Friday, October 9, 2015

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Rah Rah" (#2.19)

Completely secondary to my opinions about this episode are my opinions about Star vs The Forces of Evil. For no particular reason, Christian and I both wound up watching it after Girl Meets World, in particular the episode "Blood Moon Ball" starring our very own Rider Strong as Star's demon ex boyfriend. It was outstanding. Gorgeous. An absolute feast for the eyes and the ears. The style and colors were beautiful, I could watch it all day. The writing was clever, the jokes caught me off guard, and Rider in particular had a stand out performance. You cannot miss that episode.

On to Girl Meets World. The opening scene shows us exactly what's going on and we learn through dialogue, rather than explicit statements, how everybody feels about it. That's... a new record. 

I've got a Pavlovian response to cheerleaders spelling things out where I go fetal and start to dry heave, but other than that we're in strong shape right from the start.

The weakest element of this episode is obvious pretty early. The coach. I think her community learning center acting class had its first lesson on "How To Be Angry" the day before they filmed this. Eyebrows down! Nostrils flared! Show your teeth! Easy as 1, 2, 3, you're an angry coach on TV.
And, like, of course she's Russian. 


Zay reprises his role as Mister MAKES JOKES, but it works more often than not. Lucas and Farkle contribute their respective brands of heckle-support, and that leaves Riley to take the lead in a mostly-solo venture. I was initially wary of that, especially since we were told previously that both Maya and Riley always try out together, but Christian changed my mind. Indeed, this is exactly what I've wanted all along. This endeavor is purely Riley's. This is something unique to her character, that she alone is passionate about. It is extremely valuable in character building to know what they are passionate about. Farkle has science and world domination, Maya has art, and now finally we have something for Riley. And what really makes it fit so neatly is that cheerleading is totally supported by what we know about her. Riley is a bubbly, enthusiastic, happiness-spreading burst of sunshine. It's a perfect fit.

And like I said, it's the backstory that makes it even better. You could accidentally walk into this and still understand it, but if you've been watching Riley for a season and a half, it's even more cohesive. 
The fuck are you looking at over there, Samantha

A lot of the humor here is visual, based on Riley's inability to perform. It's not really my taste, it's a little too close to slapstick, but on the bright side Rowan handles it very well. She makes it so Riley doesn't look awkward or uncomfortable, right, I'm not feeling any second hand embarrassment, she's just bad at it. I thought it was going to be hard to watch, but Rowan found that sweetspot.

In Riley's bedroom, Mister MAKES JOKES makes a joke about the rest of the gang breaking in, which I thought was funny. The star of this scene, though, is Cory. I think George R.R. Martin said once that the best story you can tell is the conflict between a man (or woman) and himself. I love seeing Cory's two roles on opposing sides of an issue, his father role battling the teacher. This may be the most real Cory has ever been on this show. 
He's torn! He's struggling! He has to make a HARD DECISION! It's BEAUTIFUL!

The cheerleaders go through the routine, and I already talked about how Riley does here, and then it seems Riley didn't make the squad. Could this possibly be a bump in the easy street of Riley's life? I sure hope so.

Cory continues to be on point for today's Big Lesson™. "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." In my line of work, I have to fail constantly. I find inspiration in quotes like that one every single day (even though Edison was a total asshole.) Cory is right. Failure is progress. Riley has evidently been working very hard for this, and today is just one more failure on the road to success. Perseverance is one of my favorite themes (see: Eric and Shawn.) In contrast to Eric and Shawn, this was a one-off. This will almost certainly go the way of Cory and Shawn joining the basketball team. This was a long-term story if you consider the past, before the first season started, but I would have enjoyed it as a long-term onscreen story. I didn't really buy the ending. The lesson would have had much more impact if Riley didn't make the team in this episode. 

The tag scene doesn't exist. Perez Hilton? Why? Who could have possibly thought to do that? What a terrible idea. Who the hell cares.

There were a couple wasted scenes, like the one in the hallway where Riley wants to hug the coach, but overall a strong episode. 















Oh Sarah! You're such a card!

Christian?

Yeah, for the most part I like this one. It feels even better after that looooooong stretch of shit we've been dealing with. It's not in the top 5 of the season or anything, but it's good. This was a very simple story told reasonably well. I like that they avoided whatever temptation causes them to create Topanga/Auggie subplots. Or any subplots. This one all one simple story that they had the time to really delve into it, and I liked that.

You're absolutely right that Cory was excellent in this one. While I think they played up that dichotomy a little more than is believable (ultimately people are not able to disassociate themselves quite as dramatically as Cory does, where he passionately argues for one side in one room, and passionately for the other in another - Cory's true opinion was clearly Teacher Cory's so I don't think he'd ever have been part of the bell-ringing contingent) it was still a good message, and good utilization of the fact that Cory is both parent and teacher... probably the first good utilization of that. I've commented in the past, especially in the very first episodes, that Ben was having issues with the serious stuff and making them overly-maudlin and cheap. He's clearly worked past that (and the less anvillicious writing helps) because he was just good in this, darting back and forth from serious-Cory and neurotic-joke-Cory seamlessly, just like Cory was able to do in BMW.


Rowan was good in this too, and I enjoyed Riley quite a bit. Yes, there was more showing and not telling (after episodes like "I am Farkle" I'd half expect Riley to have continuously been walking into the classroom while Maya recaps how the offstage tryout went) but also Riley sucked but believably sucked. She didn't have the skills these clearly professional-grade gymnasts did, and she couldn't quite follow all the moves, but with the exception of a few jokes, which were fine, (like her waving instead of catching) she just seemed like a normal girl out of her depth. In this, Riley took a little more out of the page of her uncle/step-father than her biological father. She never graduated into cartoon character, which would have been extremely easy to do in an episode like this. 





Zay? Let's talk about Zay. Despite his continuously hammy "you-ready-for-the-punchline-guys?" delivery, Amir Mitchell-Townes was more or less fine and occasionally funny. However, I thought this episode was actually one of the clearest indications of how much Zay is not working. He's one friend too many. They did a lot of things where, like, Maya says something, Lucas says something else, Farkle says a third thing.... and that's where you should organically stop.... but, nope, here's Zay with a fourth thing. There's a rule of threes in comedy. And in an episode where the friends were kind of a Greek chorus, you didn't need a fourth. Zay having a fourth reason for why he's there for Riley was one too many, Zay coming to the window fourth was one too many. He's not as offensive as he once was, but he just doesn't... belong. And he doesn't bring enough to the table that we should be enduring him until he gets there, if he ever does.

And meanwhile his presence, and them giving him things that could have gone to someone else like being the one to figure out Riley wasn't under the covers, takes away from the established characters. Farkle and Lucas were utterly inter-changeable this week. Which they shouldn't be. Lucas says "I'm here because I've got to see this." and Farkle says "I'm here because I believe in Riley." Would that have sounded at all wrong to you if the characters had switched it? If each had said the other's line? I'm guessing no. That shouldn't be a situation we're in. I don't mean to put that all on Zay, but having to give Zay shit to do and reasons to be special doesn't help. It's already a pretty full cast, and Farkle and Lucas aren't there yet as it is. Cramming Zay in too is a mistake.



