Friday, September 25, 2015

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Rileytown" (#2.17)

I've been rewatching Mad Men today, so I'm afraid I've grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Subtlety, wit... the absence of punchlines and live audiences. Yet now I must transition, as from the Louvre to mud art at the dawn of man, from Johnny Walker to trailer park backyard moonshine. That is to say, in the latter cases, they've done the best they can, given their environments, but... it's still hard to enjoy it. 

"Cyberbullying" is an annoying topic because there's a strike force of loud people ready to carpet bomb you no matter what your opinion is. On the other hand, I'm not going to tread lightly on my own blog. So here it is. I don't buy it. Bullying is real as fuck and it's terrible. I've dealt with it myself. Girl Meets Flaws was fine. But like... maybe when Riley gets a text, and sees that it's from this bully... maybe just don't read it. 

Maybe you just don't read it. 

So I'm not down with the premise. Let's look at the execution. Similar to 3% of executions in the United States, it didn't work. The first half of the episode is misdirection. I'm glad I read a plot summary beforehand, otherwise I would have spent ten minutes trying to yell at Riley through my television. It's terrible design. They tried to set up this "Riley's acting irratio- ohhhhhhhhhhh" revelation when we learn what's going on, but it takes way too long to get there. 

Even when the big "We want an Emmy" tear-soaked reveal scene arrives at the Bay Window, we still have no information. We're forced to take Riley at her word that she's been treated horribly. It's not that I doubt her, but rather that it's impossible to empathize. I don't care. I can't care, because I have no idea what's going on. Can you think of any way at all in which this isn't worse than "Back 2 School"? In that one, we saw how threatening Harley was, we saw the threats, we were fully aware of the danger Cory was in. 
Comparatively, I was aware of NOTHING in this episode. I hate to use this phrase because it's so overused and oversimplified, but "show don't tell." All this episode did was tell us that Riley's being bullied. And that does nothing for the viewer. THEY DIDN'T EVEN SHOW US THE BULLY. And you know what, that's at least an interesting decision. I admit, I was intrigued right away by the prospect of never seeing the bully. It shifts the focus onto the actions rather than the person, so you identify and recognize the actions in real life, rather than expecting a certain kind of person. That's smart, progressive thinking, and it would work, if we actually saw those actions. But we saw nothing. All we got was Riley reading one of the messages out loud, which, again, she really ought not to have read in the first place.

The ending makes enough sense that I can take a few deep breaths now. Riley is taking control of the situation away from The Bully, and showing that she's not embarrassed about who she is. That's great. But it's hard to get past what I call "protagonist privilege," the "Gather 'round everybody!" magical power that protagonists always have. "I know you're all going to miss the bus, but come watch Riley be weird to prove a point." It's hard to take seriously. 

Then again... they probably WOULD come to watch. Because everybody loves Riley. They all feed on the posturing of her romantic intrigues. They always show up to watch her shenanigans with her friends. And that leads into the ENORMOUS plot hole. EVERYONE IN THE SCHOOL KNOWS SHE'S WEIRD. And they love her for it. She's super popular. So how exactly is this video from this bully going to ruin Riley? Literally no one would care. It's not like in Meets Flaws where Farkle realistically annoys some people. No one on this show has a bad thing to say about Riley, and a video of her being goofy is not going to change that. She was a fundamentally unfit choice for the story they wanted to tell. 
If you can believe it, I do have some good things to say. "A bully isn't someone who says something you don't like." That may be the best lesson out of Cory all season. Elegant, timely, relevant.

 I liked the return of Angry Lucas. Hulkas. It's his one interesting characteristic. 

In the surprise of the century, Zay was my access point for the story. Like imagine you break your wrist, so the doctor cuts your arm off. It's not really what you wanted, but it solves the problem. Zay's first few lines in the classroom were typical. Other characters were conversing without him, so he inserts himself via punchline. Not a fan. But after that, he was the most laid back of the cast, seemingly unfazed by the cyberbullying, which is what I identified with. I thought for sure he'd offer some platitude about being bullied to Riley, but thankfully his own past didn't come up. So I don't know why he was in this episode but, amazingly, I was happy with him.

How many times can you have the line "We'll be there for you" in a single episode? Jesus Christ. 

I think that's enough for now. The episode isn't online yet so I don't have any pictures from it, sorry.

Well Christian said he can't write tonight, so I'll keep adding. What if we had started with The Bully sending out the video to everyone? THAT would be a strong start. We would immediately see that this person means business, that they're not just talk. We would have tangible evidence that someone wants to hurt Riley. I mean what was even the point of the misdirected anger at Maya? Was it all for the BIG REVELATION scene? It was a total waste of time that should have been spent showing us how this bully hurt Riley. 

The worst part of it all, is that the last two episodes contradict this one. At the end of Meets Farkle, everyone declared that they don't want to be normal. Yet in this episode Riley wants to be normal and unnoticed. In Meets Cory and Topanga, she embraces the weird/goofyness she inherited from her parents. But now because some nobody is texting her about it, she's suddenly not okay with it.

I should address "The Crying Scene" since enough people seemed to like it. Was it well acted? I don't even remember. It's so much less important to me than the content itself. They wanted emotional. I get that. But you don't need crying to be emotional. There's nothing wrong with crying, it's totally human, but there are better options. I'm going to copy something from my review of Wake Up Little Cory because it's one of my favorite Topanga moments and Anthony Tyler Quinn said it was a good review. For context, Cory is telling everyone that he had sex with Topanga, and now she's come over to tell Cory her feelings on that: 

I've gotta say, I really like how Topanga handles this situation. She's not crying or breaking down, she's just pissed. It's not "wahhh you ruined everything, how could you wahh", but rather "you are literal human filth, go to hell", you know what I mean? Anger is a much stronger emotion than sadness. Anger gives you motivation and energy and drive, while sadness just drains you. So yeah, I think it's the mark of a strong character to be angry instead of upset and I'm really glad they made that decision.

Hey everyone. How's it going?

So, I think I'll speak to some of the issues that seem to be more pressing for people right now, though, really I don't think this ought to be a forum for our personal opinions on the issues of the day. I happen to largely agree with Sean on the issue of bullying. I think there's an epidemic of treating kids like they're made of candy glass. Yes, kids get bullied all the time. Right now, it's mainly cyber bullied. 50 years ago, it was more traditional bullying. 50 years from now it'll be something else. Yeah, it sucks. When I was picked on, and it was mainly in middle school since that's seriously when kids are the absolute worst, I hated it. On occasions I cried about it, on occasions I stayed home from school to avoid it. I was a weird theatrical kid who was chubby, sucked at sports, liked anime, the whole nine yards and I was from a conservative sports-obsessed suburb. There was a lot of material there. But you know what? I toughed it out. I dealt with it. And I'm an infinitely stronger person for having to have toughed it out, because it prepared me for the even bigger, badder world out there. It also gave me the push I needed to fix some things that needed fixing, like my weight. Who knows if I'd have ever had the drive to do that without people needling me about it, or hot girls laughing in my face when I expressed interest in them. Bullying, in my opinion, is an important part of growing up. 

We're in an age where we're constantly inundated with programs, classes, teacher and parent intervention, ad campaigns, the world, beseeching us not to bully, and if you are bullied to speak up so it's stopped. This is an age of helicopter parents, and I think it's leading to a far weaker, more coddled society. 

Of course, there's instances where bullying goes too far. Sean was completely dismissive of cyberbullying on the whole, when the major issue of cyberbullying is that it's not just someone texting you insulting things. That actually was really weird, and probably doesn't even constitute cyberbullying, though there was a threat of it. (Also, who is this bully that she and Riley have exchanged numbers? Are they friends? But I'll get to the bully in a second) Cyberbullying is usually on social media, where the whole world can see it and it's there forever.  Someone calling you something in the hallways, or even someone shoving you into a locker, is going to fade pretty quickly, on the other hand. So, that's some of the major danger there. 

And I think that's what we need to be cognizant of. There's actual really horrific situations that go far beyond normal bullying that absolutely do need intervention. It's the kind of horrible stories you read about that eventually lead to the victim committing suicide. But that's not what 99.9% of kids are dealing with, and it's certainly not what Riley was dealing with. So I just think we as a society need to take all these training wheels and elbow pads off and let these kids get some bumps and bruises. 

That's all I got on that.

For the rest of it, yeah, I mainly agree with Sean. So much so that I don't feel the need to go into strenuous detail. I get what they were trying to do with the offscreen, vague bully. Yes, now it could be anybody. Yes, when Riley was telling off the bully it was like she was telling off allllll bullies. I get it. And, sure, I suppose on some levels it's interesting. But it still doesn't keep it from being narratively weak. Like Sean, I was annoyed that we went through so much, including emotional cry-y climactic conversations, before we even had a clear picture of what was going on. I like Riley, seeing her cry is sad, and Rowan did a decent job with that, but none of this was earned because we hadn't actually seen the thing that happened to Riley. 

I'm not as down on crying as Sean is, I think, because I do think there's a lot of catharsis to be had there. Sometimes if things are absolutely shitty for me and I've been stressed and sad and dealing with it for a long time, there's something therapeutic about taking a moment when I'm alone (or with a very trusted friend who knows what's going on) and letting those emotions out. And it can be therapeutic to see a character cry over a situation, because there's catharsis to be had there too. But I can't have any catharsis until I know what's going on! Like "Girl Meets I am Farkle" it just felt a little lazy. They wanted to do a bully episode, but they didn't want to go through the whole trouble of, like, making a bully character and showing Riley getting bullied and all of that, so they just wrote a bunch of scenes where she was sad and talking about it.

And when we found out what was going on, finally, it was really weird. Though I do think we're too protective with kids about bullying, but there's nothing wrong with showing instances of it on TV to let kids know they're not alone and that there's good and bad ways to handle it. But, like in "Flaws", they handled it in a way that was so unbelievable that there's no benefit here. A kid who's being bullied can't watch this episode and be like "Yeah! I'll just do what Riley did!" they're going "Yeah, you guys don't understand this at all, thanks for nothing." 

First off, I don't know who would even do what Riley's bully did. Secretly video taping her doing secret weird stuff in the hall ways and then threatening to release the tape and expose her? Is she from TMZ? Who is this chick? I also agree that Riley was the wrong choice for this, because she does appear to be the most popular kid in school, and gets nothing but positive encouragement from everyone about her eccentricities, and always seems totally content with them. I just have trouble believing Riley, as established, would receive this and react this way. To the right, please find how I think she would have actually responded. It's just such a bizarre, unbelievable scenario. It just doesn't seem to be a big enough deal to engender this degree of angst in young Riles. Anyone who had this degree of shame about participating in an award ceremony for herself, would never have hosted one in the hallways of the school (over and over again) in the first place. 
Also we're 2 for 2 for episodes that think the way to really shut a bully down is to give a dramatic speech in front of everyone about how what they're doing is mean and they should stop it. Showing how much what they're doing is, frankly, working on you and effecting you (and despite Riley's public award ceremony's intention, she'd never have been doing this and needing all her friends' encouragement if she wasn't bothered by it) is a surefire way to get them to keep doing it. Yes, after this dramatic of gesture, probably the bully would have dropped the video thing, but she would have found something else. And the entire fucking school wouldn't have showed up to, like, have Riley's back. 

I agree that Boy Meets World handled bullying better. Cory just sort of dealt with it. Sure, teachers put a stop to bullying they actually saw happening, as they should, but Turner didn't then intervene and try to correct the problem forever. He didn't call everyone into his classroom so he could have a talk about how sensitive Cory is and how everyone should treat him with respect or anything. Cory mainly dealt with it on his own. And he didn't let it bother him that much, and Harley never changed (during high school) but Cory matured to such a degree that eventually people stopped hassling him. He didn't cry or whine or hide in the nurse's office. He handled it. That's the only thing you can do. Mostly ignore it, but stand up for yourself when you have to, and don't let it consume your life or define who you are. 

Okay, that's all I want to say about all of that. As for the rest of it. Yeah, very overwrought meh episode. Though I agree that Topanga's being very poorly utilized in this series (although I have a hunch Danielle doesn't care about this show as much as Michael and Ben and is cool to just stop by and collect her paycheck) I did like both Cory and Topanga in this, though Cory did lose control of his class big time in the beginning. They knew something was going on, but didn't know what, clearly wanted to step in and take care of it themselves but knew that wasn't the right thing to do. They were a good example of what parents should be - involved, but not hovering. Ben gave a good performance in this, for the little he got to do. 

I also agree Zay was much improved in this episode. He didn't bother me. I mean, I still didn't like him, he was still way too hammy. But he didn't bother me. And I liked his delivery of some of his jokes, like "In Texas, we call this a Wednesday." Rowan, Sabrina, and Corey were all great too. Peyton was... fine. It was kind of hard to buy his Hulk strength when it was mixed with his kind of blank facial expressions and delivery though.  I dunno who's getting MVP, but it probs won't be Peyton. Great performance, though, from August Maturo who really delivered a powerful - nah, he wasn't in this one either.

Last thing that comes to mind before I turn it back over to Sean, is that this episode did something interesting that I actually hoped might be what the episode would be about although I knew better. Riley points out how Maya, in fact, is a bully and it seems to throw Maya for a loop. Riley's right, though. Maya is a bully. She continuously insults and harasses everyone who isn't Riley, basically. Lucas has asked her to stop calling him names, she doesn't. She picks on Farkle all the time. Now, her friends know she loves them, and so they're not hurt by it, but it kind of seems like she's this caustic with everyone, and some people would not appreciate it. I think an episode where some NPC comes by and thinks of Maya as her bully without Maya even recognizing it and Maya's forced to think about how she treats people would be a good episode. Just saying.

Back to you, I think, Sean. Did I miss anything?

To be clear, I wasn't dismissing cyberbullying in general, just the way it was presented in this episode. I know you guys want to like this. So do I. I'm not here to shit on this show, we're not the Zero Punctuation of Girl Meets World. I want to love it. I want this to be a powerful, inspiring story about bullying. But it's not. Christian definitively ended the debate when he explained that anyone dealing with cyberbullying in real life would watch this episode and gain absolutely nothing. 

That's what it boils down to. Be honest. If you were being cyberbullied, and you watched this episode, how would it impact you? What did we learn? That if the entire school is at your beck and call, then you'll be okay? Riley learns that it's okay to be herself since all of her classmates are okay with it. No kid is going to identify with the ending of this episode.

Hulkas ripping the wood off was dumb, that goes without saying. It wasn't supposed to be taken seriously, but it was still silly. What I like is the notion that Lucas can become uncontrollably angry. Not so much the characteristic itself, just the fact that he has a unique characteristic that can influence his actions. Everyone on this show always does the right thing and the nice thing and the happy thing. Hulkas is sort of a curveball, and curveballs are good. I can already see Christian's response, "Eh, I don't think it's that great." I don't think it's that great either, but it is better than the total nothing Lucas is otherwise.

The Austin and Ally crossover looks bad. I'm not up in arms about it, but I'm not looking forward to writing about it. I saw a music video during a commercial break that was 10% the guy playing his guitar, 90% literally just footage of his fangirls going crazy. I hate Disney Channel so much. 

Grade: C-. A few brief moments of decency, some good ideas... But what I want to see is development. Did Riley actually change at all? Feels like she's exactly the same as she was at the end of every other episode this season. 

MVP: The girl with the glasses who gets to be in the same shot as Maya in the classroom. She's been an extra in almost every episode, more episodes than Zay or Yogi for sure, and I think she's pretty cool. She has a name but I don't know it.

Boy have I got a SURPRISE FOR YOU! That girl is named Sarah, and she's played by Sarah Carpenter. 

"Wait," you say. "Carpenter? But that's--"

Yep! That's Sabrina Carpenter's sister!

That's a bad impression of me. I liked it better before I knew. She's not as interesting without the mystery.

