(Note: I originally started writing this a few days after the episode originally aired, but the video player I was using kept crashing, and I just gave up for that day. And didn’t feel like going back to reviewing for a really long time after that.)
I have a feeling this episode is going to be stupid yet vaguely heartwarming.
That’s actually a pretty decent description of the series so far, although “stupid” might be too harsh a word.
Now they’re doing a unit on the 1960s even though they were just talking about Ancient Greece in the last episode. Even if the airing order is different from the writing/filming order, it’s still so… stupid.
Everyone is class is totes bored by the 60s, and also they think Cory is like 50 years old. Maya says Cory should teach a unit on the future because history has nothing to do with them. Gawd, shut up, Maya. I so hate these “But what does the PAST have to do with ME?” plotlines and then everyone learns a very valuable lesson in the end and blahblahblah. I mean first of all, Maya, you have to learn this stuff because it’s in the curriculum, and if you don’t learn it, you’ll be stuck in 7th grade forever.
Cory snaps his chalk in rage, because they don’t have a markerboard in this class for some reason. Cory says that history is important because every decision they’ve made in the past affects their futures, and he wants all of them to travel to the 60s to learn about it themselves. Farkle, awed, says, “Time travel,” because he doesn’t know about that time his dad discovered how to Quantum Leap.
Riley’s all “Dad we can’t go back to the 60s, we weren’t there!” Cory says they were there, because they all had grandparents or great-grandparents who were alive then, and they have to discover what life was like for one of them back in the 60s. Although I think the whole reasoning for this being an assignment is stupid (the 60s were actually really interesting! Tell them about it, Cory!), I have to say, the assignment itself is pretty cool. I imagine it’d be pretty difficult for some of the kids to do completely – for instance, if I was in that class, I’d be in big trouble because all my grandparents and great-grandparents are dead, but my mom was alive in the 60s so I guess I could use her for a resource.
The scene immediately changes to Greenwich Village, 1961.
That looks like Chubbie’s. Hm.
Riley and Farkle appear, as beatniks. Because that’s all there was in the 60s. Just beatniks and snapping.
To the show’s credit, Riley’s hair does actually look decently accurate. Riley and Farkle say a lot of stupid Beatnik-y things I’m sure nobody ever actually said back then. Riley orders a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream because she’s dangerous, and says her name is Rosie McGee. Farkle, who introduces himself as Ginsberg – although unfortunately not Ruth Bader Ginsberg – takes her photo. Rosie asks Ginsberg if they’d met before, and Ginsberg replies “Haven’t we all?”
This is so stupid. And not funny-stupid like when Cory went back to the 50s because of a faulty microwave.
Farkle/Ginsberg reads a poem which is not great, but better than 80% of the poetry I’ve seen on deviantart and tumblr, so that’s okay.
After his poem, Rosie shows her some of what she’s written. He thinks it’s good stuff, and then asks what she’s doing there. She’s there ot make new friends, apparently. Ginsberg points out two groups – a table with Bob and Joan, or a blonde girl sitting all by herself, because she’s also new in town. Ginsberg says –
WAIT, WHAT? SHAWN DIRECTED THIS EPISODE??
Well anyway, blonde girl. Rosie says she has a very interesting look, and asks if she’s as interesting as she looks. What a weird, vaguely offensive thing to say. Blonde girl is Maya in a wig, and she looks like a combination of Emily Browning and a gelfling.
I’ll bet you my Jamaican timeshare that blonde girl turns out to be Topanga’s mom, whose name was Chloe for two episodes and then changed to Rhiannon later on.
I think Rosie/Riley is supposed to be Audrey Hepburn, also.
We cut to present day Greenwich Village. The kids are eating in the Blakery, which is my new name for it since the real name is too long and I thought that was a funny mistake I made a few reviews ago. Riley has a guitar and a crazy journal that belonged to her great-grandmother, Rosie. All right, so, it’s not clear how old Rosie was supposed to be in the 1961 setting, since she was being played by a 12 year old girl. But let’s see: Cory was 11 or 12 in 1993. So he was born around 1981. Eric is maybe three years older than him, depending on which season it is, so he would’ve been born around 1979. Their parents, therefore, would have to have been just born in 1961 AT THE LATEST. From what Amy and Alan have said in various BMW episodes, though, it’s more likely that they were probably at least around 6 years old in 1961, and certainly Topanga’s parents would be fitting the same timeline. So obviously Rosie, being the mother of Amy, Jedediah, or Chloe/Rhiannon (Alan’s mom is named Bernice so Rosie can’t be his mom), would have to have been in her 20s in 1961. In her mid-20s and going to a beatnik hangout to order hot chocolate and make friends and pretend to be cool.
Also I see I was probably wrong about Maya’s Blonde Girl character being Topanga’s mom, if she knew Riley’s great-grandmother, so I guess I owe you all a Jamaican timeshare. Joke’s on you because I never had one to begin with.
Lucas explains that his father is sending something that belonged to his great-grandfather. They don’t talk about the great-grandfather much, because his name was Merlin. Farkle thinks that’s funny, and Lucas says, “Okay, Farkle Minkus, what was your great-grandfather’s name?” Do these characters know that they ought to have more than one great-grandparent? I understand it would be tedious if they kept explaining “My great-grandfather, