Monday, December 12, 2016

20 Greatest Meets World Characters: #19. Joshua Matthews

#19. Joshua Matthews


Played By: Cameron and Corbin Ur (1999), Daniel Jacobs (2000), Uriah Shelton (2014-2017)
Episode Count: 11 (3- BMW, 8- GMW)
Role: Cory's baby brother, Riley's uncle, Maya's crush
Signature Episodes: My Baby Valentine, Resurrection, Brave New World, Girl Meets Home for the Holidays, Girl Meets First Date, Girl Meets the Tell-Tale Tot, Girl Meets Ski Lodge

Josh was an interesting point of discussion, and is another selection I advocated for and Sean wasn't so sure about - in fact, Josh probably wound up the biggest factor of debate, as I kind of wouldn't let it go. There's a lot of reason to not include Josh, and there's a lot of reasons why, despite being a Matthews brother, he's not higher. He wasn't in much of Boy Meets World at all. Not only was he obviously too young to play much of a factor, he also was kind of forgotten about after the episode of his birth (which was, admittedly, significant) and not picked back up until the finale, where he'd grown to be a toddler remarkably quick. This is, of course, forgivable. Season 7, the only season where he's alive the whole time is, by far, the one that spends the least amount of time at the Matthews home, and where else would you see him? And what would he do if you did see him? He's a baby.

Girl Meets World could have been his time to shine - and it was. He was being set up to be a very significant character. But, because of the unfortunate accident Uriah Shelton suffered, had to be written out of all of Season 2 except for one episode and, though appearing more in Season 3, Season 3's kind of all over the place and story arcs keep getting forgotten about and then picked up way later. Had Josh taken the place in the series he seemed to originally be headed to (whether that would have changed had Uriah's accident not taken place or not) it's likely he'd be much higher, maybe even on the outskirts of the Top 10.

So, cool, I've just told you why he's not higher. So, why is he here at all? I mentioned Minkus operated a fairly singular, unique role - but he's got nothing on Josh. As the only character actually born before our very eyes, we have a connection to Josh that Riley and Maya can't quite match. Riley and Maya are great, but they just kind of showed up one day. We've known Josh for years, and like a real child, we've wondered how he would grow up, who he would be. Theoretical sequels to BMW have been bandied about over fan communities for years, and there was always the Josh question - what kind of guy would he have grown up to be? Is he like Cory? Eric? A mix of the two? Did he inherent some other qualities from his parents? 

There felt like a lot of potential on Josh's shoulders - and him being the person that Cory gave his "Boy Meets World" speech to in the series finale (a big, memorable moment in the series) only accentuated that. Long before Riley was on the radar, he felt set up to be Cory's heir. If they'd decided to make a sequel five years earlier than they did, it likely would have been decided to use Josh instead of a Copanga child, with him living with Cory and Topanga for some arbitrary reason. 

And like a real baby, his potential and impact existed before he even entered this world. Think about how many episodes are about his eminent arrival. The very fact of his existence is a driving factor in "Prom-ises, Prom-ises", "Things Change", "Cutting the Cord", and more. He had a profound effect on Alan and his coming arrival was a big part of that character's latter seasons story arc.

So, there's all that - and that's just Boy Meets World. Of course his major impact comes when we actually know him Girl Meets World. We don't see him as often as we'd like, but he serves not only as a nice bridge between the adults and the kids (closer to Riley in age, but technically of the same generation and a peer to Cory) and of the two different shows, but for Season 1 and now again in Season 3 (when they remember to deal with it) he's Maya's major love interest. He also kind of represents the young adult ideal - unlike the rest of the kids, he's self-confident, generally angst-free, goes to parties, and is set up as the maturity ideal in much the way Eric was for Cory in Season 1. And his own attraction to Maya mixed with his feeling that dating her would be inappropriate is actually a pretty interesting character arc for Josh himself. 

Plus, Josh is a character with a clear personality, someone who leaped off the page the moment we met him. It took them quite a while to really build an identity for both Lucas and Zay and some may argue (though I'd probably disagree) that they've yet to really get there with Lucas, and Farkle's ever-shifting personalities have been so unsuccessful that they have to keep changing them. Not so with Josh. After Riley, Maya, and probably Zay, he's the strongest young character on the show, and that speaks to how well he's written and performed, considering we've seen him so much less.

