Saturday, September 24, 2016

Girl Meets World Reviewed: She Don't Like Me

She doesn't like me. If you're going to call an episode something, at least have correct usage of your contractions.

For the benefit of those who don't read this blog often, I decided after "Ski Lodge" to stop doing episodic reviews of Girl Meets World. That two-parter just broke me mentally, physically, and emotionally, to the point where I realized this show no longer deserves to have every episode reviewed. However, if there's an episode that I have a lot of thoughts on, it will get a review, and last night's episode took the cake.

I'm not saying this episode was horrible, because it wasn't. I'm not saying this episode was fantastic, because it wasn't. It just did a lot of things well and a lot of things poorly, and we'll get to that. But I just want to say that ever since "Ski Lodge," the show has not gotten anywhere close to that level of awfulness. It feels like someone on the writing staff or a producer flipped a switch because the last few episodes have been pretty decent. All of a sudden, it feels like the show can be entertaining again. Then again, the next episode is "World of Terror 3," and I wouldn't watch that episode if I was paid to. Seriously, I'm not even going to waste my time being a part of the ratings and watching it. I know that episode's going to be terrible.

Anyway, Girl Meets World has tried to redeem itself after "Ski Lodge" and honestly, it's been working. But if this episode is any indication, there's still some bugs to wipe from the windshield. The story itself is very simple. Riley wants this girl to like her and become her new friend, but the girl doesn't like her. Also, she's having problems in health class because she wants to control the way the teacher is presenting the information? I don't know. The episode would still work without the health class stuff. What we have here is yet another edition of the trademarked GMW Rule of Thumb: If they have a story with potential, they will screw it up at least 65% of the time. In this case, they try telling two different stories in an attempt to fuse them together, but it doesn't work because they feel like two completely different episodes. Riley's trying to make a new friend. That should be its own story. A lot of time is spent on the health class stuff, and they try going back to the she don't like me stuff, but not enough scenes were devoted to it. So what you get is an episode that can't juggle these plots at the same time.

One of the biggest problems in the episode is Riley herself. She comes off as annoying as usual, but this time, we get to see how she can annoy the people around her. The girl she's trying to be friends with is clearly put off by her personality, and honestly, I would be too if I ever met someone like that. Riley's just an awkward kid who really needs someone to help guide her through things like this. Besides that, she seems to not grasp the lesson throughout the episode until the very end. It's a very simple lesson about not being able to control things, but it's like the lesson is repeated multiple times until they can no longer repeat it. Sometimes, the writers portray Riley as very socially inept and a little slow. This is one of those times.

And who could forget the ending? Earlier in the episode, Topanga finds out that this girl doesn't like Riley so she pretty much explicitly states that she's going to do some snooping into the girl's family's tax information to find any discrepancies. Keep in mind we never even find out the girl's name in this episode, and Topanga has no use for this information. Then at the end, we find out the girl's family is being charged for tax evasion and will most likely go to jail. You know what the reason for this is when it is reported on TV? That the girl should have liked Riley. That's Topanga's whole reasoning for doing this and they explicitly state this reason on live TV.

Do you know how ridiculous that sounds? Not only does this seem needlessly petty, but it makes Topanga come off as more of a caricature than a real person. The whole point of this episode was that you can't control what people think and how life works, but in this one instance, you obviously can because Topanga just got an entire family in trouble with the IRS. At least the episode does kinda make it seem like Topanga is in the wrong, but I seriously can't imagine her doing something like this. It was a dumb ending in an episode that didn't need it.

Now with all of these problems, you think I would hate the episode, right? Actually, no. This episode succeeds by being very funny. Seriously, this is one of the funniest episodes I've seen in the entire series. It's odd because GMW isn't exactly well-known for its comedy, but almost all of the jokes hit bullseyes. The bit with the characters needing to carry each other to class, ending with Smackle dragging an unconscious Farkle, was absolutely hysterical with a great payoff. Smackle's graphic description of sex with a continuous bleep was so unexpected and almost had me on the floor from laughing too hard. The opening scene with the gym coach was fantastic, mostly because of the coach's delivery. Even the joke where Auggie says that his teacher thought the essay Riley wrote for him was the work of a fifth grader was hilarious. We may never see the show be this funny again, so to have all these great bits in one episode was a real treat and elevated this episode beyond the poorly executed story and the stupid ending.

How about that? For the first time that I can remember, this show had an episode saved by its comedy. Who would have thought? I think this show has potential to be consistently funny. When all else fails, it could really benefit from having quality humor even when the plot and the lessons aren't anything worth writing home about.

Episode Grade: B
Episode MVP: Sabrina Carpenter. It's amazing how a character who I thought was insufferable earlier in the season is now the absolute best in the cast. Maya continues to shine as she has been so lovable, so fun to watch in the last few episodes. I really hope the writers realize they have lightning in a bottle here with Maya being Riley's easygoing, fun-loving slacker sidekick. Somebody made the call to start having Maya act more like Shawn. Like, seasons 2-4 Shawn, not season 6 Shawn. Whoever made the call, God bless them.

EXTRA THOUGHTS
-The girl who didn't like Riley was pretty entertaining, and kinda attractive. You know, if she wore different clothes and got touched up a little bit. Anyway, the opening scene was very realistic. Maya talking about having to fake interest in people really hits close to home. The fact of the matter is, when you're in an environment like high school, most people don't want to deal with you any more than they have to if they're not cool with you like that. So having Maya superficially greet kids, start being repulsed by further conversation, and get annoyed at the possibility of making new friends was well-done.

-I loved Maya's attempts to cheer Riley up and comfort her with singing. Seriously, without Maya to guide her, Riley probably wouldn't even know how to read.

