Sunday, June 26, 2016

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Triangle" (#3.05)

It seems everyone in school has been broken up with via text message. I'm not a huge fan of watching women stand around crying, and yet here I am, writing a blog about it. 
How many more times are they going to remind us that high school is very very different from middle school? "You'll start going to Friday night parties." Except they won't, because they have no social lives outside of a windowsill. But that's not the point. The point is, you're totally going to stop being friends if you don't resolve The Triangle. ...Wait, what? This is one of the most unnatural progressions on the entire show! The whole school is breaking up and suddenly this girl in the bathroom has made Riley and Maya decide to address The Triangle, something no one else in this universe has been able to do. I don't know how we got from A to B, but the theme song is playing so we're already at, like, G, and it's time to move on.
It's not a triangle though guys! Definitely not! I bet they'd pinky swear on it, we've got nothing to worry about. Needless to say, it's going to be difficult for Girl to meet Triangle, because there isn't one. Not on this show.

Maya is very dopey-Shawn in this episode. The humor focusing on Maya being a dope and Riley's forced quirkiness, rather than, you know, wit, like we saw in the last two episodes. 

"Miss Matthews, I'm sure Miss Hart can speak for herself." Yeah that Spanish teacher made an impression, but Professor Dead Poets Society over here just made it to the top of my list. An important question here is how far along we are in the semester. Telling your student she's incomplete and needs to find herself is pretty rough for like, third week of school. But hopefully they've built a rapport already and this isn't as insane as it sounds.
Riley is concerned over Maya's deflation (on the Bay Window, not at a party, like I said). Riley is far more concerned about what happened in art class while Maya is worried about The Triangle. It's not one though! Trust me. I like one line in particular here from Riley, talking about how Maya would fight for what she believes in, she says "Even me. Especially fight me." That's another one of those Boy Meets World nuggets, like "We're gonna get massacred no matter what we do." On the other hand, on any other day I feel like Riley would start crying if Maya stood up to her. But in this moment, in this scene, I am a fan.

We're reenacting the jelly-bean scale scene from Torn Between Two Lovers. The references are enjoyable in that they're relatively subtle. They could have easily had Cory in here making faces like "oooooo I seen this beforeeeeeee" while the audience goes crazy, but they actually decided to leave it for us veterans to find on our own. I appreciate that. We've got Farkle commenting on "there's no scientific way to do this" while Shawn said "We are gonna decide this scientifically." And then: 

"We're not gonna decide the rest of my life with jelly beans, Shawn."
"Then who is gonna decide the rest of your life, Cory, you?"


"You're gonna let jelly beans decide my future?"
"Well who else is supposed to decide your future, you?"

Maaaaaaaaaaaaan, I wanna pay homage to classic Boy Meets World scenes. I don't wanna do the rest of the stuff on this show, but here, I am a jealous, jealous man.
The boys hit "Personality" and "Deep Conversations" like Shawn and Cory did, but they skip over "Honesty" for some reason and jump right to the hormone question, albeit with a G rating. Far less winking and shoulder nudging and far more of some... annoying sound, I don't like it. I just wanna watch Boy Meets World. 
Who's got the better... you know...
There's no real way around it, you can't talk about BOOBIES and BUTTS on Disney Channel (except that they totally showed this episode on Disney Channel in syndication) , but it still makes me long for the old days.
"For the good of all of us. Choose." It's not a triangle though! Guys! I cannot be more clear! There is no triangle on this show! They wouldn't lie to us!

Oh hey a not so subtle reminder from Katy that Cory and Topanga are the best. It has to stop.

WOAHHHHHH, WOAH WOAH, okay, who the fuck wrote this script, one sec. Joshua fucking Jacobs, there's a shock. What is this moment where the idea of being a "strong parent" makes Katy burst out laughing? Please don't ship the characters down the river like that, Joshua. She is a strong parent, that's been the whole point since the first time Shawn went to confront her. I honestly can't believe that just happened.

Cheryl... my poor Cheryl Texiera, you don't deserve this. I'm sorry this happened to you.
I appreciate that Joshua gave Cory this line, "Secret of blahblahblah," it definitely makes Cory seem more self aware, more of an actual human. My gut feeling is that Joshua had Cory say "Secret of life" like he normally would and Ben (who directed this episode) suggested a change. Who knows.

At the Bay Window (not at a party) the girls reach today's Big Conclusion, that Maya has somehow become Riley. I'm glad Maya's fighting that because I don't buy it. 

