A Girl Meets World Podcast

Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

He Still Loves You, Donna Karan

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The following is a guest blog written by Gemma, (One name. Like Prince… not Madonna… at least that’s what she tells us) one of our loyal podcast listeners. She had some strong, detailed, and intelligent thoughts about Girl Meets World’s handling of Shawn and Angela and we wanted to help foster that kind of critical analysis. While we don’t necessarily agree with all of her points, (we’ll get into this next podcast) we think it’s important to share a variety of perspectives. If you’d like to write a guest blog for the site send us an email at gmwpodcast@gmail.com and we’ll look over what you have. Take it away Gemma.

OK, so the well hyped Girl Meets World episode Girl Meets Hurricane aired on June 19th 2015. In essence it uses Boy Meets World characters to its advantage, but pays little homage to them. Shawn Hunter went from not knowing what he’s supposed to be for Maya Hart to sitting in the “daddy chair.” Cory Matthews was frantically warning Shawn about the arrival of Shawn’s lost love Angela Moore like she was the Bubonic plague, even though Cory made efforts to be friends with her in Boy. The use of both Shawn’s dad Chet Hunter’s ghost and Angela to promote Shawn and Katy Hart’s gender-biased, misogynistic [1], budding relationship was irresponsible and repugnant. It all pushes harder than Maya pushes Josh for something that hasn’t been developed at all. Show, don’t tell.  (more…)

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Dan’s Top 5 Episodes of Season 1

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

DEBBY RYAN, DANIELLE FISHEL, BEN SAVAGE, ROWAN BLANCHARD, SABRINA CARPENTER

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

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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

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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

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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.

 

In Light of Recent Events

We on the “Kids Get Acquainted With The Internet” Podcast try to have a discourse rather than blind faith fanboy/girling over the show. We want to critique it objectively in a way that allows us to look at it and suggest ways to better it over time. We respect the show enough to put it through this type of scrutiny and we believe the fans deserve the best. We are taking into account the social responsibility of the show in an ever-changing world, formal elements, drama, humor, and overall aesthetic qualities rather than regurgitating nice points to an audience that already agrees with us in order to reaffirm beliefs and validate both them and ourselves as fans. Expressing a formal issue with the craft of writing and producing television is not attacking the actor, nor his fans. It is identifying weaknesses to be improved on within the structure of show. Discussing strengths and weaknesses of the use of a character as it works into the grand scheme of show and its intentions is extremely valid and not at all petty. It is critical analysis. I would also emphasize that critical does not mean negative as some of is more modern connotations would imply. It means taking a stance which involves the removal of dogma and bias and relies on careful observation and working things out logically on a formal level.

We are a podcast. The whole point is to have an intelligent discussion to compare and contrast the two shows in regards to their cultural contexts. It is a discussion; we are three people; we don’t always agree. We all have various backgrounds and significant educations that entitle us to at least some decent amount of validity in approaching these topics. We read tweets and emails from listeners to allow them to weigh in their own opinions and thoughts in regards to what we have said. I would invite you to read the material released on the blog and on twitter a little more carefully, perhaps a little more critically, and refrain from misconstruing and misrepresenting our feelings. We have made no personal attacks but have received a few. This is unfortunate and heightens the need for discourse like this in such a setting as twitter where reactions, impulses, and impressions are formed quickly and quite often very uncritically.

Auggie Talk

combine_imagesToday we tweeted “S1 Morgan scenes are how Auggie should be handled. Shorter scenes where the kid is in more of a supporting role” and after we got a few responses we decided that we should explain our feelings in more detail.

We think it’s difficult, but not impossible, to write good drama with a five year old character. Great drama is at the root of great comedy. Auggie is a fun character and has worked really well in a supporting role in episodes like Girl Meets Maya’s Mother, Girl Meets Father, and Girl Meets the Truth. Overall, however, we don’t think he has had any real drama when he has taken the lead in his own plotline, and his scenes have gone on too long taking away from stories about Maya and Riley. In Girl Meets World of Terror we felt that the Auggie plotline was by far the weakest of the 3 stories. Though it had its strong points most of our listeners agreed with us that it went on too long and that they would have prefered a story about Lucas’s fears. Also, it is easy to disconnect from Auggie scenes when they play up his young age, such as holding up his hand to show how old he is repeatedly, or when he starts shrieking in a shouting match with the monster in GMWoT. Things like this can make his character feel very stereotyped and his scenes contrived. Overall it feels like they are pushing too hard to capture a “cute factor” and it detracts from the main plotline of the episode when this takes over. In addition much of the writing for his character seems forced and unrealistic (ie. him concerned about Ava’s affections); they serve as a placeholder for sentiments that do not originate from within the character, but rather from projected ideas rooted in the expectation of a stereotyped character. Season 1 Morgan was also used as a “cute factor” but not quite as bluntly and also did not hinder the progression of other characters in the way that Topanga then gets trapped into dealing almost only with Auggie in scenes that share the same central themes and structure.

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A lot of our favorite moments of BMW were the ones that really hit you in the gut and were great character and drama moments. In season 1 of BMW Morgan had moments like this, such as when she broke the window in “Risky Business” and was worried she was going to be in trouble. This led to a great moment where Cory was worried for her safety, then took the blame for her, and was a great big brother. Morgan’s role, however, did not take over the whole episode and she was only in short, small scenes. None of this is to say we don’t like August Maturo, or that he hasn’t grown as an actor, but in our opinions he is just better utilized as a supporting character at this point in the series.