Monday, October 19, 2015

Girl Meets the Texas Movie: Part III Review

What is it? ...just go back to Part II and read the little summary description-thingie on that.

He's so flay! Seriously, I had to go back to Watch Disney Channel and turn on closed captioning to even figure out she's saying cheese souffle

JOE BUCK: And with the weekend on the line and two episodes taken care of, Girl Meets World turns to the greatest relief pitcher in the last twenty years to close the door. Mariano Rivera is on the mound for Part 3 here tonight.

This is strictly off-topic, but...it's amazing how Joe Buck Jr. has pretty much turned into the greatest, most hated douchebag in all of sports announcing this side of whoever on Sportscenter pisses off Deadspin's Drew Magary tomorrow morning. What the hell, Joe Buck Sr.?

His dad's name is Jack Buck, actually, but I agree. Then you have a bunch of spoiled Royals fans who don't want him calling the ALCS because during last year's World Series, all he did was talk about Madison Bumgarner. I'm hoping we get a Blue Jays-Mets World Series because that would be insane, but with the way things are going, it looks like Kansas City is going to repeat. 

Well that shows you how much I pay attention :p All I know is Phil Simms' experience on the field and super bowl rings don't really translate into the announcing booth. 

Anyway, on to the episode. One thing I keep forgetting in hindsight looking back on this three-parter is all the information that started coming forth when this event started being mega-hyped. I thought I remember reading somewhere that Lucas was going to ride a bull, then get thrown off, then suffer a temporary injury that would cause him to forget about his relationship with Riley and his feelings for Maya would then bubble up to the surface, causing a dramatic conflict between the two friends that would really challenge their relationship.

As it turned out almost exactly none of that actually happened. The conflict between Maya and Riley barely happened, at least on the scale I was expecting. Yes, Lucas rode a bull, and yes he got thrown off, but all that happened was that he won a trophy, was hailed a hero and Maya got pissed off about it. The conflict derived as much from Maya acting like a big baby as much as anything happening to Lucas.

Well, that's a bit unfair. I loved Sabs' role and performance in all this (though it seems I might be in a minority again). Maya is a middle-schooler, of course she's going to act like a big baby about relationships. It's like those Geico commercials, it's what middle schoolers do. Ask me how I know. Whether or not it's from Lucas losing his memory or Maya acting like a big baby, it's going to come up. It's what the trilogy was outright sold on and what the 14-year-old girl fandom had been wetting their panties over for some reason.

Wow, a few paragraphs and I haven't even talked about part 3 yet. Oops! Anyway they take their little toy train narration back to NYC and yeah Meets Texas Part 3 is more like Meets Every Day We've Seen So Far Since Summer '14. I would say Except There's Relationship Angst Now except that's also every other week anyway. Cory just flippin' loses it and just cuts straight to the point like we've all been yelling at him since, well, Summer '14: today's class lesson is Riley-Lucas-Maya. Admittance is always the first step to recovery, Cory. Still, I actually thought this might be one of the funniest moments in the entire series so far, even if only because that's what we've been yelling at the whole time and it's nice for the writers to finally acknowledge it.

In case you haven't noticed, I have a huge appreciation for lampshade humor which has probably warped my ability to judge good comedic writing. I blame Seth MacFarlane (American Dad! is pretty much what a Disney Channel adult-humor sitcom cartoon would look like). 

What can I say, the last half of the episode is pretty much paying off on all the build-up of all the relationship episodes so far (Meets Pluto, Meets First Kiss, Meets Boy, I mean, like, three-quarters of the whole series here) plus, in a way, applying Meets Hurricane to the kids. If you hated those episodes, I don't know if you're going to enjoy this one so much. Then again, as I said, it's like three-quarters of the whole series so if you absolutely couldn't stomach those episodes you probably tuned out from this series long ago and resumed watching Blue Bloods or, God forbid, Hawaii 5-O or, really, God forbid, Shark Tank after Last Man Standing.

For all the idiots complaining that Girl Meets World isn't enough like Degrassi, well, here you fucking go. And you know what? Micheal Jacobs actually did a pretty decent job at it. Without sacrificing the comedic sitcom nature of the show no less. Again, in my mind at least, it's the play between Maya and Lucas/everyone else that sticks out the most in my mind (Maya must have some sort of Daughter's Best Friend discount on smoothies) and I think Zay is finally starting to win people over (it helps that he actually feels like he's organically contributing now, further helped by coming back to his literal home territory). Also, really nice job of putting Donnie "Farkle" Barnes-Minkus in an awkward spot there, Riley.