OK. ALRIGHT, are you telling me, that Maya likes Lucas because she (subconsciously, perhaps) wanted to become Riley? "You'll need to show me a lot more than clothes, and hair, and a boy before I believe that it isn't."  Well I've got bad news for you Maya. That's all this show is about. I definitely approve of Maya's outrage at this nonsense, but I have a bad feeling it won't stick.

Yeah it didn't stick. So they go off on an adventure to find Maya's "voice."

FIND OUT NEXT TIME! But seriously fuck this cliffhanger.

Well they absolutely shit on Katy as a character today, but the big question is whether or not they shit on Maya. Is this stuff actually true? I like that they built up to the jelly bean scene with Lucas, citing the library with Riley and the campfire with Maya. But did we build up to this with Maya? She definitely felt like a background tagalong character in Meets High School 1 and 2, and she didn't do shit in Jexica, but she stood out in Permanent Record. 

Okay, I (like Lucas) have reached a decision. It's bullshit. Just a few minutes ago we had Lucas explaining what he likes about Maya and it's not the same stuff as about Riley. Wouldn't Lucas have been the very first person to notice if Maya turned into Riley? How did this whole process, that's just so obvious to Cory and Topanga the best parents on earth, fly completely over Lucas's and Farkle's heads? There's no way they would have missed it. I certainly could have missed it, which is why I had to honestly consider it, but if Lucas and Farkle didn't notice then I can't even try to pretend that it's true.


And that shit with Katy is completely irredeemable. How did that happen?

Sorry for the delay and all that.

I don't like anything about this opening. I don't even know what the problem is. It's just not funny. I see them making a lot of jokes. They're not funny jokes. But we've been here before. And a lot of the humor is resting on the acting of other actresses, and most of them aren't very good. And this seems to be a very Maya/Lucas/Riley focused episode and that's no good. So, this one's probably gonna be bad is my guess. 

Art teachers and students and appreciators on TV shows are always too confident about what different abstract paintings mean. "Oh, a bunch of purple? This painting's bullshit. This isn't who you are" You don't know. You're a high school art teacher. It's like the fourth week of class. No one acts like that. You're not the Feeny of art just because you jump to wild too-personal conclusions based on nothing.  "I'm not going to give it a grade. I'm going to call it 'Incomplete'. Because that's what this says about you." You should be fired, Art Teacher. Also, why is Riley always so willfully incompetent at art? It isn't like her. If she's bad at art, fine, that can be funny, but that she refuses to do the assignments doesn't mesh with her people-pleasing "Let's do our best!" personality. Why couldn't she have just drawn terrible benches? This is why you're getting bad grades, Matthews.

But anyway, I guess the Art Teacher's right now. I guess Maya has been changing her personality, even though she's seemed completely normal up until this episode. Nope, guess she's been throwing herself under the bus, I guess she doesn't stand up for herself, I guess she's meek and identity-less. That all just happened. Or maybe they're pretending it's how she's been for a while now, even though that's bullshit. 

Oh. Jellybeans. I get it. What a pale imitation of a good scene. Great, Lucas decided. And put all the jellybeans on the Riley scale. And when he did it felt like nothing because we got it when Cory put the jellybeans on the scale. It made perfect sense, and even us Lauren fans knew that this was the way it would have to be. We may have wanted Cory to pick Lauren, but Cory could never pick Lauren, and we knew that and it felt right. That Lucas felt strong enough about either of them to put a whole bag of jellybeans on their side feels cheap and unearned. 

And I have a sense they're going to throw Maya under the bus to do it. She's just a clone of Riley? Since WHEN? Since today. That's it. It's never been like this in any other episode. And now Lucas just likes Maya because she's pretending to be Riley? She HASN'T BEEN. His dynamic with her was TOTALLY different and THAT'S why he liked Maya. We SAW it. Fuck you, you cheap hacks. Too fucking lazy to actually write yourself out of this story you bumbled your way into it so you lie about what the story was. You're talentless.

Whoa, what's going on with Katy? I get that this is being played for laughs, but this is.... ill-advised. This is like the writer only saw "Girl Meets Maya's Mother" and not any other episode she was in. Also, what the hell is this accent? Is this Irish? Canadian? What is this supposed to be?

And you know what makes all this worse, it's also not funny at all. It's like aggressively not funny. 

I enjoyed Maya telling off Riley. Too bad I know it's going to turn out Riley was right.