Also, they did... the same joke again. Zay's confused that people go through Riley's window. It was like he was discovering it for the first time. We just did that last time! It didn't feel like a callback, it felt like two writers both separately came up with the idea that Zay, the new guy, doesn't get why it's common for people to come into Riley's room, and no one realized it.

Another thing that bugged me, was Maya at the end having taken the bell and going "Do you think we'd ever have let you ring this bell?" To me it rang (eh? EHHHH?) false. She was actively trying to get her to ring the bell, they all were. They REALLY were in the bedroom scene. I don't believe secretly none of the four of them wanted Riley to tap out, I think they did, but then Cory taught them they were wrong. They can still have been good friends and messed up on this one. It's okay for them to learn lessons and not already have known the lesson. In fact, that's better. But heaven forbid The Sisterhood of the Bay Window need any polish.


Yeah, wasn't into the coach. Seemed like they were going for Jane Lynch's character on Glee? This is based on my never having seen Glee, but getting a sense of her personality on that show from other media. But she was just aggressively mean in kind of a nonsense way. I did like Riley winning over the cheerleaders though. That was a nice moment. I felt sure that they were just empty shells standing blankly around to do feats of gymnastics.

You're likely right that this will never be mentioned again, but I hope it is. I don't need lots of shit about how Riley's a cheerleader and Bring it On type stories, but occasional references, or even her just walking into the house still in her cheerleading outfit's enough, for some continuity, would be nice. This is the second episode where this cheerleading desire of Riley's has come up after all.

I did like Lucas' bit of impulsively shouting out answers as, like, a 'thing he's trying', though.

Rating?

Episode Grade: B
Episode MVP: Ben Savage

I don't think I have anything to argue about. May as well reiterate what stuck out. "She didn't graduate into a cartoon character." That's an excellent way of putting it. Not only would it have been easy, but it's what I expected of the infamous Randi Barnes as today's writer. But she impressed me this time. I love the use of "Greek chorus." Was the Zay-window bit really a repeat? That sucks the fun out of it. Farkle and Lucas being interchangeable is spot on. And you're completely right about the bell. Should have been a "lesson learned!" rather than "we were pure of heart from the beginning!" They obviously wanted Riley to quit. Don't lie, Maya.

I've seen Bring It On at least thirty times. Eliza Dushku... Why don't you return my calls... 
Dollhouse? There's a show. What was I saying? 

Episode Grade: B
MVP: Cornelius Matthews. Runner up, Sarah.

Whoa, same grading on both fronts. Probably a first! I feel like this Sarah business is going to be like the Dancing Guy where it's not really my thing but it's a hit with the fans, so I just keep quiet about it. 

Hey man, I'm right there with you on loving that classic teen cheerleading film -- Nah, I'm just kidding, I've never seen Bring it On. I do like Eliza Dushku though. From Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Which, besides True Lies, actually turns out to be the only thing I've ever seen her in, looking at her IMDb.  (Yes, this means I've never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) But she's for sure foxy.

Oh, and like, George R.R. Martin didn't make up the idea of Man vs. Himself being the big true conflict. Pshhh. I like Game of Thrones and all, but peeps gotta RELAX about George R.R. Martin. THAT'S MY THOUGHT ON THAT!

Oh, and yeah, after all the shit we gave Randi Barnes, we probably do owe it to her to acknowledge this wasn't a bad episode. You're still not forgiven for Father, Gravity, or Rules though. 

Oh I know all about the Man vs ___ stories, it was just that GRRM singled "vs Himself" out as the best, which I agree with, and I don't think I've heard another writer say that, even though I'm sure plenty agree. I actually agree with you about him being overrated though. I'm all over pop fantasy, and compared to Rothfuss, Sanderson, or Jordan especially, GRRM might as well be doing cave paintings.


I grew up with two sisters, and one was a cheerleader, so it's not like I bought Bring It On, but... I sure as hell watched it...

While I'm not as well-versed on pop fantasy, I'll say my thing with Martin is that he's an excellent, virtually unparalleled world-builder, but as an actual writer? Mediocre. The strength of Game of Thrones, I feel, comes from his world-building and then other people writing scripts that take place in this world he came up with. The books are only okay. 

ANYWAY. Yeah, watch Star vs. The Forces of Evil. We decided it's the lovechild of Scott Pilgrim and Adventure Time. I think that's spot on. 

99 comments:

  1. Why is Lucas yelling things all of a sudden? I mean, I think it's new. I've never noticed it before.

    Lets get Sarah on board for an episode. Look, I will ship her & Farkle (sorry Smackle). Ask her to the movies, Farkle!

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    1. I also feel like 5 is too many. In the classroom scenes, each kid has to say something so as not to be pointlessly sitting there. Zay seems to be here for that Texas 3 parter. I honestly do feel like the writers can't afford to start developing him too... it kind of bugged me that he was the one to show everyone Riley wasn't under the covers. I didn't understand it. Give that to Topanga. Maybe they should've made Lucas the semi-jokester? Now he's shouting answers and trying new things as their personalities compete for attention.

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    2. What you said about Zay being here for the Texas three-parter struck a chord with me. See, I think that's a capacity where Zay could work - as the link to Lucas' past in Texas. He could have been a (very) occasionally recurring character who is Lucas' best friend from Texas, who comes to visit him in New York every so often because they're that tight. Thus you use him in episodes like Secret of Life, or they all visit him in Texas, or the other odd occasional episode. But he's not actually in the class, and not there day-in/day-out or part of the group. I'd like that better. In fact, I think that could even get me a little on board with the character.

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    3. Not only does that scenario fix the problem, it's far more plausible. Was it ever explained why Zay also moved to the same city and school as Lucas? If so, I must have missed it.

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    4. Just that Zay and Lucas' fathers worked at the same company and Zay's dad got transferred same as Lucas' did. Which is something, I guess.

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    5. Thanks. Good thing they gave an explanation. But how unfortunate they chose to do it the less interesting way, which also happens to be more problematic.

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    6. I could have sworn that Zay and Lucas's fathers were both military men, but I'm probably mis-remembering.

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    7. Yeah, nothing about them being in the military has been mentioned.

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    8. And I think the military bases in Manhattan are likely few and far between. ;)

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    9. And they came from Austin, which isn't a military town either. Lots of bases in Texas, but not there. Probably just business men, perhaps for a petroleum company.

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    10. Like Cryptid, I actually thought that Lucas's dad was in the military too. But I only thought that because of the season 1 episode (maybe that terrible class president episode?) where Lucas is on the phone with his dad in the school hallway whining about not being able to go to Texas every weekend and he kept calling his dad "Sir". But you guys are right that doesn't really make sense in terms of where military bases are located. Maybe it's a regional thing to call your father "Sir"?

