Girl Meets World: 108, “Girl Meets Smackle”; September 12, 2014

“Girl Meets Smackle” sounds like either a codename for a cereal commercial or a video of an adult, explicit nature.

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I certainly don’t watch illegally uploaded episodes of this show on VodLocker if that’s what you were thinking. Where would you even get such an idea?

This episode’s history unit is on Ancient Greece. Probably would’ve made sense for the Sword of Damocles lesson to be during this unit but oh well.

Cory has a box, and asks who wants it. He gives it to Riley because of course, and inside the box is neither a severed head nor a piece of male anatomy, but a slate with the words “The Trojan Horse” on it. Riley, surprisingly, is immediately upset about this not being a real present, but being a life lesson wrapped up in a school assignment.

Cory reveals the present is a metaphor – Riley assumed there was something good in the box because it was pretty, just like the Trojans assumed the big wooden horse was something good when in fact it was full of Greek soldiers. I’m so glad they’re covering something that may or may not have actually happened in this class rather than talking about the huge influenced the ancient Greeks had on the entire world, like the guy who invented geometry or the father of western medicine.

I wasn’t paying attention, but Lucas somehow ends up with a “get out of detention free” card, and Maya asks for it in exchange for not calling him Ranger Rick the rest of the week. Lucas agrees, she gets the card, and immediately calls him Ranger Roy. She goes and dances on Cory’s desk, and Cory then asks her to read the card. It turns out it says “Give card to Maya and watch her dance on my desk” or something. The lesson is “never assume”.

That’s kind of stupid. In the context of… everything, Cory is basically saying the Trojans shouldn’t have assumed there WEREN’T Greeks in the wooden horse. Okay, imagine you really loved cashews. One day someone gives you a can of Planter’s cashews. You would assume either that there were cashews in the can, or else that it was spring-loaded with fake snakes. You open it and it turns out it’s full of erasers. Cory shows up out of nowhere and tells you to never assume. How does this make sense? Why was it out of line for Maya to assume the “get out of detention free” card only said “get out of detention free” on it? The lesson here should’ve been “Read the fine print” rather than “never assume.” Cory is a terrible teacher.

I mean, “never assume” isn’t a terrible lesson. For instance, I assumed this show would make a lot of sense and be very well-paced, and thus I was very let down when it came time to actually watching it week after week.

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The class is attending an interscholastic debate, as hosted by Cory because who else? The debate’s about school uniforms because of course. Riley doesn’t like debates, Maya says Riley does, Riley agrees, and Lucas says he likes debates because… who cares? Nobody likes you, Lucas.

Farkle’s for uniforms, because the conformity is useful training for when everyone goes to work for him in the future. Then Smackle literally bursts through a paper sign into the room, says she’s against uniforms because everyone should be what they want. Her whole argument is 10 seconds long, and Farkle doesn’t enter a rebuttal. This school has no idea how debates work.

Okay this doesn’t have anything to do with the episodes beyond this one scene, but here goes: Uniforms can be really restricting, and don’t allow people to express themselves individually, they’re embarrassing, and can be unflattering, and in some cases forces people to buy all new clothes in addition to the ones they have. BUT uniforms can be really great for families who aren’t as wealthy, because then you only need like one pair of pants and two shirts and nobody can tell you’re wearing the same outfit everyday unless it gets stained or really stinky, and that’s easy enough to take care of. Uniforms also make it really hard for kids to break the dress code, or get unfairly busted for breaking dress code, and because it severely limits the choice of clothing you can wear to school every day, getting ready for school every morning is easier and faster so you have more time to sleep in. This paragraph was longer than that “debate” was.

Cory then announces that the city debate finals are conveniently being held in the school they’re already in, and the debate topic is “Is beauty really only skin deep?” What a terrible debate topic. How are you supposed to come up with actual facts to back up your position with a topic like that? The topics ought to be like “Should the voting age remain the same, or be lowered/raised?” or “Should schools completely abolish homework?”

UGGGH.

Also Cory doesn’t announce which school is on which side of that debate, which is important information they’d need to know in order to develop their arguments. Assuming anyone on the schoolboard/the show actually cares how a real debate works.

It turns out that Isadora Smackle – and I breathe a huge sigh of relief to find out her last name is Smackle – won today’s debate. Her entire argument was literally less than 10 seconds long, but okay. Whatever. It seems that Smackle always beats Farkle at all of these kinds of things and ugggh who thought these names were a good idea??

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Farkle lays down on the floor in defeat, and Maya and Riley go to cheer him up until they notice food, which is something I both respect completely, and relate to on a deep, personal level.

