Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Episode Review: "Girl Meets The Great Lady of New York" (#3.13)

"What does she stand for?" "Because Kathy took her chair." That's clever, so I had to find out who wrote the script. It's our boy Jeff Menell, Mister And Then There Was Shawn. Mister The Eskimo. ...Mister... Meets World of Terror 2... Jeff Menell? More like... Jeff man, I'll... always be a fan.

Look we can't all be TALENTED WRITERS okay

"CREAM CHEESE". 
Topanga's talking to a character other than Auggie, which is just super neato. It's nice of her to make this Cuban food for Auggie's new friend who we'll never see again, but it's not much of a plot. 




Riley and Maya have awful presentations about their heritage and I really enjoy how unhappy Cory is about it. He's not just making some weird Cory face in the background while the audience laughs, he's actually mad. Way to go. 
Yeah I love Cory in this scene. The plot hasn't really taken off yet, so I don't know what to write about, but I'm having fun. 

It's... it's difficult to write about. Here's the problem with this, I think. This cultural heritage lineage ancestry stuff is supposed to be important to the individual. On a cosmic scale, it's cool that Zay learned about his family's history, but how is that supposed to be entertaining? That doesn't tell us anything about him as a person or as a character, I'm not suddenly more invested in the show. If he were my friend in real life it might be some fun trivia to know, but... Otherwise... It's hard to care.

OOOOOOH OKAY, I don't need this little Elian Gonzalez stroking America's ego here, okay, come on. "Nice country you got here" with the touching guitar music? Bad show. Bad bad show.

If this Cambodian woman's story takes longer than a minute, I'm going to riot. Yes, very sad story. I SUPPOSE this is a girl meeting the world, you have technically satisfied the criteria with this episode, fine. And Maya is consistently funny to keep the overall tone from getting too depressing. We're clearly building up to something with Farkle, so let's keep moving.
Pictured: Very mysterious
My highly trained voice-actor-recognizing ears are tingling, I think that's Shiloh Strong doing the PA announcement to close out the culture fair (he and Rider directed this one). 

There's a half assed attempt at closing out Maya's branch of the story. Now she knows like two more things about Ireland, it's whatever. Riley steals the class to make a really obvious point about the whole "melting pot" thing, I don't care, let's just get to Farkle already. Yeah, very sad holocaust related background for Farkle, but that doesn't tell me anything about Farkle. If he were my friend in real life he would have all of my sympathy, but what does this do for the show? I don't know why shows do this, they tell us about something bad happened so we can be like "Boy you're right, bad things do happen." Like Dangerous Secret in Boy Meets World, but even then we saw this compassionate/vigilante side of Shawn, so we actually did get something out of that. Maybe this is more comparable to Teacher's Bet in season one of BMW, where it's like yeah, ethnic cleansing is bad, America is not so bad, woo hoo.

What on earth is this running gag about Elian Gonzalez having a friend like Ava? They really couldn't think of anything else to talk about? Like, gee, President Obama re establishing ties with Cuba? No you're right, Cuban Ava is way more important.

That's the entire ending gag, is that both boys are stuck with this awful girl. How did this happen? We were just talking about the god damn HOLOCAUST. What an absolute disaster ending. This is nightmare fuel. 

What can I even say, the Auggie story was a huge waste of time, like always. I guess we're supposed to feel inspired by the main story to find out our own backgrounds, but that just doesn't appeal to me. I mostly use my German background as an excuse to drink too much, that's about it. The biggest problem is that we didn't learn anything new about the characters themselves. I challenge any of you to give one reason you would ever watch this episode again.

My favorite part of the episode was at the end when Danielle Fishel broke character and asked God to kill her. She really is a trooper for putting up with this nonsense. That whole ending sequence was literally the worst thing I've seen in the Meets World franchise. I was fucking mortified. Still, not so mortified that I can't call the Cuban boy by his name Raffi, rather than Elian Gonzales. *I* don't assume everyone of Latin heritage is an illegal immigrant like Sean-ald Trump over here! 

I also wasn't into the Farkle's great-grandfather was in the holocaust business. Definitely felt like cheap, unearned drama. If we had an established Jewish character whose Jewishness was a part of his identity, it would mean something to me. To suddenly reveal one of the characters is secretly Jewish only to IMMEDIATELY drop the Holocaust card is bad, lazy writing. 

Oh. Speaking of which....


One of these boys is Jewish. The other is a WASP and his ancestors probably came over on the Mayflower. Can you guess which is which? The answer may surprise you!
There's only one Jewish boy adopted by a Christian family on this show, a'ight, and his name ain't Minkus.

It was obvious where they were going, but you know what I was hoping? Minkus is a German name. Stuart Minkus is as Aryan as they come. Both Minkii are highly organized, direct, ambitious people. One of them has ambitions to rule the world. See where I'm going with this? I thought it would be cool if Farkle discovered his great-grandfather was a Nazi, who was allowed to come over to America through Project Paperclip and be a scientist here. The devastation there I would buy. Farkle would be horrified to discover that about his family, and it could even frighten him as he recognized qualities within himself that are not entirely un-Nazi-esque.  And, so, like, you'd get the dark side of learning your family's story. Your family's story could suck. 

