Riarkle vs Rucas in GM The Truth
(I haven’t slept in over 24 hours so this won’t be as…composed as I’d like it to be, but I’ve wanted to rant about this since the episode literally aired so w/e)
Okay, to begin: Fuck Romeo and Juliet.
I mean, it’s one of my favorite plays if I’m being honest, but fuck, do tv shows over use it so much. Like I can think of so many shows from when I was a kid, that when they wanted to have the main character freak out over their first kiss, they were cast as a lead in Romeo and Juliet opposite their crush. And theeeeen, something whacky happens to prevent it from happening anyway, and maybe if you were lucky, you’d get a cute scene between the two of them at the end of the episode laughing about it. It’s so overdone and tired.
And that’s why I really like how gmw did it.
Okay, so I’m going to start this with three questions. 1) Does everyone remember Romeo and Juliet being mentioned in bmw?, and 2) Why hadn’t Riley and Lucas kissed in rehearsal?, and 3) Why did they use that specific scene?
BMW referenced Shakespeare plays…like, a lot. But they only ever brought up Romeo and Juliet when they wanted to emphasize that it was a tragedy. Like, there are literally scenes where Cory is using it because he hadn’t finished the play so all he knew was “big epic love story” and it made him think of him and Topanga. He was using Romeo and Juliet to describe their relationship and Feeny had him skip ahead to the end to get him to stop. They never painted Romeo and Juliet as a beautiful love story, the epitome of romance, like so many other shows/movies/books have. So it makes you wonder why, even so early on, they’d have Lucas and Riley playing the parts? When they were still being presented to the audience as the Next Corpanga. And of course this brings me to wonder what their rehearsals were like? How had Riley and Lucas never kissed before the night of the performance. No director would be chill with that unless they were going to cut the kiss altogether, or had ultimately agreed upon a stage kiss (which seems more likely with 12 year olds in a school play). But also…Romeo and Juliet kiss earlier in the play. Which brings me to:
The scene they chose was very important. Every time, and I mean every time, people try to use Romeo and Juliet to emphasize romance, they use the balcony scene. It’s where they first profess their love and share their first kiss. It’s an important scene. Every time someone wants to have the show’s main “to-be” couple deal with their feelings/first kiss/overall chemistry, and they’re in Romeo and Juliet, you always see them sweating over the balcony scene. Because it’s always meant to symbolize the beginning. The balcony scene is the beginning of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship, and it’s so sweet to watch that when they don’t focus on the rest of the show, you never seem to remember that the plays a tragedy. So we’re what, 5 episodes into this brand new show, and they’ve shoved Lucas and Riley as the OTP in our face, and we’re about to see them have their first kiss Romeo and Juliet style. So what scene do they decide to use?
The Death Scene
For anyone who doesn’t know, Juliet is drugged but Romeo thinks she’s dead. He kisses her lips one last time, then kills himself. She wakes up, realizes what’s happened, and stabs herself in the stomach with his dagger. How fucking romantic, amirite? Eyes look your last/ Arms they take your last embrace/ And lips, oh you the doors of death/ Seal with a righteous kiss. That is the stuff of true, lasting soul mates right there, guys. That’s the line Lucas was reciting right before his big “moment” was supposed to happen. No comparing her to the sun or the moon or a summers day. Lucas’s “moment” as he called it was literally kissing her before they die. Doesn’t anyone find it a little funny looking back now, seeing as from the moment they kiss in ‘First Date’, Riley and Lucas have literally only gone downhill? In GM Truth, of all the potential scenes they could have gone with, they decide to have Riley and Lucas act out a kiss before a tragic end to a very short relationship. Can anyone tell me what foreshadowing is?
But, even more important: they never get to the kiss. Lucas doesn’t finish his lines and die, and Riley’s not so despaired she ends her life, And you know why we don’t see it getting that far?
Farkle swoops in.
