So this is my first watch and I'm just gonna review as it goes.
X amount of time has passed since Texas, and regardless of what X is, it's too long for Maya not to have told Riley that she and Lucas didn't kiss. That's step one. Step zero. If you want me to believe that Maya and Riley are the best friends in the world, you can't miss the little details. Apparently "Life" wants to know what's going on between Maya and Lucas. I'm honestly sick to my untimely death of the writers trying to be cute by inserting the fanbase into the show. Sick of them being cute in general. I just need you to write the show. Drink coffee, and write the show. That's all I need from you. And the coffee's optional.
Harper's back, and that makes me neither happy nor sad. They at least got the formula right in this episode. What worked about Turner's lessons (and why I think Harper's first lesson worked) is the independence of the lesson. Turner's literature lessons happened to coincide with the kids' lives by the magic of television. Cory's history lessons coincide with the kids' lives by the magic of Cory. He sees their problem and makes a lesson to teach them how to fix it. So this lesson is set up properly.
Unfortunately, we're still plagued by what I've decided to call The Lesson Faces. You know what I'm talking about.
The faces that say OH GOODNESS. THIS IS SO APPLICABLE TO MY CURRENT SITUATION. I BETTER BE SURE TO LET THE AUDIENCE KNOW SO THEY DON'T MISS IT. The camera always cuts to these faces while the teacher (usually Cory) is still talking.
Except that kid on the left in Maya's picture. He's just like "Yeah love does come with a cost. Olive Garden is not cheap."
When does this take place? Doesn't New Year's happen during Christmas Break? Who cares, Charlie Gardner is here. CHAHLEH GAHDNAH. And hey, I agree with Lucas, I still like him. He's got his confidence back. His hair looks stupid but he's got his confidence back. C Gard is being bold, implying that he'll be kissing Riley at midnight. And you know what? Bold is good. We know that Riley still likes Lucas, which makes it easy to dislike Charlie here, but you can't blame him for something that we as the audience are privy to. If I were Charlie in this situation, I'd be thinking "If Riley still liked Lucas, she would have told me." So I for one do not blame C Gard at all.
Oh and she responds with this coy "Why would that be interesting?" Listen to the way she says it. If a girl said that to me like that, I'd think it's a lock. Even more certain than the fact that I spent too much money at Taco Bell tonight. The most guaranteed midnight kiss of all time.
Farkle "The Love Referee" Minkus throws out a red card on Riley. Flag on the play. He's talking a lot of sense, that Riley needs to be straightforward with Charlie, and Farkle's putting a self-destruct timer on it.
Do you folks at home want to know old Sean's big secret right now? I don't care about any of this. This is the same shit. "But story arcs take time!" This is not an arc. This is the same shit drawn out far too long. Listen to me writers, you have overstayed your welcome. You have overplayed your hand. Yes, I admit, you started with a pocket pair, and that gets you into the game real strong, it does. But you need to buy out the pot early, because if you let it go to the RIVER with a WET BOARD, you probably lost the hand. But that's what they did. They let it go too long, and now they lost.
I like poker.
Charlie brought his mullet to Cory's class too. You're making it hard to root for you, man.
Rowan is taller than Danielle and that's weird.
Farkle claims (not for the first time) that the Horn of Gabriel will blow at midnight, which is a powerful figure of speech that I might have to start using myself. There's nothing about this story that I haven't said a thousand times. I just want it to be over. And not in a "ooooooh here comes the climax!" sort of way, but more of a "Please let's move on from this" kind of way.
Farkle and Smackle are somewhat of a relief. Based on this episode, Farkle seems like the best catch for any of these women. Sarah's at the party too, apparently without a date (or with a female date, in which case, kudos.) DO YOU GUYS WANNA WATCH MAYA AND LUCAS NOT TALK TO EACH OTHER SOME MORE? BECAUSE YOU'RE IN LUCK! I'VE GOT JUST THE THING!
They did it againnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. They set up a tense scene right before the commercial, with our romance rectangle all on the couch, and then after the commercial it just doesn't exist anymore. It somehow resolved itself off camera. Stop doing that.
Okay if we're looking at this in a vacuum, where the romance rectangle doesn't exist and Cory isn't a terrible teacher, there is a deep, dying part of me that suddenly springs back to life when I hear Cory and Topanga romance each other. Girl Meets World beats my soul into submission, chains it up in the basement with the cockroaches, but moments like this remind that part of me not to give in.
