Friday, May 15, 2015

Signpost for Newcomers

Hey there! Welcome to Boy Meets World Reviewed, I'm Sean. For the time I wrote this blog, my blogspot display name was ConfidenceKBM (it is now Sean). You'll see "ConfidenceKBM" in the comments and elsewhere, so yeah, that's me, the author.

Good luck trudging through my reviews of the first season. They're rough. But there's a ton of great discussion once we get into the meat of the series! I hope you enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!

If you like Girl Meets World, I'm currently co-writing a review blog for that as well here: Girl Meets World Reviewed!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Girl Meets World Reviewed!

Hey everyone! First off, if I didn't manage to respond to your comment on the Epilogue, in particular The Longest Comment in The Universe, I apologize, but I want you to know that I absolutely read it and loved it and love you.

Second, my contributions to Girl Meets World Reviewed have begun! You'll definitely want to check that out, I think our conversational review format is really cool. I wanted to keep it mobile friendly, so it is gif-free. I started making those gifs capture the classic lines and moments in BMW, and obviously a new show doesn't have classic lines, so I'm sure we'll live without them.

Third, and most importantly, keep on dancin'.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 27, 2015


So with all the clip reels of the various relationships in the finale, I got to thinking about which one I liked the best. My gut reaction is Eric/Feeny, and we've all spoken at great length about how wonderful they were together in seasons 3 and 4. But then at the end of the finale when Shawn says "You never gave up on me," that hit me so hard and made me wonder if maybe Shawn/Feeny is the best. It's never quite as strong as Eric/Feeny, but it pops up throughout most of the series, as early as The Fugitive in season 1, while Eric/Feeny is mostly restricted to 3 and 4. We also have to consider Shawn/Cory, which is of course the backbone of all seven seasons, and at times is as emotional as Eric/Feeny. Shawn/Cory is lovable, emotional, and hysterical for the entire series, but it never really inspires me the way the two Feeny relationships do. So yeah. I don't know if I have an answer for this one yet. Maybe I'll just have to watch the series a few more times.

That brings up an interesting point. One of the biggest questions I thought about while I worked on this blog was whether or not I'd still want to watch the show when I was done, whether this deep analysis and criticism would exhaust my interest in it. I can say with 100% certainty that I still want to watch the show. Some of the episodes I'll probably never watch again, except maybe when that creeping thought of "was it really that bad?" works its way into my head. Others, I don't think I could ever grow tired of. So I present today's first list, in chronological order (here's the full list of episodes if you want to play along

Infinitely Watchable Episodes

Season 1: Father Knows Less, Cory's Alternative Friends, Santa's Little Helper, Boy Meets Girl (4 total)

Season 2: Back 2 School, Pairing Off, Me and Mr. Joad, The Uninvited ("It's a geek party!!"), The Beard, Turnaround, Breaking Up Is Really, Really Hard To Do, Pop Quiz, Career Day (9 total)

Season 3: He Said, She Said, This Little Piggy, The Last Temptation of Cory, City Slackers, A Kiss Is More Than A Kiss ("BORIS college?") The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, Stormy Weather, I Never Sang For My Legal Guardian, Brother Brother (9 total)

Season 4: Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow ("He's the good lookin guy!"), I Ain't Gonna Spray Lettuce No More, Shallow Boy, Janitor Dad, Turkey Day, An Affair to Forget, Easy Street, B & B's B 'n B, Chick Like Me, Uncle Daddy, Quiz Show, Security Guy, Learning to Fly (13 total)

Season 5: How To Succeed in Business, Last Tango In Philly, Raging Cory, The Eskimo, Heartbreak Cory, And Then There Was Shawn, Eric Hollywood, Things Change, Graduation (9 total)

Season 6: We'll Have A Good Time Then, Can I Help To Cheer You?, Bee True (3 total)

Season 7: It's About Time, She's Having My Baby Back Ribs, Brotherly Shove, Brave New World (4 or 5 total)

Season 4 has the most, which I could have told you from the day I started this blog. It has always been my favorite, and probably always will be. The characters are in that sweet-spot-age where they're young enough to make bad decisions and learn from them (hello seasons 2 and 3) but also old enough to tackle more mature issues and look at life outside high school (where season 5 is strongest). That brings us to our second list.

Season Ranking: 4, 3, 5, 2, 7, 1, 6

The hardest choice is between 3 and 5. They're both really strong for different reasons, and they both have weaknesses as well. For example, 5 has The Apartment, but it also has Jack. 3 has Mister Turner, but it also has Eli. The thing that finally made me choose season 3 is my undying, irrational fondness for The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (and Dana in general, while we're stuck with Angela in season 5). But like I said, the difference is negligible, 3 and 5 are about equal.

Season 4 is definitely first, though, and 2 is definitely fourth, but 7 and 1 were also tough to choose between. It's either nonsense episodes as kids or nonsense episodes as adults. They both have incredibly strong episodes (e.g. Father Knows Best and Brotherly Shove) but also a large amount of crap. I almost want to put season 1 ahead just because you can chalk up the bad episodes to the showrunners' inexperience. By season 7, they really ought to have known better...