-The best part about the carrying/dragging scene was that there was almost no dialogue. For a scene like that to work as well as it did, not having the characters talk was the best thing the writers could have done. It's like all Farkle had to do was look at Smackle and she immediately knew what he wanted. The camera cut to the wide shot of Smackle dragging Farkle to class absolutely killed me.

-Speaking of Farkle, it's really weird how he was the only one freaked out and fainting in health class. You would think he would be the only one not doing that along with Smackle. You know, because he's really big on science and should probably understand certain biological functions by now. Seriously, that's his whole shtick and they threw it out for the one joke.

-I might have been hearing things, but Topanga said something along the lines of Riley not having the power to control things. Then she immediately contradicts herself when Riley talks about the girl not liking her. I know Riley's her daughter and everything, but Topanga comes off as really creepy from that point forward. However, I loved it when Maya tried to calm her down with her singing. Seriously, where has this Maya been?

-Why would they have Cory teaching the health class when he didn't know anything? And why is Riley complaining about the gym coach being the teacher? When I was in junior high, the gym teacher also taught health. I'm just assuming it's a requirement, but Abigail Adams High doesn't remind me of any NYC public schools so......I don't know.

-This is something that has been annoying the hell out of me since "Ski Lodge," and they keep bringing it up because they think it's funny, but it's not. It wasn't funny the first time, it wasn't funny the second time, and it wasn't funny in this episode either. You probably know what I'm talking about: The Smackle/Lucas jokes. The writers really need to stop doing this. It's now past the point of irritating and just becoming straight up disturbing, to the point where Smackle is now having dreams about Lucas. I don't understand why the writers keep making this joke because it's not even funny. Smackle is constantly hitting on Lucas in front of everyone, including her own boyfriend, and no one bats an eye. If it was the other way around, and Farkle was constantly flirting with Riley or Maya, they would have killed it after one episode. Either way, they clearly forgot why this joke was so funny before so now it's just time to put it to rest.

-I'm serious, I really hate this joke. I hated it the first time they did it, and the fact that they keep using it makes me despise it with all my heart. The only way this makes sense at all is if we find out in a future episode that Smackle has a deep attraction for Lucas and ends up cheating on Farkle. If you want to go there, then go there. I would love if they went there because it just means that these jokes were planting the seeds for it. But as it stands now, we're supposed to find it hilarious that Smackle has the hots for Lucas while Farkle just sits there and says her name like a sitcom parent scolding their kid for being so gosh darn mischievous. It brings each episode to a screeching halt, and makes everyone involved look terrible. PLEASE STOP USING THIS DAMN JOKE.

-It's weird because Topanga gives a speech to Riley midway through the episode that sounds pretty genuine and heartfelt, then she goes back into creep mode at the end of the episode. I should never, ever, ever associate the word "creep" with Topanga Lawrence.

-The letting go ceremony was cool, I guess. But honestly, we all know Riley isn't going to remember anything that's happened in this episode and go back to being the same socially awkward, bubbly, dimwitted weirdo we know and sometimes love so who cares? Riley learning a lesson? Pffft, dream on.

-I have absolutely no idea why that girl was smiling so much when Riley said she liked her, even after she reminded her she didn't want to be her friend. You know what? I'm just going to call her Sally. I have no idea why Sally was smiling so much after Riley said she liked her, even after Sally reminded her she didn't want to be her friend. I don't know what Sally was so giddy about. The fact that Riley was so persistent in wanting to be liked? The fact that Riley still likes her? Why would Sally care? In real life, if I dealt with this situation, and I have, the other person would just give me one-word responses or say absolutely nothing, and that's that.

-By the way, happy Halloween because I'm not touching that "World of Terror" garbage. Also, sometime this week, I'm hoping to begin my quest to review one episode of every Nick and Disney live-action show by the end of 2016. I don't even know which show to start with. Maybe Liv & Maddie? I hear that show's actually really good, but I'll be the judge of that.

3 comments:

  1. Well, looks another "Character finds out someone doesn't like them story" that turns out a bit mixed with the moral. Yawn.

    Part of me thinks Terror 3 will learn it's lesson and decide if it wants to do the Treehouse of Horror thing or not, but somehow i doubt it.

    on the bright side, Terror 2 isn't the worst Monstober episode, as i learned while watching every disney sitcom Halloween episode to review them over on my blog. You'll have to read that post when it hits (Shameless plug) but it's worse than Terror 2.

    Speaking of holidays, perhaps you can use those as an excuse to burn through your quest. If a show on your list has a holiday episode coming up, you can just use that. I think most are, so it'll be easy.

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    Replies
    1. I have to imagine World of Terror 3 is going to reach new depths of awfulness. For all the talent they had in original-flavor Boy Meets World, I'm wondering if the old-school crew is, I don't know, going senile or something.

      As for episodes worse than World of Terror 2, that's a pretty tall order because they practically went out of their way to produce something truly bad, specifically. The KC Undercover episode was incredibly boring, but not that bad. The I Didn't Do It episode (wow I kind of forgot that show was a thing) was also incredibly boring but not necessarily bad either. Maybe the Austin & Ally one?

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  2. It's not from 2015, i meant worst Disney Sitcom Halloween ep in general. And honestly, for all my grips with Teror 2, i wouldn't call it "awful", just very muddled and confusing. (Either stick to the Treehouse of Herors of fomrat, or just do a normal episode that happens to take place on Halloween, you can't do both then put in tons of filler).

    My mini-review will go into detail on it's problems but why it's not the worst thing ever. All i can say about my pick for worst Monstober ep is that ditching Halloween halfway through is the least of it's problem story-wise.



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