Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sean Revisits: Girl Meets Popular (#1.06)

Hi all. Through the quips and quirks of conversation, Christian and I ended up talking about Jeff Menell (The Eskimo, ATTW Shawn, among others) and his relatively poor track record on Girl Meets World. I couldn't really remember what Meets Popular (his first script on GMW) was about, and the Wikipedia description sounds great, while Christian gave it a C+ (which was before I started here). I'm using too many parentheses. In fairness, it was his first review here, and God help me if someone held me accountable for any of my early work. 

I watched Meets Popular just now, and I actually enjoyed it. I was eating a sandwich with just the right amount of dijon mustard at the time, so maybe I got some signals crossed, but let's go through the episode anyway. Let's travel back in time.
Take your pick.

But don't pick the second one.

What's interesting right away is the dynamic between Maya and Riley. Maybe it's because the Jack post is fresh in my mind, but this feels a lot more like Eric and Jack than Cory and Shawn. Riley mostly speaks in flowery nonsense while Maya dismisses it, though fortunately with more snark than Jack ever had. 

The girls are convinced that Maya will be invited to this cool looking guy's party and Riley won't. So much so that Riley stonefacedly pushes her invitation back toward Maya because surely he's made a mistake.
 I laughed out loud here. Almost all of Riley's jokes in season one involve being loud and flailing and making goofy faces. She never gets this kind of humor and it's really well done. Probably the hardest part of watching this episode is Rowan's unpolished acting, but she nailed this bit.

Maya doesn't get invited though, harkening back The Uninvited, but there's a cool difference between this and that, which we'll get to in a bit. Cory claims he didn't get invited to a lot of 7th grade parties, but he has a weird look on his face like he's remembering all the 7th grade parties he went to. He went to plenty, a makeout party in Fear Strikes Out and a couples party in Breaking Up Is Really Really Hard To Do. I think that face is telling us he's just humoring Riley.
In fact, if he thinks it's going to be anything like that party in Fear Strikes Out, I can't blame him for telling Riley she can't go. 

Cory gets into the story of The Sword of Damocles, which is a fable and not really history, but maybe it could lead into some historical examples. Regardless, this setup is vastly different from what's to come. They actually did this one right. Most of the time, we would have had Riley show Cory the invitation at home, fade to black or theme song, then open on Cory's clairvoyant puppet-master lesson. But he already had the lesson ready to go, so it's just a coincidence like Pygmalion or The Grapes of Wrath on BMW. Right on.

At Mrs. Svorski's bakery, the audience claps too much for Cloris Leachman to say her lines, which is the most annoying thing a sitcom can possibly do. Some bigwigs at the same law firm as Topanga want to push Svorski out by raising the rent on her building, and Topanga seems resolved to help.
Shockingly enough they got this one right too. 99% of the time, Topanga has to grapple with some Auggie and/or Ava nonsense, and I understand why that appeals to some people, because it is satisfying to see her as a loving mother. But she takes care of that here, she's spending time with her son, Auggie loves this bakery and she wants to make him happy. But she's also given the reins of this side story. I don't think any of us could have predicted back then how rare this would be. 

Maya has apparently predicted that this party is not what Riley and Cory think it is, which is a nice touch. Indeed, as we all know,
Farkle announces Riley as the first female to arrive at the party, prompting an as yet unnamed Smackle to remind Farkle that she is also a female, and does so with a hilariously awkward display of femininity.
The cool guy handing out invitations turns out to be two kids stacked together. Cory and Maya burst out laughing as Cory says "That's the greatest thing I've ever seen in my life." He's not far off, it's pretty funny. This scene is looking like a ten out of ten until the "geeks" start doing the robot and making Farkle's stupid goose sound/laugh. That's the worst shit on the planet, this scene is so good otherwise. One of the lightsabers hanging over Riley's head almost stabs into her, eliciting "Damocles!" from Riley. They've done that twice, the second when Cory shouts "Hoover Dam!" I'm surprised they got away with either of those, but I like it. I also like that Cory and Maya are just off in the corner laughing their asses off at Riley. 
Nobody needs to cry or go to the Bay Window to talk about it, it's a funny stupid thing that happened and they reacted appropriately. WHY DID THEY HAVE TO DO THE ROBOT. IT WAS SO CLOSE TO BEING GREAT. You're better than that, Jeff Menell.

The geeks invite Riley to be their queen. She realizes she can be "popular" in this group, something she desperately wants. Then the kids start doing the robot again, I really don't fucking know why. And it ends without a hint of Smackle's name. This aired before Girl Meets Smackle, so who knows what the story is with that. 