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    11. Don't have any guesses, but the lack of a base in NYC doesn't rule the military out. Could be a recruiting office or something. My father was in the navy and and we spent my high school years in Saskatchewan.

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    12. This totally ignores the fact that Lucas got kicked out of school in Texas. Lucas mentions that he came to get a fresh start...etc. So he either came to NYC because of his father, or because he got kicked out of school. It wouldn't make sense a Company would transfer someone because said person's son got kicked out of school. I think the writer's forgot Lucas's origin story when they came up with the whole Zay/Texas Lucas dynamic.

      I'll file that mistake away with how Cory met Topanga and Topanga's parents.

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    13. The Canadian military has compassionate postings, moving or not moving people for family reasons. Presumably the US has the same.

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    14. Not necessarily Matt. If Lucas missed a year of school, it's possible he hurt Zay's bully badly enough that criminal charges were filed. That could take some time to resolve.

      Lucas's father being transferred allows for the entire family to have a new start.

      Milestones, I brought up the military as an explanation as to why Zay would wind up in the same district as Lucas. Military transfers allow for butterfly effects that are actually rather plausible--"Wow! Our dads knew each other in the military and here we are even though they haven't seen each other in a long time!"

      Hmmm, Lucas's father working in petroleum...it's plausible. If that's true, then maybe he works with Jack Hunter. Imagine "Take Your Child To Work Day" if Topanga's arguing against their company.

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    15. I love how I've learned about Canada's culture from Milestones.

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    16. Thanks, Cryptid. I wouldn’t hold myself up as a fount of any amount of wisdom regarding our culture. And if our current government is re-elected with a majority in a little over a week, it will turn out I know squat.

      I was raised in a military family, spent my early years though to grade 7 in military housing, and was in the military myself, so I do know a fair bit about that, at least through to twenty years ago. (I also know lots about our income tax system, and government agricultural support programs, which hopefully will never ever matter here.)

      I’m certainly not bringing any understanding of cheerleading to the table. I can usually find a way to relate what’s happening with these kids at school with my own dimly remembered experiences. Not here. I know my junior high didn’t have them. Possibly either or both of the high schools I attended had them, but I have no reliable memory to support that. Maybe that is way I was less affected by this episode than pretty much everybody else. I did like it more on a second viewing.

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    17. Can't overlook fatigue as a factor in your enjoyment of an episode. Lord knows I've made my share of mistakes, a few of them on this blog, when I was too tired to think clearly and use better judgment.

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    18. Here in Texas, about half the kids call everyone sir or ma'am, their parents included.

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    19. Thanks for answering my question Dara.

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    1. We didn't know it was on until too late. I have so very little interest in watching it... Did you? Is there anything redeeming about it?

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    2. Yeah, I saw a little of it and it didn't click with me at all. We just suffered through an episode of a non-GMW Disney Channel show, and next weekend we have three episodes. Invisible Sister may get a pass for now. Perhaps we'll review it during a quiet period in the off-season.

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    3. I watched Invisible Sister and thought for a DCOM it was fair - like a B-. I liked it better than Descendants for sure. The three leads (Rowan, Paris, and Karan) were good and it was good to see Eli Williams back in the classroom. There were issues, but nothing so atrocious as to be totally unwatchable.

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    4. I have to disagree with 1960sposter actually - I kind of thought it was horrid. I have to agree with Christian, just didn't click with me. There were so, so many problems. Even Rowan had so many problems. It's by far the worst DCOM ever to premiere in October in a very, very long time (though October sets a very high standard)

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    5. I agree with 1960poster and the B- grade. A good, not great DCOM. I also liked it better than Descendants. It was nice to see Rowan, Paris, and Karan take on characters other than the shows they are known for. You can still catch another airing. It looks like Disney Channel will run it again this Monday, October 12 and will likely schedule at least another airing or two before Halloween.

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  3. Ok I'll admit, after the shitty promos in typical Disney Channel fashion, you got me pretty excited for this episode except for maybe the wasted and confusing Perez Hilton scene (and I actually LIKE Perez Hilton to a degree, believe it or not).

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  4. Ok one thing that's kind of weird is how they pick on this Jenkins cheerleader so much, and how when Riley didn't catch her she fell, but when it was her turn to catch Riley and Riley fell they did the weird freeze-frame instead of showing her fall too, almost like they're too afraid to actually show their precious Riley getting physically hurt on the show. At first I thought my cable feed actually froze (apparently that actually happened in Canada during Invisible Sister).

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    1. I actually thought the same thing! Yeah, it's weird. Reminds me of that bit where they refused to show Farkle actually put his finger in Maya's nose in Season 1, and it seemed like they were almost going out of their way not to show it.

      But that also bugged me. The coach just bodily throwing Riley. You, uh, you can't do that. You'd go to jail.

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    2. How could I forget the freeze frame! What on EARTH was that.

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    3. There were indeed transmission issues up here that cropped up deep into Invisible Sister, though mostly audio. Enough that I missed the ending and now will never know whether or not she was able to re-visible her sister, get together with her crush, or make her science teacher proud.

      This wasn’t something it would ever have occurred to me to watch but for Rowan Blanchard. She did pretty well for some asked to carry a story about invisibility and lacrosse, and only in one or two brief instances, or what I saw, seemed like Riley.

      As for Rah Rah, I appear to have liked it the least of those who have chimed in so far, which is unprecedented. But the movie both caused me to greatly exceed my daily limit for Disney and pushed the start time for GMW to midnight (I’m in the central time zone but we get the West feed for Disney). I wasn’t at my most receptive and will have to watch again, I guess.

      I have heard the name Perez Hilton before, but don’t really know who he is.

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    4. Cable companies really love to screw over flyover country.

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    5. "I have heard the name Perez Hilton before, but don’t really know who he is."

      Eh...the temptation to say what I personally think about Hilton is conflicting with my desire for fairness.
      Hilton runs a website that essentially functions as a teen/young adult celebrity gossip center. So he's basically a paparazzi that happens to be popular with teenagers.

      A /lot/ of people do not like him at all. Hilton has a reputation for being a hypocrite in respect to leaked photos and for being a self-righteous bully, eviscerating anybody who doesn't agree with his politics.

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    6. Currently, isn't he in some kind of trouble for leaked photos of him naked with a naked young boy? This guy should not be anywhere near a kids' TV show. Whoever cast him should be called on the carpet. Disney should have edited the tag out.

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  5. I enjoyed the episode. The humor was eh. I like that they didn't exactly do the whole "Riley doesn't catch her and then Jenkins does the exact same thing and then we get a little one-liner from Riley on the ground," but I didn't find the freeze frame funny either. Zay has definitely gotten better since Secret of Life, but still not all that good. He's an unnecessary piece in the story that they feel obligated to make time for to keep him relevant.

