This one is going to be kind of long, so get comfy.
need to talk about the Riley Committee and how this relates to
everything that is going on and everything that will be happening
trajectory-wise in Girl Meets World.
In Girl Meets Pluto,
Maya and Farkle have a conversation with Lucas in which they explain the
purpose of the Riley Committee and why Riley was unaware of the fact
that Pluto was not a planet anymore:
Maya: She doesn’t know because she has us. Farkle: The Riley Committee. Maya: The committee exists to keep certain information away from Riley. Lucas: Like what? Farkle: Everything really.
- GM Pluto
Why is this important? What does the Riley Committee have to do with anything?
Quite a bit.
we need to understand is that this show is about Riley and Maya and how
their friendship will grow and change as a result of the obstacles that
This is where the committee starts to come into play.
and Maya’s relationship thrives best when there is a balance. Maya
balancing out Riley’s naivete with a dose of realism. Riley balancing
out Maya’s cynicism with a dose of hope (with help from Lucas, but
that’s another post in itself). This is how it was for a while. Until
Many people have written on the unhealthy
co-dependency that Maya and Riley have so I’m not going to beat a dead
horse. However, I just want to mention that this is incredibly important
in terms of understanding how the Riley committee has stunted Riley’s
growth and how this ultimately led Riley to where she is right now,
Maya and Farkle were ‘committeeing’ Riley
because they loved the way Riley was. They loved Riley’s optimism and
her belief that everything will turn out well and that everything
happens for a reason. Especially Maya. Much in the same way that Riley
admitted that she pushed Maya back to where she wanted her to be,
Maya had kept Riley in a figurative box by withholding information that
would challenge her worldview in a significant way While it was not
intentional, the consequences of this result in Riley’s growth being
significantly stunted in comparison to Maya’s last season.
If we look at season two, the season of growth, we find that Maya had grown in a major way:
She went from her mantra of hope is for suckers to
actually being optimistic about things happening to her and believing
in things and people. For Maya, this was a huge step in terms of
character development and progression. We see this happen in a series of
progressive moments throughout the season. Her developing relationship
with Shawn, her art, her relationship with Lucas, her relationship with
her mother, her relationship with Riley.
Maya is allowed to
grow because there is no ‘well-meaning but misguided’ group of friends
to prevent her from experiencing the world through an unfiltered lens.
we contrast this with Riley, while she did grow quite a bit, her growth
was not quite as significant as Maya’s for a multitude of reasons:
1. She was being committeed.
and Farkle both care very deeply for Riley, albeit in different
ways.This carries over to how they want her to view the world. Riley’s
belief in people was always the best thing about her. It was what
allowed her to help spark a significant positive change in Maya and give
her the chance to discover what hope is. (What happens when you meet a
good influence and they change you for the better?) And with Farkle,
it’s what allowed him to start on the path of realizing that feelings
can be greater than science (another post as well).
there was no malice in Maya and Farkle’s actions, by withholding any
information that could significantly change Riley’s perspective or
outlook on life, she wouldn’t lose the qualities that Maya and Farkle
(but especially Maya) depended on to grow and thrive.
2. Perception vs. Reality
& Co-dependency withstanding, this is the biggest detriment to
Riley’s growth. How does her being committeed have anything to do with
You’d be surprised.
Riley’s life from the get go was set up in such a way that this was going to be an issue. Unfortunately for Riley, one of the few downsides
of having Cory and Topanga as your parents and hearing all of their
stories made her buy into the idea that her love life had to be similar
to her parents because that’s what she was supposed to do.
also plays a large role in Riley and Lucas’ relationship, and why it
has been somewhat of an uphill battle trying to get together. (But
again, that’s another post in itself.)
On top of having a
clear misunderstanding of the relationship her parents had and the
obstacles they had to overcome in order to be together, she was getting
another dose of Perception vs. Reality with the Riley committee.
not being able to experience life through an unfiltered lens, Riley’s
understanding of what is real and what is not real is clouded.
So, how did we get to where we are now? As of GM True Maya. There
are a few variables which contributed to Riley essentially committeeing
Maya, which manifests itself as misdiagnosed over-correction. The two I
want to focus on are the misdiagnosis itself and Lucas.
I’ll start off with a question: What happens to growth when feelings are pulled into the mix?
Maya, her growth is not only stunted, but regressed. She is pushed back
by Riley because she had gone “too far into Rileytown.” This had
started off by Riley misunderstanding the point of Mr Jackson (the art
teacher’s) critique of Maya’s painting which resulted in Riley
successfully convincing everyone around her that Maya “had become her”
instead of “Maya has grown as a person”.
This is why Riley was met with such resistance from Maya at first:
“What’s wrong with who I am now?”
“What’s wrong with both of us liking a nice guy?”
“My voice is still my voice, Riley. It’s going to take more than hair, clothes, and some boy to convince me otherwise.”
Ultimately, after Riley finished committeeing Maya, this is the end result:
“I only brought you back to exactly where I need you to be, and I was careful not to go too far.”