But yeah. I'd be surprised if anyone could argue for season 6 not being the worst. They had to break my heart to get two of those episodes on the list. Bee True is the only season 6 episode that gets there just by being fun and entertaining. 

Speaking of worst, let's look at that next. This is another point for season 4, not one of those episodes would make a Bottom 10 list, maybe not even Bottom 20. Even Cult Fiction is good before the last scene. I'm not sure if I realized it at the time, but it's really just another father figure story. That episode tells us so much about Shawn, and I love that Feeny and Alan both fight so hard for him. It's really pretty great until Shawn starts yelling at the ceiling. But that's neither here nor there. Rather than rank the episodes one by one, since that's next to impossible and way too subjective, I'm just going to group them (the top group is least watchable, and the bottom group is more watchable, if that's not clear from the group titles). And remember, there's no particular order inside each group.

Worst Episodes

Literally Nothing Redeemable
What A Drag!

Never Ever Watch Again
As Time Goes By
The Honeymooners
No Guts, No Cory
Hogs and Kisses
Grandma Was A Rolling Stone

Pretty God Damn Bad
You're Married You're Dead
And in Case I Don't See Ya...
Show Me The Love (Part 1)
For Love and Apartments (Part 2)
Starry Night
The Happiest Show On Earth
Who's Afraid of Cory Wolf?
I Was A Teenage Spy

Guilty Pleasures
The Fugitive
The Witches of Pennbrook
First Girlfriends' Club

There's a lot of room between Pretty God Damn Bad and Guilty Pleasures, room where most of season 6 lives, but I wanted to include the Guilty Pleasures for fun. I'M SORRY THAT I LIKE FIRST GIRLFRIENDS' CLUB, OKAY? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? AN APOLOGY? I'M FUCKING SORRY, I CAN'T HELP IT. 

I rewatched Who's Afraid of Cory Wolf just now because I wanted to be sure about it, and it's not nearly as bad as those top two categories. I thought it was, but if you go watch it now with seasons 6 and 7 fresh in your mind, it's really not even close to being the worst. What A Drag, however, is definitely the worst. With the time travel episodes you can always say "well none of that actually happened," but What A Drag is canon. That is part of the official Boy Meets World lore. And that hurts deep.

So we've already got the Infinitely Watchable list, but I can narrow it down further. It's a given that every Infinitely Watchable episode is hilarious and fun. So for this list, something in particular has to make it stand out in addition to those to qualities. The lines are blurry and subjective for most of the Infinitely Watchables, but there are three episodes that deserve the spotlight for being outstanding displays of character relationships and individual character development.

Best Episodes

Security Guy - Feeny/Eric, and Alan/Eric, and Feeny/The Three. Thanks for playing. 
The Eskimo - Feeny/The Three with an emphasis on Feeny/Shawn, as well as strong Cory/Shawn moments. Also one of the only good Eric/Jack bonding episodes.
An Affair To Forget - This might surprise you because I haven't mentioned it nearly as much as the two episodes above. I gave it a great review, and I chose that banner at the top of the blog for a reason, but it only dawned on me in the last couple weeks that this episode isn't just great, it's perfect. As perfect as Eskimo and Security Guy. This is the paragon showing of the Cory/Shawn bromance and every second of it is magic. It is abundantly clear that they love each other in a way we never see between Cory and Topanga. But that doesn't stop Topanga from helping Shawn (and the audience) understand that a girlfriend shouldn't keep you from your friends (a life lesson, you might say). What really sets this one apart from future bromance episodes is that Shawn isn't competing with Topanga. In the future, once Cory and Topanga have been soulmated™, it's presented as Shawn vs. Topanga, and littered with Topanga making frustrated faces to the sound of audience laughter. But in this episode it's not a competition. Topanga just wants to help. Meanwhile, Eric is putting on his one man show. He believes in himself, he dreams, and he tries. He fails, ultimately, but Feeny is there to help him pick up the pieces and he offers Eric some genuine, meaningful advice. This episode has everything

It's no coincidence that those three episodes highlight the three relationships I was talking about at the beginning of the post.

 It's really hard to choose any more "best episodes". I wanted to include City Slackers in that list, but Eric's story, as much as I love it, is ultimately meaningless, and that sets it apart from those three. But if we allow the influence of personal bias...

ConfidenceKBM's Biased Top 10

God Tier
Security Guy
The Eskimo
An Affair To Forget

Painfully Close to God Tier
City Slackers

Eric Hollywood
Last Tango In Philly
Shallow Boy
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
Brother Brother

Like I said, it's a biased list. There's a WORLD of wiggle room in Essential. Pretty much everything from Infinitely Watchable could make it into Essential. Those are really just the ones I've watched the most. My top 4 are set in stone, but I don't think I could pick a #5. 

