Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Girl Meets World: The Memorial Service

What can you say about Girl Meets World? It was about a girl.....who met the world.

Okay, somebody bury this.

I decided to take another look at "Girl Meets Goodbye" and I have plans to write a more critical review. Some of that came across on inauguration day but I feel like it got lost in my exaggerated rage yeah like pooping on a 16 year old girl for not being as good as frickin' Beyonce. Besides, it's not really fair to judge it the way I did considering the strange circumstances surrounding it. None of us can really know for sure what happened between Disney and Michael Jacobs. Some of these things were out of the writers' hands. They probably expected a fourth season for months, and when they didn't get it, they had to hastily wrap up everything they had planned and stuff it into this one episode. If you really look at it, the beginning of season three gives no clues that this is the end of the road. And with the Matthews staying in New York, there's always the possibility of the show picking up where it left off if Netflix ever changes its mind. Or if it ends up going to Freeform so it can be "edgy," or even back home to ABC.

With that being said, I just wanted to share my feelings on several aspects of the show as a way to figure out why it ultimately failed in the end as a spin-off to one of the best sitcoms of the nineties holy crap you're old enough to remember the 90s?!?!. I had been waiting for this opportunity for a while, so let's see what we can discover about Girl Meets World that hasn't already been talked about over the past number of reviews.

I believe that one thing that hurt this show in the long run is their approach to stories. There's not a whole lot in the show to latch onto, or at least take with you for the next couple of years. The lessons all make sense on paper, but looking back, they were never executed how Michael Jacobs talks about them. That's not to say this show has always gotten it wrong. There was a lot of potential in that first season to become even better. "Girl Meets Smackle" was the first episode that had me thinking how great this series could be. The lesson is not only relevant to our society, but it's taught in a way that doesn't come off as hamfisted or preachy. The show always had a chance to tell stories in a thoughtful way. But then something happened. Instead of looking at episodes like "Smackle" and "Brother" for inspiration, the writers started looking at material like "Game Night" and "Friendship." Those episodes were terrible, but they also created the blueprint for many more to come. It's a shame when I wrote the review for "Gravity" a few months ago and I saw that not much had changed at that point. It got to the point where I felt like half the time, the characters didn't even talk like regular kids. It's just them reciting things. It's almost like the writers had this responsibility to the audience to be this perfect, morally upstanding show when that was never the case with the original.

Cory, Shawn, and Eric weren't degenerates, but they were kids who got into trouble from time to time and made a lot of mistakes. I mean, take the classic "Uncle Daddy" where there's a subplot of Cory forgetting to fill the car up with gas and he ends up getting grounded when his parents are stranded in the middle of the street. It's not even treated like a huge deal, just something to service the main plot of Eric dating a single mother and realizing the difficulties that come with being a parent. If Girl Meets World had that Cory plot, it would be the main conflict of the episode and it would involve Topanga thinking Riley is rebellious and not even knowing who she is anymore, and life turning upside down because the universe is no longer in order. See what I mean? Boy Meets World was always a thoughtful show, but it was never about drilling lessons into your head like a lobotomy. They were just taught as the characters actually went through these experiences, and by the next week, the reset button was hit so the characters could continue making mistakes. Lessons like dating around so you know who you're compatible with, not ignoring your friends when you're in a relationship, surviving in the world with a fine mind and a good heart, Shawn's "I'm my own worst Eskimo" realization. Anybody could relate to these things, and because the characters spent time going through them, we feel closer to them and they actually are meeting the world.

There wasn't as much to relate to in Girl Meets World because the writing never allowed it. "Demolition" is a perfect example of that. In the original show, Cory and Shawn would have gotten swindled and they would have to handle things on their own. Who knows if they would even succeed? Here, it's Riley, Maya, and Cory all getting conned, then Topanga takes care of everything and it's revealed that Aubrey just wants to be a good person. What? And then there's also that astronaut/horse symbolism thing, which sums up everything I don't like in an episode of the show. It was a perfect little shenanigan that Riley and Maya got into but then we find out that the store owner is really nice and cool and just wants to be their friend. You're really not learning anything about the world because it's done in a very unrealistic way. It's like episodes couldn't just have things happen. They always had to be about something more. That's why even though Fuller House is a much worse show, and really only exists as a nostalgia trip, I have to give it credit. It knows what the original show was about and follows it to a T. Full House was a real sappy sitcom, the king of all sappy sitcoms, but its spin-off is actually less annoying with the lessons than Girl Meets World. There's one episode in season two where Stephanie and the moms decide to reform the band Girl Talk from the original show, even bringing back Gia for it. But of course, the idea fails and the episode just ends.

There's no major realization in this episode. The main plot is never even resolved. It just starts with the girls forming the band again (which Stephanie had to be convinced to do), they argue about Gia using e-cigarettes and ends with them throwing up their hands and saying, "You know what, screw this idea" like it never happened. An episode like that would never be in Girl Meets World because Riley would most likely wonder if Maya could ever be a negative influence on her or something like that. "Life will never allow you to hurt me, Peaches. I know that for a fact." If someone pays me fifty bucks, I could write a whole script just like that.

Which leads me to my next point: This show was focused way too much on Riley and Maya. Yes, they are the most prominent characters on the show and the viewer's entry into the world they live in, but a lot of the time, we never saw Riley and Maya in action, going out into the world, seeing what trouble they could into, learning lessons from everyday mistakes. They sat at the bay window, and talked about their feelings, and we were supposed to be invested because that's how our main characters see the world. It doesn't work because Riley and Maya had a limited perspective on how the world worked and how life worked. It makes the show look even worse because they see things in almost the exact same way. That's not how it was at the beginning, and that's how it should have stayed, but at times it felt like Riley and Maya were interchangeable. Half of what they said could have been written for either character. And it's not like that was the joke and people clowned them for it, like Cory and Topanga in the original show. We were supposed to see them as noble, intelligent, remarkable human beings with the insight and thoughtfulness of Huey Freeman. What if, just once, Riley and Maya didn't appear in an episode? How about an episode where Farkle, Lucas, and Zay get into some trouble? Or an episode about Smackle's home life? And then at the end, right before we find out where Riley and Maya have been this whole time, they cut to black? One of the best things about the original show was that we got to see the world the characters live in through different perspectives. Cory didn't see things like Shawn, who didn't see things like Eric, who didn't see things like Alan, who didn't see things like Feeny. Everybody had to learn something about the world and possibly change their perspective. Even though Boy Meets World had admittedly terrible continuity, I still feel like Cory, Shawn, Eric, and Topanga became different people at the end of the series. At the end of Girl Meets World, I still feel like Riley and Maya are the same characters from season one, Maya even more so because she just feels like a lazier, snarkier version of Riley.