Yeah, hey it was a pointillism cat. Hey, Maya admits it. She's just abandoned her personality. Apparently. Makes no sense. Hasn't been set up by the material in any other episode. Yes, Maya is committing less petty crime but.... that's good. It's her maturing. Shawn stopped blowing up mailboxes, and everyone didn't freak the fuck out because this means he's not Shawn. Shawn and Cory occasionally dressed alike too. You know why? Because teenagers in the same social groups dress alike. God, they did this just to get themselves out of this triangle mess, you know they did. This was a travesty.

Episode Rating: F (Completely unredeemable horseshit, and not funny to boot)
Episode MVP: Sabrina Carpenter (There were definitely times her line readings made me feel real bad for her)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Permanent Record" (#3.04)

Hey guys, first off - I only updated "Girl Meets Jexica" with my own review like half-an-hour ago, so check that out if you gave up hope on me. I suggest something at the end of the review that I imagine people might have contentious feelings about and I'd like to get people's opinions.

Good episode, that Jexica, but I think I liked this one even more. Also, this show has a habit of making a funny joke and then going just one line too far where the funniness gets negated. For instance, Maya says Riley's name is "a trick so people think she's cute." that's funny. When Riley responds to this by resting her cheeks on her hands and exclaiming "I'm Riley!" that's real funny. When Maya says "See, it worked, and now I want to squeeze your cheeks!" I feel like they just explained to me a joke because they didn't trust me to get it. A good example of how you should do a joke is the fact that the Spanish teacher, who speaks Spanish well and looks Spanish, is named "Ms. Feinstein-Chang" suggesting that's actually half-Jewish and half-Chinese. They never point out how weird it is that her name is Feinstein-Chang when she seems Spanish. It's just there. Of course, I think Community may have a copyright on a Spanish teacher named Chang. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Jexica" (#3.03)

If you missed my writeup for High School part 2, I greatly appreciated a line that no one else even mentioned at the time I'm writing this, so I'd love some feedback on that post. Let's get started.

This opening is genuinely strong. Riley recognizes that she has no interests, which is the biggest problem with the whole show, and she and Maya have enjoyable banter that ISN'T ABOUT FRIENDSHIP OR KINGS OR TEEN WISDOM. They're just talking. Oh god it's Christmas.

Farkle knows that Empire is better than A New Hope, glad to hear it, and Zay is a pretty sensitive guy. I think we knew that already. Continuity.
Maybe I'm just in a good mood this morning but Cory has my number right now. This is the most I've laughed at this show in a long time. It's all I ever really needed, it's just Cory and Topanga shitting around and making Boy Meets World references. I had actually forgotten about the original 1-2-3 trick, I'm glad they included the clip. I'm having fun with my old friends Cory and Topanga. This is the best Christmas ever.
When I'm feeling this good I have to find out who's responsible. Rider and Shiloh directed, so I have to pay more attention to the details here, but it was written by fresh blood, someone named Mackenzie Yeager. Attack on Titan references are accepted at this point. 

I love both Riley and Maya with the "Not me~" here in class. Is this... is this good? What's happening to me, is this episode GOOD? AM I HAVING A GOOD TIME RIGHT NOW????

Also hah, Marley's not in class. But neither is Smackle. 
Maya is seriously adorable today. I'm going to wager that Ms. Yeager is in her 20's and they wanted someone younger to be able to write this scene without sounding like a Luddite. Hopefully Jacobs has had a change of heart since he made Mister Feeny rant about King Koopa.

We're seeing the Bay Window and... I don't think it looks different. Wasn't that a whole thing? Didn't we have to Meet the Bay Window and we cried about it? But it's the same. 

I'll tell you something though, it's a god damn shame it always has to come back to the triangle. Were we just totally incapable of moving the plot forward without bringing that up? Can we go one time? We were having so much fun.
Yeah, see, look, the plot moves completely independent of Lucas when Riley goes to school as Jexica. The only thing the triangle served was motivating Riley to go to school as Jexica, which was seriously contrived anyway. That was poor writing. I don't know why everyone else pretends to be Jexica. If they think Jexica is a real person, how could that possibly work? It doesn't make sense. The aftermath is fun though, where everyone is totally over her but still talking about her like she's real. 

I think they really got this one right, it feels like a shenanigan. Our heroes have established shenanigans outside of their overly dramatic, philosophical lives that they've been trapped in for the last twenty episodes. It's the formula we all love. Cory gets in over his head trying to fit in and turns to Shawn for advice who was never really worried about it. 
I mean, not having one of these profiles is a very real option, one I'm surprised Maya didn't go for. Cory is making some very real observations about how we all jump on fads and pretend to care about shit for the five minutes that it's in our news feed and then move on. And he does it all without ever using the word "viral," which puts this script lightyears ahead of all major news networks.

