I actually do have something interesting to say that I would have liked to know way back when I started BMWR. An interview with Rider Strong was posted in the comments, and he talked about directing for this kind of show. With a multicamera show, you can't really direct the way you would a movie or single camera, you don't get to put your signature or your style into it. He went on to say you wouldn't be able to identify an episode of a multicamera show as "Hey xxxxx directed this, that's classic xxxx right there." And so what it really boils down to, according to Rider, is the performances. You're in charge of getting the actors to put the right energy and tone and presence in each scene, and that's really the main part of directing a show like this. I thought that was interesting.
Anyway I say that in preparation for the fact that Danielle Fishel directed this one, and the script was written by Jacobs himself.
Maya and Riley have agreed to throw a surprise sweet sixteen party solely on the basis of triple alliteration, which is honestly not a bad reason as far as these things go. That was a cute scene. I don't really have any thoughts. It was just cute.
Cory is teaching a lesson that has nothing to do with history, but provides a gateway for each character to remind us what their shtick is. And I'm pretty sure Smackle thinks the step after "meet your friends" is GET LAID AS FUCK.
Have the landmarks of your life prepared you for what's to come next? That's Cory's big question at the end of the lecture. Their assignment is to tell Cory what's going to happen next because, as we all know, history is in the future.
"The day I met Riley and Maya and Smackle and Lucas and Zay"? What? Did they really try to imply Farkle met them all the same day? We absolutely know that's not the case. We saw Farkle meet two of those people.
Also, Cory's assignment is dumb and makes no sense and is given in that vague nonspeak that's supposed to sound like its heavy and means stuff but doesn't that he always uses.
I don't know you guys, we're six minutes in and this episode feels like nothing so far.
We shoehorn in the fucking Smackle/Lucas crap, which is basically proof that Jacobs himself is behind that nonsense. Ugh, Farkle, break up with her already. Lucas and Riley don't freak out about the relative uncertainty of their relationship, which is very refreshing. I was SO sure that after Lucas said "You and I still together?" Riley was going to be like "We're together?" I was disappointed. Very level headed for teenagers. Long Walk to Pittsburgh was around this age, so this makes me confident in the claim that it would have unfolded differently with Riley and Lucas. Hell, ALWtP was after this. Topanga had had an actual Sweet Sixteen.
The Farkle/Smackle stuff here at the bakery is unbearable for me. They've been together how long and seeing Lucas and Riley hold hands sends Smackle into this frenzy? Has she never seen this before? That wouldn't even surprise me. What really sucks is that I was just yesterday trying to convince Christian he was underrating Smackle as a character. This is not helping my position at all. See? Told you. Smackle sucks. Cecelia Balagot is great, but the character sucks. I did like that Farkle is at least starting to take the issue of Smackle having feelings for Lucas seriously. At least Zay is consistently funny. Eh. I feel like they're trying a little hard with him in this episode. I didn't find him that funny in this one.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh good. See, yeah, this I didn't like. Didn't like any of that bit.
Great. I was hoping Riley and Maya could question the longevity of their friendship one last time before it was all over. That's a lie. I thought we were done with this. How can we learn so much
AND STILL BE SO STUPID
Zay is stuck wondering what the hell is going on like the rest of us. Oh Zay. What would I do without you.
We have to watch Farkle and Lucas talk about some nonsense real quick. Yes, people are evolving, and Maya remembers all that stuff from Girl Meets Father about Darwin. I honestly want to feel good about it, I really do. Our heroes remembering something Feeny taught them in Boy Meets World would probably bring me to tears, but this doesn't have the same effect. Girl Meets Father was just so poor. It's impossible to have a meaningful response to this, but I nevertheless appreciate the continuity.
God, this episode and this scene are NOT good. Michael Jacobs really isn't one of the best writers of this show. He's so unbelievably heavy-handed. I think BMW, where he wasn't really writing scripts, was the better way to do things.
Oh he's the best teacher, oh he's so great, blah blah blah Cory Cory Matthews.
Well he's not the worst, I guess. He's better than that guidance counselor who confused Shawn into wanting to go to Europe on a bus. Or the science teacher who only cared if the team won the game. But I don't even know if he's a better teacher than when Eric taught that citizenship class.
Looks like Cory has stopped evolving though, which is BY GUM the most interesting thing that's happened on this show. Let's go Cory Cory Matthews, I want you to grow as a character one last time, I'm begging you. That's all I ever wanted. Are you basing that on the socks things or what are you basing that on? I'm not sure they meant to imply that. Although, I mean, sure. Cory stopped evolving at age 17 or 18.
Auggie, I don't care. Is his hair a "Cory's Alternative Friends" reference?