So, that's how Josh winds up here. Not because of one specific driving narrative role, but because of a grab-bag of small things that, when you add them together, equal a character unlike any other. While I get the knee-jerk of including more appearing characters of Zay and Rachel over Josh, I felt strongly that the small, specific roles they operated in were not of equal stature to the complex and fairly momentous role that Josh has been able to carve out, despite being one of the technically least appearing characters on this list. I'm sorry Josh came too late to really get to know him on Boy Meets World, and I'm sorry for the off-camera circumstances that has kept Josh from having as big a role as he was supposed to on Girl Meets World, but he wound up making his mark. 

You called me out, so I'll chime in. If it weren't for the effect that Josh's birth, and the pregnancy in general, had on Alan, we would probably still be arguing over his placement. I agree with everything Christian wrote, I suppose I just weigh it differently. For example, Daniel Jacobs standing there with his goofy toddler face while Cory makes the Boy Meets World speech doesn't give Josh any points for me. Regardless, the "oh crap, I'm an old man" struggle Alan has is special, so when I finally thought of that, I was happy to place Josh here at 19. 

51 comments:

  1. Agreed.

    I don't like Josh.

    I really don't like his actor.

    But he is an integral part to the show despite very limited screen time.

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    1. what dont you like about him?

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    2. He's kind of an asshole and whines when his fans call him out on it.

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    3. Oh. The Maya plotline. Sweet Jesus, I hate the Maya/Josh plotline. When he's trying to be "Daddy Cool" he's fine and as Uncle Josh to Auggie, he's good.

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  2. TBH I keep forgetting this character even exists. Like whenever he shows up I'm like "Oh yeah that guy". I do agree with what you said, though.

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  3. Josh's storyline with Maya pisses me off/frustrates me, but I can't argue with his relevance.

    I actually quite liked Josh when he was being very clear on 'no' to Maya. Not so much since 'not yet'.

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  4. I'm rather fond of Josh, though given his relatively microscopic role, I can't argue that he really deserves to be above 19.

    But he's a Matthews, so I can't help but love him.

    The only thing I really dislike about Josh is how little we see him. I think there was a lot of potential in a Josh-Riley dynamic. Maya love-interest or not, Riley should have been the one Josh interacted with most.

    I wish Uriah hadn't gotten hurt, since I think that had a rather significant part in extending the Triangle nonsense (including Maya's Identity Crisis, which I think was originally intended for Season 2--"Yearbook" and all that).

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    1. The Riley stuff I'm of two minds about. I mean, he's been living in Philadelphia for Riley's entire life; my brother is in a similar situation but he's overseas. He barely interacts with our child.

      On the other hand, despite that he would never have been able to remember a time when Cory lived with him; and would barely be able to remember a time when Cory even lived in the same general area, they do push that they have a very strong filial bond, and to get that when his entire living memory is Cory has his own family; yeah, he should have some more closeness with Riley than is indicated. Girl meets Bear came close there.

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    2. Oh, you have a much younger brother? I did not know that.

      I guess I just can't help but grin at possibilities.

      Imagine a more active Josh playing the role of Overprotective Brother Figure. Or helping Auggie prank Riley. Or having to be an authority figure and realizing that it ain't as easy as it looks.

      Just imagine...

      Riley: You were spying on me?! I'm telling Dad!

      Josh: Go ahead. I'm not scared of Cory.

      (beat)

      Riley: I'm telling Grandpa!

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    3. Actually I'm the much younger one. He's 12 1/2 years older.

      As I said; there are reasons I can see it differently there - they have built up there's this closeness between Cory and Josh; and you just can't have that without at least some closeness between Josh and Topanga, Auggie and Riley. And it's there for Auggie, and even there for Topanga, when you consider how under-used she's been; but not for Riley.

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    4. To be fair, Maya pretty much steals most of Josh's screentime.

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  5. Oh, Christian I have a question:

    In light of Uriah's injuries, given that his role was likely supposed to be larger, do you think they should have recast Josh Matthews?

    Personally, I'm glad they didn't, but I'm going to wonder for...a while at least what might have been.

