle always beats him.

      I still think there was merit in Farkle having the same issue as Riley--being intimidated at living up to the standards set by his parents. It probably explains his "I want to take over the world" tendencies.

    2. Anonymous-I love the idea of Lucas's impossible thing being to teach Farkle something. Lucas did win the scholar-athlete award. I'm surprised we haven't seen Farkle and Lucas be more competitive in the classroom. This could be the set up for something interesting. I'm just not quite sure what.

      Cryptid456-"I still think there was merit in Farkle having the same issue as Riley--being intimidated at living up to the standards set by his parents." This is fantastic! I wish the episode had explored this a bit more.

    3. This is at least the third time the show has established as the point of order the identification of a character flaw or personal limitation, and each time they have then refused really to do so for Lucas (or they have Lucas refuse to do so). Instead we get perfection or the appearance of perfection or the inability to overcome somebody else's limitation.That can't just be Disney-prince preservation stuff.

    4. Milestones, the writers have said that Lucas' perfection is too hard to maintain, and he will soon "break". That could be as soon as this coming episode. We have only seen him since he came to New York. While I'm sure that he is a good kid, his flaws are probably much worse than the rest of the gang and when he breaks, we will probably see it shatter him, not just crack the veneer.

    5. Hi Milestones!

      It doesn't help matters that Lucas was introduced as a love interest and solely as a love interest. I've mentioned my disdain for love interest only characters before, and that's because they function as little more than a prop, a means to an end.
      Now, Lucas has improved immensely in that regard, but it still irks me a bit. He's introduced and then for Riley, trying to become his girlfriend becomes her priority in Season One.

      And it is certainly true that Lucas has been Disney Prince from the get-go and the writers have not delivered in proving he has "flaws."

      Take "Secret of Life," when we learn that Lucas's flaw is...he got in a fight and got expelled for beating up somebody who was going to fight Zay, who from all accounts had provoked the fight in the first place. *Facepalm* Righteous anger is not a flaw.
      What I would have done? Make Lucas the kid who was going to beat up Zay. Make Lucas the Atoner. Zay being terrified of going to the same school as his old bully, who he doesn't think reformed, is much better than "The good kid I palled around with and haven't seen for a year has new friends. Woe is me."

    6. Hi Cryptid, that’s pretty good. I’d watch that episode.

      To reconcile what I took to be the intent of Secret of Life with its Disney execution, I had to imagine that, in defending Zay, Lucas brought disproportionate force to the situation. But, that’s not what was on the screen. I imagined something in somewhat the same vein with Mr. Squirrels, with Lucas reacting in anger and with hurtful intent to Maya’s always cheerful ribbing. But “stack of pancakes” augurs against that.

      Beyond watching the show itself, this blog is my only contact for details about it (even then I try to avoid spoilers). The info 1960poster offered is interesting. When I heard Lucas once being called “Mr. Howdy,” I identified that with, and for a while even remembered it as, “Captain Howdy.” Okay, maybe a demon-possession story isn’t in the offing, and a kids’ show is giving me pareidolia for reasons I may never understand (I followed Lost and didn’t think about it as much as I think about this show). But I’m looking forward to seeing how big the break will be.

      As far as this episode goes, I found it congenial and disposable. A popular grade is B-, and I would go along with that. Its biggest plus was probably that it didn’t have any huge minuses.

      The flashbacks seem to be a bone of contention. I’m still only in Season 1 of BMW. Completing it at this age will ensure it doesn’t attain the same protected status a show I watched in my youth would have.

      If I had ever seen Jean-Luc Picard inserted into footage from the original series, I might have screamed for him to get his next-generation stink off the real Enterprise and back to his own cheesy, computer-graphic abomination.

      Here, it was just a thing they did. A touch of the magic realism the show occasionally embraces; Riley got to see that her Mom was once a flake. I have to commend Kit Cosmo, in a comment for Creativity, for seeing Riley in that dance.

      I agree the Bugs Bunny history lesson was odd. I might be immune to the classroom scenes, though.

    7. Ah, Milestones. Been looking forward to your remark.

      Good point about Secret of Life. Everyone agrees that Lucas probably took things too far, but at the same time, fight or flight situations. The real tension is that Zay probably started the confrontation, apparently got off scot-free, and then has the nerve to pout when he sees Lucas has new friends.

      Never saw Lost. Saw and followed HIMYM starting in Season 4, and more closely in Season 5. Caught up in syndication. Watched all the way through. Still mad about the ending. And even then I think more about GMW than I do HIMYM.

      As it happens, this episode was actually filmed before "Creativity." Riley must have learned the dance she performed there from these memories.

      Still in Season One, eh? Seen "Teacher's Bet" yet? Shipping Wars and I are all but convinced that they'll eventually repeat that episode. And yes you'll escape Nostalgia Goggles.

      And like I mentioned in my earlier comments, my contention with the classroom scene in the beginning comes not from the assignment--I saw it coming a mile away and Cory just waited for an excuse--but from the actual history. Cory said that people in the sixteenth century thought the world was flat. Nobody educated had thought that for over a thousand years, and in Mainland Europe, that included sailors. The issue was whether a transoceanic voyage could be completed. Northwest Passage and all that. I minored in history, so Cory's flat-out inaccurate even for grammar-school-standards lessons, blatant favoritism aside, set my teeth on edge.

    8. Seen "Teacher's Bet," liked it, and thought it merited a second look.But I can't afford to watch BMW episodes more than once or I'll never get through it. I can see them doing it on GMW.

