GMW: 107, “Girl Meets Maya’s Mother”; August 15, 2014

Well at least THIS episode title actually makes sense.

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Farkle wants to be the model for art class. Fortunately he’s wearing a 1920s-style swimsuit under that robe.

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Riley wants to draw Lucas. Riley has drawn bowls of fruit where all the fruit has Lucas’s face on it.

Also the art class is being held in an art classroom with a teacher who isn’t Cory, which is weird.

Weirder still, is the teacher wants to look at everyone’s work literally 30 seconds after they’ve started working.

Riley wants to be a famous artist in France. Maya pokes fun of this dream.

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That actually did make me giggle. Also it reminds me of the opening animation for The Nanny tv show for some reason.

Um and it turns out Lucas can speak French. Just fyi. Probably that won’t come up again.

The teacher walks around and compliments Maya’s real drawing of Farkle.

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She invites Maya to submit her work to the school’s upcoming art show, but Maya says she doesn’t draw things for other people to look at. The teacher wishes she’d think about it, but doesn’t press the issue. Also, just by the way, all the artwork looks like it was actually done by middle school students, so that’s neat.

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Riley, disappointed that her artwork is terrible, tells Auggie that his artwork is terrible as well. And apparently Auggie ALSO speaks French. So first Shawn is an idiot savant who is fluent in French, then Topanga pretends to be a French girl at a party for a change of pace, and now THIS.

Cory talks about how great mashed potatoes are (seriously), and Riley complains that she didn’t inherit any great talents from her parents. But it turns out Cory DOES have a talent – he’s great at close-up magic. I guess he learned how to do that between the Boy Meets World series finale and now. And somehow Riley didn’t know about that.

Riley doesn’t think close-up magic is much of a talent and asks if Topanga has anything she’s good at. According to Cory, Topanga’s talent is that her hips don’t lie.

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This scene is oddly stupid and hilarious at the same time. I think this is the first scene where they’ve all really felt like a regular family, with the parents acting totally ridiculous over dinner but not in a stupid “WHAT DID YOU DO TO THIS CHICKEN?!” way, while the teenage daughter is full of embarrassment and exasperation.

This scene also brought up a good point – DO Cory and Topanga have any talents? Topanga’s very hard-working and studios over on BMW, and Cory’s good at things when he sets his mind to them, but neither of those are really talents. Oh, Topanga can do that hair-flip thing, that’s something.

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It’s Career Day! Topanga is there, but Maya’s mom isn’t there even though she said she’d be there. Gee, maybe she had to work.

Topanga talks about being an attorney even though I thought she quit last episode. Also, forgive me because my law knowledge is a bit hazy in this area, but if she were an attorney, that’s a whole separate part of law than writing over leases and running old ladies out of business anyway.

Okay Topanga doesn’t really talk about being an attorney anyway, but she says she got to where she was by working hard. WOW TOPANGA, AWESOME STORY. She also mentions that by the time she was their age, she already had 350 A’s. She should talk to Farkle, he got his 700th A a couple episodes ago, which I believe I did not mention.

Then there’s a knock on the other door because this classroom has two doors for some reason. Riley figures it’s Maya’s mom. I’m going to wager that it is in fact someone else.

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Oh I was right. It’s Minkus.

MINKUS?!

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It turns out Minkus is Farkle’s dad, which I actually mentioned a while ago when I said I thought it was stupid to have a character named Farkle Minkus. Bizarrely enough, Lucas also thinks that’s a stupid name. I say “bizarrely” because I find these characters and I so often disagree on just about everything. Farkle’s name was originally Shamus Farkle, which is considerably less stupid. (Oh also, it’s actually Stuart Minkus, not like his name is Minkus Minkus – which actually sounds less dumb than Farkle Minkus). Also for some reason I guess Cory never even thought that Farkle Minkus might be related to Stuart Minkus, but then it’s not like Minkus is an extremely uncommon surname or anything (by the way, it IS a real surname here in real life).

Minkus, it turns out, has a helicopter and runs some business called Minkus International.  Minkus is actually Seto Kaiba. Points for you if you got that not exactly obscure reference.

Cory’s like “Well sure you have a helicopter, but I got Topanga.” Then they decide to stop competing with each other but then immediately Minkus and Topanga start competing with each other.

Topanga says that between Riley and her, they have 1260 A’s. But between Farkle and Minkus, they have 1261 A’s, even though Minkus had 699 A’s in one episode of season 5 of BMW and Farkle just got his 700th A several episodes ago, so they should have upwards of 1400 A’s by now.

But Minkus says the most important thing is that he has Farkle. Topanga’s like “Oh yeah, Riley’s important too”.

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FARKLE’S SHIRT HAS DINOSAURS ON IT. I WANT THAT SHIRT.

What a freaking awful Career Day this is so far. I’ve said it before, but I would be SO pissed if I was in this class. Like I want to freaking learn something, not have Riley go off on shenanigans and have Maya feel sorry for herself for the billionth time.

