|Pictured: Humor (?)|
This episode's hook is satisfying. One of our best stories (Texas part 1) flourished because we finally got to see Riley and Maya in conflict, and here we are once more. Carry on Girl Meets World, you have my permission to live.
Riley is forcing herself to "change" because she thinks she's supposed to, and Maya knows that she's full of it. I'm certain Riley has done this before, but I cannot for the life of me figure out which episode it was. Regardless, this is at least a trace of consistency, which is nice.
Maya is romanticizing about the Bay Window, and it has no depth at all. In Boy Meets World, they get to romanticize about the classroom after seven seasons, or Chubbie's after five seasons. But nothing super important has happened at the Bay Window that we know of, it all relies on the girls' offscreen history. Save this for season 4 and I would probably be invested.
I'm so tired of writing these negative reviews, but I'm being sincere right now: how can we possibly be invested enough in the Bay Window to care about this? It was the same with Girl Meets Cory and Topanga. You have to let the audience build up their own attachment instead of telling us how attached we're supposed to be. This show can be so frustrating. They have all the right elements, they're just rushing rushing rushing. And I know there's only four seasons, but maybe, I don't know, skip the Communism one and give us more time to get attached to these symbols.
THIS IS IT AGAIN, this is the Farkle that I hate, who's just so calm and wise, SAGE FARKLE coming in through the window to spread divine wisdom, "Because things grow, Maya. Can you hear how certain of myself I am?" It's like they heard everyone's criticism of Lucas, right, but completely missed the point: "Oh he shouldn't be perfect? That's true! That's great advice! ....Farkle should be perfect instead!" His science fact about 7 years and new cells is awesome, that's a good version of Farkle. I don't like the fortune cookie part.
Oh it's a flashback. OH IT'S A FLASHBACK. I didn't sign up for this.
|No Mister Bond, I expect you to die.|
I can't understand any of the children so hopefully Christian has something to say about it.
WHAT ARE THEY DOING? IT'S CHILD RILEY AND MARV- WHAT'S HER NAME? I'M TOO ANGRY TO REMEMBER HER NAME, IS IT MULVA?
Child Riley and Child Mulva are singing to present-day Lucas because they wish they had known him since the time they were kids. The sentiment, I can understand, but the execution is the Voynich Manuscript.
I still can't understand the children, so let's move on. If Peyton Meyer pulled that off in one take, he has my respect. My gut reaction is to hate anyone better looking than me (this is where Christian says "I wish you didn't hate me" or something like that), but Peyton has come a long long way, and the writers have come a long way with Lucas. He's the only character I'm enjoying so far.
Cory and Topanga don't immediately approve of the kids' totally professional construction work, and in turn make their epitome-faces. COME ONE, COME ALL, EVERYBODY BUY YOUR FUCKIN TICKETS, RIGHT HERE, FOR MY NEW ART GALLERY, THE FACES OF GIRL MEETS WORLD.
Come back in the summer when it gets rotated out for the Lesson Faces gallery.
The writers remind us that they're very in touch with their audience as the characters harass Cory for trying to teach them. You can't do Eric Hollywood in every episode. Do it once, maybe twice.
We flashback to the day Auggie was born, when Riley was afraid of change. Riley asks a very important question, "why do we need another baby," and, unsurprisingly, does not receive a good answer. Because there isn't one.
This is a divisive opinion, but you're (for some reason) here for my opinion, so here it is. It takes something away from this friendship that Mulva is worried about drifting apart. It seems like an extremely cheap ploy to draw emotion out of the audience, or to show Sabrina's range, I don't know. When Shawn and Cory went to high school (looking at the end of season 1 and the beginning of season 2) it never even crossed their minds that they would drift apart. Of course they're still best friends! With sideburns! Yeah they get separated for a bit later in 2x01, but the boys were never worried. Why is Mulva worried? I can't come up with any answer besides "to force emotion into the episode."
