45. Girl Meets Communism
In this episode, Farkle, Riley, and Maya become communists.
Riley throwing the paper plane to end the episode references the season one intro where Cory throws the paper plane. Auggie getting the bully in trouble and then being told he’ll be beaten up after school was a direct reference to Cory and Harley when Cory got Harley in trouble and Harley challenged him to a fight. However, they make a funny reference to season 7 when Eric and Jack dressed up like girls to avoid a bully by having Auggie dress up like Topanga. Speaking of Topanga, when the whole class dramatically gasps Topanga's name, that’s a reference to season four when Cory and Shawn did it. Also, Cory and Topanga being on opposite sides of an ideological argument involving America references the first season when Topanga didn’t say the pledge. She and Cory had a debate over it in class.
This is a very entertaining episode, but it has some flaws. First, it’s clearly out of order, like way out of order. This might be a season one episode. Farkle is still wearing his colorful outfits, which he doesn’t do anymore. Farkle is still fawning over Riley and Maya, which he also doesn’t do anymore now that he is with Smackle.
I like the stakes of this episode. Maya is in trouble. She is caught cheating and called to the honor board and Riley being on the board is a good conflict for Riley's character. I like that Maya actually did something as significant as cheating. This is one of the times they have Maya live up to her bad-girl reputation. However, I will say they could have had Maya's cheating a bigger deal. When Eric cheated, it was a way bigger deal. Even when Cory cheated on a test, that didn't matter; it was a big deal.
In this episode, Maya not only cheats, but she is open about it, and nothing happens. This is bad because the episode is preaching against nepotism and cronyism, but Maya doesn’t actually get in trouble. I like that Riley Maya and Farkle go as far as to become communist to protect Maya, and I think learning about communism this way was creative. However, it was also flawed. Cory tells the kids that if everyone is the same, there is no incentive and thus no motivation, no progress.
However, Maya did learn by studying with Farkle, so she found the incentive to learn In communism. I still don’t think she should be able to cheat, but I think the show could have made a better argument on why she shouldn’t cheat. Also, I can forgive Cory for being so pro-capitalism because they address the flaws of capitalism in other episodes. The bigger problem is that he says that in America, the individual is valued, and it seems to me like your individual values are accepted unless you are a communist. I know Cory says with his words that each individual's beliefs are valued, but he is trying to convince the kids not to be communists in the entire episode.
For example, they got an A, but he gave them a C and said communism means your score has to be divided by 3. Not if he graded like he would for a group project. He chose to divide them by three when he didn’t have to, which is symbolic of my problem with the episode. Also I wish they would have focused more on the difference between Maya getting help and being carried.
I think this is a good episode and a creative concept with some ideological flaws. It also has a hilarious ending scene. When Topanga says that Auggie is finding himself and that he can’t just be her and then he comes in dressed as her. I think the main story of Maya learning she can't get by on her friends and Auggie learning in the side plot he can't get by his family tied into each other well. Both journeys entertained me.
Homework The Eskimo season five, When I was a teenage spy season 4,
Extra credit Boy II Mensa season 1, By Hook or By Crook season 2, Father Son Game season 1, What a Drag season 7, An Affair To Forget season 4, Back 2 School season 1, On The Fence season1
44.Girl Meets Smackle
In this episode, we are introduced to Farkle's arch-nemesis Smackle as the kids learn that beauty is skin deep and not to judge people by outward appearance but by what’s on the inside. In the side plot, Auggie learns that everyone doesn’t stay together forever and that’s it’s ok to date other people.
Firstly Einstein Academy, a school the kids competed against in season four of the Boy Meets World Quiz show. Also, Auggie's freakout references when Shawn kissed Topanga for a student film and Cory flipped out in his wifebeater just Like his son Auggie did in this episode. Looking back, this was an interesting way to foreshadow that Auggie and Ava weren’t really in trouble. Also, Auggie references Cory and Topanga as a couple that taught him you were supposed to meet one person and be with them for the rest of your life. Which Topanga reveals is unrealistic.
This episode did a good job introducing Smackle. We see she is brilliant, awkward, and has a cute crush on Farkle. Plus, I think this episode did an excellent job of answering the question it set out to. Smackle gets to experience being perceived as prettier than usual, and Riley and Maya see that looks aren’t everything and learn not to underestimate Smackle. Also, Lucas showed the debate team and the whole school really he was more than he appeared. Even though the final debate was a little clunky, it got the point across that beauty is akin deep, and I love the Smackle quote that beauty is skin deep, but it’s the army inside that matters most.
Now there were also some things this episode did wrong. Starting with small things, I don’t think advising Auggie that what a girl says doesn’t matter is a wise thing woman’s words matter. Also, I was not too fond of the fake deep line where Maya says Riley is beautiful because she doesn’t understand anything. That made zero sense. Would she not be beautiful if she had more knowledge? Also, along the same lines at the end, when Farkle says he hadn’t noticed Maya and Riley were beautiful, that’s a blatant lie, and anyone who has been watching Farkle up to this point knows that.
