The fact that Disney had the nerve to post about Girl Meets World saying they’re sad to see it go and that it’s hard to end it, makes my blood boil. I couldn’t help but go on a rant about how much this show means to me. It is everything to me and deserves so much better than this.
First of all I know I was going to start with reviewing Season 2, but so much is about to happen in Season 3 that I have to start there. Hopefully I can go back and and review the rest later, because Season 2 was literally epic.
Second of all, Girl Meets High School Part 1 WASN’T my favorite episode. It has some great moments, but I do have some critiques in my review. Please don’t kill me! Alright, so here we go:
Opening Scene/BMW Parallels: Obviously for all us BMW fanatics, this first scene is a pure egg of homage gold. It is direct reference to Cory and Shawn’s first day of high school, right down to the two random students coming through the front doors saying “What happens now will determine the rest of our lives”. Great way to open the show. I would especially like to note the color combos/outfits MATCH Cory and Shawns, but the interesting thing here? Maya is wearing yellow like Cory, and Riley is dressed like Shawn (with the vest, etc). Also, note that in BMW, Shawn JUMPS into the locker without question when getting hassled by the seniors, while Riley jumps straight into the hole. Interesting twist of paralleling characters here, as we usually associate Riley=Cory, Maya=Shawn. Reminder that none of these GMW characters truly parallel one BMW counterpart.
Farkle/Smackle Convo: In addition to the Smackle clones lined up to play for laughs (something that works well), I think there is some meta here. Farkle tells Smackle he is so happy to have found his “equal” and that it reminds him the “universe has order”. I think this heavily foreshadows the Riarkle pairing (and we will see in HS2 where Riley hopes Farkle doesn’t let science blind him from “true love”) and that love is not supposed to make sense, and feelings can not be scientifically calculated.
Opening Credits: What can I say that hasn’t been said about these credits? They are fantastic, Zay should have been in them, no I don’t think Maya kissing Topanga is a big deal and if you didn’t notice whose arm is around who at the walk off, please watch it over and over again until you do. I don’t need to point out the BMW parallel here because literally the entire thing is one, but I do agree that Auggie should have stolen a TACO from Cory(we will see that soon enough in S3 though, so it’s okay)
Zay in the Hole first: This to me, is important. I have read that a lot of people seems to believe that Farkle is the voice of the audience. If you believe this and are reading this, send me a message explaining why- because I don’t really understand it. I DO however think that ZAY is the voice of the audience, which we HAVE seen in many instances, i.e.: his calling out of Lucas and Maya (GM Creativity), his commentary on Lucas and Maya in Texas 3, his various comments on the strange things the group does, like climb in through Riley’s window uninvited, etc. “I saw where this was going” is just another foreshadow and out loud commentary of what everyone watching the show was already thinking. Do you agree/disagree? Let me know!
Marley: Here’s comes my first big critique. I think that the concept of Marley is a GREAT idea. In BMW, no one really stopped and questioned Feeny on his teaching methods and I think it’s great to see someone challenge Cory. We see him off balance in school settings again. This sets him up for some serious growth. I think that Marley’s lines are written flawlessly, but I think that the actress delivers them terribly. I think she should have been cast differently or noted differently because her delivery falls totally flat. What should get HUGE laughs gets almost none. Missed opportunities there. If acted out right, her wittiness could match Zay’s, who I think gets the biggest laughs/is probably the best with comedic timing of any of the younger cast members on the show.
Maya/Riley Dynamic in this Episode: Some things I loved, some things I didn’t here. I love that Maya stayed in the hole and never even questioned Riley. Some of you may say “Well, obviously” but I disagree. I think that if this were S1, she at least would have challenged her on it (Think about GM Belief). But here in the hole she shows her growth. She shows that she has, to some degree, serious hope and faith now. I think thats really important to remember. That growth is also showcased in the last scene where she is talking to Ava about her parent’s divorce. She tells Ava she will think it’s her fault her dad left, but how it’s not. This highlights the forgiveness she found in herself during GM Forgiveness, once again reminding the audience how far she has come since the start of the series. The writers are no doubt showing this to us un purpose, considering the epic identity crisis she is about to face.
What I DIDN’T like about the Rilaya dynamic in this episode is that for me, things seemed out of character for them. Maya’s “How am I in a triangle with THAT?” seemed uncharacteristically harsh of her and I think her “wanting to be called g/f equally as much” as also a little out of place for her, because usually it is Riley who enforces the Triangle rules.
