But let's not go crazy. Sean's still the lead singer these days.
But I'm going to write some errant thoughts down:
Don't get me wrong. I'm not an idiot. I knew Shawn wasn't going to be in this episode. But that's because I'm fairly plugged into the comings and goings of the cast of this show. If I was a civilian just watching this episode, I would kinda feel like they built it up that Shawn would be here to spend his first Christmas with Maya, since he was brought up as being a part of her issues here. I am an idiot, I didn't know, and now you've ruined Christmas. Or maybe Rider ruined it by not wanting to be here.
Maya's scared that her Christmas might still suck. This is standard Michael Jacobs fare because it sort of falls under the "learn so much ... still be so stupid" umbrella. Shawn consistently proves to her that he's going to make shit awesome. She consistently learns to be excited about having Shawn around, that her life is going to be better. But now she still doubts it. So yes, the theme is consistent, but I would much rather have progress than consistency.
Ultimate boyfriend Lucas ran away from his girlfriend's Secret Santa. Okay.
Topanga finishes reading The Gift of the Magi to Ava and Auggie, only she got a rare misprinted copy where the ending is at the front.
I find it totally acceptable and okay that Zay wouldn't know Smackle well enough to know what to get her. She's only kind of in their group, she usually doesn't hang out with them, Zay wasn't there in Season 1 to be a part of how they got to know her, and she didn't even go to JQA so he probably has only spent four months of real time with her. I like Farkle explaining the theremin. Being enthusiastic about a quirky bit of knowledge is what makes the nerd archetype lovable. Like Christian explaining soap operas in the previous review. More of this, less of whatever we've been getting lately. But Farkle not knowing Zay well enough to know what to get him rings false. They've spent a lot of time together, and Lucas, Farkle, and Zay are a unit. Hell, I feel like I know Zay well enough to get him something he'd like. Dude likes cookies. Get him some cookies. Actually, call up his grandma, explain that Riley ate his cookie and try to get her to send one more. Get your billionaire father, with his private jet, to fly her out even for a visit. That would be an amazing gift. Asshole. This was easy. Yeah that would have been an amazing gift. I do like the idea of Farkle being a hypocrite on his own self righteousness about knowing people in the group, you know, having this flaw that clearly upsets him. But like you said it just can't work with their history.
Also, while any episode without Lucas is a gift from the heavens above, this was a weird one for him to miss. Like, he could've missed last week's no problem. But the group's Secret Santa episode ought to have him in it, and as the lynchpin of the LZF trio, he's probably a good person for Farkle to talk to about his indecision about what to get Zay.
So Riley wants Maya to go home and Ava is having a (more than likely) placebo-effect sugar rush. Please make it stop. I have no tolerance for this.
Also, can I figure out the rest of the Secret Santas based on the info I have? Probably. Riley has Farkle, Farkle has Zay, Zay has Smackle, Smackle has Maya. So, either Maya has Riley (which seems like a thing they'd have happen in this episode) or, if Riley really is making Lucas do it, then Maya has Lucas and Lucas will get Riley. But that seems unlikely. That would Lucas would be significant in this episode and not be in it.
Riley throws some glitter and declares it's time for a miracle. Funny. She does some dramatic Riley-ness to introduce her new living room production, "A Christmas Maya." Funny. If Ava Morgenstern ever played me in a touching dramatized account of my Christmas-past, I would never be able to recover my sanity. It has to be Martin Freeman or I would never sign over the rights.
Christian says at the end that Rowan was good but not particularly good. I didn't mean she's not particularly good, I meant, for her, this was nothing unusual. She's as good as she ever is - which has become the best of the kids, in my opinion. So, since she wins all the time, and she did nothing she doesn't normally do, I went with someone else. I think she's been amazing with this Riley weirdness. You can't really script that stuff, you know? The best you can do is write that Riley does some overly dramatic gestures and throws glitter, and then Rowan takes it from there.
Wait, there was a Christmas when Maya was little where she didn't get a single toy? I call shenanigans. They weren't that poor. You can get some simple toys for like 8 bucks at Walgreens. Katy could scrape together 8 bucks. Shows and stuff always show poor kids getting nothing for Christmas, and always rings false. No, they can't get that new video game console or a new racing bike, but you get something.
BAHAHAHA. Zay getting Smackle a book on etiquette is HILARIOUS. Yes, it's absolutely a mean gift, and kind of a dick move, but I'm sorry, Smackle is rude and obnoxious and deserves to be called on it. Also, Farkle way overreacted with Riley's gift. That actually seemed pretty thoughtful and was about him, and he totally spazzed. No one said he shouldn't be celebrating Christmas, and he knows Riley better than to accuse her of that. She just thought, during the holidays, he may want some symbol of his newfound Jewish ancestry. He's acting like she drew a swastika on his locker. Farkle is an absolute moron here.
It's Farkle who was the worst gift-giver in my opinion. Smackle's so out-of-touch she may have genuinely believed Maya would like a broken clock she can fix for fun. I love Smackle's gift for Maya. The symbolism of "you can fix it yourself" is not at all trivial. I think that's awesome. And Zay's gift, at least, was about Smackle and is something she could use -- she acknowledges her difficulty in social interaction and has shown a desire to improve this. (Though, I acknowledge, a gift pointing out her flaws is maybe not a great choice for a Christmas gift. To quote Amy Matthews, that may be better as a gift for, like, a Tuesday.) Farkle, on the other hand, knows perfectly well Zay wouldn't like that gift and if he doesn't he should get out. It's just a gift Farkle would like. Shut up, Farkle. You haven't had anything to do all season, and let's keep it that way. It's funny that they combined Magic The Gathering, D&D, and Settlers of Catan for the game name though. That's the trifecta, baby.