But, no. Instead we got this. 

On another note, I figured Zay was Creole and would have gotten to Texas by way of Louisiana. I mean, "Babineaux"? I think that would have been a better history. Although, yeah, obviously, it all comes back to Africa. 

This episode did have plenty of funny parts. Sean touched on some of them. It's been a while now since I watched it, so I can't remember any others offhand, but I do remember being struck by that. I also really enjoyed Cory in this episode, for the reasons Sean touched on. But some portions of this episode are rather epically bad. Still, nice to see Cory in a Phillies hat again.

Episode Rating: C (And I'm being fucking kind after that last scene)
Episode MVP: Ben Savage

Elian was a brave ass kid, it's a compliment. (And I genuinely couldn't remember Raffi's real name.) You're a super genius though with that Nazi idea. Holy fuck, that's so perfect man. Grow a pair, Disney!

62 comments:

  1. I love you guys' blog but I usually never post comments here - but I think I'm gonna pull a Jexica and do so anonymously!

    I honestly loved this episode. Might be one of my favorites this season, though I realize that's a bold statement since the season isn't over yet. Some particular things I wanted to comment on:

    - I was eating Subway when watching this, and I nearly choked when Riley mentioned the cookie for the THIRD EPISODE IN A ROW. Like holy shit, this is new continuity territory for GMW! Is this cookie going to become a running gag or something? And then I got all excited when she tried to apologize to Zay's grandma (that was literally exactly what Christian wanted in the Real World review!) but I was so let down when it turned out to be his grandma from the other side of the family. Truly a letdown.

    - They keep the continuity train rolling with an old reference to the "short stack of pancakes" insult from Lucas and mention of Mrs. Svorski. Man, this episode and Bear have kicked ass in the continuity department!

    - I actually kind of liked this Nigel character. He wasn't as awkwardly shoehorned in as that Rebel from Girl Meets Friendship and we genuinely learn a lot about his heritage at the cultural fair. I really liked that - we got INSIGHT on a random classmate! I also really liked Maya's continuing joke about how she was surprised that he was speaking since the background characters never speak (I think Cory touched on that same joke in another episode)

    - Damn, we get quite a heavy dose of Farkle's past here. Never did I think Disney would touch on a topic as serious as the Holocaust, even if they didn't explicitly mention it. I'd say this is probably one of Farkle's more memorable episodes this season, if not the most memorable, because he hasn't really...done a whole lot this season. I know one of you guys pointed that out before.

    - Maya referred to her mom as Katy Clutterbucket again. I guess this retcon is official?

    - Frankly, the only part I disliked about this episode was Marisol. Really, they pulled the overused "put actor in a wig and pass them off as another character"? Gah. It's like when they put Farkle in a wig as that "back of the class Brenda" character in two episodes. I'm with Topanga - one Ava is obnoxious enough, but my views on her definitely changed after we heard about her parents fighting. Gave her some more depth for sure.

    I really expected Mackenzie Yeager to be the writer for this, but apparently it's...Jeff Menell? Haven't seen his name in a while. Still, great episode IMO.

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    1. On the subject of Farkle, he STILL hasn't done anything though. None of the content here was actually about Farkle. One of his ancestors had a really bad time, but what does that tell you about Farkle as a person? I don't think it tells us anything.

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    2. Part of the problem might be that Farkle found this information off-screen. If we saw him going through a book, or some papers he printed out, and then he put it together, it may have been a bit better.

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    3. Same issue we had with Girl Meets Farkle when he told us secondhand he may have Asperger's instead of hearing the official diagnosis. It's a general problem about this show - "show, don't tell" - that Sean and Christian have complained about.

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    4. One note about the Other Grandma bit--I actually thought that was hilarious, one of the funniest scenes this season.

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    5. Oh yeah I definitely thought that was hilarious ("Stay away from my grandmas, Riley" was a great delivery from Zay) but I was still disappointed Christian didn't get what he wanted.

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  2. 'Tis true. I just mean that this is the most significance I remember him having in an episode. Like, I can't remember squat that he did in any other episodes.

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  3. The entire time Farkle was being mysterious, I thought his family had Nazi ties, Christian. The entire time i just kept waiting, thinking "ooh, this could even be something we come back to as Farkle wants to rule the world. Oh my gods, this is gonna be good. How'll Riley react- how'll ZAY." But the holocaust survivor thing came about and i was all "b-b-but but....sigh." It is sad, though. His entire family history goes back only to his (great?)grandfather as everyone else was murdered. That must be tough to grasp, yo. Even Zay knows which country in Africa his people are from; knows which island they were taken to. I mean, I'm black and LIVE in Jamaica and the only ancestors i can trace are the German and indigenous ones.

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    1. I thought it was great how they showed the newfound understanding between Zay and Farkle about having your family/heritage/culture wiped out. It was subtle, so points to Disney for going there and doing it well.

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  4. I gotta say, I think Christian is right. The tag scene in this episode is quite possibly the worst scene from any episode of the Feeny-verse, up to an including Maya's "Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay!" in "Hurricane."

    With that in mind...this episode is tough to nail down. While for the most part, it isn't bad by any means--even Auggie's little storyline wasn't as bad as usual--I was underwhelmed.

