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 

Worst: SKI LODGE. SKI LODGE IS THE WORST. I NEVER WANT TO WATCH IT EVER AGAIN.

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


EXTRA THOUGHTS

-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.

TAKE ON THE WORLD. I GET IT NOW. THEY TOOK ON THE WORLD FOR THREE YEARS. THEY MET THE WORLD, THEY DID IT!!!!!!!!!!! 

WAIT, NO, THEY DIDN'T. THEY DIDN'T MEET ANYTHING. THIS SHOW BARELY SAID ANYTHING MEANINGFUL ABOUT THE WORLD.

GIRL MEETS WORLD, I HATE YOU. GO CHOKE ON SOMETHING. 

Mike out.

12 comments:

  1. I read a dirty fanfic about Emma and Jessie. Super hot. Les yay.

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    Replies
    1. Ok. I love TV tropes. It was very good.im joy.

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  2. The biggest takeaway from the finale is that Lily Nicksay is gorgeous.

    I will miss Rowan and Sabrina and the rest of the cast. I will not miss the writers.

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  3. Just gonna drop this here instead of saying anything because i'm lazy: http://spongey444.deviantart.com/journal/First-Impressions-Girl-Meets-World-Finale-658616929

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  4. I agree about how they handled the Morgans, we're cutting them slack because it's the season finale...but does that mean this is /canon/ now? As in, the two actresses who played Morgan are different sisters of Cory that share the same name? Gah, it's confusing to think about.

    Granted, I'm not as well-versed on the OG Boy Meets World as Sean and Christian, so I don't know if they *were* established as different characters before, it just feels weird to me.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not too worried about the whole canon status. If that really interest you, we actually did a whole blog post about canon on Disney Channel and the concept of canon as a whole: http://nickanddisneyreviewed.blogspot.com/2016/02/on-disney-channel-live-action-universe.html

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  5. Shipping Wars Are StupidJanuary 20, 2017 at 7:48 PM

    Topanga's speech in the bakery was surprisingly powerful. I mean, get real. It's a fucking Disney Channel show; of course the kid isn't going to move anywhere. The main character never moves until they know for sure the show will end.

    That said, this entire show was worth it for the Turner/Shawn scene.

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  6. Weird how the person who is normally a bit harsher on the series was easier on the episode than the guy who is...a tiny bit easier on the show. But yeah, i don't wanna be the dead horse that is "you are being too harsh" so...i'll leave it at that.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's like I switched bodies with Unknown for this one review. I don't regret going over the top because it was really just for comedy but the episode genuinely disappointed me. For a series finale, it left me with this really hollow feeling, like what I saw was pointless.

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    2. I think Disney is more to blame for that. They were likely given enough time to do something, just not something big or great.

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    3. I've been saying that people unfairly knee-jerk blame Disney for all of GMW's woes based strictly on the kiddie reputation and the reputation of the other shows for pretty much as long as GMW has been a thing, including when it was still under development, but...yeah, I've got nothing. If the reason why the finale is so crappy because they were squeezed for time to just freakin' make it, that's all on Disney. Jacobs and the crew could have had a gut feeling that this was going to be it well before the network let them know this was going to be it, but making showrunning decisions based on the gut feeling of what the network is going to say is extremely poor practice (look at the sudden surprise when the Kim Possible crew got the notice that, hey, we want another season after the movie, though I actually really like the final season of KP and the actual final episode was better closure than the movie anyway). I can easily imagine the crew kind of wondering what the hell they're going to do until the network notified them, and when that time came they likely could've had reduced time to not necessarily have to throw something together but enough of a time crunch to make things more awkward and rushed then they should've been.

      The next post is going to be about how pilot and finale episodes can tend to suck for these shows, so I'll go into more detail about it. I'm about a third of the way done with it so I hope to have it posted either today or tomorrow.

      Kim Possible flat out murders another woman and her husband by exploding them in the series finale. That's your bit of trivia for the day.

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