And I think that's all I've got to say about Boy Meets World. Well that's a lie, I could say a hundred thousand more things, but at a certain point it would devolve into a sort of rambling, fanatic rant.

I'm looking to do a cooperative writeup for Girl Meets World starting on the next episode in March with long-time commenter Christian. We've got extremely similar views on Boy Meets World, and I like his writeups for GMW, so we're gonna have a go at it. If you want to see me review season 1 of Girl up to now, I'm happy to do it: "I don't like it in general but Maya makes it tolerable and Shawn made it all worth it." There you go, there's the first season. Either way, this isn't the last you'll see of me, hopefully.

As always, I'd love to hear what you think about the show in the comments, but I suppose this is also the time to get emotional. There is absolutely no way in the universe I could have gotten through this without you guys. I wanted to quit so many times, especially after season 5. I seriously considered just taking requests for seasons 6 and 7, but you all deserved better than that, and your support and virtual pats-on-the-back are honestly the only reason I made it through all the garbage episodes. I never thought I'd get to meet people who love this show as much as I do, or that I would ever get the chance to open my heart about it, but here you all are. Reading the comments has always been my favorite part. I've spent the last ten-odd years boiling over with thoughts and feelings about this amazing show, and I've finally got them all out in the open. I like to think that this blog was a place for you to get that out as well. Like how Shawn uses poetry to get his feelings out, except not a bunch of bull shit.

Three important things that came out of this blog:
1) We all got to see that INSANE clip of Cory and Shawn on Jacobs's other show.
2) Undeniable proof that Topanga is in love with Eric.
3) Dancing Guy.

Every one of you has my undying gratitude. Every time I watch this show from now on I'll think you. This was an experience that we all got to have together, a real group adventure, and I can't describe how grateful I am that this is a part of my life. I want to give a special shoutout now. After my review of the very first episode, someone commented on the reddit post telling me that I had made a fan, and that they were going to follow my blog. I don't remember the exact words, but that was the essence of it. So if by some twist of fate you still follow the blog, First Fan, I want you to know that I wouldn't be here without you. Now of course that doesn't diminish everyone else's support, you're all fucking amazing and this blog wouldn't exist without you guys. Every "nice review," every "yeah this episode sucked," every "I'm looking forward to...", everything, it all gives me such an unbelievable feeling. 

I believed in myself, I dreamed, and I tried. I love Boy Meets World, and I love you all.

Thanks for reading.

Episode 7x23 "Brave New World (Part 2)"

Figured I'd bring back the classic.

The "Last Time on Boy Meets World" not only shows us clips of the previous episode, but also bits of the flashbacks from the last episode. It's pretty unnecessary. It's not a big deal, obviously, but any time they spend showing other flashbacks could have been used to show parts of Eric's journey to college instead. Like, if they were hurting for content, they should have shown that! I'll never let that go, I'm sorry.

The first actual exchange of the episode is between Eric and Alan. Russ does his "hiding how sad I am" voice to tell Eric that he won't miss him. I don't know where that leaves us. It seems like they want me to believe that the total parent-to-son disrespect of the last two seasons was all in good fun, that they were always just messing with each other. But I don't believe that for a second. What makes it harder is the clip reel showing us the best moments between Alan and Eric from Security Guy and Raging Cory. Amy gets the same treatment with clips of their creative writing class together in How To Succeed In Business. Eric had awesome relationships with his parents up through season 5, but then right at the beginning of season 6 (episode 3, in particular) they go out of their way to avoid him at Pennbrook, "He doesn't know we're here does he?" And it continues like that for two seasons. The previous episode, part 1 of the series finale, used Amy's lack of caring about Eric as a punchline, and what, now I'm supposed to forget all of that? Sorry, can't do it. Those clips were all awesome, it's just hard to reconcile them with the way Eric's been treated lately.

You may not know this, but big daddy rocks.

Next up is Jack and Shawn. They barely have any brother moments, so instead of clips we get Chet's ghost showing up in here in the kitchen while the boys talk. Unlike his previous appearances, neither Jack nor Shawn can actually see or hear his ghost. And honestly that makes it even weirder. It means that every time Chet talks, Shawn and Jack are just pausing their conversation and staring at each other.

Jack admits that he admires Shawn for his "money doesn't matter" way of life, and this admission inspires Jack to join the Peace Corps with Rachel. One of the comments (I would say who, but I can't seem to find it now...) suggested that Jack was being sarcastic when he said he wanted to join the Corps in the previous episode. I thought that at first, but then Jack adds on a point about sticking it to his stepfather, which made me think he was serious. This scene, however, pretty much guarantees that he wasn't being serious the first time.

Rachel comments "You're giving up your stepfather's money..." He was already cut off, but I guess she means that he's giving up the chance to get it back by working with his stepfather. I don't know. Chet is incredulous that Jack would give up that kind of money. I have to reiterate how weird it is. Watch this scene and imagine that every time Chet speaks, it's just silence in the kitchen. They're all just kind of looking at each other.

Chet is always funny and it's wonderful that they got him for this episode. After his tirade about money, he realizes how proud he is of his boys.