    I was annoyed with Cory in this one--while Sean makes a great point about how seeing Angry Cory is something of a treat, I was a little underwhelmed.

    While Maya's report was lousy, (though bagpipes are apparently a much older instrument, with related instruments being spread throughout Europe--though Maya's model was the Scottish highland design), a not-insignficant part of Riley's lackluster report was due to the fact that Cory refused to tell her anything about his own family.

    That being said, I would have liked to see a bit more from Topanga. We know next to nothing about the Lawrence family--Wikipedia tells me that "Lawrence" is an Anglicisation of the French "Laurence." But I don't recall Topanga ever mentioning her mother's maiden name. What we got was pretty good, but it wasn't quite enough.

    That Nigel kid was surprised me--I don't think he's had any lines at all--most of the other extras have at least had one or two by now. But he did a decent job.

    The presentation on Cambodia was...okay, I guess. I suspect I'd like it much more if I was more invested in the characters. Nigel's been in the classroom for ages, and for the most part, I don't recall him looking at the camera. But one thing I didn't like was that his grandmother didn't say the name of the Cambodian dictator. We need to know who the devils were in our history. His name was Pol Pot. The Cambodian Genocide killed anywhere between 1.5 and 3 million people.

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    1. Part 2:

      On to Farkle. Ancestry.com tells me that the surname "Minkus" is either Polish or Ashkenzaic Jewish in origin.

      I'm not sure I can say it felt unearned in so much that this is something Farkle is just now learning--when I was in college, a buddy from the year behind my brother and I shared a class. We teamed up for the First Class Intros, and learned random trivia to share with the class. Buddy mentioned that his grandfather survived the Holocaust--a chill went down my spine and when we told the class...

      Hand to God, the air dropped ten degrees and you could hear a pin drop.

      But within the episode itself, it didn't do much for me. We barely spent any time on it--and I had actually been looking forward to it.
      And, from a historical perspective, the scene didn't really do justice to the length Danish resistance went to support the Jewish population--or for that matter, how the Danish government was not exactly cooperative with the Germans for a fair portion of the War.

      Not unlike the sparse details about Cambodia, I wasn't very fond of the sparse details about the Holocaust. IF you're going to cover this at all, you cover it in detail. You get it right--you make sure your audience knows what the hell happened.

      On the actual...reveal, for want of a better word...Farkle's hesitation was actually pretty good. My interpretation? He didn't really want to tell them, not because he didn't trust them, but because he didn't want to make it real.

      That said, would kids watching this show who haven't covered the Holocaust in school even know what the characters were talking about?

      Riley's speech didn't do much for me. Which is weird, since I generally like a good melting pot speech. And I just read a great one from one of my favorite authors, but that's neither here nor there at the moment. I guess, if we're going for somewhat sappy, melting-pot speeches, it's hard to beat Eric and his Deck of Cards.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfOvh7eWe5k

      It looks like my analysis is more critical than I intended it to be, since I didn't think this episode was particularly bad. I guess I just hoped for more.

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    2. Cryptid456-
      If the target age group for this show hasn't studied the Holocaust in any way, shape or form in school, then I am very, very worried. We were reading age appropriate books about the Holocaust by 4th or 5th grade. I do agree with you about including more details about Cambodia, because that is something I would not expect the target age group to know about or have studied in school.

      Riley's speech didn't do it for me either, and I have no idea why.

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    3. I agree, they could have done a much better job of explaining the Danish resistance, even if it was just a quick line or two.

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    4. I know this is a couple days later Kit, but I thought about what you said about age-appropriate material. For a while I was stumped--until I remember the novella "Number the Stars." It covers the actions taken by the Danish Resistance to evacuate Jews in the Second World War.

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    5. It's because Topanga's family are renegade time lords from Gallifrey. She is not fully of this Earth.

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    6. Hey Cryptid my friend, I’m trapped in the past, now only a week but still one review behind.

      I think I liked Maya’s Riley-cheer from “Hurricane,” but may have decided to after Sean said how much he hated it. The way this episode ended was stunningly, incomparably bad. I wasn’t a fan of Ava’s earlier Carmen Miranda turn either—where is that campaign against cultural appropriation when you really need it? And they threw in another helping of perverse Yogi too.

      While I wholeheartedly agree the episode would have benefited from more historical specificity, the harrowing details of genocide seem unlikely Disney fare. It may have been all they could do just to reference them obliquely.

      My maternal grandfather was a German soldier in World War I. At some point I confused wars. For years, for reasons I won’t get into, and, like a GMW writer, never caring to do the timeline math, came to believe that he was a Nazi concentration camp guard and presumptive war criminal. So, like Christian, I was thinking Farkle’s story might go another way. But it seemed unlikely at the same time. Too nuanced.

      It would have been interesting, but probably also unlikely, for Auggie’s new friend to have been Syrian.

      I usually don’t like to say anything about an episode unless I have watched it twice. But, though it had good stuff too, I really don’t want to go back to it.

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    7. Ah Milestones! My friend, how are you? It's been ages since we've been able to speak.

      I only mentioned Maya's "Yay" out of comparison--usually, the tag scenes are forgettable.

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    8. Cryptid, it has been ages. I'm hoping we will back in sync with you folks for WOT3.

