Saturday, January 14, 2017

Episode Review: "Girl Meets Sweet Sixteen" (#3.20)

Well I was supposed to go on a date tonight but that is CLEARLY not happening, so I'll just review some Girl Meets World instead. Same thing, right? 

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



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.

Auggie's haircut is a lot more jarring than the fact that Topanga's been assigned to the London branch of her law firm as a partner.  I coulda sworn it was already established that Topanga was a partner at her firm. 

"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. 


  1. I didn't hate this episode really. I'm glad they explained Smackle's flirting with Lucas. Riley was annoying; but she always has been. Lucas and Riley acting like an actual couple for only the second time...

    But, if Topanga gives up being partner for either Cory or Riley I will be so annoyed. I can... just about accept her giving up Yale for Cory; as she's shown that she could make it last, and she did still go to a good school. But giving up what is really her dream; would mean that Cory gives up -nothing- for her really; and that's always her giving it up. That would just frustrate the heck out of me. I don't think there's a choice - Riley and Auggie can deal with moving country; it might take some retraining but Cory can find a job in London.

    1. Will, what exactly should Cory have given up for Topanga? It seems like there was never a situation where he had a choice.

      He told her to go to Yale, she chose not to. And it really wasn't all for Cory as she told Feeney at the end that she was afraid of being a small fish in a big pond at Yale and wasn't sure she would succeed.

      After they graduated, they went to live in NYC permanently for her job, so if Cory had dreams that didn't include living and working there, he did give them up for Topanga.

    2. Sorry to break it to you, but this is a Disney show so that's exactly what will happen. Topenga will give up the job because "jobs come and go but family/friends are forever " or "she doesn't need it to be happy, she has everything right now" or some other crap like that. You just wait.

      God, I hate this show so much, it has nothing to do with BMW.

      Loved the review. Spot on. My thoughts exactly.

    3. I could see the move to London happening, because it's the series finale and it allows them to do a Disney Channel Original Movie where the characters from New York visit the Matthews during a spring break or summer break trip to London.

    4. It wasn't written as the series finale though. It seems like they thought they were getting cancelled, but weren't sure, so I'm sure the finale was written in such a way where if they did get picked up, the premise would still work.

    5. Yep. I was right. They're not moving because of reason number two I've listed above.Also, it's obvious they knew it was the series finale back then, they never said anything before January so it doesn't damage the views or something. The ending of the episode mirrors BMW ending, word for word, literally Shawn gives the speech Cory gave to Josh(and they alternate between BMW and GMW).

  2. Yep. You've said it perfectly. LOL'd at your video. It's like the writers think that teenage girls don't think about anything except whether they will still be friends when they grow up. I would be more interested in an episode that explores why they are so insecure in their friendship.

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  4. This is one of the craziest pieces of dialogue I have ever seen on a tv show. The writing on this show is batshit crazy.
    Smackle: "Does he [Corey] know what he’s doing?"

    Maya: "Yes he does. Finches and mockingbirds. His boat was the beagle and for extra credit, Galapagos."

    Farkle: "Charles Darwin."

    Smackle: "How do you know the theory of evolution?"

    Maya: "Because I failed it. I know it because I failed it, but he made sure that I knew it because he knew that I would need it someday. He’s a great teacher. He’s the best there is."

    1. I had no idea what was even going on. It just felt like literally random sentences from a world history book being thrown right at the viewer. I'm glad I'm not alone in this.

    2. Oh, and I know it was a throwback to Meets...I can't even remember the episode title and I'm infamously too lazy to look it up. But it was introduced cold open-style, with no warning. The allusion got lost completely.

  5. Sean.

    Over the past three years of reading your work, it has been a pleasure and for that I thank you. It has provided me with some great entertainment. As always, you have written a sarcastic, yet cynical, review that is once again hilarious.

    That all being said....

    What. The. Fuck.

    This is our penultimate episode? THIS?!?

    What motherfucking bullshit.

