#15. Lucas Friar
Played By: Peyton Meyer (2014- )
Episode Count: 60 and counting, presumably 63 after season 3 ends
Role: Love interest for Riley and Maya, Riley's boyfriend, everyone's friend
Signature Episodes: (Girl Meets) the Secret of Life, Rules, Yearbook, Texas 1 and 2
If you haven't noticed, the font of these posts differs by who writes it. My font uses serifs because I'm a fancy guy and I like fancy things. Christian uses a bigger font because of his low reading comprehension. That's actually my primary motivation for using pictures in the reviews, is to help my buddy follow along. I don't pay attention to the font, other than changing the color to my signature indigo. I just do whatever the default is. It appears to be Times New Roman when in the editor, but it seems to shift to Arial maybe when actually viewing it. Not sure why. I haven't thought too much about it because I'm not a NERD. *EDIT* Actually none of that is true, Blogger is just a weird piece of crap that doesn't work properly and we got confused.
Lucas is a handsome guy. Riley falls into his lap on the subway and is instantly smitten. That's all of season one. He is vanilla ranchhand female wish fulfillment from a romance novel that you can buy for two dollars at the supermarket and the cover looks like this:
At the same time... that's still influential. Riley's decisions, actions, and feelings are all massively influenced by Lucas's presence. And very quickly we see that Maya's are as well. From a narrative perspective, he has no right to be this impactful, but nevertheless, he is a very handsome friend to two teenage girls, and they react in the only way humans can. Now that should be a flaw. Our shallow, hormone driven monkey brains ought to be regarded as a flaw, the way Shawn's and Eric's are, rather than celebrated like Riley's attraction to Lucas. If he had had any relatable or compelling qualities in season one, it wouldn't have been such a tough sell for us. On the other hand, he isn't actively annoying, like Farkle's first season, he's just boring. Yeah, that Lucas is so goshdarn nice and polite seems to be why his boringness is forgiven. Oh, and also, like, they tell us he's really smart a lot, but, like, okay.
By the time season 2 rolls around, the writers know how bad this is, and characters are regularly making jokes at Lucas's expense about how perfect he is. This made him infinitely more palatable. It's incredibly similar to the shift we saw in Boy Meets World when Cory and Topanga start referring to themselves as "freaks" and their relationship as abnormal. It's unbearable to watch either of these shows when they pretend that Lucas or the Corpanga relationship is remotely close to reality. So when they start poking fun at it, everyone is more willing to go along for the ride.
In Meets the Secret of Life, Lucas acquires his only real character trait. Lucas has beaten the crap out of people to defend Zay in the past. This brings into focus a massively, MASSIVELY important distinction between potential and action. You see something like Pink Flamingo Kid, which I dislike, where Shawn is about to start fighting his half brother to defend Cory, versus Back 2 School, where Eric and Harley actually put hands on each other, or Janitor Dad, where Shawn actually starts fighting a bully to defend his dad's honor (Crandall... What was WITH that guy?), both of which are great episodes. I wouldn't care if Lucas were willing to go to battle for his friends, I'm sure Farkle and the others would all claim they're willing to fight in defense of each other. Who cares! I love that Lucas has actually done it, he has actually fought someone to defend his best friend. And HOLY CRAP, there were negative consequences! This guy suffered huge consequences for his defining character trait. That's storytelling baby, that's how you get me invested in the story. This trait is used disappointingly sparingly, but it was seeded in Girl Meets Flaws, when Lucas was ready to fight the guy harassing Farkle, and was cemented in Girl Meets Rileytown when he's willing to fight Riley's bully. (Though, again, "willing to fight" is not nearly as compelling as actually doing it.) Similar to Farkle, they had a standout direction to take Lucas's character, but ultimately decided to make him barely exist in season 3.
Girl Meets Texas is where we feel the full effect of Lucas's impact on the girls. They both obviously have feelings for him, they're having one of their only real fights in the series (this alone makes him wildly more significant than Farkle), and they're both deeply invested in whether or not Lucas rides Tombstone the Bull. Riley wants him to try, while Maya doesn't want him in danger. The girls' feelings are directed by Lucas's actions, but what's interesting is that the reverse isn't necessarily true. Honestly this is something I love about Texas part 1. Lucas doesn't spend hours agonizing over this decision like he does with everything else involving The Triangle. He knows he wants to ride the bull. The girls have nothing to do with it, damn the girls, Lucas wants to ride Tombstone for himself. I love to see this in the Meets World universe. It brings back one of my favorite Shawn lines ever, from the Eskimo, "Now be my best friend, and get out of my way." It also reminds us of that moment I loved with Farkle in Meets Yearbook, where he resolves to be more like Donnie Barnes regardless of what his friends want.
When you stack Lucas up against Farkle, the biggest issue is about consistency. For the most part, you can predict how Lucas will react to everyday situations. I could walk up to you on the street and ask you to describe him, and you wouldn't have much trouble. Farkle is all over the place. He can react to the exact same thing in different ways depending on whatever the writers want him to do. When the question is asking for the best character, and I can't properly describe Farkle's character... that hurts his chances.
Further, when we compare their character traits, we've got "the smart one," which is not at all unique, and "a violent hero who has punched people in the face to protect his buddy." I can point out "the smart one" on every Disney Channel show. How many have the punching guy? Even though it's only significant in three episodes, it genuinely breaks the mold in a compelling way. That adds a ridiculous amount of value.
We've spent a lot of time, both here and on the Farkle post, comparing these two boys, but make no mistake, their rankings are not close. (Okay, yes, technically 15 and 16 are close numbers, but we had an obvious top 15 and the bottom 5 were a hodgepodge of like 10 characters we debated between, also Lucas almost beat #14) We can re-write 95% of the Girl Meets World scripts to remove Farkle, and have the episodes begin and end the same way. On the other hand, the series as it's been written simply does not work without Lucas. That alone creates a chasm between the #15 and #16 rankings. Then you add in his unique and compelling violent streak, his undeniably explosive chemistry with Maya, touching moments of reflection with Harley, his independence in Meets Texas, flashes of insecurity when Charlie shows up... I could keep going. Farkle is... what? Entertaining? Funny, sometimes? It's not even close. I fully understand liking Farkle more, I would absolutely rather hang out with Farkle for a day. (Both sound excruciating.) But as characters in a story, it's not even close.
But yeah. Please don't take this as an indication that we like Lucas. He's okay.