Truly there is no wonder left in the world. Speaking of Sarah though, maybe the only way we'd know her name is that Cory said all the other kids' names in this episode as like some big show of what a great teacher is. Congrats, you know the names of the kids in your class. That's not impressive. It shouldn't be treated like it's impressive! You're the worst teacher in the world! Hehehehehe. You made me laugh. You probably just, like, memorized those last night too. Still, "Your, like, math teacher helps you out with all this stuff, right? Relates algebra to whatever you got going on in your lives?" was funny. I'd rather that - a kind of shrugging admittance from Cory that he doesn't care about anybody but the foursome, than this implication that Cory's not the shitty teacher he is. 

I'd like anger being a signature trait of Lucas too. But, again, I need to SEE it. What we got here was a bunch of people going "Uh oh! Lucas is going to be so angry! We have to watch out for Lucas' signature anger! Better tie Lucas up because he's so angry! Nothing can hold back the might of Lucas' wrath!" Meanwhile Lucas looks and delivers his lines the same he always does. If he's angry, show me that. Besides him lazily prying himself free. I'm not saying he needs to yell and scream and have veins popping out of his eyes and go "LUCAS SMASH!" But something. Right now, it's an informed trait that I don't full buy. 

And, yes, Sean's right. We've gotten a lot of comments here (and on IMDb and other places) that seem to assume we're just haters who hate the show and why are we even watching? We care a lot about this show. We probably care about it more than any of you, because we're the ones who dedicate our time to running a blog about it. So, we're going to keep poking it with a stick. That's how we show our love. If we have high standards, it's because that's what Boy Meets World, at its best, engendered in us. Sean cited Mad Men above. Mad Men is the greatest TV show of the past 10 years, bar none. (Sorry Vince Gilligan, it's true.) I don't expect Girl Meets World to be as good as Mad Men, that would be unreasonable. I do expect it to be as good as Boy Meets World though. That is not unreasonable. It's the same damn people.

Episode Rating: C
Episode MVP: Yeah, sure, Rowan Blanchard. I didn't love her material, but Rowan did a good job. She's still only 13 years old. 

Next week's Halloween and shit. And fuck, in addition to this Austin and Ally crossover, we may have to review an episode of Best Friends Whenever too. Wheeeeeeeeeee.

I totally meant to address Maya, and a new comment just reminded me. I completely agree. That is all.


  1. More like "How many times can you have the word "Conflict" in a single episode?"
    Good thing the episode was renamed from "Girl Meets Conflict Resolution" because that would have made it much worse.

    I personally liked the scene where Maya and Riley cried... it was already hinted in the scene right before (by Farkle/Maya) that someone else is, uh, unhappy with Riley/bullying her, so yeah, I cared for Riley there. Back to my first point in this comment... the crying was ruined when Riley started talking about how she "has a conflict." Seriously, writers? It just killed the genuine feel for me because they always feel the need to slap the theme/topic for the episode in your face. The same thing happened in "Creativity"

    So I actually liked the buildup and the scene where they cried. After that? It sucked. It was a whole "We're here for you" "How do we solve this conflict?" lesson that dragged on for a little too long. Maybe they could've shown us Riley being bullied in the buildup and then the crying taking place later in the climax or whatever.

    I don't know why but that one line by Topanga "and the ice cream expires tomorrow" stuck with me... probably because this episode wasn't too funny (which is understandable with the topic they're dealing with) and therefore there weren't too many memorable lines. Speaking of Topanga, this episode is a prime example of how Topanga, the MOTHER of Riley, does not have much of an influence in her life. Everyone was shown rallying up support for Riley except Topanga, if I recall correctly. I mean, she was a little involved in the bakery, but of course, she's standing next to freakin Cory.

    1. great comment. it was one of those things where "conflict" starts to not sound like a real word by the end, they said it so much. and yeah, the ice cream expiration was hilarious, and Topanga's uninvolvement continues to be a problem

    2. I have my two cents to share in due time, and I am the first to say that Topanga is being squandered in this series--but to be fair to Cory and Topanga, they were actually halfway to the door when Maya interrupted and asked them to step back and let the kids handle it.

    3. Between the awful writing for her character and Danielle Fischel's AWFUL acting as an adult, I'd say the worst thing GMW has done to the BMW "world" is to totally wreck Topanga's character.

  2. This episode was pretty much like a lot of GMW episodes: a couple of good scenes and good ideas screwed up bizarre writing choices and dialogue so weird that it starts barely making sense.

    1. Riley crying made me REALLY sad though, that girl is too adorable.

  3. I happen to disagree with you as I felt this episode was very powerful and well-excuted. The only thing I think would've made more sense is if Maya used another word that pissed her off like "goofy" inside of Rileytown because the bully didn't really mention that. I think it represented what a girl might be thinking. It's easy to say just don't look at the text but you can't expect a teenager to not look at their cell phone. And she shouldn't have to live in fear that someone might text her mean things at any moment. I think they could've made it a little more realistic by saying the bully was hiding their number so she couldn't block them, but the episode did a great job showing how it could be so hard for teens to deal with. I also think the messages touched on suicide without explicitly saying it. If someone tells you to stop being you, the only way you could really do that is if you were dead. So the bully is very skillfully saying that she shouldn't be alive. If it wasn't confronted, it could lead to her believing the bully and suicide, like it does for so many teens in the world. But I think that it was good for them to show that you should be you and not let someone else win. I also think that it could've helped if they showed the bully and understood that they were not happy with their own life, so they chose a pretty, happy girl with a good family to take it out on, since not everyone is so fortunate. I think it would help teens understand that these bullies aren't as powerful as you think. However, I admired that they didn't show the bully because they basically didn't matter. They didn't deserve to even be shown because of their cruel actions. I get that Riley doesn't want to have an embarrassing video of her. Even if she seems popular or people love her weirdness, she doesn't know that it will not change. And I think the popularity thing is not very true. They are focusing on Riley and her group of friends, but it doesn't mean she is popular. They just aren't focusing on anyone else. It was nice that her whole school stood up for her but you don't have to be good friends with someone to support them and stand up for them. I also think they should have reported the bully to an adult. I think it is a more realistic solution for people who may not have friends to stick up for them or the guts to be brave and be who they are. I think there should have been legal action (Topanga) since the bully was threatening Riley and harassing her. I think it would help kids know what they could do to stop that situation realistically.

    1. I'm with you: powerful, well-executed. At the start, the laugh track was somewhat obnoxious. Unlike the Farkle episode, which played it for real once it got real, this episode sometimes uneasily commingled the silly with the serious. Those objections cover about 90 seconds of air time.

    2. "the episode did a great job showing how it could be so hard for teens to deal with" Can you be more specific? I think that's what it utterly FAILED at doing. All we saw was the aftermath. We never saw Riley attempting to avoid it or deal with it on her own. "This girl has been cyberbullied, feel sorry for her" is not good story telling.

      The bully not being happy with their own life is about as trite as it gets. They already did that in Meets Demolition anyway.

      Reporting to adults doesn't work. It never has. I was pretty happy to see Maya tell Cory and Topanga to let them handle it.

      There's a difference between "looking at their phone" and deliberately opening and reading a message from someone you know is a jerk. And sorry but I think you're COMPLETELY off base about the suicide undertones.

      I do agree about using something other than "goofy" though.

    3. There's an HBO documentary 15 years ago called Middle School Confessions, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. It's on sometimes on HBO, but it dealt with the typical topics like drinking, sex and bullying, but in a very frank manner. The kid subjects talked very openly about it, parents talked about it.

      I mention it because in the section on bullying they have a class about bullying, one kid says if he sees someone picked on he'd stand up for him. The kid though this section focused on was next seen sitting alone at the window, no one would sit with him and he said the truth, in a classroom in front of a teacher, you'd say how'd you'd act, but don't actually practice.

      I even have experience with it. A classmate I'd known since kindergarten, I would consider a friend even though we never hanged out or anything. Anyway, he had a fight and the teacher asked the class who's his friend here. Of course everyone raised his hand, including a close friend of mine and I jokingly called him out on him. I know he'd crack jokes on him, maybe even be considered a bully, and he was like I wasn't going to be the only one who'd keep his hand down.

  4. I thought it was a really weak episode for such a strong topic.

    Pros: 1.) Not showing the bully was good, as it tells people that it can be everyone. 2.) That Maya and Riley scene was well-acted.

    Cons: 1.) The beginning was unnecessary. 2.) The ending was cheesy. 3.) I didn't feel the bullying. There's a block button in almost every smartphone nowadays. 4.) Topanga didn't contribute anything. 5.) They laid it way too thick with the "we're here for you" trope. 6.) The threat that the bully had over Riley is ridiculous. Unless no one has noticed, Riley is as lovably odd and goofy as it gets. The same people seeing a video of her doing British and French accents by her lonesome would elicit exactly two reactions: "Oh, Riley." and *delete*

  5. This episode was actually surprisingly better than the rest of the series so far. In my opinion, at least. The problem with the show is that it tries too hard to be serious, yet won't compromise on the innocent sillyness. So usually it just comes off as something that would never happen. But this episode for the most part dropped the sillyness. There were a couple funny one-liners to keep it light, but it was mostly kept very somber. It was actually emotional, and not just "I'm unhappy because there's a problem".
    the crying scene I thought was very strong. Even with all the problems they've had in the past, no one ever actually broke down crying. Everyone would just continue behaving the same, just with a frown. But now actual emotional involvement! Thank you writers!
    I was not a fan of the bully not being shown or identified. I think having a different type of character to bring in from time to time would have made for a more interesting and realistic series. As it stands now, every single character is happy-go-lucky. Some more so than others. Having one that didn't get along with Riley could have made for so many cool episodes!
    Overall, the writing for this show is just atrocious. I only watch it for the cameos...
    It could have been so good! But alas, Disney...

    1. I updated the post instead of responding directly to your comment. Emotion is great, but there are more powerful emotions than sadness.

  6. You guys are actually ridiculous.. This episode was actually very well presented and executed in my opinion. "Don't look at your phone", and "just don't read the text" is all so well and easy to say but you just seem like another adult trying to give a simple solution to a child who's being bullied. It just doesn't work and here's why: the bully can keep sending the messages, and in the end, if Riley hadn't looked at the messages, the bully probably would have sent the message to everyone in the school. And also, its not the point that you should just avoid the message that's of importance, it's the fact that most people just wouldn't actually avoid the message. Its easy to say something in retrospect, but in actual life, people don't aren't avoiding messages which is what the episode wanted to show. Riley is a girl who wants to feel comfortable with herself most of the time, she wants to know that she's doing the right thing. Thats why she probably read the text, and every other text. Also how do you know she read the texts after the first few she probably received? It was shown that she got a few texts in the episode after she initially started getting bullied, but it wasn't exactly shown that she read every single message that she did get: maybe she was trying to avoid it but hated the fact that people could think of her like that - that maybe she should change. And THIS DOES HAPPEN TO REAL LIFE KIDS. They just cannot always avoid messages like this all the time! They can try to avoid it, but in the end some of them just cannot and I think its really important that instead of trying to ignore the bully, to actually try and face them which is what makes the message of the show so powerful. They tell you to face the bully and that you're not on your own. So many of you have an issue with using the words conflict and the phrase "We're here for you" again and again but you fail to understand, that while conflict was slightly overused as maybe the show trying so hard to bring up its main theme, the repetition makes sure that people don't forget things like that which are very hard to forget. Where when you're so knee deep in bullying, you do feel like you're on your own and completely forget there are people who are always there for you and the repetition of that in the show, although annoying to people, at least makes them remember it.

    1. ...the bully doesn't know whether or not Riley reads the messages, so....

      Look I get that people get bullied in real life, and it's worth addressing, we just didn't see anything like that in the episode. It was all implied, it all happened off camera. Like I said, Harley in Back 2 School feels more threatening than this episode's bully. Not because of the nature of the bullying, but because of the presentation. It sounds like you're praising the spirit of the episode (which is praiseworthy) without objectively looking at how it was presented.

      Repetition isn't necessary for memory. It's actually the most basic memory tool, like people who just write something over and over to memorize it. The most memorable line in this episode was from Cory and he only had to say it once.

    2. Hey Anonymous?


      #1 - Sean and I were both in high school less than 10 years ago, in the age of texting and the internet.
      #2 - We're the kinds of people who would create a blog about Girl Meets World.

      So, I don't think you need to tell us that getting bullied is something kids go through. My guess is both of us has experienced it before. It's actually extremely smallminded of you to assume that just because Sean, myself, or any commenter doesn't share your opinion on how best to handle being bullied that we have no appreciation for what it is. You don't know who we are, and you don't know where we've been, so you should maybe assume that you don't need to teach us things.

    3. "...the bully doesn't know whether or not Riley reads the messages, so...."
      actually, lots of messaging apps these days show whether or not the person has read your message.

      I agree with you guys that Riley should have simply blocked them. However, you can't block people in real life--especially when the bully goes to the same school as you (as the bully and Riley apparently go to the same school?). But then that's normal bullying and not cyberbullying anymore, rendering this portrayal of cyberbullying as WEAK.

      I think a better way to handle this topic would have been for the video to actually be sent out to the school. SHOW Riley's reaction to it. As you guys have been saying, SHOW Riley being [cyber]bullied. Don't just tell us what's happening and expect us to feel as much. Imagine a scene where Riley walks into the cafeteria (what even happened to that set? It seemed like a permanent set in the beginning of Season 2, but I guess not) and sees her group of friends (along with the rest of the students) laughing at her video. They're laughing because she's funny, not because she's retarded, but Riley thinks the latter and storms out. And then you have the rest of the episode. More time was spent on comfort than bullying when it should have been the other way around.

    4. "actually, lots of messaging apps these days show whether or not the person has read your message. "

      Some do, but like everyone turns that off immediately, because then you have to deal with constant streams of "I SAW YOU READ THE TEXT WHY AREN'T YOU TEXTING ME BACK!"

    5. Woahh woah Christian Im sorry I didn't mean it like that. I never meant to imply that you guys had no appreciation for what bullying actually was just because you don't share my opinion. I was picking out on the fact that in the blog review of the episode not looking at the phone was a big thing that was mentioned, and I wanted to say that while that is easy to say, a lot of kids cannot avoid looking at the text for the entirety of the time that they are being bullied. Ok maybe for a few days/weeks but thats it? Like that's what is still happening now. I didn't want to say you guys had no appreciation for what bullying actually is just because you don't agree with me on how to handle it, everyone that has been through school life, heck even adults in their workplace have to deal with stuff like this. I was just trying to pick that fact out about not looking at the phone and completely avoiding it. And the fact that you got very annoyed that they weren't doing that in the episode. Its just not always feasible

    6. And Im not trying to tell you guys that bullying is what kids go through at all. I was saying that not being able to avoid texts and not being able to completely ignore them (as a way of handling bullying) is what kids go through because of how they can feel like they should change, whoever and however random the person sending the text is. So while easy to say ignore the message and its silly that Riley didn't, I was just saying that realistically, thats what some kids would do to, so its not exactly silly that Riley didn't either.

    7. Guys, can I just first of all say that I'm really sorry. I wasn't trying to imply anything to anyone. Especially wasn't implying to Christian and Sean that because I didn't agree with their way of handling bullying, they didn't have an appreciation of what it is. I was trying to say that kids go through not being able to avoid and all the stuff, not kids going through bullying. Basically I wanted to void your point about it being silly that they just didn't stop reading the messages and avoid it.

    8. LOL, Anon, you apologize profusely and those dicks don't even bother to respond? Save your breath. Don't even apologize. There's no need!

    9. yes how dare we, evil of evils, lords of destruction, not respond to every comment on the blog. chill the fuck out. I don't think I even saw that comment in the feed.

      the very angry anon is right though. you don't need to apologize. it's girl meets world reviewed on blogspot, not the UN. say whatever you want.

    10. Hell, I saw it. I just didn't get around to responding. There's almost 150 comments here. Sorry, I just don't have time to respond to every comment or even most. And when it's an Anonymous commenter, I feel even less inclined. Hell, by the time he replied, I didn't even remember what it was the guy was apologizing for.