    Know what? Gather round, boys and girls. It's time for Uncle Shipping Wars to tell you a story.

    I graduated high school before this show was even thought of.

    It's now been six years this June.

    Am I still best friends with my high school best friends?

    With maybe one or two exceptions NO

    People change.

    People get new jobs and move away.

    People stop talking to you when you run out of being useful to them.

    People have babies.

    The fact is and I wish I could scream this at the writers: If you want to stay friends, you need to fucking earn it and it takes work .

    That said, I recently caught up with a high school classmate who I hadn't actually seen in over two years and she and I are far closer than we ever were in high school. Why?

    On the one hand, we do have a lot more in common.

    But I made an honest effort to stay in touch and she has done so too.

    My best friends? All folks I've known for years who I reconnected with and it takes effort to stay in touch. But it really isn't that hard.

    Riley, Princeton is an hour away from NYC. Grow the fuck up!

    Also, they fucked up the ages (again). Maya turned 14 in the tail end of Season 1 so she should have been turning 16 this year.

    God, so much crying! I get it, big change. But it came off as so selfish. Your mommy gets her dream job and you cry like a four-year-old because you have to leave your BFF, who you constantly doubt will be in your life forever. Fuck off.

    1. but i don't understand why you were friends with them if it wasn't forever

      also you're still mike right? the original shipping wars as well as the shipping wars are stupid down below?

    2. Shipping Wars Are StupidJanuary 15, 2017 at 11:58 AM

      Yup. I went back to Shipping Wars because I missed laughing at my name. I'm sticking with SWAS from here on out.

    3. ...and that's more development than we saw from this episode of GMW.

    4. Shipping Wars Are StupidJanuary 15, 2017 at 5:23 PM

      I aim to please

    5. It's a Disney Channel tradition for the penultimate episode to suck (unless it's part of an arc that continues in the last episode, in which case it still might suck) so...yeah I'm good.

  6. I actually was legitimately happy, like Will, they gave us a reason for Smackle's flirting with Lucas. That's been going on far too long and most (if not all) of us interpreted it as her having a legitimate crush on Lucas and not caring that she made a commitment to Farkle. I know you weren't a big fan of it but it was really good to have /closure/ on that and to show that all of that nonsense had some sort of reasoning behind it. Granted, the joke was beaten to death in far too many episodes, but at least they were aware of it.

    1. It was cool that they explained it, but sheesh, it's another one of those instances where they have an ANNOYING recurring joke that happens to have an explanation behind it because the writers are so BRILLIANT. Now, I can't recall any other instances, but I could've sworn this has happened before (Lucas's shoehorned violent past comes to mind, but I'm sure there's better)

    2. I'm gonna line up with Jet on that one. It's nice that it's done and we know why, but... I wish it hadn't even come to that point.

    3. "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." -Christian

      This... this is what I meant.

      Another example is people complaining about the girls wearing heels in Season 1 and the writers "revealing" why in Season 2. (was it when they had a fight about Maya's height?? I don't know or care)

    4. This is Cryptid.

      "Another example is people complaining about the girls wearing heels in Season 1 and the writers "revealing" why in Season 2. (was it when they had a fight about Maya's height?? I don't know or care)"

      I thought it was lampshaded by Eric that Riley had actually shrunk since he last saw her, and Riley mentioned that she had stopped wearing heels, because "people have commented."

  7. The plot for this episode: With Riley's 16th birthday approaching, the kids contemplate the future and how rapidly their relationships will change in a few short years.


    Sean I love how you mentioned "that was from the pilot!" So ridiculous.

  8. I have some pretty mixed feelings about this episode.

    Firstly, I think we saw the last real stories for Smackle, Farkle, Lucas & Zay. Their presentations were sort of "we'll all be fine" (and for the record, I thought some of the Farkle/Lucas/Zay stuff indicated more friendship development than we've seen in Riley/Maya). Secondly, I hate Riley as a character. It just isn't entertaining to watch her doubt the friendships and try to be zany all the time. After three series her character is still paper thin.