      This tag certainly wasn't forgettable, but I'm going try and forget it anyway.

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    9. literally will friedleNovember 21, 2016 at 2:06 AM

      Even beyond the fact that the Cambodian kid has literally said nothing before this episode (and likely won't say anything on this show again), were I Cambodian I'd be...MODERATELY MIFFED at their oversimplified glossing over of the Khmer Rouge. I had to double check, because I was hoping that I heard it wrong the first time, but the kid's granmda(?) says "Very cruel...millions imprisoned, tortured," which, yes, that happened, but that COMPLETELY loses the millions killed during that era (the most conservative estimate I've seen still puts them at ~750,000 people). I can understand not getting into the details like "WELL THIS IS WHAT IT WAS LIKE UNDER THEIR RULE," but if you don't want to bring up the millions of people who were killed (and the millions killed during the Holocaust) then maybe DON'T MAKE THIS FUCKING EPISODE.

      and i genuinely don't know what the lesson we were supposed to take from the cambodia/holocaust stuff. like is it just "sometimes really really awful stuff happens" because i really don't think girl meets world is the place kids should be learning about the kind of stuff. and if they REALLY WANT to do that then i'd suggest maybe tying it in further with the other characters (maya could say something about the potato famine [which people tend to not take as seriously as the holocaust, which i don't entirely get. it wasn't necessarily the deliberate ethnic cleansing that the holocaust and other genocides were {although a lot of people argue that the starvation in Ireland could have been mitigated by the British government who instead enacted policies to drive down the population and stuff}, but a substantial percentage of ireland's population either died or emigrated] and i dunno lucas could go off and stand in a corner. like maybe they push a message that people are capable of some serious shit but we still pull through, which is basically the debate message. so uhh, instead maybe just don't make this episode) and then have them like hug farkle or something stupid


      God, I'm sorry about the format on this <_<

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  5. Also, yeah, that bit about Farkle's great-grandfather being a Nazi who got a deal would have been a great idea.

    And it would have been a fantastic lesson, that you are not your ancestors--this show still has a bit of Generation Xerox to it.

    Heck, several of my ancestors had a hand in the Salem Witch Trials, and it disgusted me when I learned what happened.

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    1. Cryptid456-
      The idea that you are not your ancestors would have been a great lesson.

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  6. As a Jew I didn't like how they shoehorned Farkle's Jewish heritage in there. It just seems like it Disney's excuse not to have an actual Jewish character in one of their shows.

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  7. Legitimately the second Farkle started stalling I was dead set on the Nazi background. It just seemed as obvious to me as it did to you and I was excited that they were going to do something so "brave" on DC.
    I realized that wasn't the case when Zay started watching him, but man, it could have been good. They did make sure not to say the words ( slave, holocaust, nazi ), but even with those parameters you could have still had Farkle give an eloquent and conflicted explanation. He is the smart one after all.
    All they had to do was spend time on it. Make this a bottle episode in the high school, give our main characters (where the fuck was Smackle?) actual answers to their ancestry inquiries and have them choose what it means to them on a personal level going forward.
    Scrap the whole 'we-don't-know-what-this-is-or-who-it's-targeted-towards-but-August-has-a-contract' B-plot and put Danielle out of her misery. The initial idea and subsequent introduction to Raffi was nice, but it spiraled into hell nonsense real quick and it wouldn't have been missed.
    Fucking have Raffi be a pop up background student who brings the dish into class for his heritage presentation since we're giving extras names and characters in this episode.

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    1. Myracle U Harmon-

      The second Farkle started stalling I was thinking Nazi heritage too, but as soon as he mentioned Denmark, that pretty much ruled it out for me. I love your idea of spending more time in high school and having them give presentations about what their heritage means to them. I would include a montage of them doing research, because it would break up the episode.

      Another way to do it is have the presentations at the start of the episode, and then spend the rest of the episode dealing with the fallout from the presentations.

      "Scrap the whole 'we-don't-know-what-this-is-or-who-it's-targeted-towards-but-August-has-a-contract' B-plot and put Danielle out of her misery. The initial idea and subsequent introduction to Raffi was nice, but it spiraled into hell nonsense real quick and it wouldn't have been missed."

      I totally 1000% agree with this. BMW never had this problem, because they never felt obligated to give Morgan a B plot every episode. She was there when they needed her, and she didn't have to be a major part of the episode if they didn't need her. Have Auggie be at the breakfast/dinner table and say or do something cute, then just don't do anything with him unless the story demands it. There's no way Auggie's storylines actually appeal to any younger siblings who many be watching along with older siblings.

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    2. Kit said: "I totally 1000% agree with this. BMW never had this problem, because they never felt obligated to give Morgan a B plot every episode. She was there when they needed her, and she didn't have to be a major part of the episode if they didn't need her.

      That's because they had Eric, or Jack or even Shawn for the B plot (yes hard to believe but Cory and Shawn did have a few episodes where they were involved in separate plotlines) while GMW has all 4 kids involved in the main plot every episode (God forbid Riley and Maya aren't joined at the hip for 23 minutes every week).