It is kind of unsatisfying that they can just bring Chet back whenever they want and have him state explicitly how he feels. Like I said, it's always nice to see him, but it cheapens his death in my opinion.

Arite here's the scene that no one likes. I don't wanna watch it. I've got ten minutes left in the very last episode and I still can't bring myself to watch it. Gotta check reddit, watch an episode of Friends, oh hey House of Cards new season, better watch a couple of those...

Why is Michael Jacobs's kid here? Joshua should be just over a year old, but here he is at least 3 or 4. Maybe they induced a miracle so that Joshua could have a conversation with Cory? Well then they shouldn't have used this kid because he doesn't know how to say his lines. He doesn't really even have any, he just says "okay" and "yeah" and stuff, it's so fucking difficult to watch. If they wanted a scene where Cory just talks at Joshua, they should have used the correct-age baby Joshua. He would have said exactly as many coherent things as Jacobs's son did.

STOP LOOKING AT THE CAMERA. STOP RUINING THE FINALE OF ONE OF MY FAVORITE SHOWS. And don't blame it on his age. Original Morgan was Meryl Streep compared to this guy. Maybe they just didn't have the budget for literally anyone else, so they had to use him. A mystery for the ages.

It's a shame because I like what Cory has to say here about growing up, but it's just so hard to focus with this kid's completely insane facial expressions. It worked in 7x09 when he "saw dead people" because he was supposed to be creepy. He's doing pretty much the exact same thing here in this scene, it's such a mess. I have no idea how this happened.

That line makes it all worth it though.

Everybody makes their way outside to the patio (Joshua is inside for good now) and oddly enough, Rachel and Jack head off without a word. The others are going somewhere very mysterious where "he" will be waiting, and Cory is left to say goodbye to his family.

We get a couple clips from season 1 between Cory and Alan. This pairing deserved better treatment. As Cory says goodbye to Morgan, she gets two clips as well, and they take up about the same amount of time as Alan's. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I do like what they did with Morgan though. She doesn't try to be snarky or funny, she just tells Cory to take care of himself. Definitely the right way to go.

It's time for the last scene in Mister Feeny's classroom. Feeny himself enters first, followed by Topanga, Cory, Shawn, and Eric. The first three take the same seats they always had in high school, which is just beautiful. The decision to leave out Jack, Rachel, and Angela was entirely necessary and hardly needs mentioning. It wasn't even much of a decision, I think everyone knew this is how the last scene had to look.

The students ask Feeny if he has anything left to teach them, and he explains that he does not, and that they're all ready to go meet the world. He does have some parting advice for them though.

That is my favorite Feeny line in the entire series, and perhaps the most inspirational moment I've ever seen on television. A lot of that comes from the lack of cliches. There's no "you can be anything," or "you can have anything if you work hard enough," or "the power of love," none of that. Just very real, personal advice, Hearing "try" makes me think back to The Eskimo where the students thought Feeny just wanted Shawn to try, but that wasn't so. The trying was meaningless if Shawn didn't also believe in himself and dream of something bigger. And in Security Guy, Eric certainly had the dream of going to college, but he needed to believe in himself and try as well. We can look at Topanga's recent journey as well. She believed in herself and tried as hard as she could, but she also needed the dream of something bigger (this job in new york) in order to keep growing. There are other examples, but you get the point. You gotta have all three. That line from Feeny is perfect. And of course doing good speaks for itself.

As Eric says, there's only one thing left to take care of.

I have to point out that Feeny told Eric he loved him back at Feeny's wedding, but rather than detracting from this scene I think it just adds to that scene at his wedding.

It's time for everyone to hug Mister Feeny and say goodbye. The actors are all crying at this point, as am I. I think it was Rider who said that they only did one take of this because everyone was crying for real. It's all overwhelmingly emotional. I doubt I'll ever be able to watch this without getting choked up. Topanga and Cory both have nice things to say, but Eric's and Shawn's lines stand pretty high above the other two since they had real development arcs with Feeny.

Feeny offers Shawn a handshake but Shawn goes for the hug instead, it's a nice touch. Obviously I have to mention City Slackers. You see that moment and you want to go watch City Slackers, and then The Eskimo, and everything in between. Rider is completely falling apart here, it adds this raw power that you can't get just by acting. It tears me apart, every time.

The audience laughs when he says "I blame you for that" but it kinda just... makes me cry... I think it's way more emotional than funny. But that's fine. Eric has thanked Feeny for his help getting into college on multiple occasions, and it's been two seasons since then, so this was the right thing to do, to look at how Feeny has affected Eric's future rather than his past.

Cory's up last, and there's really not much there except for Feeny revealing that his real name is Cornelius. They have a wonderful goodbye hug, and once the students have all left, Mister Feeny gives the last line of the series.