    I didn't find this quite as rage inducing as Sean evidently did, but then I didn't expect to have a date prior to watching it (I do, however, understand the frustration). It was just a big pile of meh. It is exactly this kind of episode that explains why the show is being cancelled. There was no drama, no comedy, no entertaiment, no development, nothing that would lead me (or teenage me or preteen me) to want to watch aside from as a precursor to the finale.

    Eh, bring on Goodbye.

    1. I definitely agree about ending those paired storylines. I think this was similar to Angela's Ashes where we're getting some stuff out of the way to give the finale more space, and I like that. But I felt like the review had more punch if I ended it the way I did, so I left that out XD

  9. This is Cryptid.

    I lack the time, at the moment, to elaborate why this episode didn't do much for me, but first I'd like to make a point on why the "What if we're not going to be friends forever?" bit is underwhelming, at least for Riley and Maya:


    With Riley calling Shawn, "Uncle Shawn" rather than "Mr. Hunter," that means that Shawn is family to her. So, by extension, Katy and Maya are as well. Riley and Maya are, for all intents and purposes, COUSINS in everything but blood. No matter what happens, they're going to be part of each other's lives BECAUSE THEIR FATHERS ARE PART OF EACH OTHER'S LIVES!!

    *Drops mic, then remembers how expensive recording equipment is, and puts mic away properly."

    1. literally will friedleJanuary 20, 2017 at 11:19 PM


  10. This is Cryptid.

    Oh, one thing I did notice that was actually kind of fun. With Auggie's "crazy hair," I was reminded of when Cory tried to straighten his hair way back when in "Cory's Alternative Friends."

    1. Hah, yeah, I totally saw that too, I'm surprised Cory didn't say anything.

  11. My simple retrospective on GMW.
    Season 1 was good, showed promise. Aimed at its target audience but with call backs for older fans of BMW.
    Season 2, the shows suddenly changed from GMW to a BMW reunion series. Still, some of the series' best episodes happend. But then, the second half of the season the series totally crashed an burned with the ill-done triangle arc and over reaching attempts to turn the show into a dramedy.
    Season 3 first few episodes just as bad, but then the show turns the corner and starts getting better. But its too little too late, and something seems off-- after the triange is resolved, Riley and Maya start acting as if they are constantly stoned on pot. Well, Riley kind of acted like that for the entire series.

  12. I think people are more likely to see a new comment than see me add this in the review, so I just noticed the line between Maya's "What if I have to go to Europe for art school" and then RILEY is actually the one about to go to Europe. I like that sneaky bit of writing from Jacobs.

    1. Shipping Wars Are StupidJanuary 15, 2017 at 10:04 AM

      Jacobs does have a big strength in foreshadowing, I'll grant him that.

  13. Replies
    1. Jacob - Not to necessarily condone the language, but that comment made me genuinely laugh out loud.

    2. This is Cryptid.

      This is...almost entirely pointless. There's virtually no actual plot to this episode until the very end. Everything we've seen, at least from Riley and Maya, is something we've already seen quite literally a dozen times.

  14. "Well I was supposed to go on a date tonight but that is CLEARLY not happening"

    Ha! Welcome to my world!

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  16. Here's a little article from Deadline explaining the reason behind the cancellation

    "..viewers who had watched and loved Boy Meets World on ABC, flocked to Girl Meets World, but the sequel had to lower, not raise the original series’ median age in moving to Disney Channel. While Girl Meets World did well with older teens and parents, it had difficulties connecting with younger kids, who did not find it relevant enough. Among Disney Channel’s target demographic, Girl Meets World was the network’s #5 series in Kids 6-11 and #3 in Tweens 9-14 for 2016. Since Disney Channel is ad-supported, not getting enough traction in the target demos the network sells is a problem."