    Now, I say Zay's unnecessary in the story, but I think he's kinda necessary for Lucas. I don't think the Loud Lucas bit would have worked for me if Zay hadn't backed him up. That scene and the one in Rileytown where they teamed up against Farkle I really enjoyed. These little moments of Zay backing Lucas up does more for me in terms of character relationships than all the times the show has said "Riley, Maya, Lucas and Farkle are friends. Just reminding you, they're all friends. By the way, they're friends." It just feels more subtle and natural to me. Zay makes Lucas better in my eyes, and pre-Texas Zay has me convinced they should keep him as Lucas-support.

    Loved that Cory had conflict for once. I mean, there was that one time with Father, but I'd rather not start up that train. Ben performed well in that episode though, as well as here. I genuinely believed he didn't know whether teacher or father was his view. And of course, Riley finally having her own passion was just such an awesome change of pace. I also like that mini-callback to Rowan's improvised passion for Riley, basketball, what with the allusion to Lebron not making his high school team.

    I probably could've gotten into more, but it's been six hours since the episode, it's 3 am and I'm tired. There's probably a redundancy somewhere in that sentence.

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    1. I actually agree with you a lot, especially with regards to how the Core Four tends to act as a quartet and only as a quartet.

      I think there was a missed opportunity here, much like with "Rileytown." The opportunity concerns the platonic friendship of Riley and Farkle. Why not build on this a bit? Platonic boy/girl friendships are rare on children's television, and even rarer on primetime.
      Moreover, Farkle has a connection here with Riley's hopes of finally making the team. He's had his share of "perseverance stories." We can assume Farkle goes out for plays, even though he probably is still unofficially blacklisted, and then there's the Debate Team, which Farkle runs but rarely wins. And presumably, Riley still goes to see Debate Team, out of loyalty.

      Like I said before in "Rileytown," sympathy is all well and good for a group of friends trying to help one of their number, but I think empathy, which is derived from similar experiences rather than just emotional connection, is stronger.

      Oh, and I don't think I saw any redundancies.

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  6. "I'm all over pop fantasy, and compared to Rothfuss, Sanderson, or Jordan especially, GRRM might as well be doing cave paintings."

    Hmmm, it appears that I need to read Sanderson. I've heard a lot of good things about him from Larry Correia, who in my opinion is the go-to guy for urban fantasy. As soon as I finish the first book in the Harry Dresden series, I'll go on to Sanderson.

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    1. Sanderson is great. Also read some Joe Abercrombie if you get the chance. Good stuff.

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    2. I'll add it to the list.

      What about you, 1960? You read Correia? He's fantastic--though the first book in the MHI series is...not very good, which he openly admits. He self-published it before he got a real editor, so yeah.

      Ringo's on my list too--but he writes so fast that by the time I finish one book, he'll already have three more.

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    3. Sanderson is the Manderson.

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  7. Well, let's see. I don't have too much to add. I actually quite enjoyed how small this episode seemed to be. I didn't feel like they were trying too hard with a lesson. It was kinda like Ant-Man. It was a breath of relief after three episodes that were really trying too hard to be very special episodes. Something small and self-contained while still enjoyable.

    Rowan was great again. She's really gotten comfortable in this role. But one thing I really liked was the classroom scene. The Riley calling her teacher "Mr. Matthews" was fantastic. Separating "Father" and "Teacher" was a great idea and I hope it continues. We saw Feeny and Turner battle with their roles a lot on the original show and it adds a lot of depth.

    I agree with Sean and Christian that Ben Savage had his best performance of the season. I actually like Zay a lot because I see him a "Voice of Reason." He basically says what we're all thinking. I like how he's interacting with the group more. I'm guessing he and Farkle will hang out in the Texas 3-parter. I want them to give Zay something other to do than crack jokes.

    Riley making the team was predictable but how it was done was handled nicely. Becoming an alternate makes sense from just a logic stand point. It'll never come up again, except maybe in Graduation, but I have one question. Riley is a bubbly, happy, ball of energy that everyone loves. Why isn't she the mascot? She'd be perfect!

    And the tag scene was a waste. It adds nothing to the episode. I liked that he played himself, but it added nothing. Though it was in a really blah episode, I liked Jane Lynch's guest spot much better.

    I also just want to say how glad I am that Christian and Sean run this blog well. It gets old seeing people complain about Rowan's views on feminism and how she wants to bring in "gay propaganda" to the show on IMDB.

    And this blog seems to be the one place where nobody seems to be shipping anyone and ripping other people apart from not sharing said ship.

    Grade: B+. Best episode by far since Semi-Formal
    MVP: Ben Savage, Runner Up: Rowan Blanchard

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    1. "I also just want to say how glad I am that Christian and Sean run this blog well. It gets old seeing people complain about Rowan's views on feminism and how she wants to bring in "gay propaganda" to the show on IMDB. "
      Yeah, there has been a lot of that there, which is weird. My participation on IMDb has gone way down lately. But yeah, I think Sean and I are both stridently liberal, so I wouldn't expect any problems there.

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    2. That's actually kind of sickening that people would say that about Rowan.

      And you're right, she would be an excellent mascot. It's odd that that never came up

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    3. Now you guys know why at this point most of the GMW board on IMDb are morons calling each other morons for various valid and not-valid reasons.

      As for Rowan and her politics, most of my issue is just simply with how what she's saying on interviews and especially what she's claiming for the show itself doesn't actually sync with what the show actually puts on the air. At least on face-value I whole-heartedly agree with her feminist politics and my biggest complaint is the show itself, not her, not living up to that expectation.

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    4. Oh man, that would have been a perfect ending.

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    5. I agree that it is very wrong for Rowan to be trashed for her politics.

      From what I can tell, it appears to be relatively isolated on IMDB. I just googled it, and Rowan is praised up and down on various entertainment-inclined news sites, including the Guardian and the Huffington Post.

      "Girl Meets Sludge" is supposed to be about feminism and gender bias in science. Seeing as Riley and Maya have shown zero interest whatsoever in science or mathematics, I have misgivings about the execution. Unless they bring back Smackle, which is likely.

      I don't know; if the writers really want to show "Girl Power" or "Feminism," then why don't they give actual storylines to Topanga?

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    6. Shipping Wars Are Stupid-I love your idea of Riley being the mascot. It would have been a much better ending than the one they went with. Kids need to learn that failures happen, and you can't get everything you want. Being the mascot would have been the best of both worlds; Riley doesn't get everything she wants, but she still gets to cheer on the team and be part of a group. It's a happy ending, with a valuable lesson being learned-the importance of persistance and not giving up.

      I loved the last line, about don't we all want to live in a world where dreams come true? That's the perfect reason for watching half hour shows like this. It's wish fulfillment fantasy, which I'm okay with.

      Cryptid456-I love the idea of bringing back Smackle for an episode on girls and science. Smackle could turn to Riley and Maya for support or help.

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    7. I gotta say that anybody who is shaming, or ridiculing, a 13-14 year old girl who's found something to be passionate and vocal about are people who just don't get it. I wish I has half as informed and could speak half as intelligently as she does on these topics on those things that interest me. I wish I could have found my voice at her age like she has in this world. She should be commended, not ridiculed. Those IMDB commenters are dumb ass all hell.