It would have been interesting to see the different ways each character navigated through the world. But instead, all we got was Riley and Maya crying about the possibility of their friendship hypothetically ending several years down the line. I don't believe Riley and Maya will ever lose touch. They're best friends and they love each other like crazy, I'm sure they'll find a way to deal with it. So why were these two constantly so insecure and concerned about their friendship? If I told them one day that they won't attend the same college, because Riley is going to NYU (apparently, she has the grades for this, but I see her as more of a Medgar Evers/CSI type) and Maya is going to Hunter, they'll lose their minds and start crying about the possibility of making new friends and never seeing each other again. Keep in mind that these schools are less than four miles apart from each other, and all Riley has to do is walk for about five minutes to the station, wait for Maya's train to come and meet up with her ..........at the Bleecker Street station, which is the same station they go to every day for school. I looked up this information just now and decided to bring it up because it represents just how exaggerated the drama was on this show half the time.

I realized in my last review and in this write-up that there are a lot more things I disliked about Girl Meets World than I thought. Maybe I should just level with anybody reading this: I never grew up with Boy Meets World. The show was already in its fifth season when I was born, and I remember Disney Channel doing reruns in the 2000s, but I never paid much attention to it. It just felt so alien to me, and it seemed like it was way too mature for me to get into. It wasn't until the summer of 2013 that I started watching episodes, and it was after the spinoff was announced so I actually had a good reason. Sean's blog made me see the show's true power, and once I started looking at Boy Meets World the same way, the show became very special. Michael Jacobs probably realized it too, which is why he and the writers went so hard in the paint trying to recreate the original series. The fact of the matter is, I was way more willing to give Girl Meets World a chance than a lot of other people who may have scoffed at the idea of their favorite show being redone on Disney Channel. Once I started realizing how great Boy Meets World was, Girl Meets World became even worse in my eyes. The fact that it came from a legacy, and the writers/producers fumbled the ball numerous times trying to uphold it, makes it a very disappointing show. I can't talk about Henry Danger like this because it was never a great show in the first place and declined just as soon as it started. But I could talk about Dan Schneider as a creator and how far his material has fallen since the iCarly/Victorious days. I can't talk about Fuller House like this because it doesn't strive for anything and never has. But I could talk about The Simpsons, or Family Guy, or the last season of The Boondocks because they all represent material that used to mean something, but then fell off. That's why I'm not looking forward to the That's So Raven reboot when it comes, because I grew up watching it first-run and Disney Channel has changed a lot in the decade since the original show ended.

The point I'm getting at is Girl Meets World could have been way better than what it was. The potential was there from the moment Maya told Cory that she has no one at home to help her with her homework. We needed a Girl Meets World in this era, where across the board, live-action shows for kids have stagnated. The animation side is thriving just fine and is a major improvement on the 2000s, but on the flip side, we have no Drake and Josh. We have no Suite Life, no That's So Raven, no Ned's Declassified, no Even Stevens, no Lizzie McGuire. Hell, we don't even have an iCarly or Big Time Rush anymore. The last kids live-action show that could be put in this class is Good Luck Charlie, and even that was meant to be the opposite of what kids were getting when it first came out. Girl Meets World could have lived up to the hype, and could have inspired a new generation of kids. It could have been a great comedy, and incorporated lessons into its episodes in a way that didn't feel dumbed down or preachy. It could have simplified its stories and earned its emotional moments. It could have treated its audience maturely and rewarded them for paying attention. But instead, what we got was a show that did those things sometimes, or every once in a while, instead of most of the time. You might wonder if I'm being too harsh on GMW, and I wonder that too sometimes. But when I see all these websites mourning the loss of this show like it was early SpongeBob, Hey Arnold, and Degrassi rolled into one, and praising it for what it gave kids and how mature and realistic it was, I have to give it a second thought and think, no. I'm not trashing this show. There's no shame in coming up short every now and then. And for what it's worth, Girl Meets World was a really enjoyable show when it knew what it wanted to do and didn't try so hard.

Sometimes, when it comes down to things like this, it's a lot more rewarding to listen to people like Christian and Sean and not whoever's working for Complex.

Here here on that last part especially! Anyway I think I've interjected enough as it is; I gave my series grade in Meets Goodbye and I'm going to write my own essay on some things beyond just what were in the hands of Jacobs and crew (and of course it'd only be fair if I allowed Mike to interject there as well if he wishes).

Series Grade: B-
Series MVP: Rowan Blanchard and Sabrina Carpenter. They were both fantastic in their roles and I really hope they continue working as actresses.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Riverdale Episode Review: S1E1 (Pilot; the rather pretentiously named "Chapter 1" which trust me indicates it only goes downhill from here)

I'm not sure what kind of quote to put in here to open it up: I suppose I could point out the lack of intoned irony regarding a character saying "Millennial straight guy" considering this is based off a comic series that pretends the 50s never died; I guess I could quote how Cheryl tells the core cast about her Twitter account; I guess I could pull any snippet of dialogue like "You missed curfew last night/Yes, by 7 minutes! I was with Archie and yes has red hair but he is nothing like Blossom!" or even better the line right after that, "Stay focused/I refilled your Adderall." Or maybe make fun of The CW's lame slogan, "Dare to Defy" (uh huh). But I think the BEST quote of all to pull for this show is this:

What is it? Exactly the hour-length format trainwreck iO9 said it was going to be, with attempts by The CW to try to disguise it into a single-cam drama but ultimately that failed.
Where did it air? The CW, which apparently stands for "Couldn't Watch"
Who stars in it? The most recognizable name in this whole thing is Cole Sprouse. No, I don't mean for people familiar with the type of shows we review - I mean literally, period. Cole actually gets to be the biggest name star out of this whole thing. Ross Butler, who you may recognize from KC Undercover and Teen Beach 2 (another trainwreck so hopefully he's used to that sinking feeling of the production set being a disaster) gets to be a guest star here. Pretty much everyone else is a, as the meme'ing kids say these days, a Literally Who?
Why are we reviewing this? Now you'd think we'd be reviewing it because of the Cole Sprouse connection because we've reviewed awful series starring former Disney and Nick stars before, but nope, not this time! I'm watching it just to see if it really is the bizarre train wreck iO9 claimed it to be based off of ComiCon previews.

...sadly, it isn't. Oh, it is indeed a trainwreck just not a bizarre one. But more on that later.