      Maybe there's some confusion on what this website is? It's a place where Sean and I review episodes of Girl Meets World. Though the comment fields can sometimes function almost as a message board, they're not one. They're here as a service for if people feel like they have something to say about those reviews. But we're officially here to write the reviews and that's about it. Quite frankly, we don't have to say a thing on these comments. This dude's not our friend, he's a (quite literally) nameless commenter to whom we owe absolutely nothing. Same goes for you. But congrats! You threw a little fit and got yourself replies from us both! Feel better?

  7. Also some of you have also commented on Topanga's lack of support but if you're talking about the bakery scene, sometimes some light humour is exactly what is required instead of every single person being so serious as it brings back a sense of normalcy - takes you back to show that things can be normal. Also, Cory could only help as he took Riley's lesson. Topanga had no way of trying even that, and for her to try at home or elsewhere, Riley and Maya told them to let them handle it on their own, and she respects the fact that her kids need to grow and trusts that they can handle it on their own.
    The revelation in my opinion was good as it makes it stick in your head just how much bullying can change a person. At the beginning you wonder why Riley has changed so much, she's nothing like normal. How can she accuse her best friend that we've seen until now that she can never be rude with, of being a bully? And then the realisation comes that she's being bullied and the magnitude of how much it can change a person is brought to light.
    And I don't understand why you would want a character that doesn't get along with Riley just because you don't find it interesting that everyone does? Riley always tries to look out for people and fix their problems, or if she can't do that, she tries to make them happy. There's a valid reason for most people liking her, its not unrealistic. So asking for someone that doesn't like her to make it more realistic or something is utter rubbish to be honest.
    Also, at the end of the episode, it was Riley trying to handle the bully, this show wasn't showing the aftermath. It was showing how easy it was for people not to notice what someone is going through (even Maya didn't realise what Riley was going through with the bullying). Riley started getting bullied, she couldn't just avoid looking at the texts because they kept haunting her what the other person may have said (it is something that happens to kids face it -.-!). And then we see people finding out and the show then emphaises to kids that they're never alone, and they don't have to hide what they're going through, as people around them can help them face it. After all that we see Riley refusing help from Lucas and even Maya so that she can face the bully on her own, and her getting people to watch her be weird was her own plan. Some people say that the threat was a small one but to Riley, what she does in the video seemed like a much much weirder and worst thing than what she normally would have done. And to the people who are getting bullied, even if the threat is small, its amplified by a huge amount, so even if the video was showcasing Riley being her goofy awesome self, to Riley itself, it was something that she thought was really really weird and embarrassing about herself which is why the threat worked. Not because its supposed to make sense to the audience but because its supposed to make the person getting bullied under real threat because of how embarrassing it would've been for them.
    Overall, all I can say is after looking at your comments, you guys tend to look at the show only on the surface. I think this is quite a deep show and more points surface and come up, the more you think about the show. If you can't stop thinking about the show too simply, you're not going to be able to enjoy nor appreciate it as much.
    Tenks peeps :)

    1. If you honestly truly think that Christian and I only look at the surface, then I don't know what to say other than that this isn't the place for you.

    2. The thing is, I'm not saying its just you, I was replying to most of the other comments that I'd seen on this page. Sorry, I wasn't trying to insult you or anything, I just felt that all aspects of the show hadn't been as deeply explored as it should have been. There are a lot of connotations with most things that the show does which seems either silly or pointless. One prime example that I can give is the beginning which highlights that however close a person is to you (by either being your parent or best friends) its really hard to know exactly what someone is going through however hard they try to imply it and hint it towards you. You definitely do look deeper than most other people (as I said I typed my comment up for everyone not solely for you) but even so, from what I have read from your blog, I still didn't feel you considered everything deeply.

  8. Also, I forgot to mention. One of the reasons they didn't show the bully was because the bully was supposed to be the audience in a way. When Riley is speaking to the bully at the end, she's actually speaking to the audience because the bully's comments referred to the comments Riley's character got from people posting things online about her: always being to happy e.t.c.

  9. Haven't gotten around to watching it, but it sounds about what i expected it to be. Plenty of effort, but a bit under cooked in some aspects of the script. Oh, and next week as part of this years "Monstober" gimmick, a couple characters from some other disney sitcom will pop up in GMW of Terror 2, and Riley and Lucas will pop up in the hallloween ep of Best Friends Whenver. I know no one will listen but please don't make a big deal out of this. It's just a simple appearance on both sides and it won't tarnish this show, regardless of how bad the episodes may turn out. (Besides, one of those shows is one you don't watch and don't even have to watch). It means nothing aside from ...confusion since this now puts GMW is the DCLAU, opening some serious floodgates given BMW's history.

    ...Either way, i hope i like rileytown a bit more than most.

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  11. Okay....I decided to sleep on it, and considering I woke up at least once and was still thinking about it, I'm not sure what to think. I think waiting was a good idea--I don't usually post good comments late at night. Anyway, I have quite a bit to say, so might as well get on with it.

    So, the episode proper. There's some stuff to like and some stuff that wasn't so good.

    The opener was pretty good and RIley's attempt to be fake being sick is uprooted by Maya. The classroom scene, as usual, is mixed. While I am happy the rest of the class was acknowledged, it still felt too much like Cory focusing on his daughter--though at least this time it was more dumb luck that Cory's lesson coincided to the degree that it did.
    That said, I think there was a missed opportunity here. For all the times we've seen Riley and Maya spend class in the hallways or leave the classroom in a huff, we've never actually seen Riley deliberately skip school--well, maybe "Crazy Hat," but I hated that episode.
    A classroom scene with no Riley could have been interesting. And raise the kids' suspicions immediately.
    The ice cream duel was silly; it had a few good one-liners but it didn't move the plot along. And while I wasn't happy to see Topanga not help her daughter yet again, this scene had Maya specifically state that she wanted the parents to step back for the moment. As Sean said, going to adults doesn't usually work, so that's not quite so bad as usual.
    Sean definitely has a point--anger is by far a more powerful emotion than sadness, and while I think the crying scene was good, helped tremendously by the background music being muted, it is a little paint-by-numbers. And while the mean-spirited text messages were among the fiercest we've ever seen from Disney's hard to articulate without inferring that the show would be better off on ABC, which is not something I want to say--that's a dead horse and we all know it. Hmmmm, I guess we'd see grimmer comments and threats on a grimmer network, let's leave it at that.

    1. The scene where Farkle, Lucas, and Zay discuss what's going on...doesn't do much for me. Farkle's quite literally a genius, and although "laaaaaaaaaadies" may be dead and buried, I think it took him too long to put two and two together. The comparison to the turtlenecks and Billy Ross didn't really work either--Billy had a name and was one of Lucas's friends on the baseball team; turning him into just some bully actually takes away from the episode. Yes, "Flaws" was flawed, but it still showed that Farkle and Billy came to an understanding. It was cheesy as all get out, but sometimes you can reconcile.
      I still don't like Texas Lucas, since there wasn't a single line of dialogue throughout the entire first season that indicated he had anger issues.. And it definitely didn't work here. Lucas broke the Matthews' property, showing feats of strength that are above every teenager in the Feeny-verse except for Frankie the Enforcer. While righteous anger is by no means a bad thing, destroying private property is most certainly a bad thing.
      The confrontation, when Farkle, Lucas and Zay enter Riley's room...okay, I think this might be the part where the episode loses its way. While Zay commenting on the peculiarity of the boys going through the window, while munching cereal, was actually pretty funny, the scene on the whole is far too Power of Friendship for my tastes. We get it, these four...five kids care about each other. But the thing is, we almost always see them interact as a unit that cares about each other and apart from Maya and Riley, the Core Four tends to interact as only a Four.
      I feel as though I should articulate with a personal anecdote--Shipping Wars and I have three friends in the real world whom we love dearly. This quintet exists as a unit, but we're also friends on an individual level. I discuss media and cartoons and pop culture in general with one friend, guns and military history and politics with another, and the third I discuss a bit of everything, including theology.
      I know that's a little meandering, but it goes back to how rarely we see the individuals of the Core Four Plus Zay interact.
      The revelation and presentation scene...while I do recognize the seriousness of blackmail, I also understand the point that Sean made, stating everyone already knows Riley's a bit Eric-y. While there was merit in the idea of not showing the bully, to show kids that what they say really doesn't matter, I'm not sure it worked from a story-telling perspective.

      Presentation scenes in general don't really work for me--except this one:

      Okay, I got some more to say, but for now let's just wrap this up.
      This episode had a good heart, but a few missteps.
      Grade: B/B-
      MVP: Rowan

    2. That's interesting about your quintet. In my experience, there's usually a core person for each set of people who is friends with everyone but most of the other members wouldn't hang out with each other if that core person wasn't around.

    3. That's the thing of it, boc120. My quintet has five very different people in it, but I love them all.

      It's curious; your experience seems to match up with the Core Four of Girl Meets World. Without Riley, the group doesn't exist. Farkle may have a crush on Maya but I'm certain Riley's the one who initiated the friendship. I can't see Lucas palling around with Farkle if Farkle hadn't been there when Riley went all googly-eyed over him. And while it's possible Maya may have approached Lucas on the subway, I don't think it's very likely a relationship or friendship would develop.

      As it happens, I think this episode might have been stronger if the individual friendships had been focused on rather than the Core Four as a unit. I'd prefer to see the individual bonds. At risk at sounding like a shipper, I'd have liked to see Farkle realize what's happening immediately and offer his support on his own.
      Lucas and Zay are ribbed for their Texas-ness, but neither one has really been bullied--Zay getting picked up by Not-Harley doesn't really count. And while Maya's suffered her share of hardships, getting ridiculed by peers is not one of them.
      But Farkle has been picked on, a lot. Sympathy is all well and good, but empathy, which is personal understanding, works better.

    4. Cryptid456-It's Lucas. Even though he broke private property, you know he's going to do the right thing and pay for the damage, or work it off after school.

      I totally agree that Riley probably became friends with Farkle first. I would love to see how they first met as little kids.

    5. Actually I believe they hinted at texas lucas in the farkles bully episode of season 1. Lucas got really pissed and pinned billy to the wall and MAya jumped on his back. It probably wasnt the writers being clever and foreshadowing but its still there.

  12. I have some more to say, but since it's not part of the episode proper, I decided a separate branch of comments would be more appropriate. "Girl Meets World" has proven, once again, to have impeccable timing with related issues in the real world. Yesterday, the United Nations released a report on "Cyber Violence" and how it can be just as damaging as "Physical Violence."
    I don't want to kick a hornet's nest...but it's actually pretty relevant. I have my opinions on this specific subject, but I think I'll keep them to myself for now.

  13. As I was watching the end scene where she 'confronts the bully' I didn't view it as a single person. I viewed it as there are viewers who cyburbully the show and since riley is the focus she would be the victim. I thought she was speaking to the amount of negativity the show gets either from reviewers who can't grasp that it's a kids show or very dedicated BMW fans. We've even seen it on this blog. I'm not saying there can't be critiques and that we have to love every episode but I think people forget that the majority of the cast are children still learning the craft of acting, so they aren't going to be amazing all the time

  14. This episode...I have to agree with Sean. It could have been so much better. And what I was good was really good! I liked some bits. I thought Amir, the guy who played Zay, was good. I think Rowan did a really good job and now we know she can do "drama" scenes. She's still better at comedy but we'll see what the future has. Corey was fine. Sabrina was fine. I didn't like Lucas in this episode but whatever. The acting wasn't the issue. The script and the pacing continue to be a problem. Pacing in particular. Show. Don't tell. And a way they could have done this is have Riley check her phone in a couple of previous episodes. If this has been going on for weeks, how did it take her so long to break?

    The getting mad at Maya was...okay. The ice cream bit didn't work for me but the "You're a bully" could have been expanded more. We all know Maya pretty much gets away with whatever she wants and doesn't handle criticism well. The whole "Rileytown" bit was strange. If Riley doesn't want to hear Rileytown, then don't say it. It's not that hard. I think the bully was using "Rileytown" as a way to hurt her but we weren't shown that. An episode of the awesome show "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide" (which still holds up remarkably well) had one of the main characters realize she's a bully because she uses her strength to intimidate her friends. Maya uses her words and whenever someone breaks like Lucas or Riley do, Maya plays the victim card.

    As for the bully? I think the bullying was worse than what we saw. It's not like we're gonna hear "Riley, you're a huge loser. Nobody likes you. Do everyone a favor and kill yourself." Was it implied? Not really. Was it possible? Sure, why not? Why didn't Riley block the number? It could have been untrackable or she may have a phone where it's hard to block numbers. The bully reveal was good. But I don't think anyone who knew Riley would care that she gives herself "Riley Awards" but I like that we didn't see the bully. Missy would have been way too obvious and was so early on that who'd even remember her? I know that while a lot of us here like Riley and her actress, on some other pages-IMDB-she gets a ton of bashing for being a feminist and for complaining about the way her show is being promoted on Twitter.

    I had a theory about this episode I never shared because I was afraid of spoiling it if I had been right. I wasn't so here it goes:

    I wanted Smackle to be the bully. Cyberbullying is awful. But it's even worse if it's from a friend. They could have continued with how Smackle doesn't fully understand emotion. It'd have made the episode a lot more realistic and we could have a Riley doesn't know what to do because it's her friend who's picking on her.

    Grade: C+
    MVP: Rowan
    Runner Up: Amir Mitchell-Townes

    1. Hmm. I get what you're saying with Smackle, about how she doesn't understand emotion, but I just don't believe she'd behave that way. This bully understood emotion perfectly fine, she seemed to be consciously attempting to hurt Riley's feelings. It was very malicious, in a way that Smackle isn't.

      They should have just made it be Missy Bradford, or some Missy Bradford-esque figure.

    2. True, I just think it would have been a bit more risky. I just think if it had been Smackle, it would have made a nice twist. The biggest problem if it had been Missy would be....why wouldn't Riley go "Maya, Missy's being mean to me again. Beat her up."

    3. While I'm fond of Smackle and wouldn't want to see her as a bully, Shipping Wars missed an interesting point: Farkle is pursuing a relationship with her, in a middle school sort of way. And that could cause a conflict.

      While the trope of a one-shot love interest having a character choose between them or their less-than-cool friend is by no means new, it would raise a conflict here. Suppose one of the Core Four's love interests was harassing Riley and she didn't bring it up because the love interest makes her friend happy and she wants them to be happy.

    4. I see what you're saying but it probably would have been inappropriate in my opinion to make smackle the bully. She is the only character on the show with autism and therefore in the show's universe she represents all kids with aspergers. To have her be a mean bully would have reversed the positive message they sent with i am farkle

  15. I never actually comment but for some reason feel like it with this episode. I watch girl meets world with my younger sister, so it is interesting because she reacts to things differently than I would/do. Cyber bullying is different from other forms obviously. The generation of 12/13 are so much more involved with social media. It perhaps infiltrates more of their lives than it would have ours. The idea that you can simply ignore a text sounds easy but in reality is more difficult i think. Although I do agree that this episode did not handle the complexities or real resolution of such a situation. I don't know if this actually made any sense but oh well.

    1. Actually, that's a really good point. Most of us commenters are a bit older than the target demographic. And a few of the commenters are old enough to be parents of young teenagers.
      You mentioned your younger sister reacts differently than you. What did she think of the episode?

    2. It's more that she will find things funnier than i would or not get as annoyed by the cheesier aspects of it. she doesn't totally accept everything of course but she is much more tolerant.

    3. There's a certain logic to that, I suppose. Lord knows I laughed at things as a preteen that I don't find funny anymore.

  16. Alright, it appears that. not unlike Girl Meets Creativity, most everybody was sympathetic to the intentions of this episode. Once again, and again quite literally, there is a sense of presentation that makes the delivery of the message underwhelming.
    So guys, I'm curious. As briefly as possible, how do you think this episode could have been handled better?

    1. Like others have said "show don't tell" is key. Show Riley dimming her screen or closing her laptop when one of her parents or friends comes into the room or the bakery. If they wanted to focus on mobile technology, maybe Riley's friends notice she's keeping her phone off more often than she used to, or she jumps every time an alert tone goes off.