Speaking of which, Maya is sad because her mom didn’t show up, just like always. So they have a Career Day EVERY year? I don’t think I ever had ONE in my entire school life. We’d just sometimes have like one person come in to talk about their job, but that was usually just in elementary school.

Also, like I said, gee maybe Maya’s mother is AT WORK. She’s a single parent, right? Like God forbid her mother might be earning a living during the day.

Later, Riley asks Maya why she won’t put her art in the show. Maya doesn’t want to set herself up to hope anything good will ever happen to her, so she’s cool not doing anything about it. You know the teacher didn’t say it was a juried art show, Maya. No one ever said anything would actually come out of showing art at that art show. Most middle school art shows are just like “Look at what our kids have made! Be proud!” What does Maya expect is supposed to happen that she’s worried about setting herself up for disappointment?

Eh.

At class the next day, Cory announces the topic – the Korean War. Farkle says “Genghis Khan!” and admits he just did it to see what would happen. Also I call shenanigans on this topic – I never, EVER learned ANYTHING about the Korean War in school. Because what always happens you end up spending half the year on the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and then World Wars I and II take up the rest of the half, and you’re lucky if you learn about anything that happens after 1946. Plus the whole “order and length of teaching units makes absolutely no sense on this show” problem.

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This is Maya’s mom. She couldn’t attend the “job fair” because… well…

Yesterday I was trapped, in my vehicle, in the rushin’ flood waters of the mighty Colorado River! To make matters worse, I just found out I was about to have a baby any second. So, I crawled myself through the sunroof, and I said ‘Let’s do this thang!’ Then, I commenced to deliver my own baby until finally I heard that wonderful, magical sound. *makes popping sound* ‘Waaaaah! Waaaaaaaaah! Mama?! Are you my mama?!

It turns out Maya’s mom, Katy, is an actress and that was all an audition for a soap opera that films in New York for some reason. I’m glad because she was doing the whole thing with a Southern Belle-type accent and that was weird, but it turns out that was just for the audition.

Farkle and Lucas both ask why she’s wearing a waitress outfit. Also, Maya seems SUPER embarrassed and upset that her mom is there talking about her career even though she was obviously really let-down that her mom didn’t show up the day before or at any other career day. MAKE UP YOUR MIND, MAYA!

Some bespectacled girl says that her dad says that actors are people who just never grew up. Bespectacled girl’s dad, it turns out, is a director.

…As you may have guessed, Katy is a waitress because she’s having a tough time getting any acting jobs. Maybe because she’s auditioning for soap operas in New York instead of going for roles in plays. But, hey, it’s not like New York is known for its big theatre scene or anything.

Everybody’s all sad that Katy’s a waitress because apparently none of their parents have blue collar jobs. Katy is embarrassed and leaves, so of course Riley gets up and leaves. She tries to comfort Katy, but Katy feels bad that she couldn’t even remember what day career day was. But Maya also leaves class and insists that she doesn’t care that her mom has the audacity to have big dreams and a menial job that keeps her on her feet all the time because her scumbag ex-husband won’t support his daughter. GOSH.

Maya then leaves the hallway, not going back to class. Why do they even have class at this school, seriously? At least Boy Meets World usually had this stuff happen right at the end of class, or after it had already ended. Riley tells Katy to go to the art show at the school tomorrow, and if she doesn’t go, Riley will be disappointed. Katy’s like “yeah, sure, whatever, best friend of my daughter, who I possibly have never met before”.

The next day(!), in art class, Riley is the model, and while she’s modeling she’s trying to convince Maya to participate in the art show. 1) Do these kids not have a lunch period they can use to talk about this stuff? Why do they keep interrupting class?, and 2) If the art show is THAT DAY, then whoever’s in charge would’ve already planned everything around all the art that was already submitted, and wouldn’t let someone just squeeze their stuff in at the last minute.

The art teacher tells Riley to stop talking because when someone’s talking, the artwork is affected.

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Well. Those are terrifying.

Riley, it turns out, put a note in their teacher’s teacher box that morning that was written like it was from Maya, saying she wanted to be in the art show after all. I’m amazed that this show somehow acknowledged the existence of teacher boxes despite everything else being weird and inaccurate.

Maya is displeased, and splatters green paint on Riley because their teacher conveniently left for literally no reason.

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They get in a full-on paint fight, and the teacher comes back. She compliments Riley on producing her most authentic piece yet. Then she leaves. Riley then tells Maya that she invited Maya’s mom to the show. Maya hands Riley a bowl of paint.

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Why did they even have out paint in the first place? They were doing pencil sketches.

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Maya’s mom didn’t show up to the art show. Even though the show is clearly not even remotely over yet, this saddens Riley. And Maya’s painting is of a diner and you can only see half of the waitress, which is symbolism or something.