I hate the clip show cop-out and this show seems to dip its toes into that pool far too excessively. People complain about this show turning into Boy Meets Role Reprisal but that's nothing compared to flashbacking to a series that premiered about half a decade before the main stars of this one were even born (or for that matter when the oldest "still child" stars to appear on this show so far: Debby, Samantha and Uriah, were barely alive already at that time or still not born yet). Flashbacking to your own series is even lamer. We...kind of get the point, and it just drives home how much of this series has been Girl Meets Lucas.

It's a lame, flat cop-out ending to this trilogy that managed to beat out the series finale of Jessie in terms of audience and network hype, but...you can't call it unrealistic. Most middle school relationships just suddenly end one day when you move to another school or even just to another class and you never see him/her again or he/she just becomes another barely-noticed face in class. It's only in high school you start remembering "that awful bltch who blah blah blah man I'm glad I dumped him/her/whatever." But how successful is it as a form of television entertainment? I think I've made my opinion pretty clear but I want to see what Mike or Nick has to say before I give final grades.

Really, in the end, I'm just thankful it didn't turn into the self-congratulatory "lol watch us pwn Jessie and I Didn't Do It on what should be their special night" Girl Meets Circle-Jerk that I had feared. 

I'm outright astounded that Dr. Ken is actually a watchable show.

I let this sit, of all things. Oh boy.

Well, to put it simply, I really enjoyed this episode. I enjoyed all three episodes this weekend. This is the highest level of quality that Girl Meets World has been on for a while. It would be nice for them to just go on a run like this with weekly episodes, but the three-parter bullied the writers into telling a convincing and cohesive story, which they pulled off beautifully.

You know what? I enjoyed the ending. I love that things weren't tied up in a little bow in the end. I love how not everything is going to be okay at this point. As Topanga pointed out, the kids are going to high school soon. This is going to be the point where they are faced with drama like this on a weekly basis, wink wink. They can't go in there and expect they have the answers to everything because they don't. They really don't. When you're in a situation like this, sometimes you're helpless. You have no idea what you're doing. That scene with Riley and Farkle outside was wonderful, and the flashbacks added to it. We saw for the first time how much Lucas really means to Riley. No matter what, she can't deny the way she feels about him. But she can't admit it to herself because in her mind, that's not the way things should be. Maya and Lucas are supposedly meant to be together, but you can't force a new relationship when all you have is playful teasing and a near-kiss. iCarly did that and it was the final nail in the coffin for them. The show declined when it tried forcing romance instead of letting it flow naturally. Girl Meets World is not telling us how things should be. They are telling us that you should stick around and see what happens because no matter what, things aren't as black and white as they seem. Riley, Maya, Lucas, Farkle, and Zay are slowly being exposed to the harsh realities of life. Relationships and love, especially at that age, can be frightening to think about. I could empathize with these characters because I went through the same thing in junior high. My innocence was taken away because of it, but I became a stronger person for all the pain I put myself through. You don't look at the opposite sex in the same way when you go through that kind of heartache. A couple years later, I'm a lot more open to love and relationships, but the biggest problem is finding anyone remotely appealing. It's like wanting your dad's car but he hasn't been able to find the keys in months so you're still taking the bus. It's frustrating.

I love how direct Cory was in his feelings. He put Riley, Maya, and Lucas on blast in front of the entire class and did not care one bit. No historical connection, no heartwarming obligatory speech, none of that. He just went in and said what he needed to say. Not even Farkle himself really knew what was going on until he took a closer look and got to Riley's soul. There was no waiting around this weekend for anything. The characters took huge leaps in boldness and maturity. Girl Meets World grew up with these Texas episodes. It really did. So from this point forward, expect higher standards. Expect harsher criticism because Michael Jacobs, Matthew Nelson, the whole freaking staff knows it can write better. They can give the characters meaty material like this, they can flesh out these characters and give them real challenges. That's what I wanted out of this show. I don't want things to be all so simple. I want conflict, I want uncertainty, I want the kids to throw up their hands sometimes and say, "I don't know what to do" or "I'm struggling." That's the best part of any story, and now I'm going to expect these heights to be reached for the rest of season two.

Episode Grade: A
Episode MVP: None. Everybody played their role well. I kept hoping the show was just spinning its wheels until the Texas episodes, and sure enough, they were. That scene with Riley and Farkle at the coffee shop just sealed it for me. This was one of the show's best episodes.

By the way, is it me, or does Charlie just kinda suck? He was okay in his first appearance, but he was really lame here. He came off as desperate and smarmy and pathetic. The funniest thing he did was when he was trying to be adorable and the kids were just no-selling everything. It's like Charlie sat up in the ring and was laughing but then he was choked by the kids because he couldn't put them away. Okay, not the best analogy but the point is, I wasn't feeling Charlie. As much criticism as Lucas got in season one for being too bland, Charlie was basically that as a legitimate character. Let's just hope he doesn't annoy me next time. 

My innocence was taken away because of it, Yeah...I'll, uh, let you cover that story on your own choosing with a 10-foot pole :p

I will say though that...eh, I was going to say I had my own middle school romantic awkwardness but who am I kidding, so did everybody, that's kind of the point here. I'll also say that when I was in middle school "there was this girl" and...actually, Rowan reminds me a lot of her (yeah I kind of have this condition where I immediately have to compare Disney Channel actresses to girls in my life) and I'll just say that looking back on it now, I feel like an idiot for wasting so much of my attention and time on her, especially the last time I Google searched her name and found out what she became. In the interest of her privacy and for your own sensibilities I'll spare you the details, but let's just say I dodged a fucking huge bullet.

And...that's another thing. You know that thing Christian complains about Lucas in the early days of the Girl Meets Reviewed blog? You know that thing people complain about when they talk about Disney Channel romances and cultural reinforcement? That thing Debby Ryan talks about with my girl Jessie don't need no man in her life! and then it turns out Tony stalked her all the way to LA and she's super cool with it. What all those people, from Christian to Debby to the rando blogger (uh I guess that would include us) are specifically referring to is the idea of a romantic relationship being solid and true, of finding your true love and your soul mate in fucking middle school. That never, ever happens. It is literally physically impossible and I mean it, for a variety of reasons with actual scientific backing. For starters middle school is a crucible of personality development and there is no end product in sight even when you're already deep in high school, let alone graduating the 8th grade. Go back and try to remember the person you were in 8th grade (even Mike can do this, it doesn't matter how old you are as long as you've been through it) and compare that person to the one that's staring back at you in the mirror now. You've probably had music interests that changed, did a 180 on Star Trek vs. Star Wars, etc. Your preferences in romantic partners may have even changed - I used to go completely uncontrollably nuts for Latinas but my tastes have changed now to where it's redheads I'd be willing to go to jail for (no story behind that). When we viewed Girl Meets World (the actual episode,not the show itself) and saw Riley get tossed onto Lucas' lap through divine intervention as the grand announcement of their pre-ordained status as the One True Pairing of all of Disney Channel, it was more than a little stupid and ridiculous. Kind of like, oh, I don't know, the lady who kept yakking at them just magically turning out to be a billionaire (who apparently forgot her hat that day) who has so much money and free-time she can spend it going to individual classrooms to specifically berate a middle school student and make him feel bad and learn the error of his ways, and then the next day go visit a clothing store to specifically berate a teen or young adult sales lady and make her feel bad and learn the error of her ways (seriously, that's just a little better and actually more realistic than Trump's strange bitch-fest with Sen. Lindsay "My Name Is Too Not A Girl's Name" Graham).

Good Lord, I just feel sorry for Charlie. All that build up in Meets Semi-Formal and it turns out his sole role in the show is to be an emotional punching bag like this with all the character and charisma of, well, Sen. Lindsay "Stop Calling Me 'Her'" Graham. The smoothie dripping off Lucas' hair had more charisma. Which is strange because I swear he was better in Meets Semi-Formal. Again, it just makes me feel sorry for both the character and the actor. I've been there, it sucks, and you know what? Even on TV people deserve better. As a fictional television character the only fate worse than to be left hung out to dry like that in the middle of an alleged date/relationship is to be stuck as a fictional character on FOX's Minority Report. 