Smackle asks Farkle to a movie, he says yes, and now I’m confused because Smackle’s mad at herself because Farkle took her request literally. It turns out she asked him if he wanted a smoothie. Everyone sounds like they have a stuffy nose on this show. Farkle doesn’t want to go with Smackle because arch-nemesis or whatever. I’m starting to mix up Farkle’s and Smackle’s names. I should call them Glasses (Smackle) and Bowlcut (Farkle).

Glasses is sad, and Riley invites her to her house for some reason that even Riley doesn’t know.

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Auggie comes home, yells, and rips his shirt off. He and his girlfriend Ava split up because she said they might not be together forever. I cannot properly express how little I care. Auggie’s performance in this scene is awful. You’d think fake crying would come naturally to a child actor, but not to him.

Auggie is upset, anyway, because he believes in true love and being together forever. Topanga asks him where he got such a stupid idea, and he says he learned it from her, okay?! He learned it by watching her!! Moving steadily past that PSA reference, Topanga comments “Huh. I wonder how many people the idea of ‘Cory and Topanga’ has ruined.” I don’t know if that was supposed to be a meta joke or what, because I don’t know if I’ve really heard anyone saying Cory and Topanga gave them an unrealistic expectation of love.

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Sparkle… er, Smackle wants to know the formula to becoming pretty. Farkle likes… for crap’s sake I can’t keep anyone’s names right, I just called them Smarly and Faya. Anyway Farkle likes them because they’re “aesthetically pleasing”, says Smackems, but he doesn’t like her because she’s not. Errrm from what I gathered, Farkle doesn’t like Smackle because she beats him at everything, not because she’s ugly. But I guess I shouldn’t assume something that was incredibly obvious.

Smackle’s not even ugly. At all. They did an awful job making her look like the Ugly Nerd Girl because she looks like a really cute 12 year old girl. THE HORROR.

Ribeye and Miley give Smackle a makeover anyway, and I honestly think she looks worse now.

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She doesn’t look terrible now or anything, but I think the glasses actually suited her face really well.  And having loose, wavy hair is not flattering on everyone, children, remember that. Don’t assume. Also sure is lucky that Riley happened to have contact lenses of the correct prescription for Smackle’s particular eyes.

Smackle also realizes that her speech patterns are a problem. Basically think Sheldon or Mayim Bialik’s character from Big Bang Theory, but worse. But she’s figured out she just has to enter “like, awesome, OMG, totally” into all her sentences, or giggle or phrase everything as a question, and she’ll fit in fine. She gives the example of first saying “E equals M C squared” (I can’t write it properly here), then says “Like, E totally equals M C squared! *giggles* Oh my gosh, awesome!” This show veers into weirdly stupid again as Maya and Riley apparently understand the entire universe now after learning that E=MC2. Without knowing what the E, M, or C stand for that formula is entirely useless, but whatever.

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Lucas enters the room, asking if this is the debate team. Farkle tells him no, it’s the after-school male model club. Farkle is the best character. For real, that line was actually really funny, as delivered on the show. Lucas wants to join the debate team, but the other nerds are like “what are you gonna debate about, baseball?” Farkle tells them not to assume anything, don’t just a book by a cover, etc. What they should actually mention is that the finals are in less than a week so he’d be really dragging them down by joining so late in the season.

Miley and Raya enter the classroom. Maya is wearing Smackle’s glasses, as an experiment to see if people treat Maya differently because she looks smarter, and as an attempt to ruin Maya’s eyesight by making her wear prescription glasses when she doesn’t need them. The two non-Farkle nerds immediately say “HELLO approachable woman.” BECAUSE PEOPLE WHO WEAR GLASSES ARE GEEKS HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA NO COOL PERSON WOULD BE CAUGHT DEAD IN GLASSES HAHAAHAHAHAAAA.

Farkle tells Maya she looks good either way, and Maya asks him if he wants to go out with her and Riley. Farkle passes out, and they ask him if he wants to go out with someone else. He agrees.

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In Cloris Leachman’s bakery, Farkle is at first impressed with his mystery date, but not so much when he realizes it’s just Smackle, who I referred to as Farkle before catching it just now. I have never had so much trouble remembering people’s names on a show before. I was just going to write something about Smarley and I don’t even know which character Smarley is supposed to be referring to. What is WITH this show and my brain??

Anyway, Farkle believes this to just be a ploy on Smackle’s end to do research for the upcoming debate. She confirms this. Farkle asks her if she considered she might change on the inside as well, but Smackle replies simply that she is Smackle. She doesn’t believe any outward change could affect how she feels on the inside. Then Lucas shows up and says hey to her, and she gets all giggly. Hmm, so let’s review – Smackle, who was already really confident, gets a makeover that makes her more confident, and now the makeover is getting her attention from a really cute boy who already knows she’s really smart and doesn’t mind. Oh the horror, oh. The horror.

To be fair, she’s so distracted by a cute boy actually paying attention to her that she unintentionally stops being smart, but it’s not like that’s a thing that would last forever anyway. But Farkle decides to use this to his advantage, since Lucas is on the debate team now.

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Farkle climbs up to Riley’s room to talk even though they were literally just all together in a cafe just now. Riley’s not there, but Auggie is. He was hoping sitting on the bay window would give him some wisdom, but it’s not working. Topanga walks in and asks Farkle if he’s aware that they do have a front door. You know, if it were me, I’d be a little concerned about teenaged boys climbing into my teenaged daughter’s room all the time. Or, since this is New York, ANYONE climbing into my home just whenever the heck they feel like it. It was one thing when Zack Morris did that kind of stuff, or when Shawn climbed into Cory’s and Eric’s window, but are the Matthews really not worried about burglars?

Riley and Maya show up, and tell Farkle to wait while Riley talks to Auggie. Auggie is sad about his girlfriend like I care, but apparently they aren’t even broken up after all. Topanga just assumed they were, and I thought Auggie had actually said as much, but no. Maya tells Topanga not to assume anything, and wonders why she doesn’t know that already because she’s married to Cory and should be getting like the home version of these “lessons.” Topanga says there’s just so many different life lessons, and has a realization that she married Feeny. Cory only WISHES his life lessons were as good as Feeny’s.

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Auggie’s upset because his girlfriend Ava is “messing with him,” because she says they might be together forever, but they might not be. Riley’s like “So… you’re still together now.” And Topanga, slightly annoyed, points out that she also let Auggie eat cake and whipped cream earlier. Auggie remembers this, and decides today was a good day after all, and leaves.

Oh boy I was on the edge of my seat worrying how Auggie’s thrilling girlfriend subplot would turn out. Honestly I’d be happier if they just made this whole show 3 minutes shorter and cut out Auggie completely.

Sheesh.

So now it’s Farkle’s turn to get advice. He’s not looking forward to facing Smackle – who I almost called Farkle again – in the debate, because ever since her makeover, she hasn’t been the same, and winning against her will be meaningless if she’s not up to her best. I like how this contradicts everything that just happened on this show. Let’s look at the facts, quickly:

  1. Smackle still appeared to have all of her incredible intelligence even with her loose hair and lack of glasses.
  2. She only turned into an idiot when Lucas was nice to her.
  3. Farkle, ONE SCENE AGO, was plotting to use Lucas to distract Smackle and win the debate.

So, it would seem to me that if Farkle wants to beat regular, smart Smackle, he just needs to make sure Lucas isn’t at the debate. Also there were other members of Smackle’s debate team.

At the debate, Smackle still looks all pretty because she refused the makeunder that Farkle told the girls to give her. Farkle tells her he hopes she enjoys being beautiful.

Farkle starts his debate by talking about how the Trojans were charmed by a pretty horse, and failed to consider what was inside, and cautions everyone not to be fooled by a pretty wrapper. THIS IS SO STUPID. It’s NOT ridiculous to assume that a wooden icon left on your doorstep to appease a goddess would be hollow and not full of Greek soldiers, especially since at that point, it looked like all of the Greeks had left. None of their camp stuff was there, all of their boats were gone. It is NOT ridiculous of the Trojans to have assumed the horse was just like a surrender gift left by the Greeks who had fled in the night.

Look, you DO have to assume some things, or else you spend your whole life suspicious of everything and carefully reading into everything you see.

Farkle calls up Lucas to give their concluding statement. Lucas – whom I just called Farkle, apparently I like Farkle so much I just think everyone is named Farkle now – says something about how people assume he’s a jock and a cowboy, but he also likes school, and he works hard so he can go to a good college, because he knows good looks don’t meant a good life, and so he knows beauty is not just skin deep. Ah yes, attractive actor, tell me more about how looks don’t help you have a good life. Also, this episode is the first time I’ve heard of someone using “beauty isn’t skin deep” to talk about intelligence being important. Every other time, it’s usually along the lines of “she may be pretty, but she’s really cruel and heartless” or “she’s ugly, but she’s a really nice person.” Not “I’m cute AND smart!! Therefore beauty is not just skin deep!!!11!!”