Once upon a time there was a show on a network called The WB that in turn was called Dawson's Creek. I don't know if I can really call the show revolutionary, though in hindsight it did perhaps give birth to the whole mid-late teen and even young adult dramatic genre that's sprung up a lot on both its successor network and on many, many others, eventually virtually taking over its own network entirely in the form of ABC Family and finally fully transforming it into Freeform (which The CW so, so desperately wants to be within the confines of an FCC Over-the-Air Broadcast license). But what it certainly was was controversial, namely in, I believe, depicting a sexual relationship between a female teacher and one of her students. And then later came Gossip Girl which defined the mid-older teen/young adult dramatic genre for its era, and now Pretty Little Liars that does it for the current era. And back just before Gossip Girl you had Smallville, a (at first) highly praised drama for taking both the prequel formula and the Superman mythos and turning it into something that was both relevant to teens at the turn of the Millennium and a truly imaginative take on a decades-old property, before it started rapidly falling apart (whether in the true sense or in a more spiritual one, it pretty much gave birth to all the DC comic properties on The CW and went a long way to making The CW The DC Channel). And half a decade ago already there was also Hellcats, a show about high school cheerleaders which at least just by word-of-mouth I think did a better job at what Riverdale's trying to get at minus the crappy genre/murder mystery shit, and starring both Ashley Tisdale and Aly Michaylka which given the era they represent are practically Disney Channel royalty. 

I'm not really familiar with those shows; the last thing on either of The CW's parent networks I saw was just before they merged, and Riverdale is the first CW show I've seen full-length ever. Based strictly on word-of-mouth I do regret never having seen Gossip Girl and Hellcats actually, and to a somewhat lesser extent Dawson's Creek although it's been my experience that many shows from the 90s and these teen and young adult dramas from that era especially age very, very badly. Like, forgotten refrigerator leftovers bad. 

Fortunately for Riverdale, it doesn't have to worry about that because it's already gotten to that point, right in the first episode!

The biggest sin Riverdale commits is the biggest sin any piece of fiction can possibly commit - become terminally boring right out of the gate. I can't call the pace "molasses slow" because I just don't feel like insulting molasses right now. Actually, let me put up a visual demonstration of the pace of Riverdale's first episode:

Really, nothing happens. We're given a set up on how the show twists around the Archie mythos with a murder mystery surrounding the Blossom twins with incestuous implications, and after that it's a giant who cares. The high school tropes would embarrass a Lifetime special (trust me I would know). To borrow a phrase from AV Club in one of their The Secret Life of the American Teenager reviews, it feels like the writers are actually aliens from outer space that spent their entire lives watching teens on cheesy Earthling comedy television, and then tried to write their own drama show. The developments would be agonizing provided they even technically exist. To quote Savagegeese from that video right above, "it's literally one big joke," except nobody's laughing. There isn't even any enjoyment from a so bad it's good factor. Even on the reimagining factor it falls flat on its face and absolutely fails; it feels like they simply slapped Archie-legacy names on characters for...for what, exactly? Name recognition? How many people alive even remembers Archie? It got so bad that the entire publishing company behind Archie Comics was staring into the abyss of bankruptcy. There's almost literally no reason for for this to be "Riverdale" or Archie-anything. Oh, and speaking of Dawson's Creek Archie is involved in an affair with his teacher because...I don't know? Because they're desperately hoping you'll be reminded of Dawson's Creek and might confuse this show for good?

In one scene Betty and Veronica try out for cheerleading and in a desperate bid to make it on the team Veronica forces Betty to make out with her (and by forcing her, I mean literally, in the somewhat sexual assault-y lets-suck-whatever-good-taste-remained-in-this-show sense) and the scene is flooded with this ridiculous dramatic music like we're witnessing a major character and plot turning point. It manages to avoid being boring only by being the stupidest scene in the episode's first half hour. The only good thing to come out of it is that Cheryl rightfully shuts them down by pointing out how stupid it is. Not that it prevents the show from going overly-dramatic straight into stupid territory at all, including right in the immediately following dialogue. 

I believe iO9 also pointed out how...odd Cole Sprouse's opening narration is and, yeah, it's pretty freakin' weird. What helps it be especially weird is that Cole has all the cadence of a Freshman trying to put together a video for AP History. I know he more or less retired from acting after SLoD until now apparently but he simply sounds seriously, seriously out of practice. For narrating a voiceover, no less. He "reinvents" Jughead by writing what he claims to Archie is a novel but is really an expose on the truth behind Jason Blossom, names retained and all, hence the narrative overlay. It's exactly as contrived as it sounds.

There is one scene that's worth watching, when Veronica is with Betty and Kevin and they see Archie down the hall and Veronica asks "is that your boyfriend?" and they both quickly deny with a flimsy "no." Yeah, I know it's not exactly the most original thing to happen in this decade but it was the only thing the episode managed to pull off. And the commercial breaks. I swear, there's only 35 minutes of actual show here. Which is actually to my great relief so I'm filing it under "things good about this show." 

I think the show's creator is actually also the creator of NBC's Undateable...another show we'd previously reviewed due to its Disney Channel connection and another show so unbelievably bad, to the point where it's considered the worst show this blog's yet reviewed. Well guess what it now gets to have company because it's now tied with this unfortunate borefest of a shitshow.

Episode Grave: F Minus Minus. Some blogs or review sites will assign F grades to shows that still manage to be entertaining on some level, even only on a So Bad It's Good basis. Well, not this blog! We'll tell you if there's anything salvageable for entertainment including if it manages to be so bad it loops around back to being good, and our final scores will reflect that. But no, there's absolutely nothing redeeming here. It's so bad I'm bringing back "Episode Grave" with the intentional misspelling, because it's so bad it kills. It's not just the worst thing this blog's reviewed in the new year so far, it's tied for worst thing period so far. Minority Report and The Mysteries of Laura were better than this.

Again, if this is coming from the same human-shaped talentless hack of a turd that created Undateable, I'm not surprised.

Episode MVP: We actually have several tied for this believe it or not. We have Madeliene Peitsch, for being a pretty attractive redhead, I guess. We have who I'm going to call "Pussycat #2" for, uh, being pretty, again. We have the commercial breaks for making sure we at least don't have to suffer much. We also have "Savagegeese" up there for pointing out the pitfalls of using too high a weight of oil in your car during the winter months which is also helpful, along with Worker & Parasite for being more entertaining than anyone in this show. And finally to any brave souls who managed to make it through this ordeal in its entirety.
Episode LVP: Cole Sprouse's agent.

Extra Thoughts

 - yeah there's a reason why this is premiering on the last Thursday of frickin' January. No way this is going to last past this half-season, or at least if there is a God it won't.

 - LaToya Furgueson (I hope I spelled that last name right) of the AV Club actually gave Riverdale "Chapter 1" a B+ of all things. I have no idea how to explain this other than 1.) she was on drugs or drunk, and I don't blame her or 2.) the thing is that I've always suspected AV Club to be a little more lacking in integrity than they're willing to admit, especially with Todd Van der Werff who is more than a little prone to writing TV show and movie reviews as if he actively wants to display his wishes for wanting to write for former Gawker and Jezebel instead, if not VICE (that last one's pretty bad). 

I'm not going to let you down the same way, dear readers. I'll let you know upfront that I completely lack any integrity from the very beginning.