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  8. I though this episode was delightful. It was genuinely funny (Lucas and zay bit) and Cory was at his best with teaching!! The lesson was spot on for BMW/GMW fans.
    It then did something that most disney shows do, it hit that last ten minutes where the story no longer fits and became SO dumb. I agree the cheer coach was stupid and DID remind me of coach sue from glee, awesome reference! But I think it would have been better if riley didn't make it. She clearly was bad and it is fair to say if the team has been like that for over a decade with their hard work and competitive spirit riley wouldn't be able to catch up and sometimes kids simply don't make the team. They have made many references to riley being good at dancing, why not that? The girls acting like they got hurt, made me mad, I thought it was dumb and put a sour note on what could have been an amazing episode. Overall it was, I was simply disappointed in the standard disney recipe of everything getting figured out for the better in 20 minutes.
    I have been a fan not as much for the plots but for the lessons taught by then feeney and now Cory and I have to say, I cried a little. I loved it!

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    1. Yes! Getting cut from a team or not getting a part in a play happens, and kids need to learn that's okay. It's an important lesson.

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    2. Agreed! I think GMW is the perfect platform for this lesson...

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    3. Also! If the coach was good, she would have put the team first in understanding she needs to do what's best for the whole team and not a single individual who has not put the hard work in.

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  9. It had the makings of a great episode. To put it kindly, Riley should not have made the team. I constantly hear the writer's say they are writing real stories. Well, real stories would have a lesson where Riles didn't quite make it. There are young girls watching this show that could really have benefited from Riley trying but not making it. Girls that will not make the team despite their dreams, girls that won't win over the Alpha Girls on the squad at the last moment. That Sh*t that resolved Riley's issue just doesn't happen in the real world. Lazy Disney writing at it's finest.

    Also, Zay. Wasn't really sure where his role was until this episode. As someone else mentioned he's going to be the voice to call out the GMW tropes that we've come to accept. Also, him repeating the break into the room think is just him reaffirming that he can't believe this stuff actually goes on. This was only his 2nd trip to Riley's home...so the shock would still be there I think. I really don't mind him here at all.

    I was pleased to see Topanga being a mom for once. We actually had a Topanga/Riley moment for the first time, until Auggie showed up. Even then though, it was cool to see Auggie being a supportive brother, vs just a comedic side-bar for the family.

    As for Lucas being loud. I just think it's a function of having his buddy with him from Texas. He's more comfortable now and is showing it.

    One question I do have though, that I just thought of. Was Lucas brought up to NYC because his dad transferred, or because he got kicked out of school?

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    1. Transferred. What self-respecting Texan would send their misbehaving child to New York City in order to straighten him out?

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    2. Lucas told Riley that he had to leave Texas because something bad happened. So that doesn't play into the transfer narrative.

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    3. I absolutely agree! There is the generation that teams don't have cuts in case of emotionally scarring a child, but riley clearly is not fit to be a cheerleader. Is it better to help find what she is honestly awesome at or potentially have her be laughed at? I think the writers miss the mark with Riley's comedy sometimes, is it honestly funny or are we laughing AT her? It would be an amazing message to not give up, like the lesson was but know when we aren't great at something and it's okay not be be great at everything, but searching for their passions and interests. Cory didn't have a ton of them growing up if any really, he was great at filming and maybe riley is the same way. She is always searching throughout the series like her dad but I think this is society affecting the writing that if you try hard you get in, and that isn't real life...
      I completely agree we saw Topanga being to pang and not so annoyingly condescending

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    4. Right on Emily. because honestly...Coordinated Riley Aint. She can't be a fill-in for routines because well...she'll bungle it up. We the audience understand that, and don't hold it against her. That's why we love her character so much. So the writer's catering to Riley's desires here is just pandering to the "participation trophy" generation and nothing more.

      However, she's got enthusiasm for days and THAT''S her best asset. They could have made her become a Rally-Girl (Basically a girl that makes posters, organizes fundraisers etc.) for the school teams. That would have satisfied a "tucked in" resolution while also being realistic at the same time.

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    5. That's perfect! That would be a great fit for her, , knowing she is helping others and building skills like marketing and organizing doesn't make her any less talented, it's simply channeling those talents that boosts her up and doesn't turn her into slap stick comedy and the punchline.

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    6. Matt Rainey-Rally Girl would be the perfect position for Riley.

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  10. This was defiantly the best episode in a long time. The cheerleading seems were legitimately funny. Oh, and you haven't seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You are missing out on the best show of all time!

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  11. I thought this episode was just okay. Yes it would have been better if she didn't make the team and it would have been better had she ended as the mascot. But mostly, it would have just been better if it was funnier. I thought Maya was severely underutilized. A great thing about Cory and Shawn is that whenever one had the leading storyline, the other one picked up the slack on jokes. There was only 2 or three jokes I laughed at the whole episode and a majority of them came from Zay (cringe). I actually liked when Lucas was shouting out random answers like Farkle does and he kept getting shot down, and then Zay decides to throw one out too and just goes "I got your back man". Idk why but I found it really funny.

    Also Christian was absolutely right that Maya deciding she "would have never let Riley ring the bell" at the end was kind of a dumb cop out but whatever. Also I agree with the review that I liked the level of terrible they made Riley during the tryouts. When she had to tumble I was expecting her to just like run and trip and everyone laugh cause she's too uncoordinated to do anything but instead they had her do some cartwheels since she can't do a handspring. And she couldn't do any of the cheerleading moves in the dance but she still kept up with everyone else and didn't go off beat. I thought it was just enough and realistically looked like someone who practiced a lot and really tried to be good but just didn't have the experience.

    The lesson wasn't super annoying but it also was not enough to save a not that funny episode so I give this a C+. It wasn't actively offensive, just not great. Also I know it came up in the review and I'd just like to say I didn't think Rules was that bad. I actually remember it being pretty good. Far better than Gravity and Father, and in my opinion better than this.

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    1. Yeahhhhh it wasn't that funny. That's what kept it from an A for me. I put very high value in fleshing out Riley's character.

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    2. They definitely TRIED to have Maya as the wisecracker sidekick like they used to do with Shawn and Cory, it was just low quality. Almost every joke boiled down to "pff, you're bad at this."

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    3. As it happens, Rowan usually does a pretty good job handling comedy. Michael Jacobs actually said Riley is the New Eric, rather than the New Cory or Topanga.

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    4. Oh I completely agree i find Rowan/Riley hilarious. she's typically the highlight of the episode for me. It just wasn't really there this episdoe, the writers didn't give her enough to work with. And wow was maya making jokes Sean? I didn't even notice

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    5. She was definitely trying. If nothing else, "I stole it" at the end was pretty funny.