    2. I would have liked to see them use other forms of social media, similar to what was mentioned in the review. I think Yik Yak would have been a good choice as people can post anonymous things that everyone in the middle school could see. A mean comment about her could have gotten a lot of upvotes. That way instead of feeling like one person texted something laughably dumb to Riley she would feel targeted by a much larger group of people. And maybe kids who go on sites like yik yak would think twice about what they post

  17. I'm in the the minority here, I know but in this case I was fine with telling not showing. I think what they were hoping was for people to know how silly and happy and goofy Riley is and then to just take her different emotions as enough of showing. Just like not showing the bully didn't matter the bullying doesn't either. I could tell something was wrong with the girl without seeing it happen. The point in my not so humble opinion was how she reacted to it. She tried to be strong and couldn't handle it on her own, but with the support of her friends and family and a little courage she could let her whole goofy self shine, as it were. They do tend to beat you over the head with the story, but given the channel and the actual demo for the show I'm okay with it.

  18. Some of the comments in this thread really annoyed me. Basically -- Sean and Christian have an opinion on a piece of art and why it did and didn't work for them. Disagreeing with you doesn't mean they're stupid or not looking below the surface -- it means they didn't care for something you did, which in no way reduces or diminishes your personal enjoyment of the art in question.

    Anyway. I have generally found GIRL MEETS WORLD to be a mix of intriguing successes and interesting failures. They attempt things within the restrictions and limits of Disney Channel censorship and budget. This was an interesting approach to bullying, leaving the bully undefined and vague so as to represent any bully in any setting. The group gathering to take on the bully at the end wasn't, in my view, terribly effective in that it's an unrealistic solution to a real problem with the writers attempting to represent an internal conflict with an external image. That's sort of how TV works, however, generally offering a third-person point of view. Ultimately, bully's tend to be crazed egotists who think themselves above others and want to prove their perception of power to themselves by preying on someone who seems week, and this episode was an effort to show how that power could be short-circuited and removed. In Real Life, depowering a bully is, unfortunately, not as TV friendly as GIRL MEETS WORLD showed. But this being the Disney Channel, they're not permitted to show Lucas threatening a bully with permanent disfigurement or disability.

    The episode, for better or worse, twists Riley's previously established character into a peculiar knot by having her embarrassed that her Rileytown awards would be posted on YouTube or something. As the reviewers point out, nothing in Riley's character suggests that she would find that embarrassing. It either indicates how much the bully is getting to Riley or it's a forced plot element to make this week's story work.

    1. Really great comment. They tried to tackle this prevalent issue in a really weird way and it predictably fell flat. As far the bully's effect on Riley, I think it made since in the grand scheme of things when it comes to Riley's insecurities arc. She hasn't overcome them totally, and here she's succumbing to those said insecurities. She hasn't beaten her "flaw" if we're calling back to GM Flaws.

    2. Really wish we could edit these:

      *Looks at Thesaurus*

      Prodigious comment. Well said about our beloved reviewers, well said indeed.

      And I think the main argument against this episode, and Flaws for that matter, comes into how the bully is handled. While not giving the cyberbully a face is an interesting concept for initial execution and aftermath of bulllying, I'm not so sure it works well for an actual confrontation.

      The group shaming of the bully is another factor. I don't think it works here, or in Flaws. I'm not sure what it is exactly, maybe it's because of how the bullying is being conducted.
      But I do think the concept can work. In the episode "Gus's Last Stand" from Recess, Gus is getting physically harassed and resolves to fight back, to stand up and say he has no fear. Gus is beaten up badly, but his friends stand in front of him after he is no longer able to fight. The bully is not deterred until most of the school say enough is enough and prepare to fight him themselves.

    3. ireactions-"This was an interesting approach to bullying, leaving the bully undefined and vague so as to represent any bully in any setting. The group gathering to take on the bully at the end wasn't, in my view, terribly effective in that it's an unrealistic solution to a real problem with the writers attempting to represent an internal conflict with an external image."

      I agree with this 100%. Great idea, poor execution, except for the part about not showing the bully at the end. Who the bully is isn't as important as how Riley deals with it.

  19. This comment doesn't have anything to do with the cyberbullying issue in this episode but I think Christian freaking nailed it in the last paragraph about Maya. I completely agree that Maya is a bully and it's probably the biggest problem I've had with her character throughout the series. She was presented as being the Shawn to Riley's Cory but Shawn didn't have to put everyone else down in order to be cool. Shawn seemed to treat everyone pretty well and he was cool because he didn't care about being cool. He was a likable character and it was easy to understand why people liked Shawn and why girls wanted to date him. I guess you could argue that Shawn bullied Minkus sometimes but I feel like Mikus insulted Shawn just as much and his insults were always more clever.

    I can't imagine many people want to be Maya's friend because look how she treats her friends! (minus Riley) Maya did seem to show genuine concern for Farkle in "Girl Meets I am Farkle" but what about the rest of the time? She only stops insulting you for awhile if you are going through something like that? If the show goes in the direction of Maya and Lucas actually dating, I just...don't really get why he would want to date her. Even if I thought someone was "blonde beauty" and had chemistry with them, would I want to date a person that insults me and calls me names even after I ask them to stop? Probably not. Especially after Lucas called her a "short stack of pancakes" (which is just the sweetest little insult I've ever heard) and she completely freaked out. The difference is when Lucas realized that Maya was upset about what he said, he STOPPED CALLING HER THAT.

    Maya also shows a lack of respect for Cory that really rubs me the wrong way. The way she calls him "Matthews" and makes fun of him all the time is too much. Cory is not only her teacher but he personally has done a lot for Maya. He goes out of his way to make her feel included (dancing with her during the father/daughter song) and to provide her with things that her parents can't (the iphone he gave her in season 1 for example). He appeased her by changing her grade when she had that completely irrational reaction of walking out and quitting school after getting an F that she absolutely deserved on a paper. I feel like showing him respect in class and in his home would show that she's more grateful for the ways that he has helped her.

    Anyway the point of all this is that I would love to see an episode like Christian described where Maya finds out that someone feels like she's their bully and she has to think about the way she treats people. I think Sabrina Carpenter is probably the most talented actress on the Disney Channel and I wish I could like her character more.

    1. Excellent contribution. I'm realizing how much I've let Maya get away with because of how great Sabrina is. I was caught up in her skill as an actor, and that blinded me to the shortcomings of the character.

    2. "The way she calls him "Matthews" and makes fun of him all the time is too much."

      Eh, I almost think it's a term of endearment. Showing she's comfortable with him. In fairness, Eric referred to Mr. Feeny as "Feeny" more often than not, especially in later seasons.

    3. Christian has a point--"Matthews" does appear to be a term of endearment. But I did notice that Maya was very respectful when she said, "Wait a minute, Mr. and Mrs. Matthews. Can you let us figure this one out ourselves?"
      Maya calls Cory "Matthews" in an informal manner, and I'm pretty sure she calls Topanga by her first name on occasion--"Meets Mr. Squirrels" and "Creativity." But this time, she didn't.

      That being said, I too would like to see Maya be held accountable for what she says. Cory mentioned that "A bully is not somebody who says something you don't like," and I think there is definitely a discussion to be had on what constitutes as ribbing and what counts as being a bully.

    4. IheartGriffH-Lucas and Maya right now are my favorite type of couple. They're fighting until they realize they are meant for each other. It's David and Maddie from "Moonlighting," Han and Leia from "Star Wars." I recently saw "The Long Hot Summer," and Ben taunting Clara while she's in bed was so hot and fantastic.

      Also, in this episode, I loved that Maya was a little turned on when Lucas was in hulk mode and demolished the window barrier. She was cute and giggly and I thought it was adorable.

    5. But yeah, Maya's the worst sometimes. And it'd be one thing if she was fine with getting as good as she got, but as I Heart Griff pointed out the ONE time someone dared tease her (and Lucas did it as lightly as he possibly could have) she had like an emotional breakdown. She's a good character on the whole, but sometimes she's thoroughly unlikable. And I think noticing that behavior has been part of the reason that while I started off preferring Maya to Riley, that switched somewhere along the way.

    6. I just remembered something else. Remember in the pilot, back before Riley's character was written as Space Cadet? Riley mentioned casually that she did Maya's homework for her, in addition to her own. Now, there is something I wish they had stuck with. There's a whole conversation to be had about Maya taking Riley for granted in that. Not to mention, a more studious Riley would give us glimpses of Topanga Jr. instead of Cory Jr.

    7. THANK YOU, IheartGrifH!! I'm absolutely baffled by the exalted place of honor Maya holds in these characters lives and on this show. She just isn't a good person. She's rude, even condescending at times, she's completely without boundaries, and she's incredibly entitled for somebody who's allegedly living a hard life. SHAWN lived a hard life; BOTH his parents abandoned him, MULTIPLE times! What exactly is so tragic about being the only child of a single parent home when said parent is self-sacrificing, loving, AND supportive? And even if I were to pretend that Maya's life is the saddest life that was ever sad, I don't understand why she's not to be criticized in the slightest, no matter what she says or does. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with caustic characters--I loved House, for example--but Maya refuses to take what she dishes out. She's practically in tears at even the slightest hint of criticism! I'm sorry but I just can't get behind her whole wounded warrior routine, no matter how good an actress her portrayer supposedly is.

      On a positive note, I adore Riley. Like everybody else in the Feeny-verse and beyond, faceless bully notwithstanding. She's Eric with Topanga's hair. What's not to love?

    8. I actually have preferred Riley's character for a while now and I totally agree with a lot of the criticisms youve thrown at Maya. But if only to play devil's advocate, I think we may have gotten a little ahead of ourselves. She certainly has flaws but I disagree that she doesn't have respect for Cory and Topanga. She always says how lucky she and Riley are to have them and she told feeny that cory was "the best teacher there is". I agree with Christian that "Matthews" is a term of affection.

      And i really wouldn't say she has to put everyone down to be cool, she really only puts lucas down and I wouldn't say it goes beyond light teasing. I dont think anyone would even have a problem with it if, as several people have mentioned, it werent for the stupid episode where she got mad about him calling her a "short stack of pancakes". I'd like a petition to make that episode not canon because it's clearly a stain on her character. But if we have to count it I'll at least say this. She really did insist over and over again that she was not mad at lucas. She even says that she calls him names all the time and expected that from him. She was mad at Riley for laughing. While that is still totally unfair and a little to whiny it is kind of less annoying. If you've ever had someone in your life who was always on your side even when you yourself knew you were wrong then you know how valuable that is. And it's less hypocritical because she really would never let anyone say anything mean to Riley. Idk thats a hard episode to defend but for every plays with squirrels episode shes got about a dozen great episodes so I give her a pass.

      As for the anonymous who says she didn't have a hard life, I have to disagree with you there. No one said her life is harder than Shawn's it isn't a comparison contest. Anyone who was abandoned by a parent does have a harder life. Children who were abandoned are always emotionally scarred for life, it's a tragedy when a parent chooses to stop recognizing you as their kid.

      I do however think it would make for a great episode to have maya realize how her insults have hurt lucas. Would be very self aware for the show. I think her insults would be more charming too if Lucas were more flawed. Like maybe if he were a little cocky and Maya's insults were there to keep his ego in check.

    9. I definitely like the idea of Maya being a foil for Lucas's potential ego. That would fix a lot of things. If Lucas weren't so humble he might actually be interesting.

    10. Yeah, but I doubt Riley would be so interested in Lucas if he had such a big ego.
      Then again, considering my disgruntlement at how Riley didn't have much of an arc outside of Lucas-Love-Interest last season, that's not such a bad idea.

  20. Well, I watched it this morning and once again I'm left with the feeling of having to separate the actors and the writers, because only one of these groups actually brought their A game.

    This episode was underwhelming with only one or two really strong moments. Once again we are faced with a "show, don't tell" situation, and it sucks that the writing team seems to not understand this. We are on TV, a visual medium, and when you just want us to infer and guess at things, we are left with not getting the message that you actually wanted to put out there. I agree with showing us the bully, and what she's doing to Riley. Even if you're going to say she's a new student and doesn't know Riley and how she's this really goofy kid, I would accept that. Instead, you infer she's a student, which creates this plothole, like Sean pointed out. EVERYBODY loves Riley. Her classmates have even said they respect her, and like her. The audience loves Riley, for the most part, and we do enjoy the fact she's a really happy go lucky girl. It makes her fun.

    However, I think the writers believed that our love for Riley would instantly make us care about what she's going through. Seeing the change in Riley in the beginning was a little jarring, and I think Rowan nailed this. Ice cream duel was fine, and the subsequent revelation was meh. The Crying Scene is the best scene in this episode, and a high water mark for Rowan's ability to handle drama. I disagree w/ Sean when it comes to the crying itself. I think its a very in-character thing to do for Riley. She's an intensely happy girl, so her exact opposite would be frustration and sadness. Seeing them cry broke my heart, so it had the intended effect.

    Everything else was just ok, but I thought the after tag scene was cute enough. So, I thought that was a good note to end on.

    Episode Grade: B-. It was good, but underwhelming for what they tried to do.

    Episode MVP: Rowan Blanchard. In back to back weeks she's delivered the best performance, and I hope she continues to improve.

  21. Sean, Christian, first let me say that if I have ever made it seem like I didn't respect your opinions on this show, then I'd like to apologize. Every week I read this blog and though we don't always agree, you generally have good points to make from a story-telling standpoint.

    A thought came to me a couple of hours ago over the mechanics of this episode. What if, instead of cyberbullying, they went for something a bit more traditional?
    While Riley is never going to be verbally harassed to her face--her father is a teacher and could walk in on it happening--I could see somebody shoving a very mean-spirited letter into her locker and Riley, not knowing what it is, reads it, thus initiating the plot.

    And I also agree that Maya should be held accountable for the mean-spirited things she says. It reminds me a bit of James Potter and Sirius Black and the way they treated Peter Pettigrew.

    1. If anything, you're too NICE.

      Disagreement is the fuel of progress. It was just that comment in particular, suggesting that WE OF ALL PEOPLE don't look deeply enough at the show. I'm not gonna take that.

    2. "Too NICE?"

      Hmmm...considering I'm a self-identified Hufflepuff, I'll take that as a compliment. So, thanks Sean. That's actually a really nice thing to say.

      I am inclined to agree with your arguments, or at least the merits of your arguments. My posts on this blog, which I fully admit are often too long and winding for their own good, have tended to be attempts to illustrate my arguments with examples. Sometimes, I think it worked rather well--I'm still rather pleased with my comments on "Girl Meets Fish," and other times, Christian was right to point out that I was veering too far off topic.

    3. Okay, so I'm committed to watching all BMW, if for no other reason than to help me follow some of these conversations. Not gonna read Harry Potter though.

    4. Milestones, you haven't read Harry Potter?! I'll hold that crisis for later.

      Anyway, you're a bit older than most of the folks on this blog, old enough to have a teenaged daughter yourself. So, I'm curious to see what you'll bring to the table. What did you think of the episode?

    5. Hey Cryptid, yeah, we can table Potter for another day.

      I’m might well be the oldest person around these parts. My first direct experience with computer technology came late in my teens and involved punch cards. I got my first smartphone only a couple of years ago. I only know of cyberbullying through news stories about teen suicides, and anything GMW did other than that was probably going to be okay with me.

      I never had kids myself. I have a couple of nieces, a great-niece, and once was something of father figure to a young girl, and later her sister too. I don’t know if it is those associated experiences or something innate, but I’m always strongly affected by young girls in emotional distress. The bedroom scene devastated me. Don’t know how else to put it.

      To me GMW will always be a kids’ show I started watching by accident and that greatly exceeded expectations. It lives in a neighbourhood with which I’m not greatly familiar, but seems to be populated by talking dogs, genetically identical polar opposites, and international pop sensations who hang out at a mall. I never forget that. The show has to be aggressively bad, say Fish, or Farkle = Canada (fuck you too, GMW), to disappoint me.

      I like thinking things through and don’t do extemporaneous real well. And each new comment seems to bring new things to think about. But I am going to resist the impulse to try and overcome the objections of others.