In class the next day, Farkle is a sexual predator. Awful. "The Sword of Damocles" is still written on the board so somehow that lesson isn't over. Riley has rebranded herself as a Harajuku girl. Now listen, I hung out with a bunch of anime loving japanophiles in high school, there were at least ten women at anime club, and I had never even heard of Harajuku until this episode. Yet somehow Riley, Maya, even Cory, and seemingly everyone else, all know what this is. Maybe it was a phenomenon after my time, I honestly don't know.
So this is her explosive new look to accent her ascension to Empress of Geeks. We met a lot of rehashing of Boy Meets World stories on this show, so I appreciate this stark difference between Cory and Riley. Faced with his geekiness in The Uninvited or Cory's Alternative Friends, Cory wants to run away as far and fast as he can. But Riley runs at the same speed straight into it. Cory hides his geek side to try to be popular (when he was this age, anyway) while Riley over emphasizes that side to try to be popular. 

For the life of me I cannot relate this to Damocles. It's not some layered, complex piece of literature. It's a two sentence story about the fear of getting killed in a position of power. Riley is not in danger. This is a struggle of identity, which is basically the polar opposite of the struggle Damocles felt when he saw the sword above his head. On the bright side, the resolution doesn't even mention Damocles, so the story works without it. I think they just really wanted to do that lightsaber over her head allusion, and couldn't fit it into any other episodes.

The best thing here though is that Cory is stumped. He has no idea how to deal with this insanity, which is FANTASTICALLY refreshing after three seasons of fortune cookie Cory, so he turns to Maya to fix it. "My daughter's going through this week's crazy. You get in there." The geeks admit that they want to "keep their distance" from girls in general, which appeals to Cory as a father, so naturally they all do the robot.
Except it's not natural, it's FUCKING INCOMPREHENSIBLE. 

We skip over to Topanga's own identity crisis. There's a nice parallel theme going on between the two stories. Another thing we couldn't possibly have appreciated at the time, this might be Topanga's only solo scene in the series. Granted, she's talking to her old weird self, but everyone in the scene is Topanga, so it counts. 

Since Topanga's own law firm is on the morally wrong side of the bakery issue, Topanga appeals to her weird side for help. Christian's review railed against this for nostalgia baiting, but I don't mind it at all. I liked seeing her weird side pop back in Resurrection. It's a very real part of her that I don't want swept under the rug. The directing of the scene is awkward as hell, it's filmed so poorly, but the spirit of it is good. They cut to an old clip of weird Topanga in Cory's Alternative Friends, BUT I DON'T NEED IT. I'LL NEVER FORGET. 

SIDE NOTE for the angry Christian of yesteryear. Topanga turns around in the middle of class in Alternative Friends in that scene to check if her and Cory's energies converge. Then Cory goes up to Feeny's desk and talks to him one on one. The main four absolutely run roughshod over Cory's class too much in the first season, but their distractions in this episode are comparable in length to those distractions in Alternative Friends. 
We find Topanga's boss, played by Willie Garson, negotiating terms with Mrs. Svorski. This has to be a nod to BMW fans, and I really like to think that Leonard Spinelli went to one of those self help seminars, changed his name, and became a soulless shark of a lawyer. I don't think Topanga ever met Leonard, so it could happen.

But now Topanga and Auggie show up dressed as hippies to defeat the evil lawyer. Look I'm gonna be straight with you here. I like this episode. I didn't remember liking it, but watching it while I ate my sandwich and watching it again immediately after that while I write this, I like it. I wouldn't have bothered writing this if I didn't honestly enjoy watching it. But this scene is the worst shit on the entire planet. Please, bring back the robot and the lightsabers, I'm begging you.
What is going on! In the plus column, she's including her son in her life, and his costume is pretty funny. Motherly Topanga is great when she's dictating the terms instead of riding the Auggie Rollercoaster of Nonsense. Other than that it's a complete train wreck, what the fuck is Topanga doing? Auggie claims she's "going to her happy place", but she could have done that outside! What is going on! Topanga just holds that pose while the others wonder what she's doing, and then Mrs. Svorski recites a depressing communist version of 99 Bottles of Beer that she learned back in the gulag. What is going on! Topanga ultimately makes a futile appeal to pathos, which is a pretty stupid idea considering all that meditating she had to do to come up with it.