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    6. I'm not very good at writing humor myself, but I am aware of one rule, and I'm not sure how well GMW actually does at this:
      There is a fine line between naivety and ignorance. Naivety is funny, ignorance is not. Dumb for the sake of dumb is not funny. Riley is naive, so she's funny. Maya and Zay's ignorance in school subjects is not funny. Come to think of it, the character of Eric Matthews comes readily to mind with respect to that rule--as I recall Sean, you despised what they did to Eric in Season Seven.

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    7. Cryptid—I’m no theorist of comedy, but my thinking is that almost anything can be made funny if you do it right. While not to my taste, somebody must have been laughing at Dumb and Dumber.

      GMW doesn’t make me laugh out loud very often. When it happens, Rowan Blanchard is usually responsible. I would have thought the “who’s funniest” question was settled science.

      I don’t at all think Maya is a humourless character or Sabrina Carpenter can’t be funny. It just didn’t show up much on this episode.

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    8. I just recently did a mimi-thon of BMW/GMW and watched "For Love and Apartments" and "Rules" back to back. Compared to FLaA, Rules is gold!

      As for this episode, I quite liked it. This is the standard for average that the show should aim for. A good balance between humor and lesson for a simple character driven story. When they're not doing super-special episodes and BMW reunions, this is the kind of filler I'd like to see.

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    9. I haven't had a chance to see the episode yet, but I'm gathering that it's going to be this season's "Brother" (Which is my favorite episode without Shawn or Eric) or "Smackle." Actually enjoyable filler.

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    10. literally will friedleNovember 10, 2016 at 1:49 AM

      I can't believe that NO ONE HERE caught this from Cryptid:

      "Michael Jacobs actually said Riley is the New Eric, rather than the New Cory or Topanga."

      CONFIRMATION FROM MICHAEL JACOBS THAT RILEY IS ERIC'S CHILD.

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  12. I can only echo pretty much what everyone has already said. I liked this episode, and it feels like a pallet cleanser after the swing and misses we had in "Farkle" and "Rileytown". Its size helped with that. By focusing on Riley and the cheerleading tryouts, the message this episode felt focused and appropriate. Rowan was really good for the 3rd week in a row (I'm not counting WOT 2). I think Rowan the actress has improved leaps and bounds over the course of this season, and I don't think there is anything she can't do at this point. She's really starting to nail down this version of Riley they want, and she's hitting her stride. HATED the freeze frame BS, and took me out of the episode both times they did it. Don't know why they seemed so adverse to showing some physical comedy there.

    Ben was the best he's been in a real long time in this one. This was the first time they've successfully handled the father/teacher dynamic, and I also loved it when Riley said "Mr. Matthews". First time I think they've done that, I and hope they have that happen more. Establish the dichotomy between classroom and home a bit more, and I think that will help the show tremendously.

    To get to what I didn't like real quick, I didn't like that Riley made the team either. This would have been a perfect opportunity to tell kids that they aren't always going to succeed. That life isn't always fair. Would have loved to see the mascot compromise, cause that would have been perfect for Riley. I also didn't like how the other kids acted about Riley trying out again. They were really down on the whole thing for the vast portion of the episode. As if any of them were competing or trying out for anything Riley wouldn't be right there with a giant sign cheering them on as loudly as possible. Seemed kind of prickish by her best friends.

    Episode Grade: B
    Episode MVP: Rowan Blanchard. I just think Rowan's on a role right now, and she gets my MVP for the 3rd week in a row. Ben is very close second, and this was the best he's been in a while.

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  13. This was defiantly the best episode in a long time. The cheerleading seems were legitimately funny. Oh, and you haven't seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You are missing out on the best show of all time!

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    1. Eh, perhaps. (Though few Whedon aficionados I know claim it's any better than Firefly, and while I like Firefly, I wouldn't consider it a "best show of all time" contender) But it just holds absolutely no interest to me. It doesn't help that I have a strong aversion to stories about vampires of any stripe.

      Bizarrely, though, I have seen the original Buffy movie with Kristy Swanson.

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    2. Buffy would be on my short list. It aired on a kids' network up here and, in roundabout way, is somewhat responsible for my stumbling into GMW.

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  14. Finally saw the episode.

    Classroom: How the heck doesn't Farkle know how many times it took Edison to make his lightbulb? He's a Minkus--I remember learning that when I was in fourth grade--we had an inventor's unit in school and Shipping Wars did Edison.

    A note about the freeze frame. I think there actually might be if not mandated network standards, then unwritten rules among writers about the amount of physical humor the girls can be subjected to as opposed to boys. It's something I picked up on a while ago when comparing BMW to GMW. Cory and Eric were often essentially the universe's chew toys, but the closest we got to physical comedy with Topanga was when she cut off the clump of her hair.

    When I stop to think about it, I don't know of a single sit-com, children's or otherwise, where the girls were the primary source of physical comedy.

    The hug scene was just plain weird. Moving on.

    Classroom scene 2: Finally! I've been waiting for Riley to call Cory "Mr. Matthews" in the classroom since the show began. As I recall, Cory actually called her "Miss Matthews" in the pilot. So what took them so long? It was annoying to see Riley call her teacher "Daddy" during actual class time.

    While I agree with the points made that Riley would be better off as a mascot, I'm not so opposed to her making it as I thought I would be. Ordinarily, I do not like the participation trophy mentality, but I think what set this apart was that the cheerleaders acknowledged that if Riley could learn the techniques, she could possibly be a part of the squad.

    The tag scene was nothing. Completely pointless. I'm going to pretend it never happened. Perez Hilton is...not who I'd expect to guest star and I am happy to see the writers did not make him a part of the plot. I'm not big on celebrity guest stars in general--unless their name is Vader. Vader was awesome.

    Commentary:
    Yeah, I agree with Sean and Christian. Riley's friends, especially Maya and Farkle, seem a bit too cold here. While Lucas, from what we've seen, has never failed at anything in his life, Farkle and Maya have not. Riley goes to all of Farkle's debates and encouraged him to pursue acting even though he's not very good. Heck, "Truth" itself outright stated that Riley's encouragement made Farkle believe he could do anything he set his mind to. Why the heck wasn't that brought up? We could have had a nice contrast, a good-cop/bad-cop with Maya imploring Riley to just quit and Farkle encouraging her to continue trying. Zay and Lucas were not needed in the episode at all.

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    1. I think(?) Raven was the primary source of physical comedy in That's So Raven. There were so many stunts in that one. I even remember an episode where they had her pants drop... something they usually make the males do.

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    2. Oh snap! I forgot all about Raven. She did have her share of slapstick, even though it seemed a bit more...fantasy-based, so to speak. The inflated suit, the mushroom-allergy swelling. Then again, there was that time Old Oakey fell down with Raven, Chelsea and Eddie inside its branches.

      But what about Little Brother Cory? He had his share of slapstick too. And Eddie actually got beat up a couple of times--I don't think we'll ever see a girl on Disney Channel get into a real fight.

