This one is for the Bird Watchers


This one is going to be kind of long, so get comfy.

We 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.

What 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 they face.

This is where the committee starts to come into play.

Riley 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 growth occurred.

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, development-wise.

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.

If 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.

Maya 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).

While 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

Triangle & Co-dependency withstanding, this is the biggest detriment to Riley’s growth. How does her being committeed have anything to do with this?

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.

This 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.

By 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?

For 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.”

Essentially, 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.

Lucas 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 interesting.

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 Lucas.

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 following instances:

  • 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.”
  • When 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!

Lucas: (gets 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

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?

While 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 back.”

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.

Long 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 1: Here’s the link to theowldetective’s post if you wanted to read it:

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.

Originally posted by loveholic198