- Despite having just poked fun at Gawker I'm going to post this preview from Gizmodo that tempers some of the expectations that were had for this show back in May: http://io9.gizmodo.com/what-in-gods-name-is-going-on-in-this-riverdale-synopsi-1777821851 Apparently, a lot of the positive reviews for this show really are for its So Bad It's Good factor, but I'm still not seeing it. 

 - it turns out PopTV airs reruns of Dawson's Creek so there you go. Just this morning (after I finished the above review) I was able to catch a little bit, and in the 36 minutes of this one random episode in the middle of Season 3 that I saw (the first bit of Dawson's Creek I've seen since they were still premiering brand new episodes, if not ever) I can easily tell it's vastly superior to any hope of quality Riverdale can possibly ever grasp at.

 - And on that note I'm actually blown away by how absolutely gorgeous Michelle Williams was back in the 90s (and still now, for that matter). And yeah, one of these days I'll take some sensitivity classes so this blog can be more than a collection of extremely sexist observations on actresses. I promise. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What's a Farkle?

It's any extraneous bits stuck on to a motorcycle that have more aesthetic form than function. It's a portmanteau of "fairing" and "sparkle."

It's also a Dutch dice game (which I guess makes sense since the Minkii are supposed to be Dutch).

Man I should've done this eons ago but I only thought to do it now, go figure.

Monday, January 23, 2017

On pilot episodes and series finales and why they might suck

Before I get to my concluding thoughts on Girl Meets World and why it ultimately "failed," I think I should cover some of the practical issues pilots and season finales tend to have - especially after seeing the reactions to Meets Goodbye on Girl Meets World Reviewed and on IMDb and elsewhere. And especially after reading Mike's reaction.

If anything, hopefully this explains the exact structure of why Meets Goodbye was the way it was, down to the Boy Meets World cameos (though that's probably going to be inherently obvious).

I wrote about how wonky pilot episodes can be when we reviewed the pilot for Stuck in the Middle. How successful or how wonky a pilot episode ends up being is dependent on a variety of factors, not the least of which naturally being the simple, raw skill of the cast and production crew behind it. Much of what makes the pilot of Game Shakers the way it is is because it was made in an era when Dan Schneider has just given up and spends all his free time just counting all that automatic cash being raked in from a very desperate Nickelodeon too afraid to let him go. Confession time: I've yet to see a single episode of Breaking Bad, but strictly just from what I've heard about the show and cast and crew in general I'm willing to bet it was probably pretty good regardless how pilots typically go. If the circumstances allow for it, they might even have it screened ahead of time by a carefully selected audience (or at ComiCon) and edit and improve the pilot based on audience reaction, up to completely tearing down the existing footage altogether and completely starting over and reshooting the pilot back from square one - which is exactly what happened with the Game of Thrones and Westworld pilots. 

But for the vast majority of TV pilots the luxury of having an audience reaction before official premiere doesn't exist. These type of audience screenings and expensive reshoots typically exist when there's major money on the line, so much so that even further adding to that cost with a complete pilot reshoot seems worth it to protect future investments in the show. It's easy to identify what kind of show that is by how much attention the network throws at it come every September - and your typical broadcast or basic cable network can only afford one or two pilots for a show like that every season, on top of the ones that are still ongoing. For most other shows, they live or remain stillborn based strictly on the strength of their first go-around - if it's even just meh-tastic, it'll live on even if it gets stuck with a mid or late-season premiere, but otherwise that's the end of that, they've had their one shot and for everyone involved it's time to try something else. The vast majority of the TV viewing public will never be aware that the vast majority of these failed pilots even existed. If we're lucky maybe someone will leak it on YouTube, but even then it'll fade into obscurity for everyone except those who either stumble upon it by sheer chance or know exactly what to look for from the start.

But conversely, for certain types and genres of shows, the financial barriers are so relatively low that if audiences (or network execs) think a show premise has promise, or they're really banking on using it as a star power vehicle but they're not super-happy about the pilot, they'll go ahead and order an (often quick) complete reshoot from scratch. This is what happened to both I Didn't Do It and Shake it Up. In the case of I Didn't Do It, they ended up removing a character because it was felt the core cast was too big otherwise and doing other adjustments. In the case of Shake it Up it was actually because of the character Tinka - originally cast for Stefanie Scott, but she ended up declining the role after they'd already shot the pilot with her in order to take on a bigger role in A.N.T. Farm so they had to do all the Tinka scenes all over again with their second-preferred choice (and for both shows, the rest is history). Particularly in the case of Disney Channel and Nick multi-cam comedies, but multi-cam comedies and even comedies period in general, they're so quick to shoot (it's typically a business week per episode from script read to having film ready for post-production for most multi-cams) and so cheap to do so that if the exces think a reshoot is in order it's trivial to do so compared to the eight figures it took to finally get the first episode of Westworld going. Certain genres of drama shows also tend to be cheaper than others, especially the "procedural" I talk about in the SitM review - you can identify these shows in that they have a tight and small core cast of central protagonists (usually just two, no more no less, because buddy cop shows sell) usually surrounded by a slightly larger peripheral cast whose existence is entirely centered on the central two, namely to provide them information to get the plot rolling, and pretty much everyone else is going to be a guest star; and every single episode plot (the A-plot at least) revolves around some mystery the two main stars have to solve. For obvious reasons it's overwhelmingly usually a murder or crime investigation which is why the term "police procedural" is used interchangeably, but it's increasingly more common to see shows that break away from the police drama element but keep the procedural formula (especially after the massive success of the most famous show to pull this off - House M.D. [or just House]). 

Perhaps you've also caught on to another large, critical detail that tends to separate cheaper shows, especially the single-cam 44-minute format drama shows, from the hugely expensive ones - formula vs. story-arc. Not that formulaic shows can't have story arcs (in fact practically all of them will to some degree, even Law & Order: SVU which tends to be very standalone per episode) and it's pretty much impossible for story-arc driven shows to avoid at least some formula, but it's pretty easy to tell what tends to be the main driver of a show. The aforementioned Game of Thrones and Westworld are very obviously driven by epic story-arcs that follow a very logical, linear timeline - missing out on one episode risks being completely lost. And speaking of which, so is Lost, and Once Upon a Time and even Backstage and The Lodge on Disney Channel (and hell even The Other Kingdom and Make it Pop! on Nick - although obviously in the case of those Disney and Nick shows they're going to be much cheaper than all the others, and even Lost and OUaT are going to be significantly cheaper than Westworld and Game of Thrones if not barely more expensive than their procedural counterparts - but it still probably stands that those single-cam shows on Disney and Nick are still more expensive than the usual multi-cam comedies that dominate both networks). Now compare these to the formula-based shows - again, the procedurals in particular for dramas and pretty much any given comedy regardless of camera format (though there are exceptions - Every Witch Way comes to mind as a rare one for multi-cams in particular, at least in the English-speaking market and maybe even among comedy telenovelas in general - but they tend to be rare enough to not have enough statistical pull). Because they adhere to a formula, for the most part you can completely skip an episode (as I had been doing for, uh, pretty much most of GMW Season 3 and smaller chunks of Season 2) and get caught up immediately on the very next one with little or no problem, if not with every single episode being completely standalone stories that can be viewed in almost any order without any appreciable difference in comprehension (just as how I was first introduced to the first season of Jessie, Austin & Ally and the first two and a half seasons of Good Luck Charlie as I caught up viewing all the episodes in reruns over the course of a month and a half in whatever order they happened to be airing at the time - hooray for Disney Channel's idiosyncrasies!) This formula in fact tends to be a major driver towards how these shows end up being cheaper in the first place - having a set formula to follow means the episodes tend to be easier to write and episodes easier to shoot and produce as you've now introduced at least some elements in scale-economy into your production, and in Hollywood burning time really is burning money. 

