I don't actually mind, I just like BUSTIN' CHOPS. Take it from me, I know a lot about chops, and Christian has some busted chops right now.
I don't think anyone is going to pretend that we did a good job with the last episode's review. But this week it's a full course meal. Eight courses. A hundred courses. Like the meals in Game of Thrones. Because you deserve it. Because I want Girl Meets World Reviewed to be spoken of in the same breath as the other great review blogs, like... like Boy Meets World Reviewed. Let's get started.
Cory is blatantly not teaching History today. He has dropped any sort of pretense in order to crank out another valuable life lesson. And you know what, I'm okay with it. Feeny taught random topics all the time. At least they're not insulting my intelligence by pretending this has something to do with history, like they usually do. One of my professors in college used to say "If you're going to sin, sin boldly." You would wonder how that came up so often in Linear Algebra, but I digress. The point is, the writers were bold and didn't try to BS me. I appreciate that.
As for the content itself, Maya doesn't like school, Riley likes shiny objects, and Cory publicly humiliates his daughter. Par for the course.
So Minkus has lost his money investing in new technology. I have never seen Farkle base any of his decisions or his personality on his family's wealth, so we're not immediately drawn into this. All they needed was a few lines scattered through the season leading up to this to get us invested. It's so easy, but once again they've missed out on prime setup.
Not much to say about the next scene. Farkle has an amazing room. There are a few chuckles but for the most part it's... obvious...
Meanwhile, Cory is reliving The Provider from season 7 of Boy Meets World. I love that Cory carries a stamp around in his wallet, but I don't come to this show to watch a grown man be insecure. Hey Cory, maybe you would have had your son's allowance if you hadn't given every student in your class a dollar for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON.
Now that we're back in the room, things continue in pretty much the same way. Farkle's fears are realized as his friends forsake him for his expensive toys. *edit* JUST KIDDING, that had nothing to do with the episode and was a complete waste of time.
Okay I'm sorry, quick aside here. This isn't specific to this episode, but it's time to say it. Farkle uses the exact same voice for literally every situation on this show. Every single line is "I am very calm and mature." When was the last time we saw Farkle's range? Back in season one? He always uses the same tone, he handles every situation the same way. There's something to be said for consistency but damn, it's getting annoying. Here he is losing everything, his father cries into his cereal, but there's no emotion. Even in STEM, he immediately figured out the hidden lesson and rose above the fray to watch the events from his throne of wisdom.
Minkus being unable to answer why they deserve nice things is truly embarrassing. How about because he is directly responsible for creating (probably) millions of jobs and promoting the advancement and research of new technology? Is that not a good reason? I feel like that's a good answer that Minkus probably should have had ready.
We're in Maya's room now, and I think I'm enjoying Maya the most in this episode. The writing continues to be fairly obvious with Farkle waxing poetic about his romanticized "the grass sure is greener over here" view of being poor. For that, Farkle, I put you in last place. Riley is, by law, needlessly saccharine about friendship, like Tea from Yu-Gi-Oh, so she is in almost-last place. Lucas has been mostly on his own this episode acting like a real human being, so he gets pretty-far-from-last place. But Maya in particular is well written. She's realistic and pragmatic about her situation without playing to the emotions of her friends or the audience. The writers aren't trying to bait our sympathy for Maya here, and I greatly appreciate that. Indeed, I suspect that Farkle is a misdirect and this episode is primarily about Maya. Halfway through the episode I have no real idea how Farkle feels about his financial situation, but there's a much clearer picture of our blonde ferret owner.
Cory continues to not teach history and everyone in the class has their best Lesson Face on. Riley goes so far as to utter an "Oh my gosh" which quickly destroys any credibility the writers built up previously. Wikipedia tells me the story was written by Aaron Jacobs and Jeff Menell, while the actual teleplay was done by just Menell. So take that for what it's worth.
Cory preaches about charity, which is fine in theory, but one of the results irks me. Maya claiming she shouldn't ever complain about her situation again. It's such a narrow minded life lesson, it's such low hanging fruit. "Some people have it worse so shut up." If I break my arm, should I not complain while another man has two broken arms? It fails at the most basic level of logic. Of course Maya can complain, she has ferrets breaking into her room. I don't care about your damn pie, Cory.
Apparently all Farkle wants is to spend time with his dad. That's about as Disney as it gets. I think Menell and Jacobs The Son were a little too ambitious, a little too eager. Do you want to do "Donate money to charity" or "family is more important than money"? Because Farkle just tried to play both of those hands with his father and it came out pretty jumbled. He claimed to be humiliated, but by what? Like Minkus says, they support plenty of good causes. And he came home right when his son called him. The writers were clearly unwilling to commit to Minkus having any real negative qualities, leaving us unable to find any justification for Farkle's complaints.