"Friends who know who you are is the most real thing there is." I think that's our lesson today, and I'm pretty happy with that. The separation of Facebook friends who feed your ego with likes from your real friends, who you talk shit to and have probably wanted to kill a few times. 

And then the girls watch that Who's Your Best Friend video that's actually modern enough for me to be okay with it. I wonder how much they paid to use that. 

I don't know why they did the Spartacus thing in the hallway, and it sucks that The Triangle keeps creeping in for no good reason, but otherwise this was a great episode. I laughed way more than usual. Despite using a familiar formula, the story was still fresh and modern. And Maya came up with The Lesson on her own, more or less. 

That's solid stuff. Mackenzie Yeager, I hope we see you again.

Empire is not better than A New Hope. You know what else it isn't better than? Return of the Jedi. Empire is the worst of the original trilogy. There, I said it. 

I'm going to make this quick because... it's a week later. STAY TUNED for the end of this post where I share a CONTROVERSIAL opinion.

First, the review. Obviously, yeah, good episode. Funny stuff. I've heard some people proclaim it the best episode of the series and, like... let's calm down. It's got nothing on the likes of Semi-Formal, Master Plan, Pluto, and Yearbook. But it was very good. Also, it's a kind of a similar plot to Yearbook, come to think of it, but Yearbook's the stronger episode. 

 I like the story, it felt refreshingly light. So many episodes lately have been really heavy and emotional lately (or at least... like they're trying to be) that it's been nice for them to just be hanging around goofing off. Boy Meets World had some amazing heavy episode, but I'd say a good 75% episodes were just funny and had no drama attached to them at all beyond fear of getting in trouble. 

God, they're not even trying anymore with the speed in which Maya draws pictures. She was, like, done with that sketch of Jexica before Riley was even done describing her. I liked everything about Jexica, by the way. The blue hair with feathers, army jacket, and sword... that feels exactly like the kind of character a little girl would make up. My guess is Jexica (or something very similar to her) is something from Mackenzie Yeager's own past, or the past of someone she knew. That felt very real, which is a... nice change of pace for Girl Meets World. I also liked Lucas recognizing it was her. 

Successful use of Yogi: Having him have suggested a eucalyptus scrub when Maya thought he was Riley. Unsuccessful use of Yogi: The bit with him proclaiming he and Jexica went to camp, because it reminded me he's a really bad actor. He's real bad. And he's not quite as tiny anymore, so the joke's gone too. I like the actress who plays the girl who's acting like she's BFF's with Jexica though. They should use her in a more substantive role. 

"Why are you laughing? Is one of my 5 husbands Yogi? How is that possible?" "We only know fine guys." That's hilarious. Also, watch that again and look at Rowan Blanchard's facial expression after she delivers that line. It's great. She's like despondent. 

I don't know when kids get introduced to technology these days, beyond that it's young, but it seems weird that Auggie's got his own private email account and yet uses a lime green toy iPad with handles. Anyway, this whole storyline is mainly aces though. Maybe the BEST Auggie and the parents storyline? Could be! I think I had the same reaction as you did with Topanga and the "1-2-3" trick, wondering if that was indeed a thing Topanga actually did to Cory, and being delighted that they proved themselves right with the flashback. An excellent use of a flashback. I needed to see it to know it was real. Whereas, like, you don't need to show me Topanga kissing Cory against the locker...again. Either we already have that scene engraved in our minds, or it wouldn't mean anything to us and we'd be like "Why does Cory have Vegeta hair?"

But Cory and Topanga were very well written throughout this episode. Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel won't be winning "MVP" this week, but they easily could have. 

I like Cory's teaching here in this episode. It's about their situation, but it doesn't seem like an unbelievable thing for him to be teaching, and it's something that can apply to everyone, not just specifically Riley. Still, it seems like a lot of these references are dated. I didn't even know what this "Charlie bit my finger" thing was, and it turns out to have been from a decade ago when I looked it up. Probably not the best example, Mackenzie. Probably this was something that hit when she was in high school and she's remembered it. While such is the nature of internet memes that nothing that was topical when they wrote this episode would be as topical by the time it aired, they probably could have done better than something that came out in 2007. 

Come on, Farkle doesn't know the capital of Minnesota or which continent penguins are on? Bullshit. I know they had him find out for the next class, which is something, but he should have already known that. I certainly knew that at that age and he's Farkle. And where's Smackle in all this?