Tiny little Farkle, with his bowl cut and tooth gap and plastic spear, swoops in to “save” his “woman” from Lucas. And I mean, put yourself in Riley’s shoes for a second here. You’re a 12 year old girl, you’ve got the starring role in your school play and your ~hunky~ crush is just about to kiss you. Then all of the sudden, your friend bursts in and ruins the whole show. The whole finale- you don’t get your kiss, you don’t get to deliver the big ending monologue you spent so much time practicing, your best friend who you always feel you’re in the shadow of is brought on stage to lay next to you. The show’s a mess and everyone is there to see it happen, and the boy who ruined the whole thing for you isn’t even sorry/doesn’t seem to realize he’s done anything wrong. Wouldn’t you be pissed? Even a little bit? Wouldn’t you maybe yell at him, or try to get him off the stage, or give him a cold shoulder when you see him later? At the very least scowl at him or something.
But Riley’s not mad at Farkle. Just look at her face when he comes on and interrupts the scene- Lucas looks startled and annoyed the longer it goes on, but Riley just rolls her eyes and smiles fondly- her special Farkle Smile- as if she had totally expected this to happen. It really makes me think of the look of sheer Exasperated Fondness that Topanga gives Cory, like, all the time. And Riley gets it on her face whenever Farkle does anything extra Farkly. But this specific moment, when he’s making a fool out of himself onstage, has always immediately put me in mind of the episode where Cory and Shawn made a fake band. Cory made a complete idiot of himself in front of the whole school, but Topanga was there, all smiles and tender eyes because “I don’t care that you can’t play the guitar, you just looked so cute up there!” Like…it’s literally the exact expression Riley has on her face in this scene. Someone please gif it for me or something. She doesn’t care that he’s essentially ruining what could be a big moment for her. You can see her giving him this look at least once an episode. She’s exasperated, yes, but you bet your ass she probably thinks it’s the sweetest thing in the world that Farkle feels the need to “defend” her. Riley is the one who has never really seemed to mind Farkle’s feelings for her. There might be a few instances of her being embarrassed by one of his proclamations, but she never really seems annoyed by him or his feelings. She has a completely different way of responding to them than Maya does. So, yeah, she really wanted to kiss Lucas and have her 15 minutes of fame. But despite that, she clearly thinks it’s sweet Farkle felt the need to go to the lengths that he did to make sure Lucas doesn’t 'steal’ her from him or something.
“But I’m supposed to kiss the girl, Shakespeare said!” Yeah, Lucas, sweetie. He did. But then he also said that you lead to her downfall. We didn’t get to see you comparing Riley the Sun for a reason, bucko. We got you reciting the lines that literally end up ruining Juliet. But, oh wait, didn’t Farkle already compare her to the Sun four episodes before this…? Yikes.
And every time so far we’ve seen Riley being upset over Lucas drama, who’s the guy that swoops in, reads her like a book, and does everything he can to make her feel better? Oh, yeah, Farkle. What a coincidence.
And then, Riley spends the rest of the episode protecting Farkle. Like, what, a week, trying to make sure he doesn’t find out people have been making fun of him and talking about what a bad actor he is and how he ruined the show. Her big starring moment was ruined, Riley, the girl who only wants to find a thing she’s good at so she can feel like she fits in somewhere. Her big moment was taken from her, and instead of being upset, she dedicates her time and effort to make sure the guy that ruined it doesn’t get upset. She knows he loves acting and thought he did a good job, and doesn’t want to break his heart. Like, seriously, look at her face when she sees him laying on the stage because the director banned him and he figured out how bad he was. She almost looks more upset than he does! This girl literally says “I’m sorry that I could never bring myself to hurt you!”. Oh my God. And the fact that her internal dilemma wasn’t even that she was lying, just that she was lying to Farkle. She was lying to him to protect him and keep him happy, but she was being torn up about keeping something from him.
“We don’t lie to each other, Riley!”
And then, even though Shakespeare said Romeo/Lucas was “supposed to kiss the girl”…We don’t get that. We get Farkle kissing Riley in their very own Corpanga Parallel.
(Didn’t Cory eventually say he and Topanga were better than Romeo and Juliet once he read the end?) Does no one else find it funny that just like we’re told Romeo has to kiss Juliet, we were told Lucas was Riley’s Topanga, that they were supposed to be, but the very first Big-In-Your-Face-Corpanga parallel we get is between Riley and Mr. Farkle Changing the Storyline Spear Carrier Minkus?
And then Lucas says “I just can’t believe that little guy stole my moment!” Which of course, brings to mind “She ends up with Farkle…How did we not see that coming?”
I’m about to fall asleep at my desk so…I rest my case.