I'm starting to detest this episode now. The kids come home with "We didn't realize how lucky we are"? It took Cory's fucking pie on the chalk board for you to understand the difference between the 1st and 3rd world? What the hell was the point of looking at Maya's life? I'm so confused right now, THEY'RE COMBINING TOO MANY LIFE LESSONS! IT'S TOO MANY FORTUNE COOKIES, IT'S OVERFLOWI---
Enter, stage right, the Minkus Family Foundation. Let me see if I have this, Mark Cuban is going to decide which child's charity idea deserves Minkus's money? Did I really just type that sentence in real life? And Riley finally gets another Knicks joke that everyone except me has been waiting for, but it's by far the most interesting thing she's done this episode.
Well I like Cuban so far, quickly shutting down Riley's and Lucas's impossibly ambitious ideas. Farkle comes in with the stupidest thing I ever heard in my life, continuing to romanticize Maya's poverty, which is such utter nonsense. I hope Cuban throws something at him and makes fun of Minkus for being the father of this single voiced titan of self righteousness. And then... Cuban starts... talking to Maya...
"YOUR ROOF LEAKS FOR A REASON"?
FOR A WHAT?!!!!!!!!!
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'M OUTTA HERE. I'M SO FAR OUT OF HERE THAT I JUST GOT A SNEAK PEAK AT OUR NEW POSSIBLE NINTH PLANET.
NOOOOOOOO. HER ROOF LEAKS FOR A REASON? CUBAN WHY! WE CAN'T CHALK UP MAYA'S FUCKING POVERTY TO "EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON." I am so disgusted by that level of lazy writing.
Oh and now Minkus is shedding his guilt over keeping all of his money, even though he told us five minutes ago that he was already a pretty charitable guy. So okay they've decided to give money to Maya. This is Full House level wish fulfillment. Maya's a terrible person! She doesn't care about school! That's her charm! But now she's Miss Charity just because she's poor?! In this moment, Maya, you are the exact opposite of Shawn Hunter, and for that I award you no points.
And they creepily installed a street view camera outside Maya's window to round out Farkle's nonsensical romanticizing of The Good Ol' Simple Life. Shut up, Farkle.
God, what a waste. The whole first half Maya looked so promising, talking about how she values the clothes Shawn bought her (one of the best moments in a very long time), and dealing with her living situation with a level head. But then she gets magic genie money and a free roof fix. It feels like we've trivialized her very real problems by overcoming them with the power of friendship. Disney Channel indeed.
Much like the kids' charity ideas, this episode was too ambitious. I honestly cannot tell you what the theme was. I was hoping for a "look at this mature Maya dealing with a bad situation" type thing, but apparently she learned from Cory that she has no right to complain. Except when she became the recipient of charity at the end of the episode. So what was the point of Cory's eloquent and detailed two-color pie chart? Why did Farkle complain that his father wasn't around enough if the end result was giving money to charity? That doesn't get your father around the house more. All it does is satisfy Cory's massive hard on for charity. It's six different snapple-cap life lessons thrown into the blender on that loud "puree" setting. The writers got greedy, or maybe they just had to fill a quota, I don't know.
Sorry everyone! This totally slipped my mind, it's been a busy week. I will get this up today.
Okay, so, Sean's review was pretty thorough, and it's like half a week later, and no one probably cares anymore, and I don't have a lot of time, so I'm just going to do this real quick-like. I'm sorry for the shoddy effort, it's just really hard to make time for this when I have a show going on, and right now I have two at once and rehearsals for a third. I'm just so busy and important.
I kind of sort of liked this one. Kind of. Sort of. I liked Cory's lesson actually - because he felt like Cory talking about it. He didn't cleverly couch his lesson in a lesson about something else, he didn't pull some elaborate ruse to try to get them to come up with the lesson themselves, he just showed up and gave an earnest little talk. So, that I liked.
I also liked the idea that all of them are part of that one tiny sliver, even Maya. I like Maya have some perspective about her situation - is she a lot poorer than the Matthews and crazy-poorer than the Minkuses? Yes. But she's still better off than 90% of the rest of the world. She has nice clothes, she lives in a decent place in what appears to be a basically safe neighborhood, she gets her meals regular, I'm sure she frequents doctors and dentists, she gets the same education that billionaire Stuart Minkus is giving his own kid. She's fine. It's easy to forget that. You can call it an easy lesson and low-hanging fruit, but it's also a lesson everyone in this country always needs to be told over and over and over again because we never remember it. It almost always takes being smacked in the face with how shitty life is for other people before we start to actually appreciate what we have - and even then, we'll forget about it two hours later and will again think we're the unluckiest people in the world because our train's running late So I don't begrudge them this one. Boy Meets World has taught worse lessons.
I liked the twist on The Provider that we saw, also. We thought we were actually get The Provider again, but nope, Cory's basically cool with his situation. It's Auggie who's got it wrong, and assumes his neurotic nut of a father would have a problem with it, but he's set straight. Which is good, Cory actually having a problem with the situation (beyond when his son actively shows him pity, which no one would like no matter how secure you are) would be absurd because, what is this, a revelation? Obviously the dude knows his wife makes way more than he does. So, that was good.