    That's kind of a problem if a "coming of age" show isn't relevant to the kids who would be "coming of age"

    I used to be someone who would defend the show, but the more I watched, I relized how unrealistic the conversations in this show is.
    I have never come across any teenagers that talk anything like these kids.
    That and the annoyance of parts of the fandom (and even cast and crew) treating it like it's the perfect show and superior to anything else on TV. Anything bad on the show is all because of "limits from being on Disney Channel" according to them. There's no way it could possibly be because the writers aren't good.

    1. I'm confused. If the target audience/demo for Disney is 6-14, then wouldn't the fact that the show had significant appeal to kids 9-14 have helped? Disney must know that what appeals to someone 6 is probably not going to appeal to somone 14. I don't understand why having a show that had more tweens than kids watching is a problem. I'm sure they have shows that appeal more to younger kids than tweens.

    2. Third in that compared to first overall; means it didn't get the tweens to the extent they wanted. It's advertising based; so when the target audience -isn't- the audience that is mainly watching it; means the advertising won't have as strong an effect.

    3. As little as two years ago or less the 9-14 demo (and even older into young adult) were considered very significant periphery demos for Disney Channel (perhaps a big reason why they even greenlit GMW). In fact the 9-14 demo might've been considered their core demo (the 6-12 demo being served by both Disney Jr. and Disney Channel itself on a crossover basis with a lot of help from Disney XD). But it's not just GMW, a lot of the shows that typically had strong 9-14 appeal on the network either timed out or lost ratings - Good Luck Charlie, Jessie, Liv and Maddie, Best Friends Whenever which got canceled and Bizaardvark isn't exactly a ratings beast either. I think Disney Channel's looking to retreat into younger demos, hence Elena of Avalor and Stuck in the Middle which like GLC has a very wide demo appeal but is somewhat biased towards younger.

  17. Future Riley and Future Maya already told us they live at the Bay Window forever. Forever. Forever. Forever.

  18. I did like Riley calling her mother out about 'who gives up going to a good school because their friends aren't'; but the issue is a bit more complicated. As in, she gave up going to a school in another state, and still went to a reasonably good school. Riley is talking about going to a relatively bad school, as off current performances, Maya wouldn't be able to get into even a decent school, except, possibly, one for art. (And what, she's still getting bad marks in art even after she'd rediscovered herself?)

    I agree with Christian that the Smackle/Lucas revelation seemed shoehorned in, but it's better than the Maya one. I think I'd have been happier about it though if Lucas had just done it, without all the observers, and convinced Smackle to be honest with Farkle. The observers made it seem cheap.

    However, it's not necessarily easy to switch jobs as a lawyer. You have to work your way back up - sure, as a supposedly extremely good one (one of the worst examples they have of telling not showing on GMW), she wouldn't have to work as long; but knocking this chance back may not reflect well - as in, other firms may see her as someone who would hold them to ransom to get -her- ideal job. And honestly, though she claims she wouldn't want a 'do-over', I think she privately acknowledges that that was unfair of her, and for the wrong reasons.

    Girl meets Goodbye title kinda suggests she'll take the job; as does getting everyone back in. But that could be just for advice - I mean, Feeney and Alan are probably the best advice-givers in the business; only pipping Amy because she tends to keep her opinion to herself because her opinion usually isn't popular.

    And finally before I shut up - yeah, the Maya/Riley insecurities is getting old. No matter how unrealistic it was for them to -be- friends forever, Cory's faith that he and Shawn would always be friends, and that he and Topanga would always be together makes sense - teenagers don't think 'oh what if we're not friends forever' 'oh, what if we break up?'. They take it as a given that that won't happen; no matter how much people tell them otherwise.

    1. idk, Topanga gave up an Ivy League school for a school with low enough standards to accept Eric, Shawn and Cory.

      (Although the thing with Topanga being superwoman is that then her choices don't really have any effect at all - they could have sent her to the mechanic course at community college, and she'd still end up the best lawyer ever, because that's the way they write Topanga. They're not real interested in her beyond 'overachiever'.
      Running a full-time business, being partner in a firm, and being the only one shown doing much in the way of childcare with Auggie is apparently possible all at once; likewise she and Cory seem to have balanced having a baby, completing a (presumably unpaid) internship, dropping Pennbrooke, and presumably completing both their degrees all in one year (with no family close by.)