And there we have it. Everyone loves this episode despite the Joshua nonsense, and it's not hard to see why. It drags out every emotion that a series finale should. As I said in the last post, a lot of series have a climax in their finale, and then a rushed conclusion in the last few minutes. This finale was all ending, all closure. It's damn close to perfect. This last scene is definitely the best scene of the season, and one of the best of the series. It captures that feeling from the earlier seasons, and that's no surprise since it was so focused on school life. 

I'm going to make a sort of Epilogue post tomorrow. I'll talk about my final thoughts on the series as a whole, and on the blog and the future. There will probably be a few top 10 or top 5 lists, and I'm excited to see your own lists and final thoughts in the comments. I've also got some news about a project for Girl Meets World that I'm looking to be involved with. A lot of you have had really kind words as we reached the end, and that means the world to me. If you want to add your own, I would absolutely love to see them, and I love everything that's been said so far, but I'd prefer to see it on the post tomorrow, if that's okay. Just so we can talk about this episode on this post.

I hope to see you all on that post tomorrow! Either way, thank you for reading.

I'm gonna get Pizza Hut to "celebrate."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Episode 7x22 "Brave New World (Part 1)"

It's hard not to get sentimental in this last week, but let's try to keep it wrapped up until the end. We'll call it a tribute to Shawn Hunter, us bottling up our feelings.

The first scene has Cory yell-explaining to Shawn and Eric that he doesn't want to go to New York. There's that lighthearted guitar music in the background to show us this isn't supposed to be some dramatic conflict. And you know what? That's perfect. I hate coming into a series finale with some great conflict to be resolved in the last ten minutes. There's no marriage or confession of love, no baby being born, no fight to the death. It's not a climax, is what I'm saying. We're just saying goodbye and remembering the good times.

First up to bat is the Cory-Topanga set of flashbacks. Oh, it's only two. Well they're good ones, when Topanga wants to see if her and Cory's energies converge, and when she kisses him for the first time in Cory's Alternative Friends. In Real Time, Jack shows up to inform everyone that he's joining the Peace Corps. What, like you need a reason? Then Topanga arrives to tell Cory that she doesn't want to go to New York after all. Cory's pretty damn excited, so we get a little montage of him and Shawn cheering in unison throughout the series. And then they dance.

We'll keep a running list. So far we've got
*The roots of Cory+Topanga, and
*The child-like excitability of Shawn and Cory.

In The Backyard, Eric invents the final Feeny Call of the series, prompting clips of
*The Feeny Call throughout time.
There are a handful missing though, in particular the one from Playswith Squirrels. There's a compilation of all of them on youtube though.

Feeny finally admits that he loves the Feeny Call, which makes every fan's heart swell up with joy. And of course he made the pull-string Eric doll as a gift for his old mentor.

I actually never noticed until now, but Eric very casually pulls the doll out of that grill next to him. How long did he hide that thing in the grill? That's pretty funny.

Back on track, Eric asks Feeny to give Cory "the usual," which in this case is
*Advice from across the fence while Feeny gardens.
There's only two little clips of it, but we can take this to represent the general act of Feeny giving life advice to Cory. Feeny explains that he moved one of his plants from a pot in the living room to the plot here in his yard.

This plant metaphor refers to the possibility that Topanga will stop growing if she has to stay here in Philly. Feeny explains further that whats stopping her isn't her concern for Cory, but rather her fear of failure. There's something else here that's very important and is mentioned very quickly. Feeny doesn't come right out and say it, but he heavily implies that the reason Topanga didn't go to Yale wasn't because of Cory after all, but rather this fear of going to a new and unfamiliar place. I didn't remember that part of the conversation, and no one ever mentioned it in the comments, so maybe this slipped through the cracks for a lot of people. Do you folks buy this? That Topanga only claimed to be staying for Cory? That would mean her proposing to Cory was an anchoring maneuver to not have to face her fears at Yale. It seems kind of slapdash to me, and it changes a pretty massive part of their history. I kinda dig it though. It's interesting, and I feel like I'm learning something new about this series I've seen a thousand times.

Right, so now Cory has decided to help his wife leave her metaphorical living room plant-pot, and head to the garden of New York. New Jersey is the garden state, but that's not important. He reaction gives no indication that she was afraid, but whatever. We get some clips of
*The storied romance of Cory and Topanga,
from 3x01 up through Starry Night and Graduation, skipping over their breakup in The Grass Is Always Greener, but including the Lauren Arc (without any actual footage of Lauren, oddly enough).

It's another solid clip reel, but I can't believe they left out both instances of Topanga drawing a heart on her face with lipstick. Not just solid, but long, four whole minutes showing us their journey up to Topanga proposing at the graduation ceremony. It's still  not done, actually, as we get a quick recap of the wedding arc, including Eric setting the curtains on fire which is always a treat, and ending with a clip of them exchanging vows. So all said and done it was actually six minutes. Shawn better get six minutes too.

Back in Real Time, we do in fact get Topanga admitting that she's scared of failing. I expected Cory to insist that she won't fail because she never fails, but that's not what happens. Even now, in the very last episode, the show impresses me by defying my expectations. So Cory explains that if she fails, he'll still be immensely proud of her for taking a risk for what she wants and for having the courage to face her fears. It's one of the best things he says to her in the whole series. A+.  

