Sunday, July 24, 2016

Girl Meets World Reviewed: Girl Meets Ski Lodge (Part I)

I think the alternate title to this is "Heartbreak Riley," or maybe it's "End the %¡%©®@! Triangle Already!!!"

In season five of Boy Meets World, the writers decided to do a storyline where Cory and Topanga break up. They did it before in season three to pretty good results, and they would do it again in season seven........to pretty bad results. Here in season five, it was the first time that it felt like Corpanga was really on the line. You actually believed Cory could have feelings for another girl, and this girl was so charming and likeable, fans still argue to this day that Cory should have been with her. It all started with the ski lodge episode "Heartbreak Cory," where Cory injures his leg falling off the bus and ends up forming a connection with one of the employees there named Lauren. She ends up kissing him, Topanga finds out about the situation, and she later breaks up with him. I could spend the whole review gushing about this, but Boy Meets World handled the story realistically, tragically, and most importantly, entertainingly.

18 years later, Girl Meets World decides to reenact "Heartbreak Cory" and end the triangle at the same time. Do they get it right?

What do you think the answer is?

I could sit here and get angry but it's a waste of time. I've already spent so much time getting angry at this show for botching the triangle that I'm numb to things like this. Weird James Bond fantasies, Lauren 2.0, nothing of substance actually happening at all. This is par for the course stuff here. I'm more upset about things like Smackle's apparent attraction to Lucas and Josh than the rest of this episode. But instead of going scene by scene like I usually do, I'll just talk about it in general. There's really nothing to dissect here. It's not as empty as the Halloween episodes which I absolutely refuse to review under any circumstances, but we have to talk about something here.

First off, the callbacks are frustrating and annoy the shit out of me. I understand Girl Meets World likes to reference the show it spawned from. That makes sense, every reboot and spinoff does it. But when you're just blatantly copying what the original show did, that's not an homage or a reference, you're just ripping off ace material and doing it much worse. Could you imagine what it would be like if this show tried biting classics like "Turnaround," "City Slackers," "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," "Chick Like Me," "Security Guy," "Raging Cory," "Eric Hollywood," or anything else in between? They would screw it up every time because I have no faith in the writers to tell these stories. I'm starting to think "Texas" was a lucky break because as far as multi-part episodes go, GMW is incapable of doing them well. 

You really don't believe me when I say that this is a "Heartbreak Cory" ripoff? Let's see here. Directly referencing the episode you're about to rip off multiple times, the ski lodge setting, Riley falling off the bus, a love triangle, Riley presumably connecting with an employee at the ski lodge. I think that checks every box. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a Lauren appearance in part two or we find out that the mystery guy is her son or nephew or something. I honestly believe that will happen. You know, to reward BMW fans for remembering old episodes.

The one thing I don't understand is that if they're going to do another ski lodge episode, why not do it to the letter? The mystery guy was literally in the last scene of the episode. He should have been introduced much earlier. This is when we find out the connection between him and Riley, and this is when the guy starts endearing himself to the audience. There's no emotional investment or stakes here, this guy is just a plot device. Lauren was more than that. She was a legitimate character that people actually rooted for over Topanga. In one episode, we learned a bit about her story, we saw some of her charm, we sensed that Cory was beginning to fall for her. You could actually see these two in a relationship, that's what made Lauren so endearing. This guy is here today, gone tomorrow, and we all know that.

Another thing I don't like is that they can't do this ski lodge episode when their hands are already tied with this triangle that should have died a long time ago. Whatever happened to Lucas' decision? He made a decision, he said so, and we never heard anything beyond that! Again, why should I care about this messy, convoluted, undesirable storyline anymore? Not even real life high school kids are this unbearable. Okay, sometimes they are, but you don't have to be realistic to tell a decent story all the time. Cory and Topanga are an anomaly and BMW understood that. Lucas, Riley, and Maya have been playing games for almost a year and the show treats it like the cutest thing in the world. It's not anymore. At one point, it was, but after the New Year's episode, they kept wasting every opportunity to end it. How hard is it for Lucas to say that he can't choose either and he just wants to be friends with both? Or choose Riley? At this point, I know he's not choosing Maya. 