"Life knows we're forever, doesn't it?" Shut up, Riley. That's like straight out of the pilot. Jacobs you're better than this.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh good. It's time for a reckoning between Lucas Friar and Isadora Smackle. If I make it through this scene without cringe-pausing the video, I will never eat Wendy's again. I had to stop before either of them even said anything. Also, I'm not 100% sure I've ever been Wendy's. And, like, we have them up here, it's not that. I just can't think of a circumstance where I would have gone. I was a McDonald's kid.
Tch, so close.
So the idea is that Smackle says all that stuff as some kind of defense mechanism, so she can appear unhurt if it turns out Farkle doesn't really care that much about her. It's... you know, logically consistent, but who cares? We have no idea what the -kle relationship is like. I daresay we're not invested at all. I guess I buy it, but it's the kind of revelation that feels like all their character revelations about why people were really doing stuff. It sounds made up. It sounds like they realized Smackle was acting in a way people didn't like, and so they pulled an explanation out of their ass for why she did it to get themselves off the hook. It's less egregious than them undoing the whole love triangle by pretending Maya didn't really like Lucas and also had been pretending to be Riley, but it's still lazy and consistently one of the worst things about this show.
I was so flummoxed by the screeching and adulation that Farkle revealing himself from behind the counter caused. I expected her to be pissed at this, like, sting. Seriously, this was a guy having his best friend try to hook up with his girlfriend while he watched to see if she'd go for it. That's... god, this show's the worst.
Everyone seems content with the natural drifting away after high school except for, you guessed it, your favorite character:
"Why do people become friends if it's not going to be forever?"
Because people change people you dumb idiot, have you been paying attention at all? God. Is this really the way you wanna go out, Mike? This is it? And this isn't Cory's endearing fear of change, there's nothing relatable here, it's just controlling. AND her friends' response is to obey. Somebody needs to smack some sense into Riley right now, this is ridiculous. You think Shawn would sit by and listen to this crap? Not for a second.
What's really lame about this is that it's an attempt to do the "Things Change" drama without... actually being in that circumstance. It makes sense Cory would have this crisis because he was due to graduate in days, and his girlfriend was literally about to leave, and his best friend was literally not going to college, and his restaurant actually closed. Riley's flipping out about theoretical possible changes in three years, which is stupid. I'm sorry the show got cancelled before you could get to latter high school stories, but it did, so you don't get to do that story.
This is one of those times where I hate the medium. We are in a tense as fuck situation, Riley is losing her mind, but it just cuts to commercial and we come back in a completely different situation. What happened! How did that situation resolve? Somebody just had to go to the bathroom and then it was over? We'll never know.
I'm sorry, this is the penultimate episode of this series, but it's so stupid. Is it just a vehicle for Jacobs to tell us what happens later since he knows the show won't get there? Are we treating these presentations in class as canon? For the sake of any respect I have for Michael Jacobs that must be what this is. This is further reinforced by the audience cheering so loud after the Smarkle presentation, that this is a sort of ending to things.
Okay I'm guessing Smarkle don't actually cure the common cold, but apparently they'll still be dating and they're both going to Princeton.
Lucas and Zay apparently have a reversing of roles as time goes on, which would be INCREDIBLY interesting to flesh out, and I'm honestly pained that we don't get to see that. "When did things start going bad?" "Oh the Triangle took all the life out of you." That is some poignant commentary. These poor characters. That's a great very self-aware line. I'm glad Jacobs was able to make it.
Riley and Maya summarize some of the themes of the show without really talking about being juniors. Great job giving a presentation that had nothing to do with the assignment.
Yeah you invented that shit didn't you Cory.
"I thought life loves us." GOD, how can these characters still talk like that? NO ONE TALKS LIKE THAT. I don't think anything makes me hate this show as much as that kind of RIDICULOUS dialogue. Is this the MOST critical difference between the two series? Cory and Shawn and Eric always knew that life is a bastard who does bastard things to you. Seriously, Riley. Get a helmet. But this show is all WE'RE KINGS, THE WORLD, LIFE LOVES US, THE UNIVERSE BLAH. I hate it, I honestly hate it.
You know, if only Topanga had some experience with being a high school girl and her parents moving her away, separating her from her friends and her life, in order to give her some context. C'mon, is anyone buying Topanga taking this job? She's portrayed as a wildly successful lawyer who could easily get a different job at a different firm somewhere else. She knows how entrenched Cory is at his new job, and Riley is at school. She went through this EXACT situation with her folks (except, her parents were taking her to a different town in the same state, not a different continent) and thought it was wrong. And she'd do the same thing? When she really doesn't have to? I don't buy it. So, this feels like a nonsense problem that will be corrected.
Episode Rating: C- (Nothing was too outrageous, but this whole episode seemed like a nostalgic trip through everything wrong with this show)
Episode MVP: Rowan Blanchard, I guess, but, like, whatever.