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    1. Nah. In general, I'm not in favor of recasting at all unless you absolutely can't avoid it. And in this case, they could avoid it, and I'm glad they did. Although Uriah does a good job, it's not because there's anything about him that can't be replicated, it's just... that's who they said Josh is, so that's Josh.

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    2. "that's who they said Josh is, so that's Josh."

      Those are pretty much my thoughts. Shelton, for better or worse, was there first and had four episodes under his belt before the accident that put him on the sidelines.

      I'm not a fan of recasting either, though sometimes it works--Don Cheadle is a much better War Machine in the Marvel movies than Terrence Howard.

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    3. Yeah. I guess it's case by case. Or maybe movies bother me less than TV shows, and each movie feels a little more like its own thing, while episodes of a TV show do not.

      But recasting Rhodey was definitely a good move. Terrence Howard was a huge weak spot in the otherwise perfect first Iron Man film (still my favorite of the MCU), and Cheadle's been a huge improvement, even if they've yet to really use him well outside of Iron Man-specific films, which appear to be over.

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    4. Man, I really need to give Iron Man 1 a re-watch. A ton of people seem to love it.

      And what about Civil War? Cheadle was great in that--the scene at HQ where the Avengers are debating the Accords? I liked that a lot.

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    5. I love Don Cheadle. But, I think he would have been all wrong as Josh.

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  6. I, personally, don't think Josh belongs on this list. While I agree that the accident hurt any long term plans they had for the character, it didn't help that when he came back, he wasn't looked upon favorably by many. The whole "not yet" nonsense really hurts the character. I was fine with the potential of a Maya/Josh plotline, but since it wasn't really expanded upon, it fizzled and died. Much like any real impact Josh could have made on the universe.

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    1. valid concerns, but don't forget his impact on the original series. Even then, the question becomes who would we put above him instead? Definitely not Rachel, Zay is just now starting to contribute to the story, and Minkus hasn't affected anyone's life in the long term except for being farkle's dad off camera.

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    2. Valid concerns to a point, I guess. Some (though not all) of this reasoning seems to stem to why you don't personally like Josh, which I can understand, but doesn't really factor into if he belongs on a list. I don't like Jack or Angela, but they're going to be on the list.

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    3. Agree with Christian on this; and it's something I mentioned in the honorable mentions list. Everyone has Eric as either 1 or 2 when it comes to liked; but I'll be surprised if he's even top 5. Likewise, Topanga is usually either lower part of the top 10, or just outside, but I won't be surprised if she's top 5; because she has certainly had a massive impact on everyone; that's even discounting her being mother to Riley and Auggie, and pseudo-mother to Maya and, kinda, Ava.

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    4. This is Cryptid, guys. My computer's on the fritz.

      Pwfan, I have a question. Maybe we just visit different sites, but how exactly was Josh Matthews not looked favorably upon when he returned? (I know Shelton isn't very well-liked among the social media fan sites, but that's a bit different than the character)

      Now, I do not disagree that I dislike that "Not yet" has become Josh's most prominent storyline. I think it is limiting to Josh, and to Maya, and to some extent Riley.

      And Christian and Will are right--likability of a character does not necessarily co-relate to a position in the Top 20 Greatest. I love Frankie Stechino, but I don't see him placing any higher than ranks that have already been established.

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  8. I probably wouldn’t even think to argue against the selection you guys make for this list, given how different my experience of the shows has been, reaching backwards for BMW after starting to watch GMW. That is certainly at play here. The appearance of Josh meant nothing to me beyond his impact on that episode.

    I have the same discomfort as others here with Josh’s attraction to Maya and his openness to an eventual relationship. I’m tempted to lump this in with stuff they have given us for Farkle and Lucas, negative stuff, specifically pertaining to the ways they relate to the girls, and see a pattern. They have never taken any of this stuff much of anywhere, which might not be surprising. Seeing where Farkle’s creepiness could go might be no less likely Disney Channel content than an arterial spurt. But it would be nice to know what they intended to say, or suggest, with some of this, if anything.

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    1. I just wonder how much of it is that the writing isn't as good this time; and how much is that, despite a couple of female writers, they're basically guys trying to write for a female hero.