The only thing I have to add is that I'm kinda surprised Christian and Sean did think Part 3 was a lot closer to the "Haha, fuck you Jessie and I Didn't Do It, the network and people only care about us, now let's all sing our praises of how awesome our writing is when we have Riley and Maya squee over Lucas for 24 minutes through dialogue that wouldn't pass muster in Twilight fanfiction" self-congratulatory circle-jerk I was fearing. That said, I see where they're coming from. A basic part of storytelling is resolution - hell, it's the most basic part next to conflict. But we have two and a half more season's worth (that's, like, 65-70 whole episodes) to resolve that. On the other hand, yeah, Riley wasn't doing any favors to either Charlie or Lucas, but it was still a lot more considerate than what I went through in high school.

Episode Grade: B+. I am really tempted to type out exactly "meh, it's somewhere between a B- and an A-" but such vaguery seems like a cop-out.But I kind of hate giving this episode a fixed score after putting Mike's and GMWReviewed's views into consideration. At the end of it all I can only look through my personal checklist and say, "did I like it?" and answer back, "yup."
Episode MVP: On the other hand, I do feel like giving it to no one, or to everybody is kind of a cop-out too so I'll just say Sabrina Carpenter for the strict purpose of me deciding to be a Sabrina Carpenter fanboy from now on.

7 comments:

  1. I was hoping for a Cubs/Jays World Series. Damn you Daniel Murphy. This is the best offensive outburst during a playoff run I've ever seen. And that is coming from a die hard Red Sox fan.

    That said,

    Thoughts on Part 3..

    Finally. We were so overdue for Topanga being a mom and we got two great scenes with her. While I do feel this episode was the weakest of the three, it was much more character driven and I feel it worked out very well. Nothing was really resolved BUT that's the point. This is gonna take some time.

    So, Charlie's back. And guess what? I still like him. I think Riley wants to like him more than she does right now. We'll see what goes from there. I liked seeing them interact. They have chemistry. But, dude, come on. You ask her out in a note? Weak.

    The Lucas/Maya "date" was even more awkward than Riley/Lucas earlier this season. That shows just how confusing eighth grade can be. Well done. This isn't over. The scene with the three of them at the Bay Window was solid. I didn't like Auggie in this episode much but yeah, come on. Lucas is not and will never be a "brother" to Riley.

    Cory was much more obsessive than usual in his class scenes. I didn't really like that much at all. I did enjoy the scene with just him and Farkle though. Farkle's interested in Smackle right now and this gives him very fresh eyes to see this situation.

    The last scene at the bakery was one of my favorites of the show. Riley and Farkle's talk was incredible. Farkle wasn't buying it that Riley didn't like Lucas. He was the one to put the pieces together. I really liked him saying that he wasn't going to let Riley just pretend she was fine.

    This was the first time in ages that I felt Riley and Farkle showed they loved each other. Maybe since Flaws...Their emotions were real and the hug was very sweet. I thought Corey and Rowan did a fantastic job. Corey's never been better. Part of me thinks that it wasn't so much acting, since the two of them are best friends in real life. The Riley/Farkle fans are going nuts over this but I'm not seeing them together...yet.

    The tag was also great. Things are heating up. The next four episodes are going to be filler and pre-Texas.

    Grade: A-
    MVP: Rowan Blanchard
    Runner Ups: Corey Fogelmanis and Danielle Fishel

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    Replies
    1. I'll touch up on it after Mike and/or Nick have had their say, but yes, Charlie was an actual human character in all this. I feel for the guy.

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    2. I'm sorry my Mets are disrupting your World Series plans. To keep it on point though, I agree with a lot of what you had to say.

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    3. It's cool 1960. I love me Matt Harvey and David Wright is a god among men. And while I'm not exactly the world's biggest Daniel Murphy fan, he's on a tear right now and I enjoy seeing it.

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  2. I can't help but feel disappointing by the mundane ending of this. 3 parts leading up to that? Otherwise, this was pretty good. The clip show thing was weird. It was used well but it just randomly became a clip show out of nowhere.

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  3. I do want to say one more thing.

    Last Man Standing sucks and can burn in all the fires.

    Absolutely TERRIBLE show. Shark Tank can be fun every now and then. Mr. Wonderful is my spirit animal.

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Where I've been and how things stand right now part...I lost count and I don't really care to count anyway

No, no need to get all alarmed and everything just explaining why there hasn't been much updates (and why there won't be for maybe a...