You know, it's scenes like this that make me look back at the "Topanga's parents divorce" arc and hate it even more than I did at the time. Topanga and her interactions with Cory have been absolutely delightful for the last chunk of season 7. It's a shame we had to get through so much crap to get here.

In The Backyard, the showrunners decide to remind us that Morgan is a character on the show. She's equipped with her usual snark, because that's pretty much the only characteristic they thought of in the three and a half seasons since Ridgeway took over the role. Amy is, according to Morgan, "psycho" over the relocation to New York.

Amy is apparently pacified when Alan points out that Eric will be going to New York as well. I thought we were done with that running gag where Eric's parents don't respect him at all, but here it is. That's a shame.

For reasons unknowable, Jack and Rachel are hanging out nearby in the kitchen, and Jack learns that Rachel has decided to join the Peace Corps. So you're telling me they both came to this decision completely independent of the other? I'm calling shenanigans. It was Rachel's idea in the previous episode, and there's no way he would have considered going by himself. He must have already known somehow. Whatever, it's not important. We get some clips of Jack, Rachel, and Eric doing this and that, but it's short since nothing important ever happened with Rachel. Except maybe the end of Seven The Hard Way, BUT THEY LEFT THAT OUT.

The rest of the gang make their way into the kitchen, and Eric and Topanga have evidently maintained the bond we saw in She's Having My Baby Back Ribs as they put their arms around each other while Eric explains his excitement about New York.

WOAHOHOHAOHAHOAHHHHHHHHH. Break out your tinfoil hats people, this train is leaving the station! Look at that last frame,

Big. Daddy. Rocks. To follow up on Topanga's comment, we get to see some clips of
*Eric's shenanigans,
and is it a coincidence that the first two are strictly between him and Topanga? YOU DECIDE. Other than feeding that conspiracy theory, I don't think they picked the right clips for this at all. This is supposed to be THE Eric highlight reel, and aside from a two second clip from Shallow Boy (which I absolutely adore), they're all from seasons 6 and 7, which means they're all just punchlines where he's a total idiot. What. The fuck? I'm asking honestly right now, what the fuck is this? Eric has moved me to tears how many times and they want to show him getting struck by lightning in The Union? Yes most of these clips are funny, but he's so much moreeeeeeee. How could they do thisssss, this isn't how he should be remembered. We already had an "Eric is funny" reel with the Feeny Call earlier, and Topanga is specifically being sentimental, she knows he has a good heart, but we don't see any of that in these clips. This is a bottom-line failure by the showrunners. Yeah there's another set of clips in the next episode, but it's restricted to Eric's relationship with Alan. What about Eric and Cory? What about Eric and Feeny?

Up next is ANOTHER set of Eric clips, this time the story of his friendship with Jack. But this too is just focusing on Eric being silly. Nothing from You Light Up My Union or Playswith Squirrels, the two most meaningful interactions between Eric and Jack. How could they do all this Eric stuff without a single clip from Seven The Hard Way when he single-handedly restores their group friendship? I'm just so confused how they chose these clips. There's nothing bad about them, but there are some seriously important moments that should have been here.

That is a nice picture though.

Finally, and most importantly, it's time to address
*Cory and Shawn, "the greatest friendship of all time."
Cory and Shawn are reduced to tears at the thought of saying goodbye to each other, it plays out very similar to the "WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT" bit at Cory's wedding, and it's equally lovable and hilarious. The clip reel comes on, including, among others, "You're Cory, I'm Shawn, just like it's always been. What else do you need to know?" which is a fantastic choice, I absolutely love that one, an excerpt from the library scene in An Affair To Forget, one of my all time favorites, the scene with the celery poster, "UNDAPANTS," and of course "THEY WANT YOU TO TAKE THE ROLLS!"

This one they got right. Only about three minutes worth of clips, but definitely the most enjoyable segment of the episode for me. It could have been one of Eric's segments with the right clips, but alas, Shawn and Cory are taking home the prize. Topanga, as it turns out, has packed up all of Shawn's stuff so he can move to New York with them, which I think makes up for her nonsense at the beginning of the season.

The episode ends with that bit from Cory's wedding where Shawn asks him if he "really likes" Topanga, which was an awesome idea.

I don't think there's any point in scoring these last two episodes, so let's just keep talking. It's completely insane to me that they only used clips from seasons 6 and 7 (except that Shallow Boy one) for the "I want you to be Eric" clip reel, but other than that this episode is basically perfect. They never even imply the existence of Angela, but if you weren't thinking about it you wouldn't even notice. You can totally feel the love between all the characters here at the end (especially Topanga and Eric woop woooooop). Alan is one of the most important characters in the show and he didn't get much attention, but that's fixed in Part 2, so...