And even through my bad attitude, Lucas eating the Couples Game card gave me a genuine laugh.
You know what's actually hilarious? This is funny. Watch this episode again from Lucas or Maya's point of view. I would totally think that Riley and Farkle have the secret hots for each other. Farkle keeps talking about LOVE and SECRETS, which makes Riley uncomfortable, and they keep dragging each other off away from the others. And as soon as Farkle mentions midnight, Riley spirits him away up to the roof. It would be very easy to get the wrong idea. Oh okay, it sounds like Smackle might have seen it that way, a little.
At long last, Riley says something meaningful to Charlie, that she is officially not interested. Thank you Riley. Charlie takes it like a champ, so all he's gotta do is go find Sarah. At the very least, we have one plot thread tied up. I will forever prefer Rarlie to this love triangle crap, but if this is the story they want to tell, then I'm glad Charlie didn't get strung along any further.
|I know that feel.|
Wohoah, what's this!
We got Sarah running the bases with Captain America back here, havin coffee with the Deaaaan woooooo Feeneh!
They made the wise, sage decision not to have Ava here with Auggie, thank goodness.
Farkle does indeed blow the Horn of Gabriel instead of kissing his girlfriend. What the hell is this ending? A cliffhanger? How MANY. TIMES. Are they going to say THIS IS IT. THIS IS THE ONE. WHERE THE TRUTH. AND THE GABRIEL. AND THE FEELINGS. WE GUARANTEE THE FEELINGS. Well we didn't get any of that. We got a cliffhanger. Pretty sure the writers didn't tweet about no god damn cliffhanger, though I doubt whoever handles that account could even spell cliffhanger. I'm going to end this review as abruptly as they ended the episode. What the fuck am I supposed to say?
Hey, guys. Sorry about the delay. I was insane busy on Friday and Saturday, basically was only at my apartment long enough to go to sleep and wake up, so I had no time. Sunday I had tons of time but I just... didn't wanna.
Not too much ground to cover. Sean more (I also don't care about any of this) or less (I wouldn't have found four different instances, or even one, to mention Sarah) said what I would have said.
Yeah, you're right, they're being too cute. This show is just so exhaustively and yet uncreatively meta and I'm tired of it. It took something I liked about Boy Meets World and made me hate it. There's just no nuance and finesse here. Just write a show. Stop pointing out how you're writing a show and write the show. And if you're going to do meta, stop doing it in the same couple ways. This conversation about how they need to address stuff that happened earlier because life is waiting on bated breath for them and nothing is happening until they do (and done better) in "Girl Meets the New World."
And, by the way, they only need to do these little bits of "Okay, stop everything, let's move the main story arc along now and address what happened last time." because this show's chronology is such a convoluted mess that big moments happen, and then episodes just end, and there's no resolution, and then the next episode is some dumb episode about religion that has nothing to do with anything.
It's a problem that will be coming at us next time too. This episode ends with a big revelation that should really rock the foundation of the group dynamic. Riley, Maya, and Lucas sit together as a sad unit unsure of what to say and where to go, and it's unresolved. Stay tuned for the next episode, in a month, for an episode about how girls can do science too, that was written, filmed, and intended to air before "New Year" and thus won't be addressing any of it! Around graduation (WHICH WILL CANONICALLY BE FIVE MONTHS LATER), the three of them will remember all this happened, we promise.
There's nothing wrong with having one-off episodic episodes peppered throughout the season, breaking up the development of the main story. In fact, I think that's the ideal way to do it. But then you need to end those main story beats in a place where characters can continue with their regular lives. Imagine if we got "Heartbreak Cory", ending with Topanga reading that letter, and then the next episode was just, like, "Raging Cory" for some reason. And then a month later they decided they had to get back to that letter and gave us "First Girlfriends Club".
Harper's back. Did I win a bet? Didn't I bet she'd be back and you didn't? I feel like we bet that. It took a lot longer than I thought. I still don't like her, but she wasn't nearly as grating in this episode since it wasn't all about how awesome she was. And, yeah, literature really works better for allegories than history does. History is on such a large scale that rarely do its dramas actually have much in common with adolescent heartaches. Literature, on the other hand, speaks to individual human dramas. So, using Sense and Sensibility, rather than trying to tie this into Iran Contra Affair was probably the way to go. Though I was a little confused about the discussion. It sounded like the characters were just being assigned the book and hadn't read it yet (and we see them starting to read it later) and yet Harper's standing there synopsizing the story and spoilering up a storm.