Garson and Leachman are amazing though. The way Garson backhandedly calls Topanga "Aquarius" is hysterical. 

In a move beyond my ability to defend it, we have entered day THREE of our lesson on The Sword of Damocles. Maya's wearing a Ride the Lightning shirt though, so that's cool.
That joke works better when you can just play the X Files theme. Anyway.

We learn that Riley doesn't actually know anything about Harajuku or its girls, she's just doing this to be popular, which is important later.

There's a lot of implied violence in the next scene when a very fierce Maya wants Farkle to stop supporting this crap. Maya's pissed, and she tells Riley "The world I know wants you to be yourself. And my world... it needs you in it." Menell is earning his keep there. Meets World is amazing because it goes beyond those cliche lessons. It's not "be yourself," it's "your friends probably rely on who you really are, so it's okay to be that person." What I really like about this is that it isn't the god damn Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, there's no crying, there's no speeches. It's just Maya laying it down like Shawn does at the end of The Uninvited. Maya's words aren't enough though, as Riley remains determined, which I also like. Maya's really putting effort into this, and by a twist that I can't remember seeing anywhere else in the series, the best friend approach isn't enough. Wow.
Topanga asks Riley if she's popular with herself, which is closer to the cliche end of things, but there's no indication it contributes to the resolution at the end, so this moment feels out of place, but it only lasts like ten seconds. Auggie observes that "weird mommy is cool," which is his only line on this show that resonates with me. Weird Topanga is cool, and I like when she played laundry basketball with Cory.

At the bakery, Topanga walks in on Willie Garson trying to bamboozle Mrs. Svorski into signing a contract. Topanga looks like a professional again, the idea being that she's combined her weird self with her shark lawyer self, and I'm going to be daring and claim that it's reflected in her wardrobe:
No but seriously I think that was intentional. It's funny though, Topanga's being dramatic and metaphorical and Garson is not having any of it. I wish he was in every scene on this show to be like "You're not talking like a human being right now. You are not acting like a human being would in this situation." 

The Matthews parents have decided to give Svorski the money she needs. Attempting to gauge their finances, Svorski asks Cory what he does for a living, and gives a nervous laugh when he says he's a middle school teacher. Yup, this is Meets World alright. This line from Topanga though, "He's always been my partner, and we've always done well together. Now... it's time to do good." RED ALERT, SIRENS, THAT'S A REFERENCE. As you all know and certainly don't need to be reminded, Feeny told them to do good in the finale, and Topanga incorrectly asks "Don't you mean 'do well'?" And bam, here she is, making the distinction as she follows Feeny's last lesson. Awesome.

OH WAIT. SOMEONE DOESN'T KNOW THAT AND DOES NEED TO BE REMINDED. BECAUSE CHRISTIAN DIDN'T CATCH IT WHEN HE REVIEWED THIS EPISODE. There are only two commenters on that post, and neither of them mentions it, so you are all to blame. That is a blemish on this blog's legacy, and I'm glad we have remedied it today. 

It's a bit of a mish mash though, I don't see what weird Topanga has to do with this decision. Weird Topanga wasn't like, noteworthy for being a philanthropist. She threatens to find another firm and "destroy" Garson if she doesn't get a salary advance to cover the costs, which is also awesome, but also not really related to weird Topanga.

Now the qualifying round of the regional spelling bee is in Cory's classroom because it just is, between JQA, recently joined by geek empress Riley, and Einstein Academy, which has apparently relocated from Philly, or maybe they just traveled far to be on High School Quiz Show, I don't know. Farkle calls Smackle by name here, so I'm assuming this was supposed to air after Meets Smackle.
Cece has been fantastic from the beginning. I didn't review Meets Smackle either, I might do that one next if it's any good. 

Smackle claims she's going to "destroy" Farkle. I'm really digging the female empowerment in the last few minutes. It's Riley's turn to spell, and in breaking every conceivable rule of spelling bees, Maya hands Cory a new card with a word for Riley to spell. You can actually see through it, and it does indeed say "Harajuku." Not that Riley would need to cheat, since anyone's very first guess at spelling it would probably be right. 
We've moved from The Uninvited to Cory's Alternative Friends, and finally to Quiz Show. The idea here is to shock Riley into this realization of "Oh shit, if any part of this persona were authentic I would know this, I must be a complete fraud," like Shawn's realization at the end of Quiz Show. This show isn't as good, so we're left without a crushingly memorable line like Shawn's "I don't... really know anything..." Also Shawn wouldn't be able to use words like "persona" or "authentic," although as a Hunter he's probably intimately familiar with "fraud." 