Yeah, meh, got less into the plot once everyone claimed to be Jexica. It's an interesting wrinkle, but they didn't really do much with it. Also, after that scene where they all abandon being Jexica because Yogi has a video of a piano playing rabbit, the music for the interlude is this jazzy piano number instead of the usual rif on the theme song. I loved it. More jazzy piano numbers for the show's score, please.

I liked Lucas' "I'm tired all the time!" when the triangle came up. But the weirdest thing happens after that, Farkle says something and Lucas goes "Yeeeeeessss?" in this weird sing-songy tone. It was probably the actor being weird and they kept it, but it's totally out of place and not like him, and strange. 

Also: I thought it was hilarious that Ava really was stranded in London with no explanation and had actually sent him that email demanding all the money he had. But they took the joke too far by making the African one with the prince who was Morgan Freeman be true too and also be involving Ava. And then they just negated the whole joke by making it a stupid dream. They should have just cut the scene after Ava asks why she didn't bail him out of London. 

Good episode. Funny stuff.

Episode Rating: B+
Episode MVP: Rowan Blanchard, but Sabrina was a close second, and Ben and Danielle a close third and fourth. 

Okay, guys. Time for my controversial opinion. In watching that first scene with Riley making her profile on the staircase, it suddenly hit me... I really like Rowan and Sabrina's chemistry and I could be into them making Riley and Maya a couple. There was a quick moment there near the end of the opener that almost made their closeness seem like... it could be romantic and they just don't realize yet. While the intense closeness is meant to evoke the homoeroticism of Shawn and Cory, it feels a little different and more serious. It's sweet how close Cory and Shawn are, but it's mainly played for laughs and it only occasionally comes up, mostly they just act like two traditional dude friends. There's a little something more with Riley and Maya. Anyway, I could be into the idea if they explored it (which they won't, I realize) and it wouldn't feel out of place. That's all! Thoughts on this?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Episode Review: "Girl Meets High School, Part 2" (#3.02)

Sorry for the delay on this. A lot of the reason was that I just didn't have much new to say about this one, so expect this to be short, especially so we can get to the third episode.

My most immediate thought is that I think, with some ingenuity, this could have (and should have) just been a single episode. This didn't need to be a two-parter. Lucas, Farkle, and co. all seem to decide pretty quickly that they have no real reason to be mad at Riley (which is probably true) and so that conflict goes nowhere. They treat it as revelatory that the Seniors are actually trying to help, and that Thor and the Valkyries (TM Sean) are meant to represent an older Lucas, Riley, and Maya.... which I thought was pretty clear already and didn't need to be spelled out. And, seriously, two episodes worth of run time just for Riley and the gang to get the courage to... walk around the hallways of their high school? C'mon, guys.

If they need some advice on where they could have made cuts in order to get this down to one episode? I may suggest... the scene in which Farkle and Smackle encounter clones and androids. Just, y'know, if you're looking for suggestions. You could maybe not have a scene that has clones and androids. That would be my pick. The football stuff wasn't that much better... also, is Zay an athlete? Or even someone who wants to be an athlete? Because that's... news to me. And he sure as shit doesn't have the build for a football player. They should have given him his own thing. He seems to be regarded as having the silver tongue of the group, maybe he tries to join the... debate team? Or the... drama club? I dunno. I don't see him as a jock.

As predicted, the stuff with Marley questioning Cory's teaching methods really didn't go anywhere. She just learned that Cory is the best teacher of all time, despite all evidence to the contrary. Don't even bother bringing up your own writing flaws if you're still just going to ignore them. You can't convince us you guys are good writers with your own writing. Your own writing is the problem! God, Matthew Nelson wrote this. He's responsible for so many great episodes of Boy Meets World!* What happened, Matt? I think maybe the issue is that all these writers let their skills atrophy. Matthew Nelson really didn't do a goddamn thing between the end of BMW and beginning of GMW according to IMDb. Neither did Jacobs himself, or the other big BMW writer, Jeff Mennell. Literally all they did was work on a short-lived sitcom Jacobs created in 2003 called "Lost at Home" that got cancelled**

Anyway, yeah, this episode just really served as one looooooong ass final act to Part 1. It's also much more poorly written than Part 1 (Jacobs himself wrote the first one, which might explain the discrepancy there). That's about all I got.