      I thought it was great and doubt I will change my mind. The success of this episode rests almost entirely on that one scene, the absence of anything truly off-putting (I didn’t even mind Zay so much), and a breakthrough performance by Rowan Blanchard.

    6. I think it's something innate to be honest. I think there is something in us that wants to protect what we can.
      As it happens, I was floored by that bedroom scene--when it was happening, you could hear a pin drop.

      I hope I don't sound too malicious but in my own writing, one of my biggest concerns is about whether or not I can write heartbreak. When I was in college, I wrote a novel for my thesis and it revolved around a group of teenagers volunteering at a hospital for terminally ill children. One teenager becomes best friends with a girl with leukemia and holds her hand as the latter dies.

    7. There’s an acclaimed anime called “Grave of the Fireflies” that I know I will never watch because I couldn’t even make it through a synopsis of the film on a Blu-ray review.

      You may have to write another book if I am going to read one.

      Have you ever said anything malicious?

    8. Grave of the Fireflies...gosh, just thinking about it...

      Watch Spirited Away instead.

      I'm writing a few books actually: a fantasy/sci-fi epic featuring a group of heroes that count among their number a knight from the Crusades, a chaplain who served in the 442nd Division of the United States Army in World War II, a man who served under John Paul Jones, several Sasquatch, a Minotaur with a ray gun, I digress.

      I'm also starting a book series about a group of spies who can talk to animals because they are descendants of King Solomon.

      Enough trying to change the subject. Have I said anything malicious? Well...I have said things I'm not exactly proud of in real life. I hope I've done a good job being courteous on the Internet. There were a couple of times I was rather short with people--that was a long time ago and I still feel bad--but I NEVER made threats. That's the thing about the Internet though--it is impossible to ascertain a person's tone.

      Case in point, there's another blog I follow but don't comment on. I follow the author's Facebook page too and there are quite a few running gags on the sites, one of which involves an anthropomorphic manatee that is the Ghost of Christmas Future-Past (long story), and another that involves various commenters reminiscing on their times as mercenaries with various Sesame Street characters (another long story). So a layman would think those people were insane...which to be fair, Monster Hunter Nation is a little weird.

    9. I should have articulated that I hoped my desire to be able to write heartbreak did not sound too malicious or sadistic.

    10. Cryptid,

      I was about to say "You don't read Larry Correia, do you?" And then I saw the mention of Monster Hunter Nation. Awesome!

      GMW and Monster Hunter Nation. A match made in Heaven.

    11. Malcolm! You're a Larry Correia fan too?! Then there's a pair of us!

      *Gives bear hug through the computer screen*

      Dude, I'm literally standing here with a huge goofy grin! I love Larry Correia! Love, love, love him!
      Half the reason I brought up fighting in the Shipping Wars of Harry Potter and the Avatar: The Last Airbender Campaigns is because of how Larry and his friends look back on their days fighting with Cookie Monster.

      But yeah, I fell in love with Monster Hunter International back in college, though I'd recommend Grimnoir over MHI to be completely honest. I mean, Faye Vierra is what you get when you smash Luna Lovegood and Toph Beifong together and then have Nightcrawler raise it.

    12. Correia is a weird read for me. I love his blog, and there's a short story on his website called "Tanya, Princess of the Elves" (or something like that ) that's hysterical, but I'm about halfway through "Hard Magic" right now. It's not bad, but I haven't really felt this overwhelming urge to finish it either.

    13. Trust me, "Hard Magic" is worth the read. You said you're halfway through, so I'm betting the groups are finally converging on the safehouse.

      Let me put it this way, the ball gets rolling from there, doesn't stop rolling and the actual climax has a airbattle between four zeppelins, three of which are the size of aircraft carriers, with pyrokinesis, zombies, samurai and ninja, dog battles featuring twenty biplanes, duels galore, and all of this takes place in the middle of a hurricane.

      And "Spellbound" and "Warbound" are much better than "Hard Magic."

  22. Just also want to say that I thing Christian and Sean do an absolutely fantastic job with these reviews. They force me to look at the episode in different ways, which I think is really important. Great job, guys.

    1. You are the bee's knees, pwfan. We try really hard, so that means a lot.

  23. Does anyone know where i can find the full episode online??? i couldnt watch it live

  24. I agree a lot with what is said by our reviewers, but one thing I want to question is Riley's own self-awareness. I think it is visible to us that Riley's goofiness is perceived as endearing and fun to everyone else, but I don't think Riley is super aware of that, which is why I don't object to Riley being the choice for this type of story-line. You know, like, yes to us it's obvious that people won't care to judge Riley for enacting an awards show, but to her, I think if one person points it out as weird and unappealing, then maybe she would start to fear that others may think that as well. Basically what I'm saying is that, just because we know Riley is beloved in the school, doesn't mean she necessarily notices that. She seems to be in her own bubble with her friends, unaware of how everyone else finds her just as great as her friends do. So, while I agree it has handled poorly, I don't think it's unfitting to have Riley be bullied and actually be insecure or hurt by it, because, well, she's not exempt from feeling self-conscious when one person is harassing her about how weird she is.

    1. While you have an interesting argument, and I do agree that I don't necessarily have a problem with Riley getting bullied, the problem is that this episode is airing after "Rules" and "Yearbook," where Riley's normally silent classmates comment that they like Riley. In "Rules," the classmates state it to her face.
      Then again, teenagers are teenagers, and goodness knows teenagers can be very petty.

  25. AirbendingBookworm123September 26, 2015 at 10:52 AM

    The episode seemed to have great intentions, but of course, like many of you have said, the problem is here is "show, don't tell." Riley's being cyberbullied on her phone? She tried to talk it out with the bully? Then show the audience that. Read more of the messages this bully sent. Show her how talking it out with the bully, like she said when she was talking it out to Maya. If it were Missy Bradford, yeah, bring her back and show she's still teasing Riley.

    Currently I'm a sophomore at the high school level, so it wasn't far long ago when was in the eighth grade, and yes, cyberbullying still runs amok-- heck, even in elementary school, there was cyberbullying going on. While I still wished to have seen the more active side of the bullying in the episode rather than watching the characters talk about it, Riley acting out and later crying about it is very realistic, in these two senses:

    1) Usually when or people are bothered by something, they end up not acting like themselves, and often the way that they act is a way that they "speak out". For example, if there's someone pulling stunts and the authorities have to wheel in their parents, who are absent, it could sometimes mean that they are trying to get their parents' attention.

    Oh wait, I just described Maya. Huh.

    Counting in another comment because it's getting long...

  26. AirbendingBookworm123September 26, 2015 at 10:56 AM

    ^^. Sorry, I'm was on my actual blogger account and I didn't want to use it because it's odd commenting when you're surrounded by adults... Meh.

    Riley was irritated of this idea of Rileytown, so she pushes Maya out of bed, shoves ice cream in her face, and yells at her being a bully (which, I won't lie, sometimes Maya is a bully). This is her acting out. This was a showing part, but it's not necessarily the strongest part.

    2) Riley's growth and her insecurity has been riding on her since day one. She's still growing and still doesn't know what she wants to be, which is often a dilemma with kids and teenagers these days. She tried to be like Maya, she tried to be popular by fitting in with Farkle's group of friends, must a say more? In Flaws, she stated that her flaw is insecurity-- caring more about what other people think than what she thinks of herself.

    Finally, when she reveals that she's being bullied to her friends and then later talks it out with Maya, she cries. It seems like a bit of discontinuity from Cory and Topanga, but in that episode she embraces it because she's come to good terms and who she is in terms of where she stands to her parents-- and Maya knows and accepts that. Her friend's know she's weird, they accept that, and everyone's happy in this world of flowers and daisies.

    Do do do di di di da da ba dum *insert jazz music here* and... BAM! Someone said a mean thing to her, and her world shatters. And she cries. I think her crying is very rational and real. Riley said she thought that this bullying would go away. Maybe she could have blocked the bully's number, maybe she didn't or couldn't because it was an unknown ID number-- that's one thing that we may never know. But she thought that it would go away. It's a very realistic reaction for people her age and her crying is quite realistic, too. It's not all about happiness. It shows she is insecure, and, I emphathsize with her because I have been in that situation of bullying, both online and actual face-to-face, and yeah, call me weak or a chicken, but that's how I reacted, too. Crying.

    Was cyberbullying accurately portrayed? To a degree, yes. But its down fall was telling us rather than showing us. I would have believed Riley to grow-- while there was growth in this episode, if it would have been shown her tring to talk the bullying out before telling her friends, it would have felt more substansial. I give it a B-/C+.

    P.S. Ever heard of The Myers Briggs Type indicator? It's super interesting, which help get into how people think and why they react certain ways, blah blah blah. There's a a site that shows the types of the Boy Meets World characters here:

    While there is no typing for all of the Girl Meets World characters, I've been on many sites saying that Riley's an INFP. I think it would be interesting if you read into the types of each of the characters and make a post commenting on it.

    1. Thank you for this comment. You brought up some interesting points.

      *Tips hat politely*

    2. Well thought out comment, but I would take issue w/ how you said they showed us by showing Riley's acting out. Yes, they showed us the effect on screen, but not the cause. It would be like telling the punchline without the set up, and that's what they did in this case with the cyber bullying. Which, in turn, weakened what they were trying to accomplish.

    3. I'm extremely familiar with the Myers Briggs test (I'm an ENFP myself, though I really straddle the border between P and J, and so have gotten ENFJ too)

      That's a very cool website, and I kind of want a set of my own Boy Meets World playing cards now. But I'm not sure I agree with all of her choices. Nor do I think Riley's an INFP - for instance, I would not consider her an introvert.

      If Sean knows enough about Myers-Briggs I'd certainly be willing to do a post where we come up with types for all the characters, it's actually something I've thought about to some degree.

    4. It's definitely interesting, but a daunting amount of work. There's no way in shit Riley is an introvert though.

    5. I don't think it's that daunting. We'll just do Cory, Shawn, Topanga, Eric, Maya, Riley, Lucas, and Farkle.

  27. Like I've said in other posts for other episodes, they are matching riley and maya to Shawn and Corey but with maya she is not very nice and I wonder if it's simply because she's a girl and their toughness looks like bullying. I'm glad people are starting to see maya more for how show bully's people and calling her for it.

    1. No, I don't think it's an issue of sexism where a girl acting just like Shawn Hunter would come across as a bully. Shawn didn't go around insulting or making fun of people unless they were antagonizing him. That wasn't his thing. He did do it to Minkus, unwarranted,.... in like 6th grade. But after that, it was over. He was generally a laid-back happy-go-lucky guy who more or less got along with everyone. The only person he'd be hard on was himself.

      Maya's different than Shawn in this regard. Hell, Eric was more like Maya in this regard than Shawn was. Eric made fun of people all the time.

    2. Actually, people aren't going to like this, but if you take away the broken home and the extremely devoted lifelong friendship with a Matthews, the member of the fivesome than young Shawn Hunter most resembles... is Zay.

    3. I agree, it isn't sexism but it comes across that way sometimes. I wonder what they could do with maya to turn away from being like a bully and more supportive but tough. I think the writers are just not hitting the mark, or its Sabrina carpenters acting even though I'm very impressed with her.

    4. I agree with the zay theory a lot actually!!

  28. I am glad that you guys are looking at this show with a proper critical eye. I read the threads for the episodes over on the subreddit and other places and am amazed that nearly every episode is getting near-universal praise with people completely ignoring how awkwardly the show is written and presented. I cannot begin to fathom the decision to not show any of the bullying in this episode. I really hope that Michael Jacobs & co are just being tightly constrained by the Disney Channel because I don't want to believe the same team made Boy Meets World... even at its worst, I rarely felt like plot developments were coming out of nowhere.

    1. Thank you for saying that. Sometimes it feels like we're the only two people living in an alternate reality where the show isn't perfect.

  29. I think the writers made a very bold an interesting choice to show none of the bullying texts and not even show the bully. When I watched this episode from the point of view of my 10-year-old self, the faceless, voiceless bully represented every single abuser in my life. My 10-year-old self would not have walked away from this episode and formed an army of friends to take on the bully and publicly shame them. But my 10-year-old self would have understood the basic concept that a victim can comprehend what it is that gives the abuser power and find some way to remove it.

    I wish I had seen something like this when I was 10. Because, I must confess, at age-10, I did not find peaceful resolutions to my problems. There was this classmate of mine, Vishnu, in Grade 6, who was my friend at first. And he thought I was a really capable student because we had English and geography classes together and I did well.

    But I struggled with mathematics. Couldn't answer a lot of questions correctly. I'd never claimed to be a genius, but he started calling me a "fake genius" whenever he saw me. Would repeat my incorrect answers mockingly outside of class, at random and without provocation. Started shoving me and hitting me every time he saw me. I pleaded with him to stop doing this, saying we were friends, my poor math skills had no effect on him whatsoever, why was he doing this?

    He kept walking past me to yell insults and he would shove me. Then, when his parents were around after school, he would act friendly and pleasant.

    I don't know why he did this. Someday, I may find him and ask him. However, I think I should find him and apologize, because after a month of this behaviour, I began a series of reprisals. It was winter. I stole his coat and boots when no one was looking and put them in the dumpster. I did it every day until he was in trouble with his parents for losing his clothes. While he was swimming, I went through his bag and sliced open his shoes and smashed his glasses. I would steal his homework and shred it. I put sand in his lunches.

    He continued to attack me, only realizing after awhile that I was behind his misfortunes. But he couldn't prove anything. I'd made sure to secure an alibi by signing up for library duty any time I was messing with his stuff.

    1. One day, he accused me of stealing his clothes and destroying his food and I declared innocence, saying I'd always seen him as a friend and that I didn't understand why he'd been so horrible to me for the last two months. Then I whispered in his ear that I wasn't ever going to stop. That he couldn't prove anything. "I begged you to stop," I whispered. "I pleaded with you to stop. And you didn't. So I won't. Every day of your life that you see me is a day you lose your homework. Or your shoes. Or spend the day blind. Or go home cold. Or go hungry. And you did this. You."

      "Who the fuck talks like that?!" he shrieked. "You think talking like that makes you sound smart? Fucking phony brainer!" In response, I later stole his housekeys and put them down a sewer. I think he had to wait until 8 in the evening to get back into his house that day because his parents were running late.

      After that, he left me alone. And I think back to that -- and I am disgusted with myself. The theft. The sabotage. The property damage. Why? Because he shoved me a few times? There were no injuries. Because he said things that hurt my feelings? Why should I have cared? Was it necessary to screw up his academic life, have him risk hypothermia, make him go hungry? Lock him out of his house?

      If I'd watched this episode at age-10, I would have done the smart thing. I would have observed how Vishnu made sure to be the epitome of niceness to me when his parents were around. And I would have told his parents what he was doing. That was all I had to do. Vishnu, wherever you are, I am sorry.

      So, I think this episode might be worthwhile -- it's possible that it's just aimed at an audience younger than me. My 10-year-old self loved it.

    2. Holy cow...this is in the top five comments I've ever read. Thank you.

    3. I wish the episode made me feel some emotion the way your post has.

      Your reaction was very human, and I wish these characters weren't so perfect all the time. I wish Riley would've secretly taken matters into her own hands and done something to the bully she would later regret, making it a learning experience.

    4. This is one of the most amazing comments I've read on any webpage/blog/forum on the Internet. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing this story.

  30. Damn I havent read any of this yet because of spoilers but it must have been an interesting episode to have sparked this much debate. Anyone have any idea where i can find it online? I could not watch it live and I dont have dvr and i really want to see it. Help me out please!

    1. I gotchu babe. Hope you got adblock

    2. Thank you Sean you're a gentleman and a scholar

  31. Zay stole the show. Made me laugh out loud multiple times. All hail Zay.

  32. Did anyone feel that the bullying was a little too tame? I was a middle school girl not too long ago; although back in the day we had MySpace and MSN messenger. And yes, cyber-bullying was a thing back then, but it wasn't all over the place like it is now.
    When I was 12, I remember what kinds of things girls would say about each others "she's fat", "she's ugly", "she's a slut", etc.