So Riley finally abandons her Harajuku life, and gives Farkle's geeky friends a delightful confidence boost by saying they were cool to hang out with. Their faces light up, and it doesn't serve the story or lesson or anything, it's just an excellent bit of polish for Riley's character. I also love that Maya and Cory were a team to solve this one. Great work, Menell.

And there are some emotional moments during the credits.
Let's try to recap what I liked here. The class lesson isn't puppet mastery. Its sole involvement comes from Maya's misinterpretation of the story in the first few minutes, she says "Being what other people want you to be is just a sword hanging over your head." Cory says that's "Good" but it was Damocles himself who wanted to sit on the throne, so it's nonsense. But that's okay, Shawn and Cory misinterpret the Grapes of Wrath. And it's not necessary for the class lesson to coincide with the life lesson, we're just so fucking used to it that it sticks out when it didn't happen here. And I love Cory's reaction to all of it, starting from the Geek Party. He's not being controlling or trying to influence it, he just helps out at the end. And of course, seeing him carry out a story with Topanga is a treat.

As for Riley, it's not the standard best friend spiel that changes her mind. In fact we explicitly see it not change her mind. It ends up being a personal realization that makes the difference. 

That one Topanga scene is the worst shit on the planet, like I said, but her implementing Feeny's final lesson and the two fantastic guest stars absolutely make up for it. And Auggie is exactly who he ought to be in this episode, a companion to play off of Cory and Topanga.

Anddddddd. It's funny. Jeff Menell is still a funny guy. That invitation push at the beginning is still cracking me up.

I think Christian's poor grade here (a C+) is largely because he hadn't suffered through three seasons already. We were still hopeful back then. I'd be shocked if this episode isn't in my top 3 for season one. I mean Lucas isn't even in it. That's about as good as you're gonna get in season one. In fact I'll try to take recommendations, anything before Meets First Date, which was my first review here, that you think is as good as or better than this one. 

I liked it a lot. Smackle is Cece Balagot.

That's a fantastic two line poem. It has a two-syllable rhyme on a_ot and the consistent k sound on the second syllable. I'm the best.

But yeah. Great episode. What should I watch next?


  1. Great re-review. I quickly dismissed this one because it was too much like "Uninvited" and I thought they did a much better job with it back then. This was just too silly for me. This review made me want to go back and give it a second shot though. Nice catch on the Feeny/Topanga callback. I like how they slipped that in there.

    Watch Girl Meets the Forgotten next! My favorite of season 1.

    1. Thanks! I can understand that. Rehashes are all hard to enjoy by default, and the Uninvited is extremely good.

      I really like the forgotten as well, that's a good suggestion.

  2. I loved this! I, for one, am petitioning for a whole series of Sean Revisits. Perhaps after Meets Goodbye you can review some of the random season 1 episodes that only Christian reviewed (pre-First Date, since that's when you popped in). That's totally up to you, though. It would certainly give you something to do to keep this blog alive, and I'd love to see how your thoughts and Christian's thoughts differ.

    1. Oh, and I think my suggestion will be Meets 1961. Despite the mess of family tree discrepancies in that episode that's an episode I always enjoyed.

    2. Thanks! I don't know about a full revisiting, I don't want to sign up for more work that makes me miserable. But who knows. And I definitely wouldn't worry about keeping the blog alive, Christian comes up with some new ranking or discussion almost every day.

      1961 could happen, Rider directed it, that's always a plus

  3. Hmm, I would like to see what Christian comes up with after the Greatest Meets World Characters countdown. Maybe top GMW episodes next? I personally love that Sabrina gets some singing time in Meets 1961; I'm a big fan of her music/singing voice but I doubt you guys have really checked her stuff out (if you have, by all means correct me on that). Same reason I loved the Huckleberry Bond sequence in Ski Lodge despite you guys hating it.

    And yeah, like I said, only make this a full series if you want to. Does writing for this blog really make you *that* miserable though? Or is season one just that unbearable for you? Like, I know you two seem to be glad to be done with this blog judging from the GMW cancellation post, but you two are great at this IMO and never fail to entertain me, so do keep it up if you can.

    1. Oh it absolutely depends on the episode. I had a great time writing this one, and I feel more creative and the jokes are better. But a lot of season one is nooooooooooooot fun to watch.