Now, the big part of having a formula your show and characters follow is making sure the audience is capable of following that same formula - and that's how we get to why and how pilots can end up being major suckfests. Procedurals are pretty easy to hop right into - everyone pretty much understands the concept of investigating a murder - but pretty much every comedy you have is going to dedicate the pilot almost exclusively to setting up and explaining the formula. If it has a quirky character (and it's a comedy so of course it will) the pilot is going to explain the quirky character. Not explain why the character is quirky, mind you - just spend every minute of his or her screen time pointing out check out how quirky this character is! If these characters get into a lot of whacky situations (and it's a comedy so of course they will) then the pilot's plot will be nothing more but pointing out hey! These characters get into whacky situations! If there's some sort of high-concept premise involved, then that high-premise concept is going to be explored (or if not, instead, again, giant arrows pointing out hey! This show is about wizards!)

Think back to the first episode of Girl Meets World: all the insistence that yes, Riley will be meeting The World in this series! Or the first episode of Best Friends Whenever which was pretty much almost pure setup of the basic premise. Those are all "The Pilot Problem" in action.

And on top of that you've also got the fact that often this is the first time many cast and crewmembers (if not most) are working together for the very first time, and it takes time and a few episodes to have all of those components gel with each other. So the first few episodes might end up just being wonky while the cast starts to get into their acting groove and the crew processes what works and discards what doesn't. For most Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows it ends up that the entire first season is pretty much just a giant break-in period for the cast, crew and other elements of the show, which is why usually the first season is noticeably of reduced quality compared to later seasons especially when the show does end up becoming very good as with Liv and Maddie and The Thundermans (though there are exceptions as Jessie and to a lesser extent Good Luck Charlie prove). 

And there's the flipside, the series finale. Just like the pilot has to establish everything and set it all up, the finale (at least in most planned finales) everything has to be broken down and every and all lose plotlines have to be tied up as neatly as production constraints will allow. And let's talk about the production constraints, especially in the case of GMW - no doubt Jacobs and the rest of the crew had to be aware of the possibility that Season 3 would be it (if nothing else they've got plummeting ratings staring at their faces) but it ended up being in a weird limbo state - on the one hand, it was still getting the best ratings on the network, but on the other hand the margin between it and the lowest-rated show was razor thin (just off the top of my head in some cases less than 200,000 viewers) and more importantly ratings across the board for the entirety of Disney Channel had nosedived so bad (again, GMW, the highest rated show on the network, could no longer get even anywhere near 2 million viewers) that to those savvy in the operations of Disney Channel the possibility that the days of four-season shows might be gone. There was enough ambiguity in that situation that Jacobs and his crew simply had to wait for official word from the network to be sure. And keep in mind that these decisions aren't made at the last minute for last minute's sake - there's no doubt that a strong case was being made to renew GMW for a fourth season despite the network-wide ratings tumble, and a lot of cost-benefit analyses were no doubt being performed. That takes time - in fact, a lot of time. It's likely the network informed Jacobs as soon as they made a decision (and there's usually a solid, hard deadline for the network to make these decisions too as a courtesy to the people effected by it if nothing else, to allow them to move on to other projects if necessary) but the timing still probably resulted in a bit of a production squeeze - or if the decision was going to be made after any possibility of producing a proper finale was outright gone, then you'd have exactly what you just witnessed last Friday where there was enough ambiguity they could pick up straight where they left off if they did get renewed.

Add to to that of course the obligatory appearance of just about every original-flavor character they could possibly get as a reprisal, including both Morgans. This wasn't just to close out the GMW storylines and plotlines, but to close out those that may have been hanging loose from Boy Meets World despite the fact that, you know, it still got its own proper finale to close those plotlines already but whatever. A lot of those plotlines were forcibly reopened just with the mere existence of GMW, opening up a lot of questions from the audience regarding whatever happened to Morgan anyway? that the show was now obligated to answer. Of course, given the sheer number of characters that simply started to just eat up a lot of time that could've been given to other storylines (so much so that Harley and Minkus didn't even get to speak!) and the insistence that a lot of the episode still be spent with the core five navel-gazing, and you end up with a lot of different things going different places and little time spent there.

And even when we do have planned finales we can still end up with messes like the Jessie finale which, well, I still maintain is a complete and utter clusterfuck. I don't know why they just went with the standard 25-minute length but whatever. They had a ton of plotlines to close out - how will Jessie manage to justify leaving her nanny job for Hollywood? Will Jessie be able to make it in Hollywood anyway? What will happen to the kids without her? How are they going to resolve the Jessie-Tony ship? That's a fair number of plotlines, and especially given the half-hour they had to play with they pretty much just rushed through them. 

In fact just the other day I was rewatching There Goes the Bride and I think that made for a better finale than the crap we ended up getting. It didn't necessarily close out all the storylines but it provided better emotional closure for the ones it did close - hell, in fact given that it was the third to last episode of the third season I have to wonder if it wasn't Jessie's Girl Meets Goodbye. Maybe it was already planned when they weren't sure they were going to have a fourth season - granted, two episodes (well technically three) did end up airing after that but Rides to Riches could've easily been shoved aside further back into the schedule and Aloha Holidays with Parker and Joey could've been filmed after they already knew they were getting a fourth season after all. 

If you're looking for a more tidy finale as far as these Nick and Disney KidComs are concerned, I guess the iCarly finale is probably as good as you're going to get since its premiere which considering that was just over four years ago is pretty damn sad. Well, that and the Good Luck Charlie finale. The GLC, with a full hour to play with, did a pretty good job closing up the plotlines and did its best to remove as much ambiguity as possible regarding what kind of future the characters are going to have beyond the theoretical confines of the show. The iCarly finale did pretty much the same, except I could've lived without the inane plot with Gibby going to the mall to get another head scan. 