    2. Except, what we're told is that Eric is actually very smart but unmotivated, and Cory and Shawn can do well if they try. We are actually told, repeatedly, that it -was- a good college; very good even - just not Yale-standards.

    3. Yeah, Pennbrook's supposed to be a good school. By the end of high school, Cory's implied to have started getting good grades. The days of him being a C student seemed to have ended around Season 2.

      Eric's high school grades weren't good enough to get him in, but he got in more on his post-high school efforts, his retake of the SATs to get a much higher score, and from his compelling interview.

      Shawn's the only one I find to be a stretch. While Season 5 did imply he started buckling down in high school in a way that Eric never really did, I still don't buy him even getting waitlisted to get into Pennbrook. I suspect a recommendation from Feeny played a role.

    4. My guess is Pennbrook is more or less supposed to be a non-Ivy League version of real-life Penn.

    5. This is Cryptid.

      Having just seen "Life Lessons" (one of my very favorite episodes from BMW Season 3), I can attest that Cory was a low B-student by the last third of Season 3. I think dating the more studious Topanga likely had an effect on his own habits, as Feeny later stated that "Cory worked hard for his grades."

      Oh, a recommendation from Feeny may have had a role in getting Shawn into Pennbrook. That was something I had never considered. But as I recall, Jack's step-father was paying Shawn's tuition. Nothing gives quite so much weight to an application as Mr. Checkbook.

    6. Yeah, B student tends to be how I kind of think of Cory, scholastically.

  19. This is Cryptid.

    This episode makes feel...tired. If this is what qualifies as a penultimate episode...then I'm glad the show's ending. This just doesn't feel like it's the Feeny-verse.

    (And that's not just me complaining about this show being on the Disney Channel in the first place. Several of the other Disney Channel sitcoms, ran on similar "Friends Forever...what if it's not forever?" themes. I digress.)

    Maya just turned 15? Michael Jacobs and crew prove once again their inability to keep birthdays consistent. I mind it a bit more here than I do Topanga or Cory's birthday jumping around, since we not only saw Maya's birthday, it was actually an episode important to the plot, rather than the far more filler, albeit character driven "Kid Gloves" or "Wheels."

    That being said, the idea of Riley and Maya getting excited for their Sweet Sixteenth is relatively harmless as a plot point.

    Cory's classroom. And it's terrible as usual. That being said, "Landmarks" in regards to a human lifetime are not the most outlandish or irrelevant lesson Cory's given by any means, but it still isn't very good. I'm not sure how I feel about Riley keeping interjecting about the "Surprise Sweet Sixteen," but maybe that's because Shipping Wars (Glad to see him using his old handle) and I, nor our sister, did much in the way for our birthdays.

    Isadora's point about a Nobel Prize for Physics is...well, it beats the beyond basic "firsts" from Zay or Farkle's "Day I met Riley, Maya, Lucas, Smackle and Zay." (This is a nitpick, but I dislike that Farkle doesn't call his girlfriend by her first name. It's not as if Isadora's given any indication she finds it embarrassing.)

    Moving on...I hate the whole idea of Isadora flirting with Friar. I hate it, hate it, hate it. It was funny when she would misinterpret ordinary conversation for flirting. But this is not funny.

    On the one hand, it is nice to see that Riley doesn't apparently hold on to the same sappy, fairy-tale teenage romance ideals her parents did. On the other hand, to repeat a point I've made several times before, Friar did not say he had any actual interest in anything remotely resembling a romantic relationship with Riley. He threw a rather alarming tantrum about Riley having a "serious" talk with another boy, despite them not being in a relationship at the time, and then is able to weasel out of apologizing.