Rucas/Riarkle Fight: OKAY SHIPPERS, HERE WE GO. These fights are some the only META moments in this episode. Note the differences with their arguments. Notice how angry Lucas is towards Riley and how easily he walks away from her (Also, what’s up with her saying he would get killed on the football team? He can ride a bull but he can’t try out for football? Hmm…is her faith in her Prince broken so easily?). They throw insults at each other (Riley barely speaks) and it’s done. Seems a little brother/sister vibe to me…hmm. Riarkle fight? Different story. First, notice that Farkle shows up to talk to Riley and Maya. He’s upset, but he is ALWAYS there. Riley is able to speak her mind to him (getting so close to his face I was actually taken aback by the tension the director allowed for them to build there…very reminisent GM STEM) and when the camera cuts out, he has NOT walked away from her. I know that naysayers will probably claim that I am reaching here but to me, the context of those two arguments and the difference in dynamic between these characters says everything. Does anyone else feel that Lucas isn’t really LISTENING to Riley? Does anyone else feel that Farkle hears every single word she says?
Small Random Comments:
-I like that they made the high schoolers SO MUCH taller than the core 6. It makes them look tiny like it did for Cory and Shawn in High School. I also think the actors were looking a little too old for the ages they were playing in middle school and this shades that a bit, especially with Lucas.
-Lucas going off on the random kid (”he’s not even with us”) = comedic genius.
Does Zay wear anything else besides plaid with undershirts to match? Same outfit, every day!
Notice how every single female friendship shown is one blonde, one brunette?
Them getting separated when the bell rings? Very funny. Physical comedy when done right is so effective.
The Senior Triangle: I have some issues with this dynamic will come out in my review of HS2, but I’d like to note something that I enjoyed about them. In Topanga’s, brunette senior says “You’ve been living in your little world. Maybe you need to stop and look around a little”. Note this because: 1- Foreshadowing the difficulties that are to come as a result of this. Think about perceptions of reality(as a youngster) and ACTUAL reality as a young adult (not a smooth transition). 2-”Wift your wittle head, Wiley”- ENTER FARKLE TO SCENE.
Rating Out of 5 Stars?3.5. Not too much meta, some strange out of character moments for the kids (though that may be setting up for future issues) and my disappointment in Marley’s casting. Still, the episode’s humor was on point, especially with Zay and Maya, Rowan SHINES in her heavier moments, good set up episode for HS2 and of course….that Riarkle fight (Cause come onnnnn people).
“Girl meets goodbye” “Danielle Fishel is leaving- not leaving- but she is, but she really isn’t” “fARKLE” “cast is happy- dancing. but rowan is crying- but dancing” “no endgames” “boy meets world cast was there” “audience chanting ‘one more season’” “wh eRE ARE THE s p o ileerrssss” “gmw vs disney- moving to freeform, but that’ll never happen ?? ! ?” “CANCELLED- yes no yes no yes no”
“g o o d b y e” “false spoilers- not really- okay maybe. we don’t know” “WHAT DERISION??” “the show is ending- NOTTT?” “s p oilerssss”
What is this blog? What is it about? What’s the focus? What’s the point? Why am I writing an entire blog series dedicated to a Disney show when I just turned 30 years old? Well, when it comes to Michael Jacobs, those questions are so easily answered.
I am a aspiring TV/Film writer who is currently graduating from college with an English/Writing degree and heading off to the big bad city of Los Angeles to try my hand at the dream: writing for a successful TV show I actually care about.
When I first started thinking about what type of show I would want to write for, I knew I wanted to go into the young adult category. I just have the right type of imagination for it and I didn’t want that to go to waste. I’ve always been a kid at heart and now I could use it in the right ways. I played with the idea of a young adult drama like Pretty Little Liars or something similar, but there was a nag on my heartstrings that told me comedy is where I was meant to go. I also loved the idea of a multi camera sitcom, although with how fast those are dwindling in todays TV society, I thought there was little hope for it.
Then I discovered Girl Meets World. I was an avid Boy Meets World fan (I mean I REALLY loved that show, and Shawn Hunter) and I was thrilled that they were creating a spin off, 14 years later. Thrilled, but like I’m sure many Boy Meets World fans were as well, also hesitant, as it was being put on the Disney Channel and I was slightly terrified they would manage to butcher something that was so iconic to so many people.
I was foolish to think Michael Jacobs would ever do anything that didn’t absolutely hit the nail right on the head, or write anything other than a fantastically respectful show that is an incredible homage to his previous works.
When I started watching the first season, I was just watching as a BMW fan. I was waiting to see my old BMW stars return (especially Shawn and Eric, my two favorites) and planned to take each episode lightly, at face value for what it was. (Sidenote: it delivered. The guest stars have almost ALL come back at this point, each with wonderfully written story lines and Jacobs seems to always find a way to place them in the episodes in such a way that is completely organic and realistic. Unless we’re talking about Eric…but that’s for another time, another entry.)