So, yeah. That tends to be the nature of the multi-cam beast. You have a quick set-up with a premiere, you have a thrown-together (well, hopefully not) finale that (hopefully) satisfies the audience, but the real money is of course made in-between. It might mean that the end might suck to the point where the show's done an outright disservice - but that's just one of the risks you run being a multi-camera show fan.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Girl Meets World Reviewed: Girl Meets Goodbye (Series Finale)

We'll always have a place here........

"What a way to go out. Out like a sucker." - Erick Sermon

Disclaimer: I end up getting pretty angry near the end. I'm mostly exaggerating so don't take it seriously but some of it is me legitimately snapping after having to witness something like this.

Oh, trust me, we totally get your anger. We also get Christian and Sean's anger. Literally everybody has at least one reason to be angry about this. This is absolutely the time and place to vent.

What is it?: 30 minute multi-cam sitcom and series finale
Who stars in it?: Rowan Blanchard, Sabrina Carpenter, Peyton Meyer, Corey Fogelmanis, Amir Mitchell-Townes, that girl who plays Smackle, Cece Balgordotsomething. A bunch of guest stars who were regulars or recurrings from Boy Meets World make an appearance. I'm sure William Daniels and the guy who plays Turner are going to be the two most people care about (it is for me). Both Morgans show up to make a meta-joke. Harley Kliener doesn't say anything at all for some reason.
Where does it air? Disney Channel, or insert literally a billion posts about how it should've been on Freeform all along until your head starts to hurt
Why are we reviewing this? Because it is the series finale of what had taken over as Disney's flagship show after Jessie ended, although I think that torch ended up getting passed to K.C. Undercover instead, despite any intentions otherwise. 

So Girl Meets World has now come to an end, an end that seems increasingly permanent now that Netflix has explicitly declined to pick up the series (ouch, and I'm not saying that to be facetious, that's a legitimate ouch on behalf of all the fans who have stuck to this show for three seasons and have campaigned to have this show continue on Netflix specifically - not the least of which is Rowan Blanchard and Micheal Jacobs themselves). Is it physically impossible for the series to continue on in some official form? Strictly speaking no, but the incentive (the key ingredient to make it continue) just isn't there now. Can the series continue in some unofficial form? Not likely from the official crew and cast themselves as their time is simply too valuable to be spent on no-pay projects, but that doesn't mean that some enterprising kids can't put up even some sort of 8-minute long video on YouTube acting out their favorite GMW moments, or that some creative writers can't write their own vision of how Riley and Maya's lives can continue in fanfic form.

Weird how you say that about fanfics considering my idea for one. It's an episode about Riley and Maya's desire to be independent when they fantasize about owning an apartment. It's called "Rowan and Sabrina's Laugh-In" because it will be written in the style of old sitcoms. Well, either that or the girls will be in a dream where they are transported to a past era of television. Just an idea. 

Some people are debating whether or not that article is legitimate about Netflix. And by some people, I mean IMDb. It's actually pretty hilarious that they didn't pick it up. Honestly, if it wasn't for Fuller House existing, GMW would be a lock for Netflix.

Although...*shudders* fanfiction

I once read some fanfiction about Jessie Prescott and Emma Ross. I don't think I've still recovered.

My biggest worry actually isn't about the show itself (when you get down to it, everyone involved will be fine with opportunities to ensure employment) but what the future of Girl Meets World Reviewed will be. They've already said that once they're done running down the greatest Boy/Girl Meets World Characters list and maybe a few other things, with little incentive to review the other shows on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon and with a subsequent dearth of material to write about, they'll pretty much just be shuttering down. Girl Meets World premiered late June 2014 after the premiere of the Zendaya DCOM Zapped! with a "preview" being made available an entire month early in May 2014, so "officially" that's almost exactly two and a half calendar years to have squeezed three seasons in - a short run no matter how you look at it. But Christian didn't get the ball rolling on GMWReviewed until very late August of that year (almost exactly a year before the birth of this very blog) when GMW already had something close to half a dozen episodes under its belt. Presuming they keep the Greatest Characters list rolling until February that'll be a scant two years and four to five months thereabout - I don't know if that's a short run or an eon for the life of a blog, but it also seems to be dearly cut way too short. I suppose it's an inevitability though as they've never at any point expressed any interest in continuing the blog past the show itself, so even if GMW did get that magic number fourth season on Disney Channel we would just find ourselves at the exact same place, just a year delayed. Maybe if Disney Channel moved to Freeform or Netflix to continue for six or seven years total like its parent series - but like I implied at the very beginning of this post and as countless others, trolling or otherwise, have pointed out on the IMDb boards, that's wishful thinking at best and pure delusion at worst. This was always going to be a Disney Channel series, and while the possibility to incentivize Disney Channel to break new ground and break that season limit wasn't exactly entirely out of the question, it would have to be under circumstances not even the regular 6-8 million viewership of Wizards of Waverly Place was able to create, even after 106 regular series episodes and a one-hour special one year after the fact. It was a tall order to ask for and calling for a lot of bets to be made on the adult peripheral demographic to show up in droves for nostalgia's sake, and a number of factors including the rapidly changing demo landscape of the network (for absolutely the worst) just made sure it wasn't in the cards.

But that's enough eulogizing the series, I want to eulogize Christian and Sean's blog now. It was an amazing blog and as I've said repeatedly this very blog wouldn't exist without them. So whatever they end up deciding and whatever direction they take the blog - even closing it out entirely - and whatever projects they may collaborate on or continue separately, I wish them luck and I absolutely and eagerly look forward to it.

Christian and Sean are living legends. They will definitely be missed but I really want to do a crossover review with them and just talk about the Meets World universe in general.

As for us, well...I think I've beaten to death the fact that we're not going anywhere so howabout instead I'll leave it open to the readership to decide what the next review should be on. I feel like it should be something special since it's not just a show that's ending, but effectively a small business closing down (there are upwards to well over a hundred people behind the scenes making sure this thing hits the airwaves) and as far as I'm concerned, above all a few of our dear friends closing up shop on their blog, too. If you've ever had a favorite place - a small mom-and-pop cafe, an independent bookstore, maybe even a public library - announce that in the very near future they'll be making their very last sale or scan their very last checkout, yeah, that's exactly how I feel right now. I want to do my part to make sure the end of Girl Meets World Reviewed feels exactly the same as when that cozy place on the corner announces they'll be serving their final customers. A warm, fuzzy celebration of the community gathering together, but not necessarily a goodbye - howabout a thank you instead. So if there's a way I can turn a review into that, I'll be more than happy to have you guys help me with that.

And of course Mike will be doing his countdown of at least one series reviewed of all the shows in 2016. Trust me, I can tell you from personal experience it takes some serious time so I don't blame him one bit for having these reviews come in as they are. And remember, he also has college to deal with.