    I remember one particular bullying campaign against an unpopular girl in my class; she would say, "she's a horse that fingers herself with hooves". Middle school girls were viscous... I was lucky that I didn't get picked on that much. I was never popular, but I luckily managed to be ignored by everyone.

    1. Modern Disney Channel parameters. What we got was about as dark as you'll ever see on Disney Channel. They're not going to swear or imply any sort of promiscuity at all. And they're not going to reference suicide either. Which sadly does take away from the execution of this episode. That said, I think there may be union rules about what a child actor under a certain age is allowed to say, so airing on ABC may not have been that much better for this episode in terms of having the cruel messages.

      There's a handful of phrases they could have used to convey a similar message that might have fallen within the parameters of acceptability: "The world would be better if you hadn't been born" for example would have destroyed Riley.

      So, basically what we got was about as dark as we're ever going to get in regards to bullying.

    2. The show doesn't actually indicate whether the bullying was tame or not because we have almost no data on the actual content of the messages, only Riley's interpretation and reaction. That was the point -- the messages, unrevealed, stand for any cruel communication ever sent and received.

      Whether that worked or not is at the discretion of the individual viewer.

  33. I think the major problem with this episode is how non-committal it feels like - then again I suppose it's just restating what you already said. I too get what they're getting at about it being "every bully" but when you combine that with the fact that it took them 3/4 of the episode to even get to the fact that Riley was bullied, let alone bullied over what, it just comes off as if the writers were so afraid of offending someone and stepping on someone's toes, or alternatively so afraid of protecting episode spoilers and dramatic buildup that they became afraid to commit to anything.

    One thing I thought was interesting was that Riley read from one of the texts that the bully hates how happy Riley seems to be. There was an opportunity to explore a real issue - that bullies are jealous of something someone else has (they even explored this in Meets Flaws!) but again decided that going vague was better for some reason. They didn't resolve anything, they just presented the bully issue as if it was as intangible and as much of a spectre as Riley's unseen bully herself.

    As for other comments/commentators, especially on, honestly they tend to piss me off. It's getting to the point where they will complain about every little thing, down to the freakin' show schedule and I felt like I had to tell them off. I'm not an easy man to piss off but it was getting to the point where it was sucking all the fun out of the board. I think the problem is that, well...there's no getting around it. The Boy Meets World legacy is as much an albatross around this show's neck as it is a boon. People will inevitably compare it, but some take it to the other extreme by insisting that the entire network transform itself to be more like ABC Family, and that's a bit of an impractical extreme. It's fine when a few people lament how the shows can have better quality. It's another thing when the same topics literally pop up every other week and instead of explaining things you just get tired of it and blanket-naming everyone as a moron is just an intellectually less exhaustive option.

    Huh. I wonder if that's how bullies start. Maybe they're just misunderstood.

    Speaking of Disney Channel and what it should be like (or how people think it should be molded)...yeah, have fun with Austin & Ally. I noticed you stopped reviewing other shows after the Jessie review and I think I can guess why - other than Liv and Maddie and maybe Dog With a Blog you pretty much exhausted the shows you're most likely to enjoy and at this point it's a pretty far-gone conclusion that everything else is just going to not be worth reviewing. Especially Austin & Ally which is driven heavily by sight and prop gags and is written down to the level of an after-school puppet special for first graders. But, I don't think you should be totally discouraged because the episode is still written by the GMW staff, the A&A staff aren't touching it, and the characters will have their parts written by GMW staff. BTW, if you want to see someone try to give the same treatment to other Disney Channel shows as you do Girl Meets World, feel free to visit my blog, /shameless plug

  34. I had to skim a lot of the comments so I don't know exactly what everyone's said but it seems based on the review that some people are offended by Christian and Sean's views on cyberbullying? Well I think those people should go watch the episode again because "a bully isn't somebody who says something you don't like".

    I don't have too much to say as Christian and Sean really covered it. I pretty much agree with 100% of the review. It was a good concept with poor execution. I'm actually kind of pissed at the writers for this. It was really lazily written and the only clever idea they came up with was not putting a face to the bully. There was a lot of wasted potential here, particularly because the actors really gave it their all. I don't feel like criticizing much more because I think I'd just be rehashing what everyone's said.

    I thought riley really did do a beautiful job in her crying scene. Whenever I see child actors cry it looks like two seconds before the scene is shot someone splashed water on their face and told them to look depressed. Rowan on the other hand seemed toaccess real emotions. I could tell she is really working with her craft and trying to become better with the dramatic scenes so good for her. On the other hand I would have preferred if maya looked more mad than sad. I think the first time we saw her cry should have been a family issue.

    And for all the annoyingness they threw in our face about "we're hear for you *tear* *applause*" there actually was one solid moment that I thought conveyed a true friendship really well. I liked when Riley apologized for taking it out on maya and maya said "I'm glad you felt safe enough to take it out on me". That shit is so real. When people are said they always take it out on the people closest to them because they know they aren't in danger of losing those people. They say that's why teenage girls are so mean to their moms. Of course we knew riley and maya were on that level with eachother but its always nice to see that sisterhood between the two of them.

    1. Also @Christian that picture of how Riley really would have responded to the bully's texts killed me. That was so damn funny. And @Sean Your review on Wake up little cory has always been one of my all time favorites. It was the one that got me hooked on your blog, particularly for the part you cited in this review.

      This is gonna sound kind of weird but I actually have thought about what you said about Topanga in real life situations when I choose how to respond to conflicts. Like there have been times when I wanted to get kind of upset and instead I made the decision to get mad and it really is far more effective. So thanks for your words of wisdom.

    2. Love this review, because you used two words that I think sum up every review on this page. "Wasted potential" is all over this episode, and like you, I'm pissed at the writers for it. They wasted maybe Rowan's best single performance on a muddled message with a meh conclusion.

      And about Rowan's performance, she said in interviews that she went "method" for this episode, in other words put herself in Riley's shoes, and that breakdown she had was as close to real as you can get in acting. Those were real tears, and like you said, shows she's really dedicating herself to getting better. Good on her, cause you can feel some raw emotion in that scene.

      What I liked about Maya's crying in that scene was that we saw one tear. One tear, which spoke volumes. She didn't lose it like Riley, but we saw all the emotion and pain from seeing her friend like that. Really well done and shot.

    3. Would you stop being the coolest person on the planet for like five seconds

    4. but seriously, thank you for saying that. makes it all worth it.

    5. Excellent point about Maya. One of my favorite scenes from her and from this episode was her in the background there. That's the most genuine look of concern and caring from Maya. For me it was as effective as Riley crying.

  35. I do agree that the response felt forced. The person hated Riley for being weird & smiley all the time, but her friends and classmates enjoy that about her. Why did this one person have such an affect on her? In Yearbook, when Maya was pretending to be Riley, the students told her to stay Riley and not switch back to Maya because they'd miss Riley - "We love Riley. We don't care who plays her" She's had lots of support, on top of arcs dealing with being yourself. So this episode threw me off and I feel a bit inhuman for not reacting with more empathy. I've teared up at cheesy commercials that hit the spot. I promise I'm not cold hearted.

    The scenes themselves I often don't have problems with. I think they're cute & entertaining. Maya trying to catch Riley's illness, for instance.

    I've noticed in the comments people saying Maya has bullying tendencies. That is an impression I can understand, but I couldn't help finding her lines funny ... why? I don't really know. I like that she's somewhat flawed, and not a cute flawed. It's not a lovable trait. Perhaps I can relate to her imperfectness in other ways. But another reason is that I do believe her teasing is meant to be a sign of affection. And her friends must know that.

    1. That's a fair point about Riley's classmates. While part of me thinks that Riley's classmates only like her because she's the teacher's daughter. I no longer think that, but it'd be an interesting idea--somebody who isn't nearly as popular as they think.

      But you raised a better point. Her classmates do appear to love Riley. Or do they? "We love Riley. We don't care who plays her." So maybe it's more of the /quirkiness/ and /antics/ of Riley, rather than /Riley/ herself that they're so fond of. A class clown is a class clown after all.

      It's curious. This season's theme according to the writers is meant to be growth, and while there was vigorous debate as to whether the episode "I Am Farkle" was good, there is little question that things changed. Farkle grew in that episode. The episode was serious, and I think it worked.

      But here, Riley was specifically told by her friends not to change at all and it was seemed a bit more of a desire for things to remain the same. She doesn't grow and she had real potential to.

  36. As a film student, I can fully understand your complaints about this episode's story structure.

    But as a person, who still has deep personal scars and real psychological disorders from bullying that I'm still desperately trying to cover come as an adult, I couldn't disagree with you more about how bullying should be handled.
    Sure not every bully will go too far, but as you've mentioned yourself, some do. And you should never take the chance that that one bully might. Don't ever assume that it'll just stop or go away. Always try to stop it when you see it.

    So if that's the one thing this episode did teach. To not ignore the problem but get support from family and friends, then yes I'll give this episode a pass.

    Also anger may be the stronger emotion, but not everyone is going to respond that way. It's unrealistic to expect characters not to cry because real people do cry. It makes them more relatable.

    1. I have those scars too and I agree with you. I wasn't even gonna comment this week but you said everything I've been thinking.

    2. I don't know... Did it really teach victims to find support? Riley just sort of... automatically had it. The entire school showed up to have to her back. I agree that would be a good lesson, but Riley has a magic support network the size of the entire school. I don't think that's relatable.

      Similarly, is Topanga at the end of Wake Up Little Cory NOT relatable?

    3. Hmmm...I think you both had a point. Kids certainly need to learn that they need to get help. And it is true that Riley did have a support system.

      There's probably a middle ground here. Maybe if Maya or Farkle (Who I personally think wasn't used to his full potential in this episode) had implored Riley to go to her parents.

      And although I agree, anger may be a more powerful emotion in terms of passion, there is a difference I think in these situations. Riley was essentially getting hate mail and it was mostly insults; Topanga had her reputation ruined by a vicious rumor.

      It's curious; Ben Savage and Danielle Fischel act "Angry" very well, but I was never that impressed with their "Sad." Rowan did a very good job with the "Sad," even if the writing wasn't fantastic, but I wasn't blown away with her "Angry" in "Secret of Life."

  37. I forgot to add one thing. Is Rileytown next to Coryland?

    1. I'm pretty sure it is, because where else could it be.

    2. Nah, RileyTOWN is simply an incorporated area in CoryLAND. Riley's inherited so many of Cory's mannerisms, and he devotes so much class time to his daughter, that Rileytown ceases to have independent borders.

      Maya-ville, unable to develop any semblance of a governing body whatsoever, dissolved into anarchy.

      Farkle Nation saw a revolution and the dictator was ousted from the capital. They're currently developing a constitution based upon that of Topanga-utopia.

  38. So I had a busy weekend and couldn’t get around to posting until now, so I’ll forego my usual review and just post some comments.

    I agree with Sean and Christian here in almost everything they had to say. We got another serious issue and the writers did the same thing again and hid all the actual important events. I’m beginning to think it might be a network decree and not the writers being lazy. It certainly seems like the “show, don’t tell” that everyone cries for is counter to a network fiat, as all the shows on Disney do exactly the opposite, and I don’t think complaining about it is going to change anything. Remember that the target demographic for the channel is 8-14 and it is conceivable that the network has decided that they should be told exactly what they need to learn, while not seeing the ugly side of life.

    I checked the production order to see is this episode was written and filmed before "Meets Farkle" and "Meets C & T" to explain why after learning that no one wants to be normal and that she is quirky, goofy and unique and being fine with it, all of a sudden Riley is not ok with it. But no, this was written after those two episodes and this is just bad decisions by the writing staff and it is unacceptable.

    Zay was pretty good here. He seemed more a part of the group here and not just an outsider that was being used to get a point across.

    I also agree that Topanga is being underused and that when we see her Danielle seems to be mailing it in. Maybe she just isn't very good or maybe she really did want to give up acting when she got married. It seems like she is only here because Ben didn't want to do the series without her. The writers need to do something with her character and she needs to step it up when she does get some screen time.

    I know that a lot of the commenters seemed to believe that Maya is a bully. Maya isn't a bully. She does call her friends some names, but that is at most a character flaw. Not once has she ever (that we have seen) used threats or coercion to try to get what she wants. She just isn’t as perfect as Lucas or Riley.

    I find it hard to believe that neither of our reviewers talked about how Maya was ready to jump Lucas' bones right after he came in through the window. I know that the writers have been dropping subtle hints about Maya's changing feelings about Lucas, but it seemed like the only person in that room that didn't see it was Riley, and that seems weird because she has been noticing all those hints as they have been occurring.

    I did like the meta-humor in the second classroom scene when Cory joked about how the problems of the rest that the rest of the kids have should be solved by their other teachers. I guess Cory only has so much class time available after trying to teach them stuff and solving the core group's issues. At least Cory knows their names. After season 1 on BMW I do not believe that I ever heard Feeny mention the name of the extra kids in class.

    I really found it hard to believe that Maya doesn't know what Riley does every Friday afternoon. I mean they are fucking attached at the hip, how does Riley wander an empty school each week and Maya (or anyone else except the bully) not know where she is or know what she is doing? I mean it seems like Maya should have accidently stumbled upon it before this. If school is empty Riley shouldn’t be there or at least Harley should have seen her and let Cory know his daughter is wandering the empty halls. It is just totally beyond my suspension of disbelief. I thought that was poor storytelling.

    I did think that not showing the bully in the end was correct thing to do. By not showing us they don't paint themselves into a corner with a character they really cannot use again.

    1. Grade: B – I wanted to give this a B- or C+ because of my disappointment with the writing, but the acting very good - especially Rowan (except where she tells her friends about her awards ceremony, that was her one weak scene). The kids have gotten noticeably better recently, even Peyton.

      MVP – Rowan – she is much improved in non-comedy scenes and it showed here. Corey and Amir were both pretty good as well, but this was a real Riley-centric episode and she nailed it.

    2. I'm glad everyone agrees about Zay in this one. That's a good sign for the future. And you're absolutely right about the awards ceremony. That might be the least believable part of the episode, that somehow Maya didn't know about it.

    3. I'm still not sold on Zay, but he's growing on me. This was the first time I enjoyed his performance. We'll wait and see.

      And I agree on Disney Channel mandates. Every live-action show on the network seems to use public shaming on the bully.

      Yeah, that's a really good point--how didn't Maya know about this? Riley's apparently been doing it for at least a month if the bully has been harassing her for weeks and only now caught her.

      I'm glad you brought up Harley. I actually thought he could have worked here as well. Sure we already know he's atoning for his sins as a bully himself, but I think there was a missed opportunity here. Harley was a bully and eventually expelled, thus leaving his sister Theresa alone at the school. There is no doubt in my mind that if Riley could be bullied, despite having her father as a teacher and you'd think that'd mean immunity, then Theresa was almost certainly bullied and more likely than not, very harshly.
      I can only imagine how Harley would respond if he saw Riley, who probably reminds him at least a little of his sister, being harassed.

    4. I did notice Maya going "oooh, look at Lucas being strong" and it really is bothering me. If they are actually doing Lucaya, it's going to ruin Maya for me. First, she becomes a bad friend. I know people will argue against it, but you don't get with your friend's crush. He isn't worth it. The idea that Riley might have to give them her blessing or say it doesn't bother her - that Lucas is in fact like a brother to her .. makes me cringe. In my experience of watching triangles - the girl who gets the guy always loses in storyline potential. What it does is open up some room for Riley to develop free of Rucas, which is great. I'm loving Riley more & more. I could care less about Lucas, but I'm afraid I'll dislike Maya. I hate this decision they have seemingly made. And after asking for no shipping wars, these writers do the exact opposite. They love taunting Rucas/Lucaya fans, and I find it incredibly annoying. Forget good writing. All they need to promote the show & get the young audience to watch is to tease the ships.

      Imagine back in the day BMW having a huge social media following, and getting comments that boil down to, "Topanga and Shawn should get together. She & Corey are too boring. Shawn is hotter. It's more exciting because they don't really get along!! Go Shatanga!!" And then they actually do it.