    2. I don't blame you. I adore GMW but I do concede that a lot of season 1 suffers from "first-season awkwardness" that many shows have. Didn't BMW even have that to some degree? Rowan's acting chops still had some work to be done, Farkle was a "hormone monster" (as you so cleverly called him in the She Don't Like Me review), the list goes on. Still, I'm down for you revisiting any old episodes you find tolerable.

    3. I'm not sure if Sean would like Game Night, but it has its redeeming moments.

  4. Gotta review Home For The Holidays and Master Plan. Wouldn't feel right if you just left 2 Shawn Hunter episodes unreviewed.

    Other standouts that you could review are Maya's Mother, Smackle, Game Night, and The Forgotten.

    1. Craaaaaaaaaaaaaaap you're totally right about Shawn episodes, I'll have to do both of those.

  5. Yeah I definitely wanna see you take on Home For the Holidays. I just watched that for the second time ever tonight after not seeing it since it premiered because I was curious how Alan and Amy were handled in it because I didn't remember.

    1. Yeah I'm gonna have to do that one.

  6. This is Cryptid.

    I gotta be honest Sean, and I think this is the first time it's ever happened--I really do not like this episode. I need some time to properly articulate my thoughts on why precisely I find it underwhelming, so I'll be back tonight.

    (And I definitely think you should review "Smackle." It's not perfect by any means, but there are some elements to it that are genuinely good.)

  7. "But don't pick the second one."

    "No Guts, No Cory" is EASILY the best time travel episode. That you would dare imply it's worse than "As Time Goes By"...

  8. This was originally reviewed before I started reading this, let alone commenting on it. I actually... well, I'm torn. Forget about the references to the Uninvited - GMW in general does better when you don't hold a direct comparison up with it to BMW.

    But I've had brief discussions about it before; and though I did like Topanga throughout most of it (... especially in comparison with Topanga we get at the moment), I feel the ending did seem to be saying bow down to peer pressure. Maya and Cory don't like it, so it can't be good! To the extent that Riley felt like she had to -choose-between being friends with Maya or the geeks. Why couldn't it be both?

    As for other episodes - I'll take whatever you want to do. Home for the Holidays is one I've always felt conflicted about though, but I'll leave off why as you're indicating you'll probably revisit that one at least.

    1. Would you say that Shawn bows down to academic elitism in Quiz Show? Heck no, he just realizes he's wrong about the situation. That's what happened with Riley too.

    2. You didn't have any issues with how Cory sabotaged Riley in her Spelling Bee? That really bothered me as I recall.

    3. I think he knew she didn't really care about the spelling bee. And if Cory and Maya were wrong, and she DID care about the spelling bee and she DID care about being a harajuku girl, she would have easily been able to spell that word. It's dumb, don't get me wrong, but it works as far as I can tell.

    4. Thank you, Sean. I hear people gripe about cultural appropriation in this episode...that wasn't it. Not to me anyway. Riley changed her look to get attention from the geeks. That may not be offensive...but it's wrong to pretend to be something you're not because people will call you Queen.

    5. This is Cryptid.

      I'm trying to see both sides of this issue as objectively as I can. I'm leaning towards Christian's view of things. To me, the thing that puts Cory and Maya in the wrong, is that they not only sabotage Riley, they more or less sabotage the rest of the team as well. And even if we accept that Riley didn't really care about being there, Farkle and the other geeks did.

      The thing with Shawn and the Quiz Bowl was a bit different in set-up, I think. The network executives decided that Cory and Shawn and Topanga had outlived their usefulness for the show's ratings, and responded accordingly.

    6. I'm... still not sure. I think it's different clearly; but I don't have an issue with the spelling bee really. What I don't like; is that Riley didn't seem to be -allowed- to have friends who weren't Maya or connected to Maya. That Maya got to 'veto' her other friendships.

      I would have been better if it had been she stopped... dressing like she was, but stayed friends with the other geeks. Well not so much Farkle, as this was still full-on predatory Farkle, Farkle 'my father says your mother should have been mine'.

      Other than that, I lean more towards Sean's take on it. Riley asked to be laughed at a bit due to her absolute snobbery towards Maya and Cory.

    7. Farkle and his team can still easily win the spelling bee. "Sabotage" is the most dramatic word you and Christian can possibly use here. Will, I can assure you Maya didn't have a problem with her being friends with the geeks. She just didn't like her change in behavior. And if any of that change were authentic, I would be against Maya too. But this wasn't Riley experimenting with new hobbies. It was BS in order to be popular. If ANY single part of it weren't BS, she would have been able to spell Harajuku.