Riley goes on her own to the diner that Maya’s mom works in. It’s called the Nighthawk Diner which I can only assume is a reference to Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks.”

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Riley tells Katy there’s somewhere she should be. Katy says all she ever does is disappoint Maya so she doesn’t want to go. Riley tells her that Maya’s fine, but she’s disappointing her (Riley).

…And? That’s a terrible point. “Oh your daughter’s actually totally cool, but I’M upset.”

Katy loves Maya, but says that people tend to stay at the same [employment] level as their parents, and she wants more for Maya than to be a waitress.

…And? That means she can’t ever talk to her daughter or encourage her anything? I guess she means that being a waitress is just such a disappointment she’d rather just not see her daughter at all than bother trying to encourage her to be more than a waitress.

Also, just a second – how DARE Maya’s mom be EARNING A LIVING so the two of them don’t starve to death.

I mean, believe me, I know it’s hard when you’re a single parent – basically you can be around for your kid all the time and go to all of their events, or you can earn money to eat food.

But despite this, I do actually sympathize with Maya AND Katy. I think maybe they got stuck in a vicious cycle here – like Maya was maybe embarrassed that her mom’s just a waitress when everyone else’s parents are lawyers or businessmen, and Katy felt bad that she was embarrassed so picked up more hours so she wouldn’t have to go to Maya’s school things and embarrass her, and then Maya was always disappointed because her mom never came to any of her school things, so then Katy continued to not show up because she was such a disappointment.

I still stick by my “she needs to earn money so they can live” point, though. I mean I was always sad that my mom never showed up during the schoolday for me for anything, but I understand that, well, she was a single parent who needed to earn money so we could live.

Katy gives Riley a tuna melt as an apology, because for some reason this is still all about Riley’s feelings.

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Maya’s not super disappointed about her mom, because the art show gave her confidence in herself. Riley offers half a tuna melt. It turns out that’s Maya’s favorite food at the diner, and she knows her mom forced it on Riley because she knew she’d share it with Maya.

…I, um… I don’t understand the lesson here. I guess it’s “Who needs parents, when you have wealthy friends.” I actually think that’s a good theme. Good job.

Also great job because I don’t feel like the resolution to the episode’s problem was nonsensical and came out of nowhere for once. It’s still not great, but I’ll take it.

At dinner… the next night? Cory tells Riley he’s giving her an A for her great work in… not making Maya sad. Minkus, who is there for some reason (as are Farkle, Lucas, and Maya), is outraged. Now they’re TIED.

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Apparently they’ve determined that Riley’s talent is… meddling or something. Auggie wonders what his talent is. Topanga assures him he’ll find it some day. He doesn’t know it, but his talent is being so annoying that for the first time in my life I find myself wishing someone would actually write a character (him) off the show.

He walks away from the dinner table and sings opera, specifically something from The Barber of Seville.

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That is Alfalfa’s territory you little dirt clod, how dare you?!

This is, in my opinion, actually the best episode so far. I know the bar’s pretty low, but it wasn’t as painfully stupid as the other ones sometimes were. It still wasn’t perfect, and boy it sure would be nice if Girl Meets World had anything to do with Riley once in a while, but at least she did something besides waffle back and forth while Maya talked sarcastically.

It was cool to actually see another teacher for once, and she wasn’t a total pushover like Cory is – she still let Maya and Riley talk in class but did tell them that it’s a good idea to stop talking.

Weird. I’m afraid most of this season’s airing order is different from production order (although I can’t say for sure), so we’ll probably keep having episodes that vary wildly in quality for some time.

I’m still not convinced this is the show the creators and actors have been saying it is – that it’s “surprising” and “holds up the integrity of the original show” or whatever. It’s been pretty run-of-the-mill so far.

Also, GMW is taking a short hiatus and will allegedly return September 12. There’s nothing to be worried about, Disney Channel is just weird and makes shows randomly take hiatus all the time. Phineas and Ferb has been airing season 4 since 2012 because of all their hiatuses. It sounds like they’ve got a Halloween episode and they definitely have a Christmas episode, so there’s definitely some more hiatuses coming.

Bonus: A thread in the imdb boards has a post commenting that it would’ve been interesting if Boy Meets World had never been canceled, but if after season 7 of the original show, it transitioned into Girl Meets World starring Morgan going through middle and high school in 2001 and beyond, then changed back to Boy Meets World to focus on Joshua (for those of you playing at home, we haven’t met him yet over at the BMW recaps) for a few years, then switching over to the show we have now. If that were the case, I think the show would feel a bit less… dumb, since there wouldn’t have been a 14 year gap between it and the old show, and probably would’ve inspired some new plots or the characters to handle…

Anyway, how would you feel about that? Do you think it would’ve become tedious, like they’d run out of storylines pretty easily? Or do you think they would’ve figured out a way to keep the show(s) fresh?

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