      They have nothing but Auggie to fall back on. Hell, BMW even used the adults occasionally as the secondary plot. Other than the 1 Jack/Eric plot and the Shawn/Katy thing in "I Do" I can't remember any "B" plot in GMW that doesn't feature Auggie (and probably Topanga).

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    3. I never thought of this before, but yeah. Though to be fair to GMW for a second, whilst it is true of Shawn/Cory, Topanga never had a plot on her own, not really. Whilst in the latter seasons this is somewhat understandable, even as early as season 2 she never seemed to even show up in an episode except to set up the Cory/Topanga romance.

      Not that that takes away from the overall point - if Maya and Riley occasionally had their own plots, and certainly Farkle, Zay and Lucas, Auggie would not have to be so extensively used.

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    4. The problem Girl Meets World has is in all 4 kids being involved in the main plot, plus Cory. So five out of seven get a huge share of the pie, but then that pie isn't enough for the five to share in the first place.

      Personally, I think it would have been a good idea for Josh to have been added to the main cast this season. Let him get the B-plots. Topanga and Cory have someone to talk to, Riley gets someone who isn't her teacher to give her advice, we get more ties to Alan and Amy.

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    5. Cryptid456-
      I'm not sure I can see Disney doing a wacky college comedy, because isn't that what most of Josh's plots would have been?

      Having an older sibling would have been so good for this show. If the math wouldn't have worked out for Riley, and they wanted Maya to be an only child, what about giving Lucas or Farkle an older sibling. Someone more interesting to build subplot around would have been great.

      It didn't have to be a biological connection. Maybe there's someone in the building a few years older than Riley that she's friends with. Not best friends like Maya, but someone she says hi to and talks to in the elevator or when she sees her in the building.

      Since Disney must have known older fans who remember BMW would tune in, why not give the adults a plotline? Each week you'd have the kids' storyline, and the adults' storyline. I doubt tweens really care about Auggie's storyline, and I don't think their younger siblings are huge Auggie fans either.

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    6. All they had to do, was have Riley a year or so younger, then the older sibling works.I wouldn't have enjoyed just someone in the building though. But having Josh as a regular would have worked too - in fact, that's nearly the same age gap as Cory and Eric.

      Whilst I do like the concept of the adults having a storyline; I would enjoy Cory/Topanga actually coming together for something about -them- rather than their kids, on occasion, for example, I think it's tricky. The problem is; GMW has enough issues with people comparing it to BMW without those much-loved characters from the original (especially Cory and Shawn) seemingly taking spotlight time away from the new cast. It's a problem when quite possibly people would care more about the B-plotline than the A.

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    7. A fair point Will. Especially when one considers that Eric and Shawn had the lion's share of the B-plots, compared to Cory, and they're most likely the most popular characters, his Excellency Mr. Feeny nonwithstanding.

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    8. Eh, I only brought Josh up because he was already there, might as well use him.

      In BMW, every new season brought an element of change. That's been true of GMW, but allow me to elaborate.

      BMW Season 2: New school. New sets. New Teacher. Cory and Shawn got into real mischief. And discovered what girls are.

      BMW Season 3: Shawn and Turner! Cory and Topanga!

      BMW Season 4: Eric's in the real world! Shawn has his dad again! Cory and Topanga...became really lovey-dovey.

      BMW Season 5: Senior year! Jack Hunter...okay, so not all the changes can be winners.

      BMW Season 6: COLLEGE!

      You get the idea.

      By comparison, for GMW, we got Zay in Season 2...and he only showed up sometimes. And in Season 3, we got a new set, but the dynamics aren't that different.

      So, I figure, had they introduced Josh as a more recurring presence, we'd see things at least feel a bit different. It was dependent on Josh living with Cory and Topanga while in college. Eh, YMMV.

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    9. Will van Roekel-I didn't realize the age difference between Josh was Riley was about the same as the age difference between Cory and Eric. In that, making Josh a greater presence would totally work. When Eric went to college, it didn't suddenly turn into an R rated wacky college comedy. BMW managed to do pretty tame college stories, that were still entertaining subplots. The fake fraternity was great.

      Cryptid456-I could picture a scenario where Josh has to live with Cory and Topanga. At first, he has to live them for a semester, because too many people signed up to live in the dorms, and there isn't enough space. Auggie would have to share his room, which would lead to all sorts of great dramatic tension. Also, if Ava moved away at the same time (moving is super common after a divorce), you could do subplots with Auggie and Josh.

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    10. From memory, the age gap between Cory and Eric is anywhere from 3 to 5 years, depending on which episode you look at. I know it was 4 years at the beginning, but it was stated at one point it was only 3 years later on. Don't ask me for specifics there...

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    11. Hell, it ended at only 2 years. Eric graduated at the end of Season 3, Cory graduated at the end of Season 5. That's a far cry from the four year age gap between Josh and Riley.

      In general, it's way harder to include Josh in Riley's life than Eric in Cory's. In addition to him being a little older, (1) he goes to a different school, (2) he doesn't live in the same room as him like Eric did, and (3) for the first two seasons he lived in a different *state*

      The show could have corrected any of this. Josh didn't *have* to be that old, they could have made the age different whatever. They also could have made Alan and Amy and family have moved to NY in the interim. And if they kept it like they established it in Season 1, they could have at least had Josh maybe live with Cory and Topanga to save money in college or something.