Then season 2 came and I really started paying attention. And listening. And I realized that this show is SO much more than just another Disney production. This was the real deal. This show, somehow was managing to cater to a VAST multitude of audiences and was doing it flawlessly.
First, for the 6 year olds and the young teens, there are weekly wacky predicaments the kids seem to keep getting themselves into, along with well thought out lessons from teacher/father Corey that parallel the protagonists lives exactly. This, promotes good messages and morals for the younger viewers tuning in and fits the mold of a classic Disney Teen show perfectly.
But there is also so much more.
For starters, Jacobs and his team of writers are FREAKISHLY clever when it comes to hidden goose eggs and call backs to the BMW era. In almost every single episode, there is at LEAST one throwback moment to the original series. Some of them are blatant, but some of them are not. It’s like a hidden treasure hunt where each week you set off to discover the moment or joke that has been implicated for old school fans to find reverie in.
And the character parallels. I mean incredible! Yes, characters in GMW parallel those in BMW, but the great part is not one person is EXACTLY how one of the BMW counterparts were. They are all multifaceted in their own distinct ways. Riley is a mix of Topanga, Cory AND Eric. Lucas is a little bit Jack, a little bit Topanga. Farkle is a lot of Minkus, but a dash of Topanga, too. As a BMW fanatic, you find yourself yelling “Oh my gosh, that was SO Shawn/Eric/Corey/etc of her/him!” all the time, something I could go on and on and on about but will save for future postings.
In addition to the BMW homage, Jacobs also makes the show completely multifaceted on the “engaging” level. He has the surface of things for the younger crowd, the throw backs and parallels for the BMW fans, and then ALSO manages to create these INCREDIBLE meta storylines with his characters that are so ridiculously multilayered. This is perfect for new, possibly more mature audiences and the hidden motifs, meanings and secondary storylines are so slow-game fantastic I am literally in awe after watching each different piece unfold. In every SINGLE episode, things connect in multiple ways. There is a story going on at face value, and there is an ENTIRE other story unfolding beneath the surface. The fandom has completely exploded over this, with theories and predictions getting thrown all over the place, while the writers keep the excitement alive with cryptic tweets slick double meanings, and even props/wardrobe that tell their own story.
Truthfully, I don’t think I’ve seen a show like it yet. Every 30 minute episode, even the “filler” episodes, are jam packed with meta goodness. There just aren’t writers that put this much effort into things anymore. Except for Michael Jacobs. Except for his team of incredible writers. Writers who I want to be just like.
The best part about all of it, is that Jacobs is in fact allowing BMW to write GMW in many ways, yet he is NOT writing the SAME show. Because why would he want to do that? Eventually, he would lose half of his audience (the older crowd). We loved BMW and it’s underlying message that true love can conquer all, but we’ve seen that already and we want more. So, Jacobs is focusing on something else. Instead, he’s writing a show about teens in TODAYS world- their struggle with perception vs. reality of love, what we think love means and what it actually is. It honestly can be conceived as far more realistic than the “Corpanga” ideal ever was. Each week we watch these kids grow, change, learn, fail, discover and understand. For the older viewers who have lived some life and can see the endgame of it all, are able to fully appreciate where Jacobs is heading, but are having a ball watching these young characters have absolutely no idea what they are doing or even why they are doing it (which reminds me, shout out to the great young cast of actors that know how to take incredible notes and round out their characters with such finesse).
After season 2 ended I realized that I wanted to write for this show. A multi camera, wholesome, funny show that gets just as many laughs as it does tears, never misses an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson and somehow manages to write each episode in a way that caters to not one, not two, but three specific audiences. I mean really, who does that?!
I don’t want to write for a show LIKE this, I want to write for THIS show.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get that chance. But this blog is a start.
I am going to review/reflect/analyze each episode, starting with s2 and on to the currant and future seasons, in order to get my sea legs. And then eventually, I hope to write a spec script on this show. This is the first show I have ever really wanted to create a spec script for and I geniunly can not wait to materialize my longstanding writing passions and ideas into the form of Girl Meets World. Even if Michael Jacobs never sees any of it, this show will still go on to be the spark that pushed me towards the career I have always wanted to achieve.
I hope I can gain followers in this fandom. I want to hear the responses to what I think. I want to know what you think. I want to hear what I missed. I want to know if you agree with me and I want to know what excites you about what you’re watching. It will help this be a better blog and it will help me write a much better script. So fingers crossed I can get your attention and we can enjoy this wonderful little legacy of a show together.
(PS….I know who my endgame couples are. Who are yours?)