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    3. Cryptid456-"I don't know of a single sit-com, children's or otherwise, where the girls were the primary source of physical comedy." I realize these shows are from way back, but I Love Lucy and Laverine&Shirley immediately come to mind.

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    4. Yeah, but there's a difference from hi-jinks and actual slapstick. That famous chocolate scene from I Love Lucy has been spoofed a dozen times, and I think may have inspired Riley and Maya's attempt to ride the dishwasher conveyer belt thingamajig from "Meets the Forgotten." But that's not slapstick, per say.

      I've only seen one episode of Laverne and Shirley, and I have to admit, it was really funny to see Shirley throw a tantrum by holding her breath.

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    5. Oh, silly me. I forgot the grade and MVP.

      Grade: B+
      Very good episode. A few minor missteps and I would have preferred to have Riley's friends either be called out for their lack of support, or have Farkle and Maya play good-cop/bad-cop with regards to supporting Riley.

      MVP: Ben Savage. He delivered some badly needed balance to Teacher Cory. Rowan did a good job but unlike "Rileytown" didn't show much in the way of new skills.

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    6. Lucy stomping grapes or Laverne and Shirley doing the supermarket sweeps might qualify for what you're talking about.

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    7. Kit’s mention of I Love Lucy made me remember the cafeteria stuff in Forgotten too, which I also took as an homage. I don’t think I watched Laverne & Shirley much. All I remember of it is that the theme song was right at home in the horror show that was mid-70s Top 40.

      I don’t think you would need to go back that far. Maybe nowhere: this episode did show Riley falling backwards over the couch. I think the freezes probably just caught the last images useful to their comedic cause.

      I was assuming I would tap out early on this thread, but I’m still puzzling over the generally high regard accorded this episode. For me it was amiable but inconsequential.

      If I had any doubts that most everyone else is here chasing the BMW dragon, this contrast might disabuse me. As noted, the episode did give us the best from Cory seen in a while, and, maybe to a lesser extent, did the same for Topanga. While it had Riley and her friends doing stuff (mostly Riley, for all they brought to the table, the rest may as well have been assigned an Auggie and Ava side story), it did little if anything to establish or reinforce any sort of GMW-specific mythology. If not the biggest, it might have been the purest fix of BMW that GMW has delivered.

      What draws me to GMW, on the other hand, was in much shorter supply. There was almost nothing that found its way to that centre in my head that the best stuff from Rileytown or Farkle did.

      Or maybe I just have bad taste.

      Speaking of which, Invisible Sister is airing again tonight, at least up here. I might give it another shot. For someone who would have claimed not to have been enjoying it, I was pretty annoyed when transmission issues afflicted that last twenty minutes or so.

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    8. Maybe I did go a little too far in wondering whether there were unwritten rules about the amount of slapstick girls are allowed to be subjected to, but it was just a thought.

      What people liked about this episode, Milestones, was that it was trying to tell a story, rather than tell the audience something. Now, I actually found Rileytown to have one of the best scenes in this show's history and "Farkle" to be respectful, compared to other "diagnosis episodes" from this channel.

      But with this episode, it's actually rather simple. I think it'll be this season's "Girl Meets Brother." Actually good filler. And I am delighted because I was expecting to hate this episode--I had expected Guest Star Hilton to actually have an impact on the plot and have the characters all go "Look! A celebrity! Be our friend celebrity!"

      One of the best episodes of Season One is "Girl Meets Brother." It takes place exactly one year before this episode, since there's a brief gag about Riley not making the cheerleading squad. The plot? Riley babysits her little brother so her parents can have a proper date for their fifteen anniversary. There's not much else; no forced message in the classroom, no guest star who takes up an inordinate amount of time, no "Power of Friendship" vibes that dragged down episodes like "Friendship."

      Oh, and "Pluto" is by far the biggest fix of BMW that GMW has given us.

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    9. Cryptid, I believe I was thinking of something else you wrote somewhere. I actually agree young girls sustaining physical injury or pain right before our very eyes for the sake of comedy isn’t something you see very often.

      Brother was one of my favourite of the early episodes.

      I agree that Pluto had more plentiful and rich BMW content. My sense was that the content was regarded in these quarters as being somewhat “contaminated” by GMW stuff.

      I liked the Rah Rah well enough on a second viewing, and its reach was certainly well within the show’s grasp. It seemed still to have had many of the shortcomings the episodes almost always have. I usually shrug them off, and it appeared here everyone else did as well.

      “Why I am watching a kids’ show?” is a question I have repeatedly asked myself, especially, and very suspiciously, at the beginning. (A shouted, profane variant is “what the fuck is this show doing to me?”) I wouldn’t have a good answer for this episode beyond already having an allegiance to the show.

      I’m guessing this upcoming trifecta of Texas episodes is going to strain that allegiance.

      I’m not looking to undercut or argue against anybody else’s esteem for this episode. I’m just intrigued by the variance. Thanks for helping me get a handle on it.

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  15. The only part I saw of this episode (for now) is when the group walks out the gym together... that looked really awkward especially because Lucas is literally looking directly down at the ground, idk it just looked bad.

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  16. Finally caught the episode. I can't get into the Lucas character. He can have funny moments at times but it always feels like they're trying to change his personality or suddenly add traits to his personality. I think it's really weak that they rely on Texas just to give him a personality, which is why I don't really like "the Secret of Life" that much because giving him a backstory doesn't necessarily make him a good character, imo. The way he randomly yelled things? I wish he acted that way since the start. Ok, thinking about it, that would have been annoying. But that was weird.

    It actually wasn't a bad episode but I didn't really like the message. It's like they took the message of "Never give up!" to a whole new level, but in a bad way.

    I agree with you guys that we've been suffering from a string of mediocre episodes since August. It's a shame but they seem to have a lot of big episodes coming: Texas (I'm not looking forward to this... please surprise me), Forgiveness, New Years, and Graduation.

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    1. I agree. Part of it is that the actor isn't that polished however much he has improved, but Lucas is...well, I've mentioned my distaste for characters who were introduced solely as love interests. Maybe, if they had kept Big Brother Elliot and put Lucas in his class rather than Riley's, I'd feel differently.

      Texas backstory feels like a ret-con, considering how much people complained that Lucas wasn't that interesting. Sure writers have a lot of stuff planned out ahead of time--Michael Jacobs has the ending planned out for Riley and Maya, and I wouldn't be surprised if they have outlines set aside in case Real Life requires changes. Suppose Danielle Fischel gets pregnant and they write that into the show. But I can't imagine Texas was planned from the start.

      I don't know, part of me still thinks that the show would have been stronger if Riley, Maya and Farkle were a Power Trio instead of a Core Four with Lucas. That way, we'd call back to the first season of BMW. Cory's daughter, Stuart's son, Shawn's....Shawn, for want of a non-legally binding noun in the English language.

      Texas looks like we'll at least have some laughs when Farkle discovers the glorious wonder that is Texas BBQ.

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    2. I love the idea of Lucas being in the older brother's class. It gives her an obstacle (or multiple obstacles) to overcome: how do I get him to notice me, would he go out with me, how do I find the courage to let him know I like him.