    It also didn't make any sense to see Isadora freak out over Riley and Friar holding hands (though it would have been funny if she had said something to the accord of 'that's never happened before'). For crying out loud, we've seen Farkle be far more affectionate with her than that--as far back as a year ago our time (likely closer to sixteen months in-universe) when "New Year" aired.

    And I have severe misgivings about Farkle offering to step back so that Friar could date Isadora. BOTH OF YOU ARE IN RELATIONSHIPS. This just feels wrong. Maybe it's just that this is so late, since this has been going on for almost a year now. And the sting element does bother me--this could have really hurt Isadora's feelings. Alternatively, she could have become very angry with Friar, and smacked him across the face.

    And once again...Riley and Maya doubt the longevity of their friendship. More than anything else--the classrooms aside--this feels very Disney-ish. I watched a lot of Disney Channel sitcoms as a teenager so I can say this is a plot line I've seen MANY, MANY times.

    If the final classroom scene for this episode is a glimpse of what could have been, I'm...less than thrilled. Farkle and Isadora don't offer anything particularly new, and since I was never that invested in Zay, I'm not that curious to see what would be in store for him. Glad to see he does well for himself, and I like that he didn't do what he and Friar had planned out.

    1. Part 2.

      "The Triangle took all the life out of you." Not that there was any life in there to begin with, but I do think that's a funny line.

      But Cory is a terrible teacher, and I want to tattle on him to Mr. Feeny so that Cory gets Big Boy Detention for the rest of forever.

      And now we're back at the apartment. And I don't like how the bombshell is dropped. What I would have liked? I would have liked to see Riley come home, say hello to Topanga, and see a message on the answering machine. Let Riley and Topanga (but no Maya) find out about the job offer together.

      --"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.--

      Truthfully, that's probably the simplest summation of how GMW measures up to BMW. Shawn and Cory and Eric took turns being the universe's chew toy, due in no small part to consequences of their own actions (If Eric spent half the time on homework that he did on girls, he likely could have gotten a full ride to any college he wanted).

      Grade: C

      MVP: Nobody really did it for me this time.

    2. "However, it's not necessarily easy to switch jobs as a lawyer."

      Fine, but then she can just keep the job she has. I can't imagine her firm would let her go because she was not willing to uproot her family and move to a different country. A lot of people wouldn't accept a job like that, especially in this computer age where most people can do most white collar jobs from anywhere.

    3. But she -wants- to be a partner. If someone offered me my ideal job with the caveat "you have to move" I would be livid if I had to turn it down because my child couldn't bear to be apart from their best friend. Then again, I've been there. I left Holland when I was 7, and hated moving away from my best friend at the time. We sent letters to each other for a bit, but that faded off. But Riley and Maya are brought up in the digital age - they can email.

      Now, if she turns it down because she doesn't want to move to England, that's fine. But with Shawn now married to Katy, Maya might need to move at some point anyway; as if she's serious about being an artist, New York is probably not the best place to study; and if they can, Shawn and Katy may well move to a place where Maya -can- get all the help she needs to be an artist.

      Riley is still young enough that a move won't damage her schooling; whilst Topanga was in her final year. I think beyond the surface this very different to Pittsburgh.

    4. "But she -wants- to be a partner. If someone offered me my ideal job with the caveat "you have to move" I would be livid if I had to turn it down because my child couldn't bear to be apart from their best friend."

      To this I ask, do you have a child? I think parents have a way of not being livid when it comes to the emotional demands of their children that we, not having them, wouldn't grasp. Part of being a parent is that your own feelings and wants can no longer be the only thing that matters.

      That said, there's more to it than this. Yes, Maya's the most important thing to Riley, but also she'd be losing all of her friends. And Auggie was crying too. I doubt Cory's into the idea either, although he's putting on a braver face about it.

      Ultimately, it's a job. And considering Topanga's history, her having this exact same situation happen to her, and her flipping out about it, my guess is she wouldn't do the same thing to Riley that her parents did to her, which ultimately caused an estrangement between her and them. Especially, when there's really no reason she *has* to.