      I mean, in BMW, Cory is called out a bit for his obsessiveness with Topanga during the Lauren arc - but if Topanga was the audience's viewpoint instead of Cory, could it have seemed even worse? Whilst with Farkle and Lucas, they're going after the girls who are our viewpoint; so it may come across as worse.

      But I saw GMW first too Milestones; but that doesn't mean I can't disagree. I won't say argue, because at least here, argue has a worse connotation. Disagree would be: "Hey, I see what you're saying for this character, but in my view I disagree and here's why." Argue would get snarky about it, and imply they're actually wrong - I disagree with people a lot, but I tend to avoid actual arguments when it comes to a TV show.

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    2. Is 19 and 14 really that weird? Everyone is so hung up on the creep factor. It was weirder when she was in middle school, but Maya's in high school now, 14 going on 15, and they've been friends for years. It doesn't really bother me.

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    3. I can't speak for anyone else, and I know this isn't logical; but for me it's not the age factor. When he first stated his 'maybe some day' thing, he was meant to be effectively acting as counsellor - a position of power.

      Maya's also been brought up a Matthews, for the most part, until recently. I agree that from Maya's POV that shouldn't make a difference, but I expected it to from Josh. That doesn't mean I think it should be illegal, or unethical or whatever. I just don't like that he doesn't even pause, or even -think- for even a moment about it.

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    4. Just what Will said. He was her adult supervision, and she was young enough to require adult supervision in that situation.

      But that only exacerbated the objectionable quality of a development I don't think many here were going to be okay with in any event. I'm pretty sure commentators were raising red flags before Ski Lodge.

      Not illegal, at least up here, from an age of consent standpoint, if we are talking about more than holding hands, because Josh would be just under the limit for a close-in-age exemption. Doesn't make it okay. I might feel differently about it if I were much younger. But I'm not, and I don't.

      Will, by all means, disagree where you find things with which to disagree. I have only seen a handful of BMW episodes more than once, and I need multiple exposures for anything to lodge into my aging brain. When specific BMW episodes are being sighted, and the impact of specific BMW events are being recounted, it's hard for me to do other than accept it at face value.

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    5. you don't think he's thought about it before that moment? I think that moment was based on a lot of history. And okay he was TECHNICALLY supervising her, but this isn't a supervisor preying on a kid like you make it sound, they've been friends for at least five years.

      And I seriously don't understand when you say "doesn't make it okay." Doesn't make WHAT okay? He said "not yet." That means not now. Isn't that what you're suggesting? That she be older?

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    6. Actually no, I don't think he has thought about it. I don't think he's thought about how it -looks-, I don't think he's thought about Maya during it; though Girl Meets Bear suggests he has.

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    7. What do I mean? Interesting question, Sean. A couple of disclaimers first. Not trying to set myself up as a purveyor of righteous indignation. Not suggesting that reacting differently to all this represents moral failure. There was commentary about the behavouir of this TV character in this TV situation, and I threw my two cents in.

      There were a couple of things I found not okay about this, beyond the technical adult/child thing. He is 19 and she is 14, so when he was 18 she was 13, when he was 17 she was 12 and so on. She has been a child, and unambiguously a child, for almost the whole time he has known her. He has probably babysat Riley, which means he has probably babysat her.

      That might be the basic thing, as everything else falls out of it, colouring the “not yet,” which, to be fair, was certainly preferable to some of the alternatives.

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    8. 14 and 19 is weird, yes. But that's not what this is. Maya had her 14th birthday in Season 1. This is Season 3. So, she's going to be 16 this year (probably in "Girl Meets Sweet Sixteen" which is coming up.

      Josh, however, is only 19 now. This is his freshman year of college. It's three years, not five. And while a couple years may seem like nothing, the difference between 14 and 16 is a big one. Those are generally significant years... growth-wise.

      ANYWAY, the key thing is that Josh also think it's weird. He hasn't been into this from the start, and spent two years denying it existed. He likes her in spite of himself. And anybody who think they, as a 19 year old, weren't capable of being into a 16 year old isn't being honest.