I will say I think this episode is better at teaching a worthwhile lesson than its Boy Meets World predecessor, “Turnaround “ from BMW season two, where Shawn and Cory makeover Ingrid. However, this Girl Meets World episode lacks drama, and this is becoming a theme of Girl Meets World. Dramatic episodes so far have been the exception, not the rule. There is a lot of room in this episode for it. Why is Lucas so easily accepted? Wouldn’t it be me a more worthwhile lesson if he actually had to prove himself after being doubted by even Farkle? I get that Farkle letting him in was the nice thing to do, but it killed Lucas's story. He didn’t have to prove himself and fight assumptions that would tie into the episode. He was just let in.
Also, Smackle is basically in control the whole time. Even her being into Lucas was revealed to be a ploy to make Farkle jealous wouldn’t it have been more worthwhile for her to have underestimated what being pretty was going to be like losing herself in it and finding herself again? In the side plot, Auggie could have used Ava to have a convo with him to heighten tension instead of the oh, I guess everything ok after all moment we got. This episode was good, not great
Final grade B
Homework: Turnaround, season 2
Extra credit Hogs and Kisses season 6, Long Walk to Pittsburgh Part 2, Quiz Show season four
43. Girl Meets Terror 3
In this episode, we see a parallel universe where the kids never met.
When Lucas tells Riley a story, and she screams before he starts, that’s a reference to Eric screaming for no reason during a horror flick in season 5. I feel like this episode takes from two different Boy Meets World episodes. One is the 50’s episode in season 3 where Cory learned that he had Shawn and Topanga transcended time and space. Just like this episode, it’s a timeline where they didn’t know each other. I also feel pieces of season 5, A Very Topanga Christmas, where Cory sees his life without Topanga just like Auggie sees everyone's life without him and each other.
The odds were against this episode. The first two terror episodes were terrible. However, this one broke the trend and is actually a decent episode. One of the most significant differences between this terror and the other ones is it has an actual narrative thread. That thread is what would everyone’s lives be like if they never met each other. Also, Auggie almost died because he had never been born in this storyline which provided urgency and drama to the plot. Also, the effects of him turning into a ghost were cool. His eyes were more creepy the more he turned into a ghost.
I also enjoyed how Girl Meets World parodied itself. First, with Cory just teaching names and dates, and that’s it. That was a funny joke and a clear message to the haters about his method of teaching. I agree with him teaching history in relation to their lives; it does provide valuable lessons you couldn’t get from names and dates.
Lucas and Maya were kind of interesting. Maya is the moody underachiever making Riley do her homework. Interestingly, they decided to make each one of them have no friends instead of just different friends. But the battle between Maya and Lucas was interesting. Lucas trying to protect Riley from the shadows and Maya secretly, meaning no harm. It kind of makes you wonder what the show would be like if they started off with Lucas and Maya more hardened and built to where they are now, it would be interesting.
Riley, even while being a turned-up version of herself, was shockingly similar to her actual character. Yes, she was slightly odder, and she dressed like she was from the ’50s, but her sunshine attitude is almost the same, which is telling of her regular character. Smackle and Farkle were hilarious. I enjoyed watching them discover each other all over again. Smackle's attempts to flirt are always hilarious. My favorite attempt this episode was her surprise hug.
Auggie was actually the MVP of this episode, narrating in a way that made sense and carrying a lot of the drama. Ava was her usual funny self, and so was Doy. Ava making Doy say his name right and then making Topanga dump Doy for her was amusing. Also, I loved that Ava was the one who heard Auggie before he came back to life.
Final grade B
Homework A very Topanga Christmas season 5, I Was a Teenage Spy season 3
Extra credit Witches at Pennbrook season 5
42.Girl Meets Stem
In this episode, the girls and boys do a science experiment and end up learning about feminism.
One was Maya saying Chimichanga just like Cory said taco in season four. The other reference was Maya playing beaker basketball just like Cory played laundry basketball in season1.
I like the lesson that women shouldn’t lose interest in science and math and that men shouldn’t limit them. I also think it was necessary to point out the boys in the class weren’t responsible for making the girls drop the bean. In this case, it was a choice they made. Also, I like that they acknowledged the need for young women to be proactive in their studies and the societal trap that makes women feel like STEM isn’t for them.
However, I don’t think Maya was wrong. She said she wants it easy. Everyone wants it easy, and I don’t believe Maya should be admonished for that. We do hard work either because we have to or we are passionate about what we are doing. Oppression isn’t easy, and that’s what we are talking about with sexism. I think it’s a false parallel to say that accepting sexist gender roles society has preached to you is equivalent to wanting it easy. You can want things to be easy and be equal. Are we to believe none of the boys want things easy? I think that point missed the mark.
However, I like the experiment because it showed that neither the woman nor the men were proactive in the situation. It also showed that they needed to work together. I don’t think Farkle is sexist; I think he is just a genius that thinks he is more intelligent than everyone(usually is). I think if he had been grouped with Lucas, he tells Lucas to drop the bean. However, he needed Riley as brilliant as he is. He wouldn’t have figured out the experiment without her, so they needed to work together. I think they were the shining example for the class. So even though there was a hiccup in the message, I think the lesson overall about STEM was good.