      If I was offered my ideal job, but it was in London? I'd really have to think about it. London's great, but I don't want to live there. I have a lot of ties to where I am now that would give me pause, and I don't have a spouse and children, with the same ties, who I need to consider.

    5. And I don't grant that there's much of a difference in their situations. Kids do move in their junior years, and they're still fine. It's not going to set you back that much, on a scholastic level. Senior year barely factors into college, kids start sending in applications during the summer these days. She'd be going from one public school to another in the same state, the material wouldn't be markedly different, and Topanga was an 'A' student.

      It was the emotional issues, not the practical ones, that upset Topanga at the time. I would think less of her if she wouldn't be willing to make the same choices for her family that she was so devastated weren't made for her.

    6. I do have a kid. He's fifteen in March. There are a lot of times when his needs come first; but when it comes to something I have to spend almost 40 hours a week doing, he doesn't get to decide what job I do.

      Yes, there are lots of reasons to knock back the job which are good; but just so her kids don't get separated from friends isn't one of them. They can make new friends. I will be disappointed in her if she chooses -not- to go with Riley being the main reason.

      Okay; I'll grant Pittsburgh isn't -that- different; but if that's the case, then we need consistency. If you thought Cory and Topanga were in the wrong then; I don't think you can say that Topanga has to do what her kids want here.

      As for Topanga being devastated - she was sixteen. We grow up. We acknowledge that choices that made perfect sense when we were sixteen were really not. We can acknowledge that decisions our parents made that we railed against at the time, they were right to do.

    7. I didn't think Topanga was in the wrong then. I mean, I don't think running away from home is the way to handle it, but I do think it was shitty of her parents to uproot her like that.

      But again, this is a much more severe situation. It's like a 4.5 hour drive from Philly to Pittsburgh. It would be annoying to make that drive a lot, but you could do it. Moving across an ocean is a much bigger deal. So, in my mind, Riley's even more justified in being upset than Topanga was.

      Also, like, doesn't Topanga own a coffee shop in Manhattan? What happens with that?

    8. "We can acknowledge that decisions our parents made that we railed against at the time, they were right to do."

      But it never seemed like Topanga came to that conclusion. I mean, ultimately, she *didn't* move with them. And, all the adults involved - Prudence, the Matthews, Feeny - all of them corroborated her line of thinking, that it was wrong.

      It just seems like in every situation where career decisions go up against emotional decisions, Topanga opts for the emotional side of things. She didn't go to Pittsburgh, didn't go to Yale. Her making the opposite move now just doesn't sound like her.

      "There are a lot of times when his needs come first; but when it comes to something I have to spend almost 40 hours a week doing, he doesn't get to decide what job I do." I guess everyone makes their own call. I wouldn't think Riley should tell her mother what job she can have, but... I do think if she's upset at the prospect of being forced to move to a different *continent* she has every right to express that and try to convince her mother otherwise.

    9. Either way, assuming Topanga does decide that they're going to stay (and, let's be real folks, she clearly will, they were still hoping for Season 4 when they wrote this) I doubt it would be SOLELY because of Riley. She'd likely decide she didn't want to leave either. They wouldn't end the series with Topanga sad because she can't move to London but doing it for her kids.

    10. All I'm going to say, spoiler free, is that the concerns being brought up here about Topanga and her attitudes about the London transfer ARE answered in the finale. And I guess it's kind of sad commentary that it's borderline spoileriffic to inform fans that a show is actually going to bank on its promises.

    11. Yeah, as I said it can be a reason, but if the only reason she stays is to keep Riley happy I'll be annoyed. And Riley is acting like a brat refusing to acknowledge that there's even something to talk about. Topanga's being asked to head her own office - this could well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

      Granted; I probably see things differently as by Riley's age I'd moved country twice - granted, one was too early for me to remember, but I quite clearly remember moving from Holland to Australia; and that was a choice my parents made because my father specifically requested a transfer to Australia. As a child, I never again had as many friends as I did in Holland; so in both cases I think the child doesn't really get to say 'how dare you move, taking me away from my friends/boyfriend?'