      They've had ample opportunities to make Josh a recurring figure, and they're not taking them. Granted, Uriah's accident played a role, but he seems to be fine now, and nothing.

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    12. I guess it just annoys me that Josh's main purpose in the show is to be Maya's love interest. While unlike Friar, he has other uses, this is his primary role.

      Uriah's accident is a huge factor--he was supposed to be in "New Year" and "Legacy." If memory serves, "Legacy/Graduation" was actually supposed to be a two-parter. Maybe his injury allowed them to condense the episode. It's a near-certainty that the Triangle would not have gone on as long as it did, had Josh been able to have conversations with Maya in the end of Season 2.

      But a better question is why haven't they used him more often this season? And more importantly, why not use him as a foil to Riley? Or Cory--I'd love a scene where Josh recalls an embarrassing Cory Story from long ago.

      I never saw "Girl Meets Game Night," but I'm still annoyed that we never got a callback to "Quiz Bowl."

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  8. I don't understand why Cory was mad about Riley's first presentation. He told her their heritage was Philadelphia and Cream Cheese. Also, after telling Riley she was from Philadelphia, he should not have been surprised that Zay and Lucas used that example and said they were from Texas.

    For a brief second, I also thought I thought there was going to be a Nazi connection, but then I realized he had mentioned Denmark, which would not have worked well for that storyline. I like your idea better, especially the way you worked in Project Paperclip (I've also hard it called Operation Paperclip). I also like you backstory for Zay too. "Babineaux" sounds sort of cajan.

    I was disappointed by Riley's second presentation. Everyone learned something about where they came from. Everyone has a story of how they got here. If her ancestors did in fact come over on the Mayflower, were they free settlers or indentured servants? That's something interesting.

    If Ava's parents are divorcing, can she and her mother please move away? I don't like the character, she adds nothing to the story. She's just awful to Auggie. Make Raffi the new character for Auggie to play off/play with.

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    1. Kit, I think while he expected how bad Maya's presentation would be, he (and we) expected more from Riley because she is known as a good student.

      In "1961" she dug up info about her great grandparents for an assignment, so expecting her to dig a little further back didn't seem unreasonable. If her great grandparents are dead now, then Alan/Amy and Jed/Rhianon are only a phone call away to see what they know about their family's history that Cory and Topanga might not (or had forgotten). She didn't even seem to do that much.

      As for Lucas and Zay - well ever since Zay arrived their behavior in class (when they are both in the episode) has resembled Cory and Shawn's for the first 3 seasons on BMW - casually disinterested at best. I guess not one told teacher Cory that Zay was present and so he forgot that Lucas would be doing something stupid.

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    2. Yeah, that really is the issue though. She didn't even ask Cory; she kinda asked Topanga but not really. And I can't help but think it's because her father set the assignment, so she expected it to be given to her. That wasn't actually a bad assignment; and Riley should have done more work. And we're really meant to believe that Riley has such trouble with 'where's the America booth?'

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  9. Whilst I recognise the issues; I didn't exactly mind this episode. Except, yeah, as Riley's teacher he has a legitimate gripe about Riley's behaviour all episode; but as her father, he's responsible for knowing absolutely nothing. Also, something that has been drilled into me quite thoroughly is that everyone also has at least one heritage beyond 'American'. I'm something like fifth-generation Australian; but I also know where my family came from before that.

    And yeah, it seems official now that the 'Hart' mentioned in earlier episodes must have been her father's side; because it always seems to be Clutterbucket that she can do research on, which makes no sense if that was her father who she has no apparent contact with anymore.

    Ava's parents divorcing should be giving us a reason to feel sorry for her, for us to understand her. And it does. But except for the initial episode it was mentioned, she's just as she's always been. She should be leaning more on her friends, treating them better now. If she was changing at all it would be better.

    The total avoidance of mentioning the exact problem for Farkle's family, whether you look at it from Judaism or Nazism, is a sad statement. In some ways, with his family being Jewish (though I agree that this would have been better to have been set up earlier), could have made Farkle examine his own somewhat Nazilike tendencies be even more interesting though.

    And that tag scene made the whole thing worse; as it was clearly the girl who played Ava playing the other girl. I guess that was meant to be funny.

    And one more thing: Why did we have this whole Riley/Lucas arc? Why did we have Zay approaching Maya about possibly/kinda dating? Because you just could not tell judging off the episodes. None of those kids act any differently than they did before.

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    1. With regards to Friar, I turn your attention to "Ski Lodge Part 2."

      As we've discussed before, Friar has no interest whatsoever in day-to-day, boyfriend-girlfriend interactions. He said he wanted Riley to only talk about "important things" with him, and that when there are school dances, they'll go together, with no fanfare.

      What was not present was any sort of "Riley, I want to hold your hand. And I want to write you little love notes. And I want to sit next to you at every moment possible. And I want to go on walks together."

      If memory serves, Zay essentially suggested that he and Maya double with Friar and Riley, and seeing as Friar has no real interest in dating Riley, there's no real reason for them to go off by themselves. But there's no reason for Zay and Maya not to either.

      Also, for Clutterbucket--that's her father's name. Maya's grandma in "World of Terror 1" was named Granny Hart. Katy just kept Clutterbucket as her surname after the divorce--which is something that happens, if not as often as before.

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    2. Yeah but from a meta point of view, it also comes across as "we can't be bothered actually changing how they behave". This feels like an opportunity lost, to examine how Riley and Maya's friendship would change with them starting to date. It also just ends up with me hating on Friar more. Farkle starting to date did not stop him from being there for Maya and Riley when needed.

      I know that's what it was. But why would she continually look at her father's side of her family history, when we find out that she is really bitter with him due to the way he walked out? Either way, it feels weird.

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    3. If we're talking about meta, it may be deliberate.

      Disney has shown an aversion to more serialized series in recent years--one of their animated shows, "Wonder Over Yonder" essentially had its plug pulled, and although the writers wanted to have character arcs and strong continuity, Disney said no.

      While it isn't entirely fair to suppose that the suits behind the animated programs and those with the live-action programs have the same goals, there definitely seems to be fewer shows that have ongoing arcs.

      And unfortunately, that leads to blander characters, and less investment in the characters.

      When is Hollywood going to realize that the audience LIKES continuity, and LIKES character development?

      And for Friar, it's actually a long-standing part of his character to not actually commit to anything. He's almost always the last one to get involved whenever there's a problem with his friends, he rarely actually offers one-on-one support, and he never apologizes when he's the one in the wrong.

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    4. So let's agree that Friar is a waste of space then.I have fought hard for him to be given a chance,but I think I've given up.

      It's weird. When I was younger, there were a lot of shows which really took the chance on arcs working, Babylon 5 probably being the outstanding example. The only problem I guess, is it does make it a bit harder to come in halfway through a story. Which is probably their view - harder to get new people involved, when there's lots of backstory.

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  10. I have to say that I enjoyed the overall review, even though it was much shorted than usual. I do think that given how little negative Christian had to say his overall grade seems a bit low. This episode wasn't inherently worse than anything we've had the last few weeks (post Ski Lodge).

    I am usually a big Auggie/Ava supporter, but this time they were overused and over exposed. The opening scene with Auggie and Raffi was fine, but bringing Ava in at the end was 20 seconds of wasted time. The entire post paper plane scene was also wasted time. Give me that 1:30 and make it count somewhere else.

    I do think that even though the episode touched on 3 very important topics (Slavery, The Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge regime), they once again opted to take the easy way out by 1) not mentioning them by name and 2) not giving us a more in-depth explanation of the subject matter. It was GMW once again skirting important issues by omission, much like the problems in "I Am Farkle".

    I also want to mention that the continuity covering running jokes (the cookie) and old references are better now than BMW ever was. I also liked as Riley gave her second report, they once again used the Drama Club poster to good effect. In the season opener, they were putting on "Our Town" as a shout out to Jacobs. This time the club is doing "The Crucible" (a play by Arthur Miller about the Salem witch trials). While the subject matter of that play doesn't have a direct bearing on this episode, the title reflects America's self-identification as a melting pot of cultures.

    And before I forget, Topanga's throw away line about how Auggie is a rescue and could therefore have an unknown background was gold.

    Grade: B - I found this episode to be pretty much as enjoyable as anything but the top 2 or 3 episodes from this season so far.

    MVP: Corey Folgemanus - Given how little he has been given to do this season, he remembered he is a decent actor and performed fairly well here. He really did come across as shaken up to discover his family's past horrors.

    I just wish they had used the 1:30 of wasted time they gave the B plot line to flesh out either Farkle or Zay's story by mentioning the issue by name and giving a more in depth explanation.

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  11. Yeah, the Nazi reveal would've been better. He finds out his grandfather worked for NASA and really excited. Digs deeper and finds some uncomfortable truths.

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    1. Ben Sandwich-
      "He finds out his grandfather worked for NASA and really excited. Digs deeper and finds some uncomfortable truths."

      This is brilliant. Sometimes I think the people who comment on this blog need to storm the writers' room and take over in a non-violent manner. We tell the writers there's a party in another room. While they're gone, we move in and take over.

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  12. I have to agree, that it was a mistake to try and make Farkle Jewish, For one thing, neither he nor Stuart look even the tiniest bit Jewish. I'm sure someone will counter and say, that being Jewish is only a religion , But political correctness aside, most Ashkenazi Jews(which is what we're suppose to believe farkle and stuart are) have a distinct look. Case in point, I can tell Ben Savage is Jewish just by looking at him. It would have made more sense if they had Riley discover a long lost Jewish relative on Cory's side of the family.

    Also In girl meets yearbook, Farkle mentioned that he comes from vikings, and looking at his mother it is obvious she is of mainly Scandinavian descent. So I'm curious as to why they had Farkle drag up this long lost history when his mother's heritage is readily available.

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    1. With regards as to why Farkle was the Jewish character, I think it's possible that this specific storyline is actually meant to have been part of Boy Meets World.

      Remember, Stuart was meant to be on for much longer, but when ABC wanted Minkus to become the "Urkel" of BMW, Jacobs dropped the character.

      So, it may have been that this idea was long on the shelf, and only now brought back.

      And while I don't disagree that Lee Norris doesn't look Jewish, he could have passed as such when he was twelve and wore those ginormous glasses.

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    2. Anonymous-"Farkle mentioned that he comes from vikings, and looking at his mother it is obvious she is of mainly Scandinavian descent. So I'm curious as to why they had Farkle drag up this long lost history when his mother's heritage is readily available"

      My guess is that he already knew about his mother's side of the family, so for this project he wanted to learn more about his father's side of the family. For Farkle, the chance to learn something new would be appealing.

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  13. This episode made me really angry because you can't be just from America unless you're Native American! And maybe Topanga is part Native American but then MENTION IT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. You learn about Pilgrims in the 3rd or 4th grade! It's not new to the kids watchinf this show! So either you were an immigrant or a Native American, and THAT IN ITSELF IS A STORY. Riley's spiel about being from everywhere and everyone or whatever was such a cop out. It made me really, really mad!

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    1. Unknown-
      I agree. Different types of people (free settlers and indentured servants) came over on the Mayflower. What type of people were her ancestors? Why were they leaving England? Those are interesting stories.

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  14. I'll do some quick hitters, since I basically agree with what many of you have already said.

    - Don't mention something if you're not willing to talk about it. If you're not going to mention Pol Pot, then don't bring up fleeing Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge were the reason for the exodus. Same principle applies to the skirting of slavery and the Holocaust.

    -Riley's woe is me "I'm a boring American" complaints really fell on deaf ears for me. Granted, I know her parents were of little help, but unless you're Native American then you have immigrants in your family. Seek them out. (IMO-opportunity missed to bring in Alan & Amy to help granddaughter)

    - Maya carried a lot of the humor in this episode, and it worked. I laughed at the "national soap" joke, with the clear as day reference to Irish Spring. Bagpipes were funny too. Zay and Lucas didn't do much, but the continuity with the cookie is great.

    - B Plot....no. Just...no.

    - Would have loved to see Christian's Nazi idea play out, because Farkle being a Jew feels like a cop out. Easy sympathy storyline, whereas a Nazi ancestor opens up a number of things that could make the Farkle character really stand out.

    Episode MVP: Corey Foglemanis. While I think the Jewish plot was a cop out, he played his part really, really well. And it was nice to see him step to the front while Maya and Riley kinda shuffled off to the side.

    Episode Grade: C+. Good, not great and absolutely could have been better.

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    1. Pwfan, I'm curious. A lot of people--me included--were not particularly happy with the relative lack of details on the three important issues.

      And I agree--if you're going to do something, then commit to mentioning it in detail.

      But how much is enough? I actually remember the Christmas episode of the show "Hey Arnold!" spent a few minutes devoting some attention to the evacuation of Saigon--but nothing was mentioned in great detail.

      I guess it just boils down to the specifics of the episodes themselves--"Hey Arnold" was about reuniting a family separated by war. "Great Lady of New York" was very intent about specifics, and then didn't follow through.

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  15. I was trying to remember, what was Lucas's story? Did we found out what it was and I just don't remember it all?

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    1. We heard nothing. He wasn't even there for his supposed best-friend (Zay) when he found out something quite upsetting about his past.

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  16. Newest tweet - Girl Meets Writers ‏@GMWWriters · 18 hours ago
    Happy wedding day, Mr. Squirrels.


    Did Will Friedle get married or is it the anniversary of the first showing of "Seven the Hard Way"?

    I just checked, and "Seven the Hard Way" premiered in February so that isn't it. Maybe he got married.

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    1. We heard he got engaged about a year ago. Probably that. Congrats, Will!

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    2. He's getting married Sunday. I saw it on his twitter.

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  17. God this was a complete dumpster fire of an episode. Farkle was acting guilty the whole episode, and the piss-poor way they danced around slavery was pathetic. Less of Riley's BS, more about Zay not having a family history because of slavery, kthanks

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  18. They should be able to say 'slavery,' and 'holocaust' in a Disney show. That is all.

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    1. All three things they hinted at - the Holocaust, slavery, and the Khmer Rouge - if they hinted at them, they should mention them. If you don't believe your target audience is old enough to hear about them, then don't mention them at all. As for whether early teens should know about these things - well, I knew about the holocaust from fairly early on; Khmer Rouge probably not until year 10. Not sure when I learnt about slavery; but it's not really talked about much here, as though we had convicts, we didn't have actual slaves here.

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  19. Saw the episode finally.

    It's...okay.

    Riley's story was bullshit. Come on kid. Call Alan and Amy. Call Nana-Boo. Call your uncle in Washington who more likely than not has access to all sorts of records.

    Maya was pretty funny with some of the Ireland gags but while Kathy was funny, the final joke in that gag, "I made her up genius. I'm soo much smarter than you." wasn't necessary.

    Lucas added nothing to this episode whatsoever.

    Nigel was good.

    Zay was awesome.

    Farkle....Farkle has not been used enough this season for this to stick the way the writers wanted it to stick. It's sad, don't get me wrong...but everyone else's idea that he had Nazi relatives works much better. That said, Fogelmanis did a nice job with it.

    Also, say Holocaust, slavery and say the dictator's name for God's sake. Treat your audience like they don't need to be sheltered please.

    Auggie's scenes did not exist.

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