And, like, I don't know. I don't agree with the premise here. And I don't agree with how black and white this show tends to be on how life should be lived. Harper asks what's more important, Sense or Sensibility. Lucas answers "It depends on the situation." Harper says that's wrong, they're always just as important as each other and you need both. Shut up. Lucas isn't wrong. There's no wrong answer to a question like that. The way you see life isn't the way everybody should see life, and that's not what you're here to teach. And, yeah, I think sometimes it does depend on the situation, lady. Often you need both, but sometimes one is more important than the other. In certain situations it's more much more valuable to act based on instinct and your heart. In other situations, it's more much valuable to have rational thought. Lucas gave an entirely fair answer. For her to just be like "Nope. Anyone else?" is ridiculous.
Also, the whole second scene in the classroom is pointless. It's about Harper showing them that they need to use head and heart, that both sense and sensibility are important but... Charlie already says that in the first scene. We already got that lesson. You didn't need to spend four minutes for all the characters to discover what Charlie succinctly already stated. Did they forget they had Charlie say that already? They shouldn't have if they wanted it to be a lesson Harper teaches later.
Still, it was better than Cory's dumb class. "Will this be on the test, sir?" "It will." "When is the test, sir?" "Every day." God. I can hear them high-fiving each other in the writer's room over that self-important bullshit from here. Can we get an episode without some trite "Aren't I the wisest little dickens?" line from Cory. It's like there's an implied "Eh? EH? How 'bout THAT, huh?" after every other line he says.
You know who pissed me the fuck off in this episode? Farkle. This is none of your damn business Farkle. Get a fucking life and let these people live theirs. You think Riley's doing the wrong thing and want to tell her so? Fine. But it is so not his place to intervene on this, I can't even believe him. What a fucking prick. He was obsessed. You fucking loser, Farkle. Fuck off.
Also, if all Smackle brings to the table is accusing Lucas of being obsessed with her and not understanding affection, I'm losing interest. She was of no value in this episode at all to me.
Maya's desire to make the book be "Hop on Pop" was cute. Sabrina's good in this one in general. I was kind of underwhelmed by Rowan though.
"Hey, Charlie Gardner just asked me if I was invited to your party. I told him I didn't know about any party. He smiled, like a Charlie Gardner, gave me this bow, and then left. I still like him." is a great line.
Charlie Gardner seemed to chart a middle ground between his initial characterization and his slightly off Texas characterization. He's bold and take-charge and now as pathetic this time around, but he's also played for laughs as this weird guy who's elaborately and formally nice and turns out to be behind you overhearing your conversation. Like you say, Riley does gave him real reason to suspect she's interested in this one, as opposed to Texas where she clearly didn't want to be on that date. He mostly works, and he's still way more entertaining than any of the other boys. ("Hi! I'm a good person!") Hell, in this episode, he was more entertaining than everyone.
I do like that Riley finally came out with this though. It was clear Charlie was not being written as a guy Riley will really be with, so let's not drag it out anymore. I certainly hope this isn't it for Charlie, though. He's a great character. Let's just have him be part of the gang. If you need to create some room, you can drop Zay. Zay's gotten better, but I didn't miss him in this one, and I suspect I wouldn't at all.
One improvement this episode did have on Texas 3 despite retreading a lot of the same stuff was that I bought Lucas/Maya a little more. They still had their awkward "Not knowing how to talk to each other." thing, but there were signs by the end that this was improving. And it definitely does seem the issue at hand is that Lucas genuinely likes both of them. This is better than Riley and Lucas like each other, Lucas never liked Maya, and now Lucas is stuck with Maya because Riley's being a martyr.
Lucas eating the card was hilarious. Maya doing it again was not. That should have been a one-off. And it was funnier with Lucas.
Haha, yeah, you're right, watching it without context it totally looks like something's going on with Farkle and Riley, and she's urging Riley to come clean so they can be together. But really what's going on is Farkle is being a piece-of-shit friend.
Yeah, I liked Pangers in this one. And Cory after his dumb lesson. As per usual. It's so weird how Cory goes from the living fucking worst to my favorite character on the show almost entirely depending on what room he's in.
Episode Rating: C
Episode MVP: Tanner Buchanan