"We are such a good show because our characters are very sad sometimes." I wish I could feel any of what Mulva's feeling right now, I honestly do. I want these big emotional moments, but I'm not invested in the Bay Window and I'm not worried about this friendship falling apart. Especially now that Facebook exists. Shawn and Cory would have had to use their ham radios or whatever to keep in touch, but Mulva and Riley have a million ways to stay connected. It's such a non issue, I'm not buyin' it.
There's another flashback but I can't understand what the children are saying, so let's move on.
Alright, that running joke is hysterical, but I can't commit to it because kid Mulva actually says something of substance here. She has run away from home because she doesn't like listening to her parents yell at each other, and found her way into Riley's Bay Window. That is compelling. That is a story. How do you have that in the same episode as Riley drowning in an apple bowl? Probably the same way you have Auggie in drag the same episode that you defeat communism. The writers are capable, they're clearly very capable, they're just not consistent. They just can't hold it together for an entire episode.
This Bay Window is the first place that Mulva was able to hide from her parents' fights. I feel like that deserves a lot more than one line in this throwaway flashback that I almost skipped. Sabrina deserves the weight of that line, not Mary Kate Olson from the past, or whoever this is.
I genuinely can't understand kid Riley though. That's not a scam, no scam here, I can't understand her. This is Full House. This is Kids Say the Darnedest Things: Bay Window Edition.
The girls are meeting their past selves, and I can't take it seriously. Riley's reaction to it is "Look, it's them." Like it's just a thing that happens, like I'm supposed to be okay with it. I swear to god, if they don't mention Mulva's parents fighting in this scene, I'm done. Okay kid Mulva sort of half mentioned it by asking if her dad was gone, which is better than nothing, but how does she even know that? And why, once again, did Mary Kate Olson Blast From the Past get that line instead of Sabrina?!
DO I NEED TO SHOW UP
AND HOLD THEIR HANDS
WHILE THEY WRITE THE SHOW?
And I still can't understand kid Riley, even Rowan is looking at her like "how the fuck did you get this job are they paying you to do this?"
I want to feel something! I want to feel pain when Mulva is sitting here crying, but I feel nothing. Does that make me a cynic? Am I too jaded for this scene? Or did Jacobs ask way too much of these children to portray the gravitas this scene is supposed to have? I think they wanted this to be Shawn and Chet's ghost in the trailer before the road trip, but it's not. This is Cory talking to toddler Joshua in Brave New World. Jacobs has this terrible tendency to put too much gravitas on kid actors' lines. It's not their fault, they're kids, they can't fuckin act. So stop doing this.
FUTURE selves?! You can't do the future in season 2!
Unless it's like "They want you to take the rolls" future, but that's not the real future! You don't do the real future in season 2. SPOILERS, MAN. That's spoilers! I don't wanna see that! Shut up kid Riley, I can't understand you. Whose kid is this? Whose kid is this that she was able to get on this show?
I'll be right back though, I gotta go get future Riley's phone number.
Riley does the "one last look" but at least she doesn't say "thank you" or "goodbye" like sitcoms usually do. Even Fresh Prince was guilty of that one.
Sabrina is wasted on writing like this. That's the most important thing I have to say.
Hey all! It's me! Christian!
So, right off, I'm not pleased by this forced "Things Change" thing they're doing here. They're using the theoretical changing of the bay window to represent how things are changing in their life, and Riley's urging Maya to accept it as inevitable.... but it's not inevitable! Riley's changing it all on her own accord! Chubbie's got turned into a pirate restaurant because Chubbie's got bought out by a pirate restaurant chain and there was nothing Cory could do about it, making it a small microcosm of all the things in his life that will change and he can't do anything about.