I think that's all I've got to say for now. Again, I know it's tempting to get sentimental about the blog, I'm right there with you, but I do want to hear what you have to say about the actual episodes, so let's try to focus on that until we're done. Which is... terrifyingly soon. See you Friday.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Episode 7x21 "Angela's Ashes"

Okay here's something I BET you didn't know. Super duper monumental shoutout to commenter Jacob for sharing this with us in the comments of 7x20. Michael Jacobs had another show called Maybe This Time, and it was awful. In fact, one of the main characters, a young girl named Gracie, was a precursor to Riley on Girl Meets World in that she revealed Jacobs's affinity for girls who sound like they have stuffy noses. Seriously, listen, she sounds like Riley.  But that's not why we're here. In episode 15, "Acting Out," Gracie is having trouble with a friend who's getting peer pressured by some lame kids. As you can see here, she starts watching Boy Meets World. It's not a real episode of BMW obviously, this is a cameo by Ben and Rider as Cory and Shawn. They talk about how Shawn is actually a good person, like how Gracie's friend is a good person, so she gets the message. It's totally bizarre, Jacobs is using one show to teach a lesson to a character on his other show. That is an unheard of level of deus ex machina. Or rather, cornelius ex machina.

HOW FUCKING CRAZY IS THAT? I completely lost my mind over that. Thank you again, Jacob. There's more footage of them at the end and Feeny gets involved, sort of.

Wow. Just wow. Also Dane Cook is on that show. I didn't recognize him at first, but there he is.

There are two things you need to know. Topanga is one of 500 quarter-finalists for an internship at the prestigious New York law firm "Brown-Elliot," and Jack has a rich stepfather. I suppose it's fair to say that the writers finally chose a direction for Jack, but that's really just because of the time constraint. I'm sure if they had another four or five episodes after this they'd change him again.

Rich Stepfather is bankrolling Jack's new business venture, "" Or it could be "" Matthew Lawrence needs to enunciate. What he doesn't need is to be any more smug because he would probably just explode at that point. Eric shows up in his graduation gown to remind us that the timeline makes no sense, and Angela's dad comes on the scene as well. The Union is fully channeling the spirit of Chubbie's right now. I don't remember this guy's rank, I think he was a sergeant, so let's go with that. Apparently Sergeant Moore has been reassigned to Europe.

And here's the kicker, he wants Angela to go with him. Shawn shows up now too (of course) just after Sergeant Moore asks Angela, so Shawn doesn't know what's going on yet but he can feel the tension immediately.

I touched on it back in Angela's Men, but the dynamic between Shawn and Moore is fantastic. A mutual respect founded on strength of character. It was still fucking weird how involved Moore got in his daughter's love life, but if we can look past that, I love the way these two talk to each other. Actually, it's really Shawn and any father figure. Alan, Chet, Turner, Feeny... Then again, it's anyone with any father figure. That's really what the first five seasons were.

But that sort of talk is more suited to the next episode, so let's keep going. Angela explains the situation to Shawn, and it's clear that Cory is more interested in Shawn's situation than Topanga's potential internship. The final thread comes later when Jack gets a call from his stepfather (in The Union, for some reason) informing him that he's being "cut off." Rich Stepfather wants Jack to be an investment banker, but since Jack wants to make his narcissistic website "business" instead, he won't be getting financial support any longer. So there we go, there's our three plot threads.

At The Apartment, Cory is advising Shawn on his latest life changing problem. I will always prefer the old system where Shawn gave Cory advice about women, Ever since the beginning of season 5, when we first met Angela, things have been too Disney-soulmate-y for me. And we all spent a great deal of time raging at Cory for how he lectured Shawn around the time of Chasing Angela. I think that's a big reason why we loved the Lauren story so much, is that it was a return to reality from the Disney-soulmate territory. Anyway, this scene reminds me very much of that Cory, which makes me uncomfortable. Cory is supposed to know nothing and thus meet the world, so when the show tries to convince me that he knows everything about love, I'm not buyin it.

Shawn buys it though, and decides that he doesn't want Angela to go to Europe.

Cory says some more shit about shoes, I don't really get it.

Here's the scene now where Jack gets disowned by his stepdad over the payphone at The Union. Wearing a surprisingly hilarious expression of defeat, Jack shuffles over to Rachel, who makes a passing comment about the appeal of joining the Peace Corps. So let's keep that in mind. She's pleasantly supportive of Jack when he explains the situation. This is exactly the sort of thing they should have STARTED with. This is an EXCELLENT jumping off point for Jack, and Rachel's supportive reaction was the perfect way to kickstart their dynamic. That's literally the best thing I've seen between those two in the series. That exchange was the best thing. Why the fuck did they save this until the end of the series? Very frustrating.

Topanga went through another round of interviews this morning, and Cory initially tries to pay attention and show he cares. But as soon as Shawn walks in the door he dismisses her again. Shawn's toast at the wedding was very nice, and it looked to hold true for a little while, but it's clear as day by now that Cory will always care more about Shawn than Topanga. And those two episodes of Girl Meets World pretty much confirmed that.