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Smackle starts her argument with “Like ohmygosh I’m so totally unprepared right now!” But she goes on to say that’s probably what people expect her to say based on the effort she put into her appearance. Yes that’s what I’d assume from her unstyled hair and absolutely hideous dress (the costumer for this show is insane). Smackle – who I swear to God I just called Farkle for like the 5th time – talks about beauty being only skin deep, and, like with the Trojan Horse, what’s really important is the army inside. I don’t really understand it completely, but I like how it sounds, so that’s all right.

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See?! She looks WAY better with glasses on.

She puts her glasses back on and tells everyone that they’re really deeply beautiful, adding “Especially you, Farkle.” The audience “awwwwwwwwwwwww”s about that. I’m not sure why.

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Later the kids are in Cloris Leachman’s bakery – which, to show I’ve gone totally crazy, I almost called a “blakery.” Smackle – who, as you might have guessed, I called Farkle AGAIN – asks Lucas out for a smoothie. Riley tells her to back off, and Maya concludes that Smackle was using Lucas to try to make Farkle jealous. The number of times I paused while writing that sentence to remember everyone’s names… I almost said “Farley” and “Samantha”, and at least for the latter that’s the actress’s name.

Smackle asks Farkle if he’d still like Maya and Riley if they weren’t beautiful. Farkle says “They’re beautiful? I never noticed.” It’s another “awwww” moment and the show ends.

All right, so… No “they’re beautiful on the inside, that’s what counts”? Also SUUURRREEE you never noticed they were pretty. I mean Farkle does obviously like them for their personalities, but come on.

 

I’m glad Farkle didn’t suddenly develop a huge love for Smackle, but I think my earlier point of “I thought he didn’t like her because she beats him at everything, not because she’s unattractive” should’ve come up at some point. Then Smackle would feel better about her appearance, and while she wouldn’t try to dumb herself down, perhaps start trying to be less over-the-top obnoxious about it or something. Instead it was just like… eh.

That said, this wasn’t a terrible episode. Obviously this show still has some major pacing and theme issues, but it’s not as bad as it was earlier in the season. I think Cory only being in two scenes helped. Also, Lucas actually existed in this episode. He’s starting to feel like a real person rather than a charming cardboard cutout that Riley’s attracted to.

But Farkle remains my favorite thing about this show. Rename it Farkle Meets World and I’m on board.

Major issues in this episode: As stated earlier, “OH SHE HAS GLASSES THAT MEANS SHE’S A NERD AND IN OUR LEAGUE”. It’s 2014, writers, shut up. And Auggie. Auggie’s subplot was so stupid. “I WANT TO BE WITH MY GIRLFRIEND FOREVER AND SHE DOESN’T THINK WE’LL BE TOGETHER FOREVER ALSO I’M 5 YEARS OLD.”

Honestly I don’t understand how people can like Auggie. They’re trying way too hard to make him the adorable young kid on the show, and it’s just not working. Also, stop trying to make “I’m only THIS many!” a catchphrase. It’s the dumbest catchphrase ever. Worse than any of the 30 or so catchphrases on Full House. I’ve said it before, but never have I so badly wanted a role to be completely removed or recast before. Or just completely rewritten. I mean, it’s like the writers have never seen, spoken to, or even heard of a real 5 year old before. Or maybe the actor is just an alien and has never seen, spoken to, or even heard of a real 5 year old before.

Also, the costumes on this show are the most ridiculous things. I just can’t even.

And finally, as always: Dear Girl Meets World viewers,

Girl Meets World is never going to hit extremely deep topics like suicide, rape, and drug abuse. Although Boy Meets World did very occasionally cover physical abuse, alcoholism, and cults, those were Very Special Episodes, and also Boy Meets World aired on ABC. Girl Meets World is on the Disney Channel. And anyway BMW never covered anything as deep as self harm and suicide. I know kids today do struggle with these things, but this show comes on the Disney Channel. I have Degrassi if I want to see a teen drama that covers that kind of stuff. I just don’t understand all of these people who are demanding that Girl Meets World be so dark. I’m totally okay with the show handling more deeper storylines along the way – like how That’s So Raven had a racism episode, and even though this isn’t a SUPER deep topic, Lizzie McGuire had that episode where Lizzie was embarrassed about wanting to buy a bra – but I think it’s ridiculous that people are already demanding Girl Meets World have an episode about suicide or self-harm, especially since the show’s only been on for two months.

Well, that’s it for today.

 

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