But Riley's entirely in charge of what happens to the bay window in her room! It's her bay window! This wasn't a magical bay window they found in the woods one day, and now the bay window's true owners are tearing it down. It's just the window in her room. What do you mean you're tearing it down? Who tears down the window in their room? Bay windows are a very attractive feature in a home. My sister's room had a bay window in it when I was growing up. That room went through a million different iterations during her many tumultuous angsty phases (she was one of those teens), and then she moved out of the house, and now my mom has renovated it into an office for herself. But you know what never changed? The bay window. No one gets rid of a bay window. How would you even do it without, literally, remodeling your house?
On another note, it's pretty sweet that my room got turned into a second guestroom and my sister's room got turned into a second office. I come home, I get to stay in my room. Brittany's S.O.L. Ha! Anyway. It strikes me as a forced attempt to make "Things Change" happen. And they haven't earned it, obviously, as Sean mentioned, but it also just makes no logistical sense. But it's obviously just the best they can do. They've twisted themselves into knots trying to hammer home how great this Bay Window is, so this is the place they have to use for it. Plus, what else could they use. Topanga's? Topanga owns that, if it's going out of business that's... a larger story.
Last thing I'll say about "Things Change" - the thing I was always impressed with regarding what they did with Chubbie's is that it was obviously like... spurred by a behind-the-scenes decision. They knew they were going to college, they were going to have new sets, that a University coffee shop would be taking the place of Chubbie's and they'd be losing the set. Most shows might have just... stopped showing it. BMW took the time to weave Chubbie's into a story about graduation they were already telling and sort of... send Chubbie's off. And, because Chubbie's was such an iconic part of the show, it really did throw me for a loop. I remember when I first saw this episode - LIVE ON ABC IN 1998 MOTHAFUCKAHS BECAUSE I AM MORE HARDCORE THAN ALL Y'ALL - and I was absolutely floored that they got rid of Chubbie's. I wasn't even totally sure it had happened, because it was so abrupt, and seemingly in service of a joke, I figured "Oh, no, Chubbie's will be back next week." But nope. That was the end of Chubbie's. That was good.
"Things Change" is a really a good episode. Let's get back to this one.
Maya's "We don't even know for sure" is a pretty funny joke, especially considering it's obviously a reference the fact that they were writing this episode without knowing if Season 3 was happening.
Farkle coming in and not saying ladies is good. Both because it's an earned change. And because it's a reminder after Commonism that he's not someone who... acts like that anymore.
Oh, and okay, flashback, so it's also "It's Not You, It's Me". I'll try not to compare it too much. Mainly because I'm not as wound up about that episode. But I will note that they've given L'il Farkle glasses just like how L'il Cory had glasses, even though neither of them had glasses as adults. L'Il Farkle's really bad casting in general. Though not as bad as what I seem to be recalling as a freckly red-head playing L'il Shawn in the zoo flashback.
As this scene goes on, now I see why they went with the little bespectackled Farkle - he's such a good natural actor that they said "Appearances be damned!" and nope, he sucks and is the worst, and August Maturo deserves nine Oscars compared to him. Clearly this is Randi Barnes' nephew. But him saying "My mind is very fancy, feel free to use me as you see fit." is kinda cute.
I don't even know what the fuck's going on with this Texas/Lucas part. This is not good. Also, I literally can not understand these little kids when they're singing. That was maybe the shittiest least professional thing I've ever seen in this franchise. I do like the joke that Lucas looked like himself even as a kid though.
Why does Topanga have a memory of that memory of Auggie being about to be born? She wasn't in the room. She was in the car. Also, it wasn't interesting enough to cause them to laugh uncontrollably. Riley's reaction was very muted. Cory was barely paying attention to her too.
Blah, blah, blah. L'il Maya misses her dad. I'm over her dad. We met him. He's whatever. And blah blah, we're all gonna be friends in high school. We know. We weren't worried about it. And they're speaking in that heavily punctuated "All. These lines. Have meaning. Pause and consider. All the emotional meanings. Behind every. Bit of these lines."