But yeah, we're still here, we're still reviewing Girl Meets World one last time (well, one last new episode at least) so here we go!

What I saw from the Trump inauguration was pretty uninteresting. His speech was standard if not completely disingenuous. And Jackie Evancho can't hold a candle to Beyonce.

Well she's like 16, man - and Beyonce's like, older than even me so if nothing else she's got experience and practice behind her that Jackie doesn't. If I was in her shoes I'm not sure how I'd feel - and that's assuming she even has mixed feelings about it. If any of you'd bother to go back and read our sole standalone Bunk'd review so far (Nov '15, that's how far back it was) you'll know my opinion that discretion and anonymity are always preferable to infamy especially when you're still a teen, and looking at just a quick Google search maybe Jackie Evancho would've done just as well to decline.

Man, young people sure suck at avoiding getting shafted nowadays. Trump should get right on that and actually help out our education system [pause for laughter].

By the way, Obama's expression is how I felt for a good portion of this episode. 

Only the finest and dankest of memes straight from 2006 on THIS blog!

So we have a...continuation of Meets Sweet 16 which is...no surprise. Like I said in the last review the biggest weakness, this show's Achillies' Heel, has been its tendency to want to tell instead of show. In fact it's been outright enthusiastic about telling instead of showing. In this context it'd get more leeway except...it just ends up feeling like the rest of the series so far. So when you do have to tell those emotionally impactful moments, well...they kind of lose their impact.

By the time they got to "Belgium 1831," I was already infuriated with the episode. They didn't even bother to hide the fact that this is just for Riley's situation. They don't even make a joke about how it always ends up that way. It's just.......played completely straight. And at this point, I seriously don't care how Riley and Maya feel about their friendship potentially ending. It's about as pointless as when Homer and Marge's marriage is on the rocks.

Is it a treat seeing all these Boy Meets World characters again? Even after we've seen a number of them already and even with a few (Harley, who once again isn't allowed to speak here for some reason) being semi-regulars on this series - absolutely yes it is. Especially Feeny - and I just want to say that at the very least I'm happy that William Daniels has been able to manage at least once a season on this show and has been able to become a keystone on this Boy/Girl Meets World closeout, along with Mr. Turner (I'm not going to say Shawn and Eric if only because the show obligates us the decency to include them automatically anyway - although that's certainly true of Daniels, except I'm glad they're able to include him with health considerations a factor). 

There is no better time to point out just how much Boy Meets World takes a huge dump on its own child. Whenever anyone from the original show speaks or does anything, my attention immediately goes to them and what they say or do is usually 100 times more interesting than whatever happens with GMW. They even make that clear in the episode itself that Topanga's decision really doesn't matter. While I don't get why they all had to come to the Matthews house for this, it's not that annoying. I was mesmerized by Eric interacting with Feeny for the first time in 17 years, as well as Shawn and Mr. Turner's reunion after 20 years. This is living proof that Cory and Topanga should have been the main characters of Girl Meets World. 

As I noted with Jackie Evancho above (and, let's face it, this probably applies to the Trump clan still in their teens or younger too) parents taking a dump on their children seems to be the big "in" thing among baby boomers lately (since, say, when Dubya got elected). But that's not to say that this show in particular doesn't do what should be the impossible and manage to have Boy Meets World take a dump on itself. This was one thing in my rush I forgot to talk about - but the whole antagonism behind Eric and Feeny that comes straight out of nowhere? That apparently comes from an online video the crew made and posted somewhere. 

I'll give a special award of some type (to be determined, and don't expect much because it's going to be worth exactly free) to anybody who can sufficiently prove they've actually seen this video or was even made aware of its existence prior to reading this.

I want to say I wrote about the pitfalls of having your primary media rely on secondary media (online clips, etc - especially when you tell exactly no one about it) around here somewhere. Eh, I can always start fresh with a new context.

As for Cory and Topanga being/should've been the real main characters...to paraphrase Alton Brown, that's another blog post.

One of the most anticipated appearances of the episode - indeed, the entire series - is sister Morgan and how they'll handle Ridgeway and Nicksay. The way they handled it...honestly, is something they can get away with only because it is the series finale. It served it purpose.

I'm going to be that guy and say that I didn't like the Morgan joke. I know what they were going for, but it was just a really weird meta joke that didn't come out fully formed. We don't even know where she's been all this time and she just shows up because the plot called for it. And they kept harping on the joke. Eric high-fiving them both was funny and well-timed. Everything else? No. We get the joke, you don't have to keep explaining it. 

Other than that, well...the opening quote of this post, I think, pretty much says anything else that needs to be said. For some it might be a disappointment, but I'd be hard-pressed to be convinced it's really a surprise. Given that it's the end, I don't think it really matters if they stay in NYC or go to London. The lives of Riley and Maya can now only continue in our imagination - but, again, that was inevitable. There was always going to be some point where we're forced to let go in every way and manner there is except in the spark that lives inside our imaginations. We're comforted by seeing our favorite characters on-screen, to be given officiality - realness - to their perfectly fictional lives, but at some point those lives, fictional or real, have to come to an end. It's a cliche for a reason - the circle of life, and it applies to made-up people portrayed by real people on-screen, too. 

I don't think anyone really expected the Matthews to go to London. It would have taken some balls, but with the way the episode was written, they made it seem as if them moving was a foregone conclusion. iCarly handled this a lot better in its own series finale.

But, like Topanga and Cory say, we and they - fictional and real - will always have a place. It may not necessarily be here, but it'll be somewhere.

That said, this series died as it lived.

That statement is so true, it's painful. That last speech, if I could break it down, just made me glad that this show was over. "World Meets Girl" was a better series finale than this. At least there, they were actors dealing with the fact that this show was over rather than characters reacting to a realistic situation as unrealistically as possible. 

Episode Grade: C+. This really is a microcosm of the series as a whole, but it's...passable, I guess. It's just not the greatness that Boy Meets World is so fondly remembered for being.

If this grade ends up being lower than the grade I gave for the Jessie series finale, it's only because I need to go back and retroactively lower the grade for that episode to match (at best). It certainly felt warmer than the Jessie finale overall, for what that's worth.

Season Grade: Ugh. I intentionally missed out on most of the season which afforded me the opportunity to pick and choose which episodes I watch, which means I pretty much reserved myself the cream of the crop. Based on overall impressions, maybe a C-? Sorry?
Series Grade: C-. Ish. It had a lot of potential but it certainly as hell faltered in places, didn't it? I'll have a full write-up grading the series as a whole and expressing in my honest opinion what went wrong and where. I'll have a lot of not necessarily nice things to say - but I'll have some nice things to say too, to try to balance out the karma. 