    5. You're right, they know damn well they can keep their numbers up by teasing the romances, and they're going to keep doing it. I'm so done with it though. There's an entire school of people to date. Go get a burger with somebody, for god's sake.

    6. Yeah...that's probably the biggest Disney Channel aspect of this show, outside of the classrooms. The romances...most Disney shows have them to a degree, and they're rarely well-written.

      Disney aside, Michael Jacobs' record on romance isn't great--Cory and Topanga could get annoying at times and their chemistry plateaued in I'd say Season 4. Ironically, Savage and Fischel probably have better chemistry now than they did at the end of "Boy Meets World."

      Shawn and Angela, what can I say that hasn't been said a thousand times before? Important development for sure, but not always fun to watch.

      Eric: His best romance was with Kelly, bar none. The comedies were good too--I loved watching Eric try to woo Lonnie. But Rachel Love Triangle? Augh. Just, augh.

      On to Girl Meets World, I've made no secret of my disdain for Lucas's role in Season One. He existed almost entirely as a love interest and I think weakened Riley's story. I have nothing against the actor, but I'm not convinced that Lucas wasn't given a much larger role after they cut Big Brother Elliot. Now we've debated the merits of actually having Elliot before, but the size of the cast is the size of the cast.

      I don't want to see a love triangle at all. Not just because it's this show, but I cannot remember the last time I saw a good triangle. Jack/Rachel/Eric was boring at best. Ted/Robin/Barney still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The love triangleS on "Red Band Society" destroyed what could have been a very poignant show.

    7. Ahh yes, this love triangle. This is starting to eerily feel like the iCarly romance situation of just a few years ago. Where the showrunner and writers deliberately fucked around with the fans when it came to the show's love triangle and it ended up hurting the show in such a fashion that it directly cased its cancellation, in my opinion.

    8. No love triangles. While somewhat realistic, nobody wants to see that. Here's a crazy idea. Have none of the kids end up with each other. No Rucas. No Lucaya. And please, no Joshaya. That's just creepy.

      The shippers for Riley/Farkle and Farkle/Maya aren't very common and a good chunk of the time, it's just "Pair the Spares." Seriously. Let's just let the kids be kids and have fun in high school without trying to find a soulmate.

    9. 1960poster- "I find it hard to believe that neither of our reviewers talked about how Maya was ready to jump Lucas' bones right after he came in through the window." I loved that moment. It was fantastic to see Maya totally forget Riley's problem for a second and silly and giggly.

      Cryptid456-Theresa was tough and could take care of herself, plus I'm sure pretty Harley probably asked Frankie to look out for her. I totally agree that Harley should have been in this episode.

      Shipping Wars Are Stupid-I don't see Riley/Farkle as pair the spares. I see RIley/Farkle as the next generation of Cory and Topanga. Farkle is Topanga when she was still in her hippie phase. He's starting to change, just like Topanga. I also like the idea of the right person being there the whole time, and the lead just didn't see them. It might be interesting to have something happen late in the series towards the end, where Riley starts to see Farkle in a new light.

    10. "
      I know that a lot of the commenters seemed to believe that Maya is a bully. Maya isn't a bully. She does call her friends some names, but that is at most a character flaw. Not once has she ever (that we have seen) used threats or coercion to try to get what she wants. She just isn’t as perfect as Lucas or Riley."

      First of all, we've actually seen her threaten Farkle with physical harm quite a bit, though probably she wouldn't actually do it. Either way, I think that fits a pretty narrow definition of bully. You don't have to be a Harley Keiner type of bully, shoving people into lockers and demanding their lunch money. She is constantly putting people down, and it's almost always unwarranted and for no real reason. That's a bully. Some bullies try to dominate others by actually physically harming then. Other bullies try to dominate others by insulting them. She does the latter. I don't think she's aware she does it, and I don't think she seriously means harm, but she's rude, snide, and flippant to just about everyone and it likely stems from her own insecurity about herself, like most bullies.

      "There is no doubt in my mind that if Riley could be bullied, despite having her father as a teacher and you'd think that'd mean immunity, then Theresa was almost certainly bullied and more likely than not, very harshly." I don't buy it. Just because Riley was bullied (by one person) despite her father being a teacher, doesn't mean T.K. necessarily would be bullied too. T.K. and Riley are nothing alike. And T.K. intimidated literally everyone she came across during the course of her episode. Who the hell would be picking on T.K.?

      I dunno, I don't mind love triangles. They don't bother me. I actually tend to find them interesting. Either way, there's nothing *inherently* wrong with them. They can be done well and have been in the past. Still, is this even a love triangle? Riley and Maya are not vying for Lucas at the same time. It seems instead that Riley liked him, they sort of became an unofficial thing, Maya developed some feelings for him she never verbalized or acted upon, Riley and Lucas sort of fell apart on its own, and maybe Maya and Lucas will eventually get together following this.

      "Let's just let the kids be kids and have fun in high school without trying to find a soulmate. " But why does that have to be what they're doing? I dated in high school, and it wasn't necessarily that I was "looking for a soulmate." They're young people, they're around each other, they're going to date. That's how things worked at that age, at least for me. Groups of friends all dated each other. I didn't ask out random girls I barely knew back then, I dated within my circle usually. And, as was the case of Riley and Lucas, it usually burned out quickly. Probably Maya/Lucas would burn out just as quickly. But it would totally happen. To act like these good-looking hormonal teenagers wouldn't be all over each other is silly.

      They're going to date. They're 14. That's all 14-year-olds care about. Dating. That's literally it. They care about absolutely nothing in the world than dating. Weren't you guys 14? Did you really spend your time wanting to go on platonic adventures?

    11. "Shipping Wars Are Stupid-I don't see Riley/Farkle as pair the spares. I see RIley/Farkle as the next generation of Cory and Topanga. Farkle is Topanga when she was still in her hippie phase. He's starting to change, just like Topanga. I also like the idea of the right person being there the whole time, and the lead just didn't see them. It might be interesting to have something happen late in the series towards the end, where Riley starts to see Farkle in a new light."

      I really, really don't want to see either of the girls with Farkle at any point. Any possibility of him as a couple with either of them has been ruined by his creepy behavior. I'm glad he's not as creepy anymore, and I enjoy him much more this season than last, but that ship has long sailed for me.

      Additionally, him being with either of them will never seem right, because we'll know he's spent the vast majority of his life equally in love with the other one. It will always feel like "Well, this is the one who would take him, so he went with her, but he's still just as in-love with the other one." Farkle described it as Riley and Maya both representing one half of himself and what he's into. It sort of feels like neither is "enough" for him, somehow.

      Also, I think ending up with either of them would negate his personal growth. I think he's past it. Or should be.

      ALSO, I just can't ever buy either of them seeing him as anything but a friend.

      ALSO, they both can do way better.

    12. ALSO, while I'm not sure I see a big Cory/Topanga, Riley/Farkle comparison, I wouldn't want Riley to be part of "this generation's Cory and Topanga." That's lame to me.

    13. "And T.K. intimidated literally everyone she came across during the course of her episode. Who the hell would be picking on T.K.?"

      Wouldn't put it past High School Jennifer Basset.

      "I really, really don't want to see either of the girls with Farkle at any point. Any possibility of him as a couple with either of them has been ruined by his creepy behavior. I'm glad he's not as creepy anymore, and I enjoy him much more this season than last, but that ship has long sailed for me."

      Precisely. Farkle's past behavior is the key here. I never really watched "Family Matters" but I don't like Urkel-type characters. Never found them that funny. Sure "I Am Farkle" hinted that most of the "laaaadies" thing was just a game, but it will still feel off, as of now, if they pursue this storyline. If Farkle had been written more often as he was in "Sneak Attack," where he pretty much flirted with every girl he came across and explicitly stated he wanted the girls to be happy, I'd be a little more open.

      What I would like to see is more scenes where Riley or Maya interacts with Farkle on a strict platonic level. Like I said earlier, we rarely see the individuals of the Core Four in duos outside of Riley and Maya. They say they have this fantastic friendship--can't we see that on a one-on-one basis?

      Auggie and Ava are meant to be the new "Cory and Topanga" in that it's little kids "dating." Actively, passionately hate it. While teenaged Cory and Topanga acted like an old married couple, there was never the question that they were equals. Ava does NOT treat Auggie like an equal and the writers would NEVER have considered the storyline if the scenario was reversed.

    14. Christian - I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about Maya being a bully. I agree she is a dominant personality, but to me bullying requires intent, and Maya shows no intent to bully.

      Cryptid - I don't see a love triangle happening here. First off, Maya never looks at Disney Prince Lucas the same way she looks at Big Bad Protector Lucas, and I think that is telling. She has admitted to liking Josh and I believe her. I think her looks at Hulk Lucas has to do with her daddy issues. Sure Shawn has been hanging around her when he is in town, but I think deep down she is missing a real father protector, and when she sees Lucas all fired up to protect his friends, she may be seeing him as that piece she is missing in her life. She has daddy issues and unconsciously sees Lucas filling that void. I can't really believe that she would ever date Prince Charming Lucas, and that is who he is 99% of the time.

      I could be completely off base here, but it feels right to me.

    15. You've made me think, 1960

      While Maya may not be an intentional bully, she does intimidate her friends. Reminds me a bit of James Potter and Sirius Black in the way they were casually dismissive of Peter Pettigrew. Or how Ron was often the harshest on Neville and Luna.

      Interesting point on Maya's issues. That could very well be, and heck probably explains her crush on Josh. Josh in returning in December for "New Year" so there you go. We shall soon see.

      It's not that I think a love triangle is forming. I just really don't want to see one.

    16. Cryptid, I wasn't implying that Maya's crush on Josh had to do with her daddy issues, though I guess you could infer that from what I wrote. I think that crush is really just a teenage girl crushing on a boy.

      And I really don't think the writers are going to do a love triangle on a Disney show. Though I guess they just did one on Liv & Maddie to some extent, but not where both girls knew about the other's feelings for the boy. I just don't see Disney going there. Seems more like a Nick thing.

    17. Maybe I just overthink everything.

    18. Even if it's not a triangle yet, the Rucas/Lucaya wars are not being stopped, they are being encouraged by the writing. They are manipulating the audience on & off screen, and it is not enjoyable. The show loses my respect when it pretends to be about friendship. Maya could date any guy at that school. But no, she has to fall for Lucas of all people. It was the one thing I hoped this show would not do - put a guy in between the girls.

    19. See, I don't agree with that above for a number of reasons:

      1. Of course Maya would fall for Lucas. She's one of the few guys that Maya spends a lot of time with and has gotten to know well. It makes all the sense in the world she'd fall for him.
      2. It's not like Maya was trying to fall for Lucas, or only fell for him because Riley wanted him, or anything like that. It happened slowly over time, and clearly accidentally. Maya only seems to be starting to even realize it herself.
      3. Sometimes friends like the same girl. I was in little love triangles with my friends back in high school too. It's a realistic story. And it's an interesting one, because people get torn between their loyalty to their friends, and feelings they can't control. I don't see anything wrong with that. And I think it may lead to interesting things for all involved - including Riley. This does not make me think less of Maya.
      4. Most importantly, nothing's going on between Riley and Lucas! They basically went on one date and decided they were better as friends. It's now, like, canonical that their relationship has evolved into something more like family than like love. My guess is by the time anything happens with Lucas and Maya, Riley will be totally over it. We'll probably have one episode where it weirds her out and she feels slighted, but she'll get past it during that episode, and that'll be that.

    20. I don't know, C bear. Would you advocate for a triangle on Boy Meets World? I get that it's realistic, but that's not a justification. It's lazy, easy writing. Purely looking at the writing, one of those WHO ARE YOU MORE LOYAL TOO? WHO DO YOU CARE ABOUT MORE? things is so overdone and cliche. Should Maya and Lucas go on a date? Absolutely. But I don't want to see that triangle bullshit.

      I'm not even sure what your stance is. Do you want the triangle or are you convinced there won't be a triangle because Riley's over it?

    21. Personally I agree with Sean that the love triangle is lazy writing, been there - done that, on many shows. I however, believe that we will not get that here. As I posted above I don't think it's Disney Channel material and even if it's ok with the network I don't see Maya wanting to hook with Lucas anytime soon, if ever. The Lucas she would want would be the Lucas the rest of his friends couldn't live with.

  39. If it hasn't been said before I think it's worth nothing how much better Farkle was in this episode. If its been mentioned I think it bears repeating. Not only did the writers connect a story, always a nice show of continuity, back to an earlier episode, but the actor got to show a too little used stronger side. I liked the idea that since he's been bullied he can recognize it in Riley and also that he fries to be strong and keep Lucas from going nuts. Maybe the most I've liked Farkle yet.

    1. "I liked the idea that since he's been bullied he can recognize it in Riley"

      And Bingo was his name-o!

      Farkle has been bullied before. Maya, Lucas, Zay--they haven't. Their sympathy is all well and good, and Sabrina did an excellent job in the Crying Scene.
      But Farkle has empathy; he's been in Riley's shoes before. A scene where Farkle puts two and two together and confronts and comforts Riley himself could have been poignant.
      My first thought was this. Warning: TV Tropes can be addictive.

  40. Hi! I'm new! And probably not a regular! I had this episode in the background and it stuck out to me, so I was curious for reviews! This is a good one!

    Here's my thing with it:

    1) The first half of it - when Riley was dealing with a problem she couldn't understand and was terrified of - I thought was going to lead into Riley having a mental illness, which would have been BRILLIANT, striking out down a new path but a path laid out by the original BMW team.

    2) But the big problem with this show and bullying episodes is that Riley is too popular and her class is just TOO SMALL. BMW did an excellent job portraying Cory and Sean as being small fish in a big pond. When bullies threatened them it felt like a threat, because they DIDN'T have this huge group of friends backing them up. It was just them. That's why the episode where Erik came down from his high horse and nearly got into a fight with Harley worked so well: There was no cavalry. He WAS the cavalry. And as you said, Mr. Turner's response wasn't to solve all of their problems for them, but to intervene WHEN NECESSARY.

    So there's the show's big problem: Not enough conflict. Unlike Corey, Riley is a good student. Unlike Corey, Riley has a billion friends who love her. Unlike Corey, she doesn't have to deal with any sibling rivalries (her little brother is seriously such an unnecessary character, c'mon). So the best conflicts stem around Maya, which tend to be a rehash of Sean's conflicts anyway.

    Stuff needs to start going WRONG.

    One final thought: I cannot stress enough how fantastic this would have been if it were about mental illness. That really would have been brilliant.

    1. Co-writer here. Welcome aboard. I couldn't agree more about the lack of conflict. That is my #1 problem with this show. Their lives are too good and too easy. They need to start making mistakes. They need to be challenged. As you very aptly put it, stuff needs to start going wrong. Yes yes yes yes.

    2. Hi Malcolm, I'm Cryptid. Welcome to the family!

      That's an interesting theory...I wouldn't be too surprised if Riley had ADD or ADHD. Though that is delicate territory, so let's move on.

      You're certainly right about Cory and Shawn being small fish in a big pond. It helped that they went to a 7-12 school. Riley and her friends are eighth graders, in a 6-8 school. So while I agree it's annoying that Riley doesn't have conflict with classmates, objectively speaking it actually does makes some sense. Additionally, I can't help but think Riley would have immunity from bullies because her dad's a teacher.

      I wouldn't mind the not-so-frequent conflict so much, if we actually got character development when it happened. Riley was told flat-out not to change--and don't get me wrong, I love her antics--but compare her to Farkle. He'd been teased several times for his behavior, until he finally decided in "Yearbook" that he needed a change. The trick is that Farkle made the change for himself.

      Say what you will about the show, Farkle's undergone more character development in less than two years than most comic characters on Disney do in four. So, credit where credit is due.
      Now if only Riley could have that development.

    3. That's an interesting theory...I wouldn't be too surprised if Riley had ADD or ADHD. Though that is delicate territory, so let's move on.