Yeah, I bet you feel like a REAL dingus after Riley touchingly explained what your present meant, DON'T YOU, Farkle? You jackass. That was obviously not an insult. Does Riley go around insulting people? Shut up, Farkle. Riley's explanation is satisfying, but I don't really see what it has to do with a menorah. Get him, you know, "Learn to read Hebrew" or something. Also, your explanation to Zay about your gift sucks. The answer is, yes, that was a gift you'd want. Your idea of including Zay is to force him to do the shit you wanted to do anyway? I think a way to include Zay and not make him feel alone is to let him know you know who he is, and maybe try to do something he'd want to do. "It takes 17 years to play" is hilarious though.
Oh, and Jesus Christ, Zay just wins the best Present of the Century award. Damn, that's a good gift, considering her situation. Hell, I didn't mind it before I knew he'd edited it. And that's from a guy who doesn't know her very well. Besides Smackle, the rest of those assholes were struggling with gifts for people they knew. Zay rocks, you guys. ZAY IS THE MOST ROMANTIC MAN I HAVE EVER HEARD OF. OH MY GOD DUDE. I think that just got me pregnant.
There should not be an ounce of contention left over which of LFZ is the best. All you Farkle fans, I need to hear from you in the comments. Explain it to me. At this point, Farkle is my least favorite of the trio. Lucas is lame, but innocuous, and he's nowhere near as bad now that all the romance stuff is done. Farkle is actively irritating.
Yeah, Smackle's explanation was pretty easy to figure out. It's fine. Little on the nose, but fine. My first guess about the symbolism was a bit off, but yeah, I like this too.
You know how you prevent this from happening? You put a card on the gift. Like everyone on the planet does. "Hey Smackle, I saw this book and it was wrong in a lot of places, so I fixed it for you. Merry Christmas from Zay" and then nothing gets thrown across the room.
Cory and Auggie doing a Chet and Shawn impression, only Shawn is portrayed like Fonzie, wins the episode. But, like, where's Shawn? Because... and hear me out on this... I actually think Shawn may do a better job of explaining what Shawn's Christmases were like than Auggie can. Still, I would have liked some direct references to Shawn's Christmases growing up. "Hey boy, lost my job again. Here's an old basketball net. Go get some charity from the Matthews." or Zay and Farkle coming in as those mobsters from "Easy Street" and trying to get Shawn to run drugs for them to buy presents. I agree, but I like to think that someone in the cast or staff has had that "cheese log" line in their pocket since season one of BMW.
YES YOU'RE VERY MOVING, GIRLS MEETS WORLD. YOU'RE VERY EMOTIONAL, I GET IT, THANK YOU.
NEW GAME: GUESS THE STOCKINGS:
The swan is Riley's because she saw it and named it "Swany" it was her new best friend and she had to have it.
The Santa that looks like The Flash is Cory's because YOU HAVE TO HAVE SANTA ON CHRISTMAS, TOPANGA!
The owls and pears is obviously Topanga's because her weird hippie parents gave it to her as a kid.
The drummer boy/nutcracker is Auggie's because it's the dumbest and also by process of elimination.
Four points to Sean, I win.
Yeah, no, you're right. The bird one is a total "Mom" stocking, leaving the swan to Riley by default as the other "girl" stocking, and of the two "boy" stockings of Santa and nutcracker, I think Santa going to Cory (the gift-giver) and nutcracker (who looks like a Little Drummer Boy too) going to Auggie makes most sense. I think you got it.
Oh, and right at the end there Riley turns glitter into butterflies and we discover she's a witch. On her way to Hogwarts. Sorting Hat says... Hufflepuff!
Episode Review: B-
Episode Rating: Hmm. Rowan was good, but not particularly good, and she wins this a lot. Nothing about Sabrina struck me much. Cheryl wasn't in it much. Amir Mitchell-Townes, I think.
Like I said I thought Rowan was great with the weird physical Riley-ness, but Amir takes it for me too. The ending is really significant for you to not have mentioned though. This idea of Maya not having to rely on the Matthews anymore is satisfying. I'm glad we got that in here before the end of the series. Nothing about Maya's storyline did anything for me. As you said, I feel like we've covered this ground so many times it barely registers to me when they do it again.
The episode was mostly enjoyable, but they definitely could have done better with the Secret Santa. And you really need Lucas for something like that. And you really need Shawn for the other half of the episode. I mean damn, "Let's do a big friendship episode, but one of the friends isn't there. And let's talk about Maya's new life with Shawn and Shawn's old life but Shawn won't be there." It's no good. Skip having Shawn in "Meets True Maya" and put him in here. What? Shawn wasn't in "True Maya"... are you thinking of "Upstate"? He's only been in two episodes this season, "Upstate" and "I Do" both of which had to have him. So if you only get three, and one has to be the finale, they did make the right calls... the issue is just doing what it takes to get Rider to do more. Yeah, I meant Upstate. I was thinking that I'd rather have Shawn in this episode than do the whole "learning to wear the leather jacket again" crap from Upstate, but damn, he proposed in that one didn't he. I guess that does require his presence more than this one does.