      The one thing that makes me think they might move, is that news report that filtered out that Peyton had stated he'd taken the sofa. This was supposedly months before they knew whether they were having a season 4 or not.

    12. Will wrote "The one thing that makes me think they might move, is that news report that filtered out that Peyton had stated he'd taken the sofa. This was supposedly months before they knew whether they were having a season 4 or not."

      And remember that even though Sweet Sixteen and Goodbye were the last 2 episodes to show, World Meets Girl was the last to film. During that "episode" Rowan and Sabrina gave away the actual friendship ring props that played such a key role during the last 2 seasons. As soon as I saw that it was clear to me that the series was ending.

    13. Hi! I've been a secret reader for a bit now but I wanted to throw in my 2 cents for all of the Topanga stuff. I always get frustrated with her character on the show because it's pretty much physically impossible to be that far in a legal career while being the primary caretaker and running your own business on top of meeting both the hour and the business development requirements in order to become a partner. Obviously, I know this show is not realistic most of the time, but Topanga's career is particularly frustrating because I wish I could have the balance of her life. I am a (very junior) attorney at a highly ranked law firm in a major city, and even though I am at the bottom of the totem pole, I barely have time to eat dinner at night. So... when they get so many things "wrong" about the legal profession when it's literally such an easy google away, really grinds the gears.

      So, in real life, this should be about the time in her career that Topanga would become a partner at her firm. That's fair if we assume she met all of these requirements and has been playing the politics game at the firm well (which I think she didn't because didn't she go against her client to save the bakery?). But typically you don't magically become an office head at the same time you make partner. The heads typically have been partners for years... not to mention they normally stay in their own offices. Like, the NY office would not allow someone not from the NY office run them.

      But also there's the issue that the US and the U.K. have different legal systems. Sure, attorneys barred in the US work in the U.K. or with people in the U.K. I'm actually on a deal right now with our London office (the accents are straight ��), but if Topanga were to actually go into court in the U.K., she would need to become a barrister as opposed to a solicitor. I'm not 100% sure how the process works if you've been practicing for a while in the US, but I believe there are additional tests needed to prove you are at the level of a barrister (or even solicitor). Basically, it's a whole lot of work and you'd better believe that a firm isn't going to be like "You have no experience with U.K. law and aren't even licensed to practice in the country. Please come run the London office."

      And I asked myself why they didn't make it a different state... probably because the same is true there. You get barred in your state. After a certain number of years depending on the jurisdiction (in my experience it's 5), you can waive into that state's bar. But some states (lookin at you, CA) don't allow you to do that. So my guess is that CA would have the same dramatic effect, but the writers at least knew that you cannot just magically work in CA and went with a different country because why not.

      Blah. Anyway, tl;dr. Sorry for the rant. Really doesn't matter, but just hit a bit too close to home.

      I did love Cory's reaction to the money though. I still can't comprehend how much a partner makes... but market rate for a 7th year associate is $300k. That's the last salary amount I've seen published at least. So God save the Queen is right!

    14. I'd doubt a lot of what you are talking about has even occurred to the writers of the show. The only thing I'll say, is that I suspect the reason they had the move being to London rather than another American state; is she's going to say no, which if you're talking about an international trip, requiring Cory to at least be retrained if not find a new career, might make somewhat sense, it's probably a lot more of a stretch if it's just across the country (still viable, but that's more a move that most people would seriously consider).

      I highly doubt that most people even know that you can't switch states and just carry on your legal profession - I certainly didn't (though I'm Australian). But anyone with any sense would know it would take some form of retraining when talking about a new country given how widely the law varies for some things across country borders.

      And rants are fine. I've certainly had a few.

  20. Rating are in - 1.3 million views . So the numbers are down from the previous week, but they were down for all the Friday shows.

    LNM: 1.0
    GMW: 1.3
    BIZ: 0.9
    KCU: 1.1