Episode Rating: C- (It not being a good episode is one thing, but the real problem is that this should have just been the final act of Part 1 and in no way deserves to be an episode on its own. Still nothing outrageously offensive, androids aside)
Episode MVP: Ben Savage (I didn't like Cory not having to actually deal with being a bad teacher, but I did enjoy his performance and maybe they caught me in a good mood but the references to Feeny made me feel something)

*In the spirit of full disclosure, he also wrote "For Love and Apartments" which is probably my least favorite episode of BMW as well. 
** Huh, the plot of this "Lost at Home" actually sounds interesting. It's a sitcom about a family (natch), but the marriage is on the rocks, and the pilot starts with the wife telling the husband she's called a lawyer and is strongly considering leaving him if he doesn't start valuing his family more and including them in his busy Ad-Man life. Shades of Mad Men, obviously, but I just think it's interesting the notion of a family sitcom where we begin with a marriage falling apart. Usually the parents are either rock-solid or long divorced. 

I don't know if Nelson completely bombed here. I'm definitely seeing the remnants of his ability to write banter. I enjoyed Maya grabbing snacks real quick in the first minute, and them watching the girl with the cheetah print shoes, and then a few minutes later "I lost my friends and you're a mobster." So for a guy who got handed this paper and Jacobs said "Maya and Riley are in like this hole in a school, behind bars, and Riley's unrealistically upset about it, good luck," you know, he did better than I would have, to say the least.
Auggie has an imaginary dog, but I don't care. Who is this for? 

And here, Lucas's "You need some intellectual inferiors?" That he just immediately knows is funny. I think Nelson's doing great with the dialogue. So the four auxiliary characters are here at Topanga's feeling bad about stuff they shouldn't feel bad about, but that's Jacobs's fault, not Nelson's. 

UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I'm feeling physical pain at this, it's the same thing every single episode. Why do they have to look at each other during every single lesson? Why do they have to look around and make the Lesson Faces at each other? I just... It doesn't make sense. They're all complaining that the school doesn't revolve around them anymore BUT IT CLEARLY STILL DOES. At least Riley is venting inside the context of the lesson, rather than just directly talking to her friends in class, which is an improvement over Part 1. So Nelson got that right.

I still can't stand Marley. Has a character ever been so obnoxious? Maybe if the delivery was a little more dry, I don't know. She's just way too proud of herself.

I am so not prepared for a life lesson from these seniors. This is an After School Special. I feel like they're about to tell Riley and Maya to stay away from drugs and that sex before marriage is a sin. Who would ever do this? Don't worry if you get bullied at school kids, 'cause they'll show up in your BEDROOM and tell you about FRIENDSHIP.

I'll be completely honest, and I hope at least one person agrees with me, "We're gonna get massacred no matter what we do" feels like classic Boy Meets World. Things are gonna suck. We're gonna have to deal with it. It feels right. I am not happy that the message was handed down from Valhalla, though. I can imagine Cory or Shawn stumbling into that line all on their own, without the help of seniors in their bedroom. That's always been a problem on GMW, that the lessons are spoon fed, but whatever. Again, Jacobs's fault, not Nelson's.
I would have liked to have this reveal in a more powerful situation, but the writers probably thought this WAS a powerful situation. Either way, it's nice to know that line stuck with Cory through the years. There was no doubt, obviously, but it's nice to see it.

They missed an opportunity here though. "Yogi, what do you know?" "There are people here slaying more puss than me." "What are you gonna do about it?" I'm glad Cory still doesn't give a shit about any of the other students, wouldn't want that to change.

I hope we see an Eskimo style lesson for Maya in the future. She says she'll always follow Riley, but one of the most important things Cory learned was that he had to get out of Shawn's way when it really mattered. 

Well like Christian said, it was too little content for a 2 parter, should have been one. Otherwise I thought the dialogue was a dramatic improvement over part 1. 

If we ever see the seniors or Marley again I will riot.

"We're gonna get massacred no matter what." Yeah that's not bad at all. The vehicle for delivering that message was atrocious, lots of wasted time, but as far as Girl Meets World lessons go, this one is absolutely working for me. They WON'T get massacred, obviously, because their lives are perfect, but still.

Gonna get started on Jexica now. 

*EDIT* Looked through the comments and not one person mentioned "We're gonna get massacred no matter what." Shame on all of you. Every one of you needs to go back and re-read Boy Meets World Reviewed and remember why we're here.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Episode Review: "Girl Meets High School Part 1" (#3.01)


Alright, let's do it.

Look I'm the kinda guy who wears Chuck Taylors. Alan wore Chucks most of the time in Boy Meets World. I never really imagined Riley wearing them, but here we are. I don't like it. I don't want to wear the same shoes as Riley Matthews. 

We're not even a minute in and Farkle's preaching his 13 year old wisdom already. Jacobs has always pushed this philosophy of "Love exists, therefore the universe has meaning." It's a lot easier to digest when you hear it from Alan or Feeny. Coming from Farkle, it's just annoying.

