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.
NO. DON'T DO THIS TO ME. THERE IS NO FUCKING WAY THAT THOR AND THE VALKYRIES ARE SITTING BEHIND RILEY AND MAYA. THERE IS NO WAY THAT THEY'RE ABOUT TO JUSTIFY EVERYTHING. I CAN'T WATCH.
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.
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?