Shawn finds Angela outside. Everything seems neatly wrapped up when she says "I could never leave you," up until she qualifies it with "... unless you said I could go." Pretty much the perfect setup, thumbs up to the writers.

 Two days later, Shawn arrives at The Dorm to, I don't know, hang out with Cory. Naturally they immediately start talking about the situation with Angela, and Shawn explains that he's basically resigned and just wants to enjoy the time he has left with her. Shawn actually knows Angela, and clearly understands the situation, but Cory, who has never had an actual conversation with Angela, insists that he knows better and gives Shawn some bad advice. Admittedly, his first round of advice was good, but this time he's talking out of his ass. It's intentional by the writers, though. Cory explains that you have to pay attention to women to "pass their tests," and he then proceeds to pay absolutely no attention to Topanga yet again. And she's being so cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute and sweet, it honestly breaks my heart that Cory doesn't give a shit about her interviews.

Shawn is convinced that he has to tell Angela to stay, but he only finds Sergeant Moore at Angela's Dorm. There's an emotional confrontation here, deserving of some comment. Shawn has always had to watch things get taken away from him, watch people leave. So you can feel the weight of his decision to stand up and say "not this time." My only complaint is that he didn't do it on his own. Why oh why oh why did Shawn need Cory to tell him to do this? Whether or not it's the right thing to do, the writers are having him do it, but it seems so obvious that he should have reached this decision on his own.

This scene is really well written, giving another reason to love the dynamic between Shawn and Papa Moore, right up until Shawn says he's going to ask Angela to marry him. Marriage as a tool to tie someone down is sort of despicable, so I think that's a pretty low blow from Shawn. Not a fan. Sarge concedes that he'll step out of the way if Angela wants to marry Shawn, and that's when Angela finally shows up.

As an aside, it's funny that Moore is so much taller than Shawn, his head gets cut out of the shot every time the camera is centered on Shawn.

So yeah, Angela is here now, and Shawn tries to steer their conversation toward asking her to marry him. He's about to do it too, before she cuts in saying "You're the only person that knows how important it is for me and my dad to spend this time together."

Mobile users, you're missing out on that one. Rider sells the hell out of this, he looks absolutely devastated as Shawn realizes that he has to let her go. I may not be fully invested in the Shawn/Angela relationship, but I sure as hell am invested in Shawn. That look on his face kills me every single time, and the sad guitar music comes in at exactly the right moment. Who directed this... Fred Savage! No kidding! Well done, Freddy. This is my favorite moment for Shangela. And not because it's ending, I'm not that mean. It's because when Angela walks over to her dad there, and Shawn is left holding out his arm with that dead look in his eyes... for those few seconds, I actually believe it.

It's time for the final goodbyes at The Union. They make one last attempt at showing us Rachel and Angela's friendship. Eric hugs Angela and sings her a song, which is hilarious, and then asks her to hand out some fliers with his picture and phone number to the girls in Europe. It's a picture of his season 4/5 self, and the bottom of the flier says 1800 - CALLERIC, but get this, it's blurred out. They blurred out the phone number on the bottom of the fliers, look at this.

I could swear we saw those in another episode, but it's not Eric Hollywood or the one with his one-man play. Help me out here.
*edit* Thanks to commenter Josh for pointing me to The Psychotic Episode! That is indeed the first time we saw that picture.

Topanga arrives just in time and we're like "oh right, they're supposed to be best friends." Not much else to say about this until Angela heads out the door for the last time. Shawn has had to deal with a lot of people leaving him in one way or another over the years. But this time he let them go, and that says a whole lot more about him than an audience-cheering happy ending could have said. Cory tells him not to spin out of control, and Shawn, for once, looks like he's going to be okay. This time, he's not going to spin out of control.

To wrap things up, we learn that Topanga got the Brown-Elliot internship, but that means they'll have to move to New York. Cory is acting like he's hearing about this for the very first time, which is more for comedy than drama, thank god. Topanga doesn't seem at all affected by the fact that Cory hasn't been paying attention this whole time. Cory, on the other hand, is very affected.

Plot: 0.5 - The continued emotional destruction of Shawn Hunter. Lots of groundwork being laid for the finale.

Character Development: 1.0 - Shawn decides to take control of something. While he ends up making the selfless choice, he still made a choice. And so he's not going to "spin out of control" this time. And for the first and only time, I actually believed in Shangela.

Humor: 0.5 - It's not the most important part, but Cory and Eric do enough.

Life Lesson: 1.0 - There are more important things than your high school sweetheart.

3.0 out of 4.0. I'll never know why they did this episode separate from the finale. Both parts of the finale are mostly clips, they even do a segment for Rachel. So Angela is just completely left out, and Angela is unarguably more important than Rachel. If they had simply used fewer clips, they could have included the Angela story while also giving her some clip-time. Or hell, do this episode as the first of a three-part finale . It's just weird to me that Angela didn't get to be part of the clip show. Which is not to say I'm upset about it, just confused.

Thanks for reading, see you Wednesday.

All images used under Fair Use.