      I only mentioned Lost because it was a series the pretty much demanded scrutiny and searching for clues, whereas I took it all in at face value. As with every other show I watch, I felt it was their story and was content to let them tell it. Every other show but GMW, that is. I watched HIMYM too, but didn't stick with it to the end.

      I just want the classroom scenes to do their business as economically as possible, and it's gravy if they can throw in something entertaining. Yeah, it would be nice if they didn't actively spread misinformation.

  22. perfectly recreating (simultaneously) exactly what happened back then, like they're in a fucking Pensieve from Harry Potter

    ^ THAT. is exactly what it was like.

    & yeah regarding the whole bay window at the matthews'
    I would have believed it to be CGI added - in fact I sort of did- but I saw an episode of BMW right after it and the window was there. No one ever sits there, or opens it, or even stands near it.

    1. YOOOOOOOO welcome to the other side!

      And yeah, I 100% thought it was CGI'd in for this episode. NEVER would have believed it was there in BMW, but lo and behold.

    2. Greetings NEW YORK ECONOMIST, and welcome to the comment section of Girl Meets World Reviewed! It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

  23. Re: the bullriding promo

    Seems like a cheap way to get Maya to "realize how much she cares." I'll have my barf bucket ready.

    1. Oh god, you're right. But like she denies it at first, right? "I don't need to go see him in the hospital because I'm not worried." The barf bucket store is about to see a huge surge in profits.

    2., I mean Sean and clockstopper, take my hands and pray.

    3. Sean-"I don't need to go see him in the hospital because I'm not worried." has potential for some really great scenes. It may turn out to be awful, but there's the potential for something good. Does Topanga, Cory, Shawn, or Riley get to be the one to bring her back to reality.

  24. So, I'm sure you guys have been waiting w/ baited breath for my reaction. I was very busy this weekend standing as the best man at my friend's wedding, so I was very preoccupied. I did check this review before watching the episode, and was concerned for what I was going to see. Well, my overall thoughts are.....okay.

    Yeah, this one was just okay for me. I don't think it was a dumpster fire, but it wasn't great either. Which is sad, because I thought it had the ingredients to be really good. Yet, it seems like the writer really out thought himself when they decided to go w/ the old school clips. They weren't needed the way they were used. For example, instead of Topanga being shown needlessly picking at her daughter, maybe she could explain that she wasn't as put together as she is now. And while she explains, play that clip of the poem. Same idea w/ her father, but I don't think that would have gone over right because he's always been weird.

    I saw some up above complaining about Cory's portrayal as a superhero to Riley didn't make sense. I think its common sense that a 13-14 year old girl thinks of her daddy as a superhero. What young girl doesn't think of dad as the one who hung the moon? So, I didn't have a problem with that. In fact, I didn't have a major problem with a majority of this episode.

    The opening was good, and Riley was really funny. She also sold me on her initial concern about living up to her parents. I think the initial classroom scene was good, and funny. Once again, I think Riley was spot on here. Maya was fun too, and Lucas' line was my favorite of the episode. To quickly capture the B-plot, I think it was long overdue for Lucas and Farkle to have some time together without the girls. Some character development that was fun, and sorely needed. Riley trying to run from her problems, and seeing her parents was good. The circus scene was the best total scene in the episode, and both girls were fun here. Really liked it. All the momentum in the world was building for this episode, then it hit a solid brick wall when the clips started. And nothing could bring it back. Didn't like the way they were handled, at all. This was a tale of two halves, and it didn't finish strong. Which is a damn shame.

    Episode Grade: C+/B- Some good, but some just downright bad. Missed opportunity w/ this one.

    Episode MVP: Rowan Blanchard. She was really fun this whole episode, despite some obvious miscues. I think the slow burn when it comes to her insecurities arc is the smart play, and I'm interested to see where it goes. Rileytown looks interesting to me.

  25. Does no one have a link to Rileytown?! Are we going to have to watch it when it AIRS? Like LOSERS?

    1. Now now, Christian, good things come to those who wait.

  26. Somebody with TWC, grab a camera and go record this episode right now

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  29. The seemed to be going for a parallel-ish story to BMW's "Better than the Average Cory," in which Cory was upset because he wasn't gifted or talented, and therefore felt inferior to a famous painter who was his sister's age. The problem didn't land. It would have been better if Riley had told her father that she thinks that he's a good teacher (I don't think so, but in this universe they have told us to accept it as fact...ugh), but that she wants to be more than "just" a teacher...that she wants to be more like her "shark lawyer" mom. Riley could spend the episode trying to be a teenage "shark-lawyer" (debate team, always trying to verbally defend someone, etc. idk), only to have Lucas or Farkle tell her that her behavior is obnoxious and is not who she is--yet.Riley could overhear her father encouraging and tutoring a struggling student who is struggling in history (Zay maybe?). We could see her feeling remorse for her attitude towards her father's career, and then she could have a heart-to-heart with her mom, who tells her that she wasn't always a "shark-lawyer," and that Riley should not try to emulate anyone else, but that she should discover who she is as a person, just as Topanga had to. Topanga could tell her that she is a Hufflepuff/Huffleclaw (essentially), that she loves who Riley is, and that she believes that Riley will be just fine.

    Riley could apologize to Cory, and during their heart to heart conversation he could explain that he felt the same way at one point (insert flashback if you must GMW), but that he is content with who he is now and what he has to offer the world.

    Cory, Lucas, or Farkle could hand her an application, while telling Riley that she should use her people-skills and passion for helping everyone, as a peer counselor/mediator.

    I hated how condescending Topanga was in the first scene.

    1. I misphrased-- I meant more verbally argumentative than defending...