I'm glad Zay is here right away. At the moment, he's the only Lucas-relationship that doesn't make us angry. Which is to say, it's actually good. Their conversation on the roof at the end of Graduation is still fresh in my mind. They're tangible, they're feeling the same insecurities we all felt in high school. But then we jump over to Maya and Riley who are feeling the insecurities that the writers made up because they wanted to feel smart.

It's the same shit as always. Riley somehow remains uncertain that their friendship can survive, and Maya says "What if we don't own this place?" completely unironically and completely un-self-aware. Yeah Maya, What Fucking If. What if you can't do whatever you want all the time and just bullshit around? The horror.
They get split up the same way Cory and Shawn did in Back 2 School, which I guess I appreciate? This show aggressively blurs the line between shameless re-use and paying homage, it's hard to tell.

But based on the new theme song, probably homage. I talked to Christian about the theme song when it first went online. It can't ever be the same if we're not "wandering down this road of E. Coli," but I like it. Some of the shots are weirdly empty, and I really wish they changed the song, but I'm 99% only here for Boy Meets World references so how could I turn this one away?

Unfortunately, every movie that was made in the 80's has just begun. Isn't the whole world tired of this? The upperclassmen at my high school were all too busy texting and trying to sleep with each other to waste time bullying freshmen. It's fucking six vs three, just ignore these people. 

Lucas realizes he can't protect his friends from Thor and The Valkyries, which is at least interesting. Maya and Riley though, "Boo Hoo we're not kings anymore." You know who are kings? Nobody. It's school. It's god damn school. "Life is a lot tougher than school, my dears." George Feeny.
But Sean! You weren't this hard on Back 2 School! That's true, because Harley Keiner is a caricature. Boy Meets World knows that it's a Friday night sitcom when it introduces Harley. On the other hand, as always, Girl Meets World thinks it's being real when it's actually being totally ridiculous. 

I admit that Lucas has hooked me in though. The best (maybe only) story advancement for Mister Perfect is to rip his status away from him (Hello Jaime Lannister). I'm not convinced that anyone else's life has changed at all here.

Ava's parents are "fighting again," which honestly made me do a double take. The writers were like "Fine you don't like Ava? Fine we'll throw some Shawn Hunter in there, see how you like that you golden text bastard." Zero to a hundred at the speed of sound.

I think what happened here... Is the writers were with Jacobs, right, they said "have you heard these kids today Mike? Have you heard how snarky they are about our writing? Let's put em in the show, that won't be condescending at all." And that's how we got Marley. She's what they think we sound like. Therefore, I hate her.
Poor Cory, he couldn't get thirty seconds into his very first high school lesson without this crap bubbling to the surface. How many seasons of fans complaining about this shit does it take? How many more hours of my life will be spent watching Riley yell at her friends in class? If she doesn't get detention, I quit. I'm not actually quitting but god damn Cory, grow a pair. Remember in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Shawn and Dana are arguing with each other in class, but it's wrapped up in them talking to Feeny about the actual content of the history lesson? That was cool! That was fun! And Feeny maintained control of his class! Imagine if Shawn and Dana just started yelling at each other and Feeny's like "Oops lol!"
Zay is pretty hilarious with these cheerleaders. Once again he actually feels like a real person. The girls both want to be called Lucas's girlfriend even though they've probably never held hands and the last time Riley and Lucas kissed was more than a year ago. BUT IT'S TOTALLY NOT A TRIANGLE GUYS. The two girls want to be his girlfriend, but that's toooooooootally not a triangle. The writers said so on Twitter.

Farkle runs in claiming that the scientists here are gigantic, which is refreshingly self aware, since height is the only thing making these upperclassmen look intimidating next to Lucas and Maya.
Cory is entertaining as he complains about high school, Smackle continues to be the best, Maya goes wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh and Riley makes the Riley Face.
Cory tries to be profound, then Riley tries to be profound, and Lucas acts as my total surrogate as he gets pissed as hell. Am I LOSING IT or is Lucas seriously the only person making any sense here? 

Farkle is talking shit, directly blaming Riley for "leading us down a hole." It's nice to see some harsh truths setting in, but I'm really scared it's all gonna turn around by the end. My fears are strengthened as Cory tells Ava to always hope for the best in people, mirroring what Riley said earlier that pissed everyone off. 


I have died. This scene shuffled me off my mortal coil. I will thank you all to address me as Ghost-Sean from now on. This blog is officially haunted.

By me.