      You misunderstand me, I think. I don't intend to diagnose Riley, or even imply that she actually has a mental illness. It's just, I know people with some of those types of issues, and many are exceptionally good at hiding it. Riley finally coming close to a breakdown over the stress of having to deal with mental problems she doesn't understand and that terrify her would be a great conflict to see, and it would make her terror at her friends finding out seem much more realistic and powerful. I certainly have no intention of saying anything like, "C'mon, Riley is clearly mentally ill".

      Riley and her friends are eighth graders, in a 6-8 school. So while I agree it's annoying that Riley doesn't have conflict with classmates, objectively speaking it actually does makes some sense. Additionally, I can't help but think Riley would have immunity from bullies because her dad's a teacher.

      How well do you remember eighth grade? Because I certainly remember it. It was horrible. I got into multiple fights, and had vicious rumors spread about me, and I had it relatively well. I had a core group of friends who backed me up and kept me sane, and I was one of the most well-adjusted among them. Middle school can be really, really ripe for potential conflict.

      And my mom was even a substitute teacher - and this actually hurt me in some ways. Corey can be a teacher, but he shouldn't be Riley's teacher, and she should be getting teased about it. But Riley's life is all bubbles and sweetness.

      Say what you will about the show, Farkle's undergone more character development in less than two years than most comic characters on Disney do in four. So, credit where credit is due.

      Now if only Riley could have that development.

      Oh, I agree with you. The show genuinely has potential but, as I'm sure has been said a billion and one times, it really shouldn't be a disney show. You can almost see the sections were awkward writing and lame jokes have been inserted in, and you can sense a lot of the risks they're not taking. 'Tis too bad.

    4. Hmmm. You're right, that would be interesting. Heck, I thought when the show started out--back when Riley was written to be more studious--that an interesting episode may have Riley and Farkle sign up for more advanced classes and Riley eventually cracks under the increased academic pressure.

      I went to a small middle school; bullies weren't really an issue there. I was very, very, /very/ lucky and I am fully aware of it. And while I agree, Riley would probably be teased for being the teacher's kid--Cory redirecting class time does not help here--Cory's so involved, it'd be likely bullies would see her as a tattle-tale.

      And about the Disney parameters--dumb jokes are dumb jokes. Boy Meets World had hundreds of them. Disney or ABC, they'd be there.

      One more question: How the heck did you learn to italicize your comment? Did you just copy and paste in a Word Document?

    5. Italics are < i > < /i > Put your words in the middle - you can google html too, it's fairly simple stuff.

      I don't know. Maybe, but the dumb jokes here seem very "disney" to me. GMW can be funny sometimes, but I just found BMW consistently funnier in general. It feels suspiciously too much like other disney shows to me.

    6. Well, Boy Meets World had Eric. To compare the humor really isn't fair.

  41. Halloween candy comes early - World of Terror 2 link :

    It's terrible, but its a Disney holiday episode so I really didn't expect more.

    1. Wow. I watched that for free and I still want my money back.

    2. Maybe I shouldn't feel this way but I can't stand Auggie/Ava & friends. I mean, Auggie is ok on his own without little arcs. But enter Ava and I just want to stop watching.

    3. Auggie wasn't in this episode, Anonymous. Let's hold off on World of Terror 2 discussion until the World of Terror review, guys.

    4. What Christian MEANT to say is THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the link, 1960 :)

    5. I realize that you guys don't want spoilers ahead of an episode, so I was hesitant to post the link so early, but after last week not getting one at all, I figured I'd post it.

      If I find the BFW link do you guys want me to not post it? Totally up to you two.

    6. Links are always welcome. That would be awesome.

  42. I felt that this was the first episode with any real degree of seriousness. Yes, they're still in middle school, and yes, BMW didn't really do much serious in their middle school days, either, but I've been patiently waiting for an episode that really makes me FEEL anything other than nostalgic for BMW.

    When Riley and Maya cried, I FELT that. No, I didn't know what was going on, and at the moment, I didn't care. All I knew was that I wanted to fix it. I wanted to help this little girl and make whatever was hurting her go away.

    And, in that particular regard, I consider the episode a success.

    That said, the resolution was just pathetic. I get what they were going for, but I hated it. I've always hated any time any show does the "first person pov" with the audience. I hated how we never saw the bully, thus nullifying the character. I hated how the resolution was completely implausible. It's not even that this wouldn't work, but that it wouldn't happen. Ever.

    BMW was always quite grounded in reality. Even when Eric went way past the line of sane, this shit could always still be believed as possible. GMW doesn't even try. And I'm worried that may be the Disney Channel effect, as opposed to good old ABC.

    We'll see, I guess.

    -----OH! One more thing.

    Not a shot at you guys, but more at the entire internet. I'm really getting tired of everyone calling out every episode without August Maturo. Right now, he's the Morgan of the show. How many episodes didn't include Morgan? She still became a great character in her own right, but she wasn't in a lot.

    Okay. I think that's everything I've got.

    1. Morgan became a great character in her own right? When did this happen? I'm so sorry I missed it!

      But, seriously folks, I was actually displeased with how BMW handled Morgan - this is the third Matthews kid. Eric and Cory's only sister. And she just literally wasted away. She may as well have not existed. I don't like to see that with Auggie. This is the son of Cory and Topanga. He deserves a role on this show. Yeah, he's at a disadvantage. He's a kid. But they could be doing a lot more than they are for him. I don't think anyone has a problem with the actor - he's good for his age. And Auggie's likable for the kind of role he represents. So make something of him. It's possible. The Olsen Twins turned Michelle into the most popular character on the show. Sure, that's an anomaly, but there's a lot of middleground there.

    2. Auggie works well enough as a younger sibling. Quite well considering siblings on Disney Channel don't usually get along unless they need something from each other.
      To further Christian's argument, I actually really enjoyed "Girl Meets Brother" which has Riley and Auggie's relationship as siblings as its focal point and I actually find it to be in the top five episodes of Season One of Girl Meets World.

    3. I really enjoyed "Girl Meets Brother" as well. One, it did not involve school. That, right off the bat, is a plus. Two, it's it's probably the only episode that centers around the MATTHEWS FAMILY. When I say "Matthews family", I can't really picture it because I.. don't really know what they're like as a family. No, that does not mean the family AND Maya at the dinner table. Just mom, dad, and kids. And it definitely is the only episode that really focuses on the sibling relationship between Riley and Auggie. I actually didn't really like Cory and Topanga's plot in that episode (they DO need more of their own plots, now that I think of it). The way they got stuck at the subway screamed "Yeah, we don't have a big budget here. We're gonna have to have the date take place underground." Despite that, I really enjoyed the episode overall.

    4. Sure, Cory and Topanga's plot was likely due to a limited budget, but hey, it's the Feeny-verse. The Feeny-verse is out to get Cory, even if it seems content on leaving Riley be. Of course, the subway would break down. If they had a larger budget, I would have liked to see Cory panic and try to make the fancy date with what limited resources he had--a hot dog vendor for food, a street musician to Cory and Topanga even have a song?

      And I agree that it'd be nice to see the Matthews family as a family. "Game Night" could have done it. I never saw the episode--the review Christian left was terrifying. But ever since I saw the plot description I had the idea on how to focus on the Matthews: Have the shenanigans with the friends take place as a Noodle Incident. Farkle and Lucas show up, Ava shows up, "What could possibly go wrong?" Cut to a very grumpy, whiny Cory lecturing Riley about "FAMILY Game Night" and how she ruined it. Actually use Mommy Topanga for Riley instead of Auggie. Josh points out Cory brought Shawn and Topanga to everything when he was a kid. Oh, and a joke about Quiz Bowl. How on earth wasn't there a joke about Quiz Bowl?

      But there's just something...simple about "Girl Meets Brother." And sometimes less is more. I actually love that Riley adores her little brother, even if we haven't seen Auggie much this season. Honestly, outside of the sets of twins, I'm not sure there are any siblings who have such a good relationship in Disney Channel. Older siblings tend to ignore their younger brothers and sisters, with the exception of babies, and younger siblings are often manipulative to unsettling degrees--cough cough "Good Luck Charlie" cough cough.

    5. Hah, nice Cory/Topanga date you planned out.

      I've caught parts of "Game Night", particularly the ending. Please don't ever watch that. That was one cheesy part.

      Simple is the perfect word to describe "Girl Meets Brother." I remember when I first watched it, the pacing felt awfully slower than usual (which worked out), as we did not see anything but the apartment for the first half of the episode really. We saw a nice Topanga/Riley moment (probably my favorite in the series... not that there's many to begin with) and a fun Cory/Auggie scene. I never really thought about Riley's adoration for Auggie, but since you pointed it out, it really is a nice change from other Disney shows where the younger kids have to be evil or sarcastic in a mean and "cute" manner.

    6. I read the review: "Friends become family" was the cheesiest thing on the show until they wrote "Cory and Topanga."

      I'd love to see Riley interact more with Auggie. I don't care how, I just want it.

      Curiously, "Girl Meets Brother" had four writers, which I think may actually be a record for the show. I'm not sure exactly how a half-hour script can have four writers, but maybe it should be done more often.

      Scratch that, I just checked. The four writers for "Brother" were Randi Barnes, Cindy Fang, Teresa Kale, and Lauren Otero. Barnes, Fang, and Otero also teamed up for "Game Night," while Kale did not.

      I checked the episode list, Kale wrote "Smackle," "World of Terror," "New World," "Tell-Tale Tot," and "Yearbook" by herself. As far as I can tell, Kale was one of the rookies who joined Jacobs for Girl Meets World. She's got some talent, "Smackle" and "Brother" were two of the best episodes of Season One, with "Brother" being in my top three. And "New World" and "Yearbook" are two of the better episodes of Season Two.

  43. I couldn't read the whole entire blog, but I did read the first few paragraphs. I disagree with you on not buying it. I am now 23, and even now I have to deal with adult bullies. Just not reading the text is equaled to just not dealing with it. When someone does something uncomfortable in real life are you just supposed to sit back and let it happen? NO. If someone cares at all about you, they'd care if they are making you uncomfortable. I think the fact that they didn't show just a texting screen or have the actual person there was the most powerful thing they could've done. The great thing about BMW is that no matter age we were, they grew with us, which there was something that was able to be relatable to our lives. With GMW it still has to grow of course, but EVERYONE has at least had 1 bully, I have never met anyone who hasn't had a bully, and by not putting a face and being herself and showing she just not give a crap, I think it was a very real interpretation. I do agree on the fact that it took too long to get a handle on whats going on, but maybe that was because Riley wasn't giving much information, it was all focused on Maya talking about Rileytown. Maya and the rest of the friends/family can't read her mind. I never wanted to come out and say my problems at that age. I LOVE that they covered on the difference between a conflict with a friend vs. a bully because way too many people especially on social media throw that around. It's not okay for someone to call you a bully if you're sharing an opinion that they don't fully agree with. I give it an A+!

  44. I couldn't read the whole entire blog, but I did read the first few paragraphs. I disagree with you on not buying it. I am now 23, and even now I have to deal with adult bullies. Just not reading the text is equaled to just not dealing with it. When someone does something uncomfortable in real life are you just supposed to sit back and let it happen? NO. If someone cares at all about you, they'd care if they are making you uncomfortable. I think the fact that they didn't show just a texting screen or have the actual person there was the most powerful thing they could've done. The great thing about BMW is that no matter age we were, they grew with us, which there was something that was able to be relatable to our lives. With GMW it still has to grow of course, but EVERYONE has at least had 1 bully, I have never met anyone who hasn't had a bully, and by not putting a face and being herself and showing she just not give a crap, I think it was a very real interpretation. I do agree on the fact that it took too long to get a handle on whats going on, but maybe that was because Riley wasn't giving much information, it was all focused on Maya talking about Rileytown. Maya and the rest of the friends/family can't read her mind. I never wanted to come out and say my problems at that age. I LOVE that they covered on the difference between a conflict with a friend vs. a bully because way too many people especially on social media throw that around. It's not okay for someone to call you a bully if you're sharing an opinion that they don't fully agree with. I give it an A+!

  45. yikes, I think you guys reeeeealy missed the mark with this one. I've been reading this blog since I started watching this show, but this was the first time that I felt compeled to coment on it. I usually agree with what you guys have to say or I don't in some small ways here and there, but this one was so far off from what I took from the episode.

    To me, objectvely, this was the best episode of the series so far (Im still catching up). Its not my favorite, that goes to semi-formal, or yearbook and it would have gone to creativity if it wasn't for the disaster final act, but in terms of, uow, that was really well-done, this one takes the cake.

    I loved that they slowed the FUCK down and actually gave weight to what was happening. plot points coming and going in few minutes make them seem irrelevant, so I'm glad that they took their time in unraveling what was happening.

    I also like some sublety, which I know I'm not going to get lots of in watching a kid's show, so the little that I do get, I apreciate. Thats why I aplaud their choice of: 1) Not showing the bully; 2)Not showing much of the bullying.

    First, because we are on Maya's shoes in this one. She doesn't know whats going on, only that something is WRONG, and we only get the same information as she does. And thats fine, you know why? Because its NOT about the bullying. Its about what the characters are feeling.

    Sunshiney people like Riley get to be upset too. Sometimes they get even more upset because thats not what they expect out of the world. And one of you mentions being angry instead of being sad, but you know why Topanga was mad in that one ocasion? Because what they were saying about her wasnt true! Its easier to respond to lies with anger, but when people criticize you for being exactly who you are, thats a blow.

    That's probably the first time someone actually criticizes Riley for being goofy and weird. Her best friend, a cynic at heart, finds it charming and lovely, why some random person would be bothered by it? That's a lot to take for a young girl, and she has every right to be upset by it.

    Both of you mention bullying being part of life, that ypu have to grow from it and move on. But isn''t that exactly what Riley does by the end of the ep? She confronts the bully, shows character develpment and moves on. She only made a pit stop to be sad for a while, and THATS OKAY! Nobody likes to be criticize, its normal and natural.

    Other things that Iliked, Maya being called a bully. I love the girl, and its more implied than shown, really, but lets face it, thats what she is. Riley is usually blinded by her adoration to actually face Maya's flaws, but there you have it.
    Also Farkle having an active role. He is the one that would relate the most to the situation. It was well handled.

    The episode is not perfect. It has one big flaw. Lucas. They keep saying that he would get mad, but we never even see it. Come on, and outburst in this situation would be completly justified.

    Idk, I jus got to the conclusion that my reason to watch this show (the girls relationship) is different from you guys (a continuation to bmw).

    1. While I disagree that Maya is a bully, I wouldn’t disagree with much else.

      The great thing about Christian and Sean is that they are always interesting and entertaining, even when I think they are wrong.

    2. I'm really glad you think so. It's a given with something like this that people will disagree, so the tricky part is to stay engaging when that happens.

    3. Like I said, its more implied than actually shown, but theres no reason so many people are afraid of this tiny tween girl if she is not a bully. Disney would never have one of its main characters bullying all the time, but that's the subtext I get from it all.

      I also like the reviews in general, and that theres even this amount of discussion somewhere. But like I said, I wish they focused a little more on the girls' relationship, not only because its why I watch the show for, but also because ultimately, that's what the show is about.

    4. If everything GMW shows us is to be taken at face value, Riley’s voice in her head is what she has for a conscience, which is straight out of Dexter.

      Otherwise, Maya has a mean streak, is outspoken, and is routinely inconsiderate. I think she has behaved in hurtful ways, but I don’t see deliberation the way I would expect to for a bully.

      I would agree she is capable of being bully, and could well have been one at some point in her past. But, if she is one right now, I believe her victim would have to be outside the group. You make an interesting point about her ability to inspire fear in others. I think that is just the force of her personality.

      I watch the show for similar reasons to you, and I’m in the minority around here on that score (and a few others). I fully agree that the Riley/Maya relationship is the current that runs through GMW.

      I hope you stick around and look forward to your comments.

  46. I think that this is a good episode when it comes to showing kids situations that happen in real life. Cyberbullying is a big issue. I think this episode is a good example on what to do when something like this occurs.

  47. Excellent blog, Congrats to the Web Master, nice colors and text.Nice color contrasts. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. God bless you.

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