      Josh denied it as long as he could, but Maya kept at it, and she grew up, and he admitted his attraction. He didn't start... sleeping with her. They've yet to even kiss. All he did was admit he thought of her like that too, while maintaining, that at this moment, it couldn't happen. As far as I'm concerned, he handled it okay.

      Is it ideal? No. I wish this wasn't what they were using Josh before. But he's not some big creep. And I think comparisons to Farkle at his worst aren't fair.

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    9. The only relevant point to me is that nothing has happened. If Josh had kissed her or anything, there would be a conversation to have, but nothing has happened, so I don't know what there is to be upset about.

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    10. Okay yes, I'll grant nothing has happened. Maybe more than anything, it's because it seems this is only storyline.

      And yes, he's not a creep. In Australia at least, they're close enough in age to be granted exemption if anything did happen. As it happens, in NSW, where I live, she's at the age of consent anyway; so maybe I'll just admit this is my personal bias and that there's nothing legally, morally, or anything actually -wrong-.

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    11. This is Cryptid.

      "Josh denied it as long as he could, but Maya kept at it, and she grew up, and he admitted his attraction."

      An excellent point, Christian. Josh rebuked Maya's feelings for him and she persisted--though his appearances are so sporadic that Maya could be forgiven for thinking "It's been a long time. Maybe he changed his mind."

      Really, the only thing I particularly hate (and boy howdy do I HATE it) about the Josh-Maya dynamic is the scene in "Tell-Tale Tot," where two college-aged girls threaten to do everything they can to prevent Josh from dating if he refuses to give Maya a chance. That really rubs me the wrong way, though for her part, Maya didn't ask them to do that.

      And I certainly agree that I wish Uncle Josh was being used differently--as I've already said, I wish we were seeing him be Riley's Uncle.

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    12. I admit nothing, but am not bothered at all that you guys were not bothered by this.

      I wasn’t trying to directly equate Josh with the worst of Farkle, which would certainly be unfair.

      Almost-not-a-minor-child/only-technically-an-adult-chaperon doesn’t seem exceptionally exculpatory. I agree not much really happened, and there is no suggestion he should be jailed or tarred and feathered. But if, after bringing him along as a chaperon, Cory or Topanga had found Josh in intimate conversion with Maya, I suggest they are more likely to have crapped all over him than have said, “it’s all good, nothing to see here.”

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  9. Josh is a f** kboy.He Jedi mind trick Maya in Ski lodge part 2. She looked confused when he explains she only liked Lucas to protect RILEY or whatever bulls** t. What is the long game Γ nyway?. Hence top 5 reΓ sons josh is a f** kboy and live reactions to joshaya moment s by smurfvlogs.πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ‘ΏπŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅

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    1. YoΓΊ really should watch smurfvlogs. He reacts tΓ³ GAME episodes. he has 178 videos.πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜€

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    2. you're allowed to say fuck and shit :)

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    3. OK. Sorry So m I right or wrong? πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘πŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺ

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    4. I meant you didn't need to censor yourself

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    5. I wanted to censor myself.Its a family friendly blog or I thought. So is Josh a fuckboy or not? 😡😡😡😡😡😈😈😈😈😈😈😨😨😨😨😨😨😨😨

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    6. I wanted to censor myself.Its a family friendly blog or I thought. So is Josh a fuckboy or not? 😡😡😡😡😡😈😈😈😈😈😈😨😨😨😨😨😨😨😨

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    8. I agree with Maya taking too much of Josh's time. It just pisses me off. Fuck joshaya. He should interact with Riley the most.😡😡😡😡😡😡

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    9. Is Josh a fuckboy or not?😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😈😈😈😈😈😈😨😨😨😨

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    10. IS JOSH A FUCKBOY OR NOT? Sean or ANYONE please RESPOND!!!!!???? πŸ‘ΊπŸ‘ΉπŸ‘ΉπŸ‘ΊπŸ‘ΊπŸ‘ΊπŸ‘ΊπŸ‘ΊπŸ‘ΊπŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜΅πŸ˜ˆπŸ˜ˆπŸ˜ˆπŸ˜ˆπŸ˜ˆπŸ˜ˆπŸ˜ˆπŸ˜ˆπŸ˜ˆπŸ˜ˆπŸ‘ΏπŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­

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    11. Sean please respond. The silence is killing me.

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