As we head into the insanity that is Girl Meets World’s season 2 premiere week, I thought I’d write up a little post ranking my favorite episodes from season 1. Ranking them was VERY difficult and I’m still not 100% sure I’m happy with the order so feel free to comment and tell me how wrong I am.
5) Girl Meets Demolition
Okay, so I’m kind of already breaking the rules by including this episode. I get that it’s not technically part of season 1 but it came out before season 2 so… it counts okay? This, in my opinion, is by far the most consistently funny episode to date (that bay window scene still kills me). Things just clicked. The actors brought their A game and the writing was streamlined down to one story. There were guest stars galore and thankfully they all gelled nicely with the cast. I loved the little moments like the astronaut on the horse or Riley loving the candy store. Topanga was highlighted in her role as a lawyer and they even threw in a few adult themed jokes. For me, the best part of this episode was how Riley really took control and proved her intelligence by the end of the episode. More moments like that in season 2 please! The only real reason that this episode isn’t higher on my list is that it was a bit too heightened for my taste. It was very funny but I prefer the more down to earth, pull at your heart strings style of episode. Also, it got a little preachy near the end there.
4) Girl Meets Father
In my opinion this was the first really strong episode of the series. It gave me confidence that I wasn’t just doing a podcast on a dumb Disney show but rather a program with legitimate potential. From the “9th Grade Woman” to the freeze frame ending, this ep was filled with strong comedic moments. Perhaps even more importantly, it was the start of what would become the standout character arc of the season. Sabrina Carpenter pulled off a nicely vulnerable performance here and the father-daughter relationship forged between Maya and Cory led to one of the series’s most aww worthy moments: the father-daughter dance. Additionally, this was a strong episode for Auggie (as his father’s spy) and introduced us to the magic that is Laya for the first time. Girl Meets Father also contained one of the greatest uses of a classroom lesson, as the theme of evolution tied nicely into the episode’s larger message while not being blindingly obvious from the get-go. While there are some odd continuity choices and it isn’t quite as funny as some of the others, it definitely stands out as one of my favorites.
3) Girl Meets The Truth
What made Boy Meets World truly special was its ability to mix comedy with real life lessons delivered in a nuanced fashion. Girl Meets The Truth is the best example yet of the writers really diving in and examining a topic from multiple angles, teaching you something while also not giving you definitive answers. Truth and honesty are topics that most adults could stand to spend a little more time examining. Do you lie to protect someone? When does “just being honest” turn into just being an ass? I loved how the three different plotlines of the week all examined different sides of this concept while also providing great comedy (in the form of Cory and Topanga) and larger arc progression (in the form of Maya’s locket). Using Auggie as the voice of reason who ultimately doesn’t really have the answers was a stroke of genius and probably his best use yet. This is also one of the few episodes where Riley and Maya have legitimate conflict and it’s based on something far more interesting than a boy. The cherry on top of this episode is the ridiculousness of a Pigeon being positioned as God. I just find that really silly in a great way. Now, part of me really wanted to make this my favorite episode but unfortunately it also contains some of my least favorite moments for both Lucas and Farkle. The whole play storyline ranges from nonsensical to representationally problematic. It’s a shame because otherwise I really enjoy this episode.
2) Girl Meets Home for the Holidays
It just felt like home. Call it blind nostalgia if you want but it just felt like Boy Meets World to me. Shawn was Shawn. He was perfect. He brought in the energy I’d been missing and he helped Cory and Topanga to feel like themselves again. The ep was jam packed with guest stars but the pacing was such that I felt like everyone got their moment. The holidays were a smart, organic reason to bring back all these characters and I don’t think someone like Alan really needed his own story. It was just nice seeing him in this supporting role. The Amy subplot, while somewhat mishandled, was incredibly brief and had a solid resolution. Josh I found immediately likable, from his connection to Auggie to his fun flirtation with Maya. What really made the Josh/ Maya stuff work for me was that it was a total side plot for her that episode. Her main goal was protecting Riley and her chemistry with Shawn was incredibly strong (no pun intended). The Shawn plotline unfolded in a way that I found both consistent with his character and compelling for the future of the series. He’s Shawn, still vulnerable, still wounded and looking for a home.
1) Girl Meets Maya’s Mother
I forgot how much I loved this episode but looking back there were just so many fun parts to it. “Silly little weirdo,” “Baby Minkii,” French Lucas, paint battles, and magic tricks all came together to provide one really enjoyable episode. Girl Meets Maya’s Mother just really hit all the boxes on my checklist. It was funny (the dinner table scene made me laugh out loud). Auggie, Lucas, and Farkle were all used effectively without taking over the episode. It taught a strong lesson with Riley realizing that you can’t control everything. All this was done while also introducing Maya’s mother and taking a major step forward in Maya’s arc for the season. The tuna sandwich moment was effectively touching while also providing nuance to Katy’s character. Now I wasn’t a huge fan of Katy’s birthing monologue and the Minkus scene was a little clunky but I was glad he didn’t take over the episode. I don’t need a Minkus focused episode so a cameo is totally fine with me especially when done in a natural way. Career day was a logical way to sneak him in without giving him center stage. The episode isn’t perfect but I really appreciated that it ended on a bittersweet moment. For now Maya was happy with half a mom and that felt tragically real to me.