This isn't about sticking together, Riley. This is about THEM sticking with YOU. It's just like Lucas said, why doesn't Riley believe in Lucas? Why does it have to be everyone else believing in Riley? I thought we could get through this without Riley crying, but here we are. Ava's dad apparently skipped town so now it's her turn to cry, then Maya consoles her with her own experiences, making it her turn to cry. I'm glad we covered all our bases.

Well that's the end. The girls cry because they think their best friends have eternally moved on after arguing for exactly two days. Tell ya what though, I'm coming back for part 2 because I do want to see what Lucas and Zay get up to. And the Fark Smack super team, even though they didn't get nearly enough time in this episode. 

It was stupid. I think I've made that clear. I don't know. I need to see what Christian says.

By and large, while I didn't love this episode, it didn't bother me either. Like you I was actually way into Lucas in this episode. Peyton Meyer did a good job in his scenes, and his "You're too much for me, Riley" along with his hurt at Riley having no faith he could succeed in high school football felt very real. If this is who Lucas is now, I'm on board. Golden God Lucas wasn't working, so if instead he's an ex-Golden God that the world is no longer rolling over and instead he has to fight and scrap for things, sign me up. Everything he was saying seemed to be the rational thing to say. 

The ridiculous triangle business needs to be over tout suite though. Look, I was pretty clearly a Lucaya fan back in the day, but it seems abundantly clear at this point that, whether we like it or not, Riley's actually the one Lucas is into. The longer this goes on, the more pathetic Maya's going to look. If they're going to do this, then just do it. Get it over with. And let Maya move on.

Zay was a delight in this episode, very surprised he wasn't promoted to the main cast or at least the "Also Starring" that Corey Fogelmanis got in Season One. He was great with the cheerleaders, like you said, Sean, great everywhere. I've totally come around on him. 

I was less into Farkle in this one - while Lucas had believable beef with Riley, I'm not exactly sure what Farkle's problem with her is. Yeah, Riley's suggestion of just hanging out in the hole was a bad one... and so you and Smackle left. Who cares? And while Riley is certainly the queen of thinking the universe revolves around her and her friends and so nothing bad will ever happen... it's not her fault you drank that Kool-Aid and started believing it too. It's not like she's the only one guilty of that line of thinking either. 

I do really like that Smackle's attending Abigail Adams though. That came as a surprise to me, and a welcome one. She didn't have much to do here, but she was fun. Also, speaking of Abigail Adams, I like that being the name of the high school. Abigail Adams was a boss, and by every historian's estimation the most important Founding Father wife, every inch as brilliant and revolutionary as her husband, and it makes a kind of sense that since Cory attended John Adams, the spinoff about his daughter takes place at first the school that's the child of John Adams, and then the school that's sort of the female John Adams. 

The little homages to Back 2 School were fine. Not all that funny to me, but I thought they worked because they're jokes that just work on their own and aren't total "Cory said 'Undapants!" again" non-sequiters. If you get the reference, then it's a fun callback, if you don't, it's just a joke that makes sense in this context anyway. 

You know who I liked that you didn't? Marley. She may be a one-off, but I like that there's a character with a name and identity with a problem with Cory's teaching style and Riley and Maya taking over the class with their problems. The show has done a few passes at "We know you're criticizing us, so here's us drawing attention to it." The Season 2 premiere did it, very unsuccessfully, but I thought this was handled better. We'll see where it and Marley goes - if anywhere.

I didn't have a problem with Ava's storyline. While I understand the Shawn comparisons, it also is just... something that happens. People's parents get divorced. Topanga's parents are divorced too, and I'm actually surprised it didn't mention, though I get having Maya talk to her because she's a lead and because if the issue is the dad leaving, then she fits better, since Topanga was already in college when her parents split. If the dad TOTALLY ghosts, that would be different, but if it's just a simple divorce and him "leaving" is just that he's not going to live with her full time anymore, then I'm fine with it. I also thought Danielle Fishel did a good job in those scenes. I enjoyed both her and Cory a lot in this episode, though they didn't have too much riding on them.

Those are all my initial thoughts. I thought all the seniors looked about 30 years old, but I guess that's what you have to do when one of your Freshman looks to be 25 years old. Peyton Meyer is not a super tall guy, which helps, but it may have been a bit much to make seniors be exclusively 6'5" in order to dwarf him. But still, him being physically intimidated is a fun switch.

All in all, I dunno....

Episode Rating: B- (Nothing really bothered me here, but there wasn't much that I walked away from loving, and it wasn't particularly funny)
Episode MVP: Peyton Meyer, actually. Is this the first time I've given him this?