The most remarkable thing about these kids is how utterly without shame they are. None of them have any problem discussing seriously personal and embarrassing things loudly in front of everyone they know. It's constantly. It's every episode. We start off with one here, with everyone grilling Farkle about his home life and his family's wealth and everything just in the goddamn middle of class. Screw that a class isn't run like that and Cory shouldn't be letting this happen, I'm used to it, but how is Farkle not like "Uh, guys, can we discuss this in private after class?" It's just so ridiculous. Why are they SO bad at classroom scenes? Classroom scenes were never a problem in Boy Meets World. How did they all collectively stop remembering how to write them?
I liked seeing Minkus' house, but I wish we'd gotten a sense of his wealth before this. I mean, we'd heard he was wealthy, but it didn't come up much, it was just kind of an informed trait like Jack's wealth on BMW. So, I think before an episode where "Oh man, the Minkuses lost all their money, what a topsy-turvy turn of events!" they needed more establishment as the rich family. For comparison, it seems like the episode where Mr. Burns loses all his money on the Simpsons was in the eighth season. By that time, he was extremely well established as a rich guy, so him losing his money is an interesting idea for an episode. (P.S. I've never seen this episode of The Simpsons, I have probably only seen about a season's worth of episodes of The Simpsons in my life, I just naturally assumed that with how long The Simpsons was on, they were bound to have done an episode with this plot, and so googled "Mr. Burns loses his money" to great success)
So, there's that.
Everything once Mark Cuban showed up was stupid, poorly thought out, and with nonsense we-want-this-to-be-deep-but-none-of-it-actually-makes-any-sense-with-even-cursory-examination dialogue, though I do buy that Minkus could be friends with him given his clout. In fact, this is maybe the one thing that GMW has on BMW - it can more believably bring on celebrity guest stars. Between Minkus being a powerful billionaire CEO and Eric being a senator, they really do know some people with a lot of clout. Which means we never need to see Evelyn Rand again, okay? We're covered.
It was nice seeing Riley's Knicks fandom again. I don't know that it's actually been mentioned since New World, has it?
You mentioned how Maya's easy accepting of charity makes her an Anti-Shawn, and that's actually very true and something that's always been true about her. Maya steals shit, she accepts hand-outs readily and gratefully, we've seen her trick and con people into giving her stuff, she has absolutely no problem being a charity case. Considering how blatantly she was based on Shawn, I actually like this one gigantic difference between them. Not only was Shawn infamously opposed to receiving charity from anyone, or anything he even vaguely perceived to be charity, but now that I think about it... rebellious troublemaking ne'er-do-well Shawn never took anything that didn't belong to him, did he? Like there was never once a story I can think of where Shawn shoplifted or did anything like that, which would have been such an easy route to go. But Shawn wouldn't do something like that. His misdeeds were almost exclusively vandalism. Just interesting. Or is there a Shawn story I'm forgetting?
I'm probably all done.
Episode Rating B- (I may be being overly generous considering how consistently terrible this show's been lately, but there was quite a bit I enjoyed)
Episode MVP: Been a while since I saw this, but I think I'm going with Ben Savage. I liked him in the classroom scenes (a feat!) and I liked him in the Auggie allowance story.
I like what you're saying about how Maya's different from Shawn, but how do you feel about turning her into this paragon of righteousness who is most deserving of the money? I'm assuming you think it's absurd, but you didn't say so specifically and it was the climax of the story.
I think we interpreted the scene differently. Or maybe I just took it how I wanted to take it? I didn't think they were saying Maya's the epitome of righteousness (God, I sure as shit hope that wasn't what they were saying) I think it was just that Farkle really wanted them to use some of their money to help people. The kids all came with these gigantic ideas they were impractical pie-in-the-sky things, so Cuban rejected them. But then Farkle came up with a simple thing - his friend doesn't have as much money as he does, and she has a roof that's always leaking. He can't do world peace. But he can fix Maya's roof, and maybe that'll help Maya a little bit. And that's something. You can't do everything, but if you can do anything, no matter how small, do it.
That's how I took it and I liked the message when I took it that way. If that's not what they were going for then nevermind. It wasn't readily apparent what they were going for. It often isn't. But I absolutely don't think she was getting a foundation's worth of money. I think she was getting her roof fixed.
Christian had a compelling perspective, so we had to pull up the episode. Unfortunately...
"We're going to give you some money. But you can't just keep it." - Minkus
"I'll do good with it." - Maya
Maybe not convincing still, but then Riley says "Can she keep a little of it to fix her roof?" So I'm pretty convinced that they're all trusting Maya with Minkus's charity money, which is absolutely insane.
So I'm gonna go with a D+ for this episode.