Blah, I don't wanna see Riley and Maya meet because they met as little kids and little kids meeting each other isn't interesting. Also, it's really good to have a HUGE portion of this episode hinge on the acting abilities of, like, four-year olds.
Oh god, and now the Big Mileys are talking the L'il Mileys and I just set my bedsheets on fire. Still, Rowan and Sabrina are selling this scene pretty well. They actually generally seemed moved. Maybe they thought they were getting cancelled when this got filmed. I believe they're legit crying.
AND I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE THESE FLASHFORWARDS ARE IN THEIR HEADS AND ARE NOT ACTUALLY CANONICAL. THIS IS LIKE SEVEN THE HARD WAY. I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS TO BE CANON. I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR ANY ARGUMENT.
Wait. Is THAT all this was fucking about? Riley was just going to get some new cushions and curtains for the bay window? That's hardly TEARING IT DOWN. God, what a fucking waste of time.
Episode Rating: D+ guys, whatever.
Episode MVP: Sabrina Carpenter, but Rowan did a good job too.
I'm glad you brought up the Shawn/Cory origin, because I forgot to. I did want to say that this was certainly better than saving Cory from the llama pen. It's not hard to beat that, but regardless, they pulled it off.
So, there's two Jacobs boys (and an older sister, I believe) - David and Joshua. I don't know which is which. The younger is the one who played Josh, who's probably now like 20. The elder is more like roughly our age. I actually think it's David (who just has a co-writing credit with Daddy on "Fish", a childish episode to be sure) who is the younger one and thus played L'il Josh. I think Joshua is the older one, he's the one who's done this, "Cory and Topanga", and co-writing "Commonism" (with Daddy again)
And yeah, I'd say this is worse than Commonism, though I did consider the fact before giving it a D+. Commonism was handled badly, but, like, there's an episode there. It was an okay idea handled badly. This is a bad idea handled badly.
You're not great at predicting what Christian's going to do when you do those occasional "And now here's where Christian says..." You have never been right!
The one big difference here (and big, perhaps, is exaggerating it) is that you seemed to find something worthwhile about the portion that was about Maya's dad. I did not. I do not want them using him as a grabbag excuse for Maya's every move. Maya's sad. What's it REALLY about? I bet it's REALLY about her DAD who ABANDONED HER. No. Maybe it's just about the dumb window. It felt a little lazy to me. And also it being focused on L'il Maya sucked.
EDIT: Actually, it looks like DANIEL Jacobs played L'il Josh. So this is a whole brand new THIRD Jacobs. Now I don't know WHAT the story is. But Daniel Jacobs has yet to write an episode, which is good, because he's like 20. But I am pretty sure I looked up Josh Jacobs and found he was in his mid-20s. I guess I don't know who David Jacobs is.
Also, someone's gotta tell the Jacobs family you can find some male first names outside of the old testament.
If you had read my part before posting, AND I hadn't added that prediction, I think you would have said it. I think I'm always right, it's just that writing out my prediction prevents you from actually doing it. I will hear no argument.
Maya and Riley had to meet somehow. Running away from home is a Maya thing to do, and running from her parents yelling is founded on something we've actually seen firsthand. That's full points in my rubric.
While I grant it is impossible to tell whether I would have said something after you've already predicted it, I still have on more than one occasion read that and gone like "Haha, what? It would never have occurred to me to say anything like that."
Eh. Maya and Riley did have to meet somehow, and odds are it was on the first day of school and their first interaction was "Hi." "Hi." I don't need Maya and Riley having, like, a meetcute anymore than I need Cory and Shawn having one. They're childhood best friends. All the history I need. People aren't interesting when they're four. Maya would never have done any of that. Four year olds don't run away. At least not this successfully, Maya's from a shadier side of town. How the hell did she even get to Riley's place?
That is all fair criticism, Parts of it are wrong, but I maintain that it was partially decent. You can take your "eh" somewhere else.
For grading this episode, I give it a D-, and then its mom called me and complained so I raised it to a D.