Riley did to Maya what Maya and Farkle (but mostly Maya) did to Riley
last season. Except the difference is that instead of just keeping Maya where she was, Riley pushed Maya
back into that figurative box where Maya was “edgy and outspoken”
because it is the only world that Riley has even known. Because feelings
can have a great impact on growth, Maya and Riley are trying to cling
on to what they’ve known because they are afraid of what will happen to
their friendship if they explore their feelings. It makes it especially
difficult when they have feelings for the same boy.
Which brings me to Lucas “I’m always tired” Friar.
is an interesting factor in this whole situation. The irony of how
Lucas is indirectly involved in Maya being committeed is palpable. This
triangle situation has been going on for quite some time. It has caused a
strain on Riley/Lucas/Maya and their friendship suffers as a result.
Therefore, Lucas has to make a decision. Here is where things get
Riley does not want to discuss their
feelings about the triangle. Every opportunity she took, Riley tried to
either resolve the triangle with methods that were unrealistic (i.e. GM
Jexica) or indirectly or unintentionally questioning Maya’s feelings for
The reason why this is so ironic is while Maya and
Riley are out trying to figure out who Maya is, Lucas takes every
opportunity he can get to affirm WHO Maya is. This is exemplified in the
When Lucas is with Zay and Farkle and they are doing the jellybean test to determine who Lucas should pick
When Lucas is with Topanga and Katy and he tells Katy that she’s a wonderful mother
When Lucas admits that “deep down Maya is beautiful.”
Maya is confused about who she is and Lucas tries to remind her that
trying to be something you’re not doesn’t get you anywhere. (I find it
interesting how she physically backs up when Lucas tries to closer. Such
an interesting visual cue.)
Although we are never shown who
Lucas who have chosen given the opportunity to speak because he was cut
off by Maya, at the very least we know that Lucas knows who Maya is. I
also find it very interesting that Lucas chose this time to bring up
what happened in Texas and how he was trying to be something else. But
what was very interesting was Maya’s response:
Lucas: Maya, what’s going on with you?
Maya: It’s like I don’t have a role here anymore. Riley the sweet, Farkle the genius, Lucas the good.
Lucas: Aww, I thought that was gone.
Maya: It’s not gone. I’m gone. I’m the one whose gone!
up from seat) Maya, I’ve been down this road, forget it. I missed a
whole year of school because I thought I had to be something and that
doesn’t get you anywhere
Maya: And now you say please and thank you and what does that get you?
- GM True Maya
isn’t the only individual who has two sides to them. Lucas has his
“Texas” side and his “New York” side and just like Maya he needs to come
to a place where he can reconcile the two. (I would recommend a GM The
Secret of Life rewatch). This is why I wholeheartedly believe that
Farkle is to Riley what Lucas is to Maya. A voice of clarity during
tough times. And it is interesting to wonder what would have happened to
Maya’s growth if it were Lucas who was helping Maya instead of Riley…
But, I digress.
The triangle is what got Maya all mixed up,
feelings-wise. She knew that she had these feelings for Lucas, BUT she
knew that Riley has and always will be the best thing that has happened
to her. So again, I’ll ask:
What happens to growth when feelings are pulled into the mix?
this is all happening Riley has convinced Maya, with the help of the
adults in her life that she has lost her voice and needed to “come
So she did. Except… she doesn’t fully. Based on some
spoilers that I’ve heard, even though she painted a mural of hope, she
isn’t in the place that she was in at the peak of her growth in season
two. She has been committeed by Riley and she has to find her way back
to a place where she has the best of herself and Riley. Just like how
Riley needs to be allowed to be in an environment that will help her
grow past her innocent naivete. @theowldetective has a phenomenal post on where Riley and Maya need to end up if you guys wanted a more in-depth analysis on it.
story short, being committeed while trying to navigate through one’s
feelings can have severe implications on growth. People change people,
it’s the secret of life ;).
EDIT 2: I forgot to mention that Cory is actually partially responsible as well for committeeing Riley and somewhat stunting her growth as well. While there are plenty of examples I could draw from where this happens, I want to choose GM Permanent Record because it is the most recent example of this happening and it is also a significant moment for both Cory and Riley.
In Girl Meets PR as most of you know, Riley gets her first D. I won’t bore you with the recap, just watch or rewatch the episode for the details. Anyways what’s important to note here is how Cory initially responds to Riley’s failing grade, he goes in and tries to get the teacher to change her grade to no avail. Cory, like Lucas ended up coming to the revelation that he couldn’t protect Riley like he could in middle school. He had to learn separation of duties. His duty to Riley as a father was to be there for her and comfort her in times of need as well as provide support and encouragement where needed.
His job as a teacher is to see what she knows. To help her learn as much as possible while she’s in her classroom. To see how history relates to their present.
However, the reason why this episode was a big one for Riley and Cory was that although Cory has committeed Riley in the past, in this episode he realized that it isn’t the appropriate response. What do you know? How does your history relate to your present? Who we are affects who we become.
The difference between Riley & Maya’s behaviour with each other and Cory’s behaviour with Riley is this: Cory’s committeeing of Riley doesn’t stem from a lack of self-identity or co-dependency, but rather from a desire to protect her as her father.
Also, Riley and Farkle’s moment together in the Bay Window was incredibly overlooked. Stay tuned, I got some sweet posts coming.