"I choose to stop." What happened to that line? 

"I'm tired all the time." Official triangle tagline.

"We were kings, Matthews." YEAH, NO SHIT, AND I STILL HATE THIS LINE.

I think at one point in the episode, one of these children said something along the lines of them being unable to figure it out for themselves. That's right, because you all have to deal with terrible writing. It's time for Cory or Topanga or Josh to step in and end this because I've been at my wit's end for weeks. Season three has been such a slog to get through. Outside of two episodes, all this season has done so far is irritate, bore, and infuriate me. This might be the last one I even try to review, if the show even gets a fourth season. I don't know if I can do this anymore. This show has continued to disappoint me and I don't see any end in sight. After this season is over, I'm really considering hanging it up and moving on to other shows. It's only fair to the people reading this blog and Unknown because his reviewing diet has more variety. 

I said a while ago that Girl Meets World gives me a lot to talk about. But what more can I say when the writers consistently make the same mistakes and aren't interested in taking the show to new heights? If this is what they think GMW's zenith is, then I'm not sticking around for much longer. I'm giving my notice right now.

Episode Grade: C-
Episode MVP: Nobody. I don't know, it's been pretty hot lately, a shower's going to feel good later.

EXTRA THOUGHTS
-The opening scene was really weird to me. Like, really, really weird. They were talking about the events of "Heartbreak Cory," the triangle, Riley addressing her parents by their names. Is Girl Meets World some kind of self-parody? Is that the ultimate joke that none of us are getting here? Or is the writing just this bad because there's nothing else to it? 

-The way they handled Riley falling off the bus was so clumsy and forced. In the original episode, Cory hobbling into the ski lodge held up by Shawn and Topanga was pretty funny, but hard to watch at the same time because Ben Savage really sold the pain. Here, it just feels like Riley got some snow stuck in her shoe and they can't get it out. And of course, they have to be meta about it because they didn't just already address the episode they're ripping off in the last scene. Seriously, is this show a self-parody?

-Why is the ski lodge exactly the same as the original episode? Guys, I don't know if you know this, and it startled me when I first realized it........but Girl Meets World.....is based in New York City. I just cracked the code. Does Michael Jacobs know about this? Should somebody tell someone?

-Apparently, while Riley was sitting by herself doing nothing with her nose pressed against the window, Farkle got into a predicament during the hike and Maya had to save him. Lucas was pretty upset about Maya putting herself in danger. You know, despite the fact that your other friend was also in danger? I'm really glad we didn't get to see that. -_-

-Of all the things this show has done in the past, what they did to Smackle's character here is really off-putting. She spends the whole runtime fawning over Lucas, and then Josh. They do this joke multiple times, even in the dream sequence where Smackle is disappointed to see Farkle there. I don't know why the writers thought this would be funny to include, but it's not. The reason this joke worked in the past is because Smackle, out of nowhere, would think Lucas was trying to make a move and she would shame him for it. That's true to her character and is genuinely funny. Just implying that she's interested in Lucas like this while Farkle doesn't know what to make of the situation is really sad. Please don't make these jokes again.

-I barely remember anything I actually liked about this episode, but one thing that got a chuckle out of me was Farkle and Zay's play argument. Also, the Yogi/Darby stuff was pretty funny. When I describe anything Yogi does as a highlight, that's how you know this episode was in bad shape.

-I don't know why they included the fantasy sequences here when they didn't move the plot along and just wasted time. All we found out was that Lucas.........may not be interested in dating either of them? What was I supposed to take from that?

-I'm going to save myself the pain and disappointment by just watching part two today, but I'll save the review for next Saturday. I swear, if they don't end this triangle in part two, I'm really going to spaz out.

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