Episode Grade: C-. Yeah, I'm not going to beat around the bush here. This was a really disappointing episode. Like I said before, the anger I used to have when Girl Meets World would churn out material like this has turned into pity. I feel sorry that a show that should have been way better than what it was became this. The series finale was representative of a lot of the things wrong with this show. Take away the Boy Meets World stuff, that C- becomes a straight up F. 

Take away the Boy Meets World stuff and you wouldn't even have an episode to speak of. Like, what, 45% of the screen time was just Boy Meets World characters interacting with the GMW cast and each other? Now that you mention it I don't know if this was really meant as a bookend/closeout to the series proper as so much as just a love letter to original-flavored variety Meets World.

Season Grade: B-. This was a really weird season. It was just a mixture of good, decent, and bad episodes from start to finish. It could go from "High School" to "Permanent Record" to "Triangle" to "Real World" like nothing. This show was more or less the same as it was in season two, with no major attempts at growth or trying to tell more mature stories. There weren't even that many good episodes either. I could probably count them with less than two hands. The best thing this season gave us is Mackenzie Yeager. It really seemed like she understood what Girl Meets World should be, and I hope she continues to make a name for herself as a writer.

Best (in no particular order): Jexica, Permanent Record, Real World, Bear, Her Monster

HONORABLE MENTIONS: She Don't Like Me, Upstate, I Do 


The other four, in no particular order: High School, Triangle, World of Terror 3, Goodbye

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS: Hollywood, World Meets Girl, Sweet Sixteen 

Extra Thoughts

 - Snakey404 commented that both this episode and the Jessie finale isn't that bad and, now that I've seen it a second time (well, mostly seen it a second time), I have to agree. It isn't exactly the worst series finale on Disney Channel either, let alone of all time (that would probably belong to a show that isn't even worth mentioning let alone watching in the first place, left forgotten for all of history). I still stand by my original judgement of the Jessie finale, though.

 - The reason why Harley doesn't talk is that they probably did film a scene, but cut it for time. Which is a shame. There were other places they could've trimmed to fit it in.

 - At this point I feel like I should thank William Daniels just for being alive. It's my sincere wish that he at least be able to live out the entire calendar year of 2017, and I'd be ecstatic if he lived out the entirety of 2018 too. Hell, I'll pray he lives beyond the next decade. He really is a national treasure at this point and that's no hyperbole. I can imagine Christian and Sean feel the same.

 - For the record I think the younger, brunette Morgan is hotter. Just sayin'.

 - I'm going to go ahead and link Spongey444's review here (it's really short): http://spongey444.deviantart.com/journal/First-Impressions-Girl-Meets-World-Finale-658616929


-That joke with Riley and Maya forgetting about their third friend was actually pretty funny. It felt straight out of Boy Meets World. Then they mention her again, and then a third time where we actually see her in the class. They didn't need to keep the joke going, it was funny the first time and then they decided to let it linger. It would have been funnier if they mentioned how people become forgotten when they move, and then the third friend reintroduces herself to them. Scene over.

-I really hate how they introduced "Belgium 1831" the way they did. I'm not even trying to look too deeply into it, Cory was teaching that specifically for Riley's problems. And then we have Maya randomly thank Farkle for his friendship and kiss him on the cheek, which was an admittedly sweet moment. Still, it came out of nowhere.

-The stupid thing about the Boy Meets World gang showing up one last time is that they try to cram their scenes in as much as possible. Why this was 22 minutes and "World Meets Girl" was an hour, I'll never know. This episode really needed more time. Stuff like Shawn adopting Maya doesn't hit the right notes emotionally because we're getting blindsided by it around the same time we hear what Alan and Mr. Feeny have to say about the potential move to London. Eric barely even does anything, it's just surface level dialogue and most of it is just him acting like his season seven self. Harley and Minkus don't even talk. And based on what Unknown said about his scene being cut, that just strengthens my belief that this episode should have been two parts.

-At one point, I legitimately forgot that Lucas and Riley were dating. The show forgot too because it was rarely ever mentioned after "Ski Lodge," and then when they do mention it, it's just awkward. "Hey, aren't Riley and Lucas dating?" "Maybe they are. But life has a strange way of making us see that some things really aren't." "Michael, we're not on Twitter. You don't have to talk like that anymore." 

-Topanga apparently sees the bakery as her place where she can just think about life. To believe this, we have to look at previous scenes of Topanga needing the bakery to solve problems, of which we have none. It's a shame her character was relegated to just hanging around Auggie and his stupid friends every other week.

-I hope that when they stopped taping GMW, they burned down the bay window. Or at least burned it in effigy and started doing the Tootsie Roll on the ashes like it was 1994. Whatever the case may be, I hope that window was burned to the ground.

-Sometimes, this show makes me want to die. That last speech made absolutely no sense. Are these people aware that they're a show? And if they're not, then what the hell's going on here? The lesson that we're supposed to learn is pointless because Riley didn't go to London. We didn't learn anything about the world. These kids haven't met the world since the day they were twinkles in their parents' coin purses. And they have the nerve, the gall, the sheer audacity, to reference the last episode of Boy Meets World like they can just apply it here. Like GMW lived up to its potential all along. "Girl meets world." "Now we get it. " Shut the fuck up, you never got it and you never will. Cory realizing the meaning of Boy Meets World was not only a great meta joke, but it was him coming to the realization that he had experienced the hardships of life on his road to being a man and is now smart enough to pass on everything he had learned about the world to someone who hadn't gone through what he had. It was a powerful moment earned after seven years. Here, it's nothing more than a shameless meta reference to let you know, for the very last time, that Girl Meets World is a spin-off of Boy Meets World.

Oh my God. Guys, I figured it out. I cracked the code. Girl Meets World........is a spin-off.......of Boy Meets World.




Mike out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Girl Meets Goodbye: Random thoughts leading to the finale

Just Sayin'

I have more thoughts than to just post that screenshot but those will be incoming (so consider this a fluid draft in progress). I've already seen the finale and...it's not JESSIE Ooray for Ollywood/Jessie Goes to Hollywood bad which may very well end up being the worst series finale in Disney Channel frickin' history...but it comes very, very close

Mike certainly seems to be under the impression that I have...very mixed feelings about GMW. Well, he's right. But unlike a lot of other turds I don't blame Rowan - but like a ton of other people (including Christian and Sean) I do blame the writers. I think rather than learning the lessons from the disastrous final season or two of Boy Meets World ("the college years") they merely just picked up where they left off and proved to the world they ran out of steam before the first series even concluded. But, more on that later (probably tonight). If you've read my updates to a post that's kind of buried now, you'll know I've got books to read.

Wow I can configure the title for "Featured Post"

Let's talk about The Thundermans....

This Friday, The Thundermans is coming to an end with its final four (technically five, since the last one is two parts) episodes. Originall...

Wow I can put a title here for "Popular Posts"