    8. On reflection; I think the biggest problem the episode had was how early it was. We didn't -really- know yet, when we first saw it, that Maya wouldn't care yet. I'm still not really thrilled by Maya (though I don't really see that Cory did anything wrong); but I'll admit part of that is due to when I first saw it.

      And you do make a good point about the spelling.

    9. This is Cryptid.

      Way late to the game in replying, but oh well.

      I'm been thinking about this one a lot Sean and while I see your point, I don't think I can reconcile to this episode.

      The first half is actually really good--the invitation snafu, the revelation of it being a Geek Party, the Cool Guy being two geeks standing on top of each other--that's all great stuff.

      But I guess it goes into how it's handled in its resolution. While it is true that "be yourself" is a tired cliche, and Menell deserves credit for not being cliched, I don't know if I agree that this is really personal reflection on Riley's part that makes her leave the group.

      We've all seen the "Change to fit in with the Crowd" plot a thousand times, and in my view, the way it's done best is when the Changing Character is confronted with an actual action or opinion the Crowd does that they do not agree with.

      That's not quite what happens here, and while I acknowledge your point that Riley wasn't experimenting with new hobbies, the fact remains she could have. She very well might have been able to develop a genuine interest in this, but she didn't and likely won't ever considering what happened.

  9. "I don't think Topanga ever met Leonard, so it could happen." I believe they'd have met at the Father/Son Baseball game, when the grocery store played Topanga's dad's store. While you can argue that it was a long time ago and Topanga was a child and Lennie could have forgotten, would *you* have forgotten a girl you met named Topanga?

    1. Still, yeah, that's Leonard Spinelli for sure. He's Lennie in every scene he's in, no question.

      Also, that dude has not aged in 20 years. He's a little heavier, but he looks not a day older.

    2. From memory, Topanga's the one that tells Cory that Lenny hurt his arm playing in the game.

    3. Late to the party, but Christian I'm sure Topanga knows Spinelli because when she tells Cory about the game she specifically mentions that Alan's assistant manager got hurt during the game.

  10. Sean, don't forget we also went back and reviewed the first four episodes in Season 2, since I hadn't done them. We weren't into any of them.

    The episodes I gauged as best from Season One were:

    Girl Meets Truth: B+
    Girl Meets Maya's Mother: A-
    Girl Meets Smackle: B
    Girl Meets the Forgotten: B
    Girl Meets Brother: A-
    Girl Meets Home for the Holidays: B+
    Girl Meets Game Night: B
    Girl Meets Master Plan: A
    Girl Meets First Date: B
    Girl Meets Demolition: B+

    1. Man I remember Game Night being really awful and preachy with a lot of talk about "long game" and "life"

      Maybe I'm wrong since I've barely seen any of these since their first airing

    2. You're not wrong. The episode ends badly, and lowers the grade, but most of the episode is pretty light and fun.

    3. You know, Christian, your review of "Game Night" scared me away from actually watching the episode, and to this day, I haven't seen it, so knowing how maudlin the writing was, I say thank you.

      I find it interesting that not only do we agree on what the three best-rated episodes for Season One are ("Brother" is probably my favorite, though objectively speaking, I think "Maya's Mother" and "Master Plan" are better), they're also three that play minimal use of Cory as history teacher.

  11. Nice retroactive review! Would enjoy seeing more of these.

    Check out Girl Meets Maya's Mother and Home for the Holidays. Brother is fun enough too as a sort of lighthearted ep.

  12. Sean, I believe the reason that we don't know who Smackle is here is that Meets Farkle's Choice should have been the first episode with Isadora but they waited for Jane Lynch to be available to film. That pushed the episode late into the year for showing. The order should have been:

    Farkle's Choice

    We are introduced to Smackle in the first, see her more in the second then the whole gang gets to really know her in the third.

  13. Too bad they cancelled GMW. "Auggie Rollercoaster of Nonsense" would have been a keeper.

  14. I've been re-watching this series, probably more in preparation for the end of the blog than the end of the show.

    So, there is no fucking way anything else on GMW but the close out to The Great Lady of New York qualifies as the "worst shit on the planet." The Ava/Cuban-Ava crime against humanity makes the geeks' robot dancing and Farkle honking seem like James Brown on The T.A.M.I. Show, and makes Cloris Leachman's final "emotional moments" here seem like her final emotional moments in The Last Picture Show.

    But, I loved this review and the idea behind it. If it doesn't prove to be a one-off, I would vote for 1961 too.