      It would also would have been fun to see how Elliot reacted to it. This configuration would have opened the door for other plotlines. If Lucas and Elliot were fighting, or if Riley and Lucas were fighting, whose side would the other sibling take?

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    3. While I'm not sure I have an actual opinion on the merits of Elliot Matthews, I must admit it is fun to ponder.

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  17. Late to the game again this week, so I’ll get right to the point. I agree with Sean and Christian that this was a very good episode. We had a mostly coherent, straight to the point story of perseverance about how much Riley wants to be a cheerleader. The humor and dialogue were mostly pretty good, the crush your spirit Russian cheer coach to be our heroine’s antagonist was an interesting if clichéd choice, and the passive-aggressive (not sure if passive-aggressive is correct here) approach of her friend’s and father’s support was interesting as well. The performances were all pretty good with Rowan’s and Ben’s at the top.

    Grade: B+ this episode pressed almost all the right buttons for me, but could have been better.
    MVP: Rowan I know Ben had his best performance since maybe Pluto and for once his character was written well – father and teacher, but overall I find his acting skills to be mediocre at best and I include that when choosing an MVP. Riley was the heart of this episode and Rowan’s performances are just getting better and better. I would wager with a little more time she will be better than Sabrina. Not because Sabrina isn’t also getting better, but she isn’t improving as much as Rowan is.

    What I liked: first classroom scene Farkle: “Why didn’t Edison succeed on his first try?” Zay:” Because it was dark”. That exchange and the delivery hit me just like if it was Cory and Shawn in class during a season 2 episode, when Shawn was still a funny moron in school. And they needed Zay for that, no one would believe Lucas spouting that stupid answer. Zay is still growing on me. I also enjoyed the scene on the third morning when everyone goes to Riley’s room. Zay’s entire dialogue there needed to be pointed out, but it would have been completely out of character for Maya, Farkle or Lucas to say it. I also like that after Riley was cut, the rest of the girls on the team seemed to really appreciate that she wants it so badly, and tried as hard as she could. That itself was a lesson worth showing. I also liked it when Zay told Riley she wasn’t a cheerleader. I think there he was telling her that in his experience that cheerleaders are the typical pretty, shallow, mean girl, and Riley is so not like that. I don’t think Riley understood what he was saying though.

    What I didn’t like: They never told us WHY Riley wants to be a cheerleader or what she has done in the past year to expect her tryout results to change from the previous 5 years. That was bad writing. I didn’t like that they used what appeared to be a college cheer squad to make Riley look really incompetent by comparison. She just needed to not be good enough, they didn’t need to pound it in to us that she is an uncoordinated kook. I HATED when Zay shouted out “Vanessa”. It was just a copy of Eric shouting “Rachel”. I have no issues with him having a problem with an old flame, but couldn’t they have given him his own gimmick? I also hated the Disney ending. There was no need for Riley to make the team, the lesson was perseverance and that was delivered well up to that point. Telling kids that if you try you always win in the end is terrible. While trying itself IS the point, sometimes it still leads to disappointment. It was almost like the writer’s favorite sports movie is “Rudy”.

    In my opinion this episode could have gotten a better grade if the Disney ending were cut. That would have pushed this up to an A- from me. If they had then used that time to explore the same lesson for one of the other kids, say Lucas continuing to help Farkle get better at sports (the lesson from “Meets C&T), even if he wasn’t getting noticeably better, this would have been an A. Still it was one of the better episodes of season 2.

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    1. "There was no need for Riley to make the team, the lesson was perseverance and that was delivered well up to that point. Telling kids that if you try you always win in the end is terrible. While trying itself IS the point, sometimes it still leads to disappointment."
      To be fair, Cory won often enough early on when the stakes weren't very high. When Shawn and Eric faced dealing with the real world outside their school, they didn't win very often.
      I agree with you more than you know about the inherent fallacies of everyone-gets-a-trophy, but this episode may actually allow for it to be that much more jarring should Riley eventually lose in a later season.

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  18. The ratings are in. Invisible Sister drew 4.028 million viewers. That wasn't nearly as good as TB2 or Descendants. GMW following drew a season high 3.313 million viewers. That puts it in third place for the series for viewers behind only the pilot and "Meets Maya's Mother". It held on to a huge percentage of viewers from the movie.

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    1. All things considered, seeing as Invisible Sister was not a musical and therefore had no merchandise tie-in and it wasn't nearly as promoted as TB2 or Descendants, that really doesn't seem that bad.

      Pleased to see GMW is holding strong in the ratings.

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    2. My initial reaction was that of course Descendants and TB2 were better, almost by default, but you're absolutely right Cryptid. Invisible Sister wasn't trying to sell me anything or advance anybody's musical career. That alone makes it better than everything else.

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    3. "My initial reaction was that of course Descendants and TB2 were better, almost by default, but you're absolutely right Cryptid."

      This is my new favorite comment. I love it so much I made a Snapshot of this for my Dropbox. :D

      I haven't seen "Invisible Sister" yet, and I have to be honest, I'm not in a big hurry. But, if it's bad, it'll likely fade into obscurity.

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    4. It wasn't bad. It also wasn't a Halloween movie, but used the holiday as an excuse for some story crutch costuming. You can see it at watchdisney.com, probably all month, so you certainly have time to catch it.

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    5. Yeah it wasn't necessarily a Halloween movie but that's what I liked about it - the subtlety. It had a much deeper message than Descendants (only a boy can make you happy.. if you're Mal!) and Teen Beach 2 (girl power!) and I enjoyed Rowan a lot. Rowan's cemetery scene > any "serious" scene in Descendants/TB2.

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  19. I have to say I liked this episode more than I expected I would. It was nice, being more of a filler episode, to have a simple goofy plot without the forced melodrama of the relationship stuff. I think Rowan is getting better and better at what she does. Speaking of getting better, damnit if Zay isn't growing on me. Farkle is Farkle and for me Lucas is stiff and totally uninteresting, but Zay has made me chuckle. Didn't mind him repeating the stuff at the apartment. If its his second time there he may well still just be getting used to it. Fine by me.
    I'm with all the folks who liked Cory in this one. Ben was always my favorite part of BMW and the main reason I wanted to watch this show so it was nice to see him do well. I also agree that the ending where they pretend they never wanted her to ring the bell is silly nonsense. They spent the first 80 percent trying to talk her out of it. As one of the reviewer's said, its okay if they were wrong. It's even better then that she went for something no one else wanted her to keep going for.

    I wasn't bothered by her getting on the team. It was a clear concession by the coach to just call her an alternate for injuries. I liked that the other girls stuck up for her and while she sort of got a spot on the team she still learned about perseverance. The Edison tie in worked well for me. She kept trying. Even when she failed. No harm in letting her get a little victory. Especially as they set it up that she had been getting rejected for years. B+ for me. Ben/Rowan as the Co-MVPs.

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