I didn’t love Auggie's story. Sports isn’t about trophies. It’s about personal achievement and perseverance. Auggie represents an unrealistic premise in my mind. There is no way he was scored on 27 times, and he doesn’t know that he lost because he got a trophy.
Also, if Ava can’t enjoy such a huge win just because they have the same size trophy, she has a problem. I’d agree with her if they didn’t get a win or something. But the idea of awarding participation assumes that the coach got the team ready to play, the team tried their hardest, and was rewarded for their efforts.
So to answer Auggie's question of why I should try, it's so you can win the game. A participation trophy doesn’t change the fact that there was a winner and a loser, and even if they got no trophy, the kids would know that. Also, the fact that Auggie's attitude was so poor honestly reflects on Cory and Topanga. Topanga clearly felt a way about Auggie's behavior, but she wouldn’t say anything. She nurtured his mediocrity. I’m not saying she needs to be a helicopter parent or push Auggie to play a sport he doesn’t want to play. But why does it take Ava to set Auggie straight? Why couldn’t Topanga make him try? As parents, it’s okay to say I don’t expect you always win, but I expect you to always try. I would let him know I’m not going to pay for him to go out there and not try. Participation trophies aren’t the enemy. They're actually pretty nice if everyone is trying their best and coaches and parents come in.
This side story represents the main story's worst philosophy, which equates a lack of equality to wanting it easy. That counts against the best part of the story where men and women learn to respect each other as equals, and they teach the audience an important lesson about women and Stem. The final grade is a balance between those two elements of the episode.
Homework Shallow Boy season 4
extra credit Season 1 Boy Meets Girl
41. Girl Meets the Secret of Life
In this episode, one of Lucas' old friends, Zay, returns, and then the kids start to wonder if Lucas is who they thought he was.
The biggest Boy Meets World reference is to Feeny's Math problem. Cory assigns the kids the same math problem he got in season one. Also, they show the backroom Brenda character and continue the comedic Belgium gag in this episode.
I like the concept of this episode a lot. If we are honest, Lucas had very little going for him as a character until this moment. The show even references that when Farkle asked if anything would happen for Lucas, and he replies, nothing ever happens with me.
However, his friend Zay transfers from Texas and reveals Lucas is a year older because he was expelled for a year. Suddenly Riley wonders if he is the same Lucas because nothing Zay is telling them is lining up with the moral compass they know. I like that we were able to see a different side of Lucas. It made Lucas more interesting as a character. Lucas has a dark past and was apparently getting in a lot of fights in Texas.
I also liked that they brought back Feeny's math problem with a twist and had the kids actually wash a car to try and solve it. I thought Cory's explanation after the car was profound. Some questions don’t have answers, and some things only work out on paper. Ultimately teaching them that people change people, and that’s the secret of life. That’s why Cory lets the class talk in class. It was an excellent lesson, and they explored it in an entertaining way that added depth to Luca's character and introduced a new character.
Shawn directed this episode, and there were a lot of production things to like in this episode. I noticed that Riley had her own world; for the most part, in this episode, she went places where it was only kids, and they talked things out and figured them out together without their parents, and when they went to their parents like Cory, Cory gave them knowledge in the proper context and place. Cory and Topanga felt more like they were guiding and not driving, which is good.
However, this episode had some negatives too. First off, I didn’t like the way Riley demanded to know what Lucas did. She isn’t owed the knowledge of what happened to Lucas at the last school. It’s not her business. Also, while seeing the dark side in Lucas was cool, I didn't like the almost fight. Why should this other guy be looked at as a thug and Lucas looked at as a hero? Lucas still came in and threatened him and grabbed him. The other guy was well within his rights to fight Lucas. That moment just felt to me like Luca's rage was rewarded.
Riley literally looks at him like, oh, he's so dreamy as he is about to thrash the other guy and idolizing that isn’t the message that should be being sent. Also, I gave this episode props for its lack of parents, but Cory ruins the whole scene. The fact that a teacher would release a student to confront another student and then would take some of his students to see the confrontation without stopping it is ridiculous. It makes the whole scene absurd.
This scene would have been way better if it were after school, and it was just Maya and Riley who happened upon this scene, but because they include Cory, this doesn’t feel like the kid's world. It feels sanctioned and strange. Also, I don’t like how the only black main character is treated like a weakling who needs the white love interest to save him. Literally calling out to Lucas like a damsel in distress was ridiculous. Zay had zero self-respect, and I hate that choice by the writers.
Lastly, there were two cool meta moments. I loved Yogi asking about the meaning of life and breaking the cycle of only those four main characters talking. I also love the end when Topanga and Cory finally seem to accept their parent roles in the scene where they say we couldn’t get up and leave when we were kids, but now that we are parents, we can do whatever we want.
Homework: Once in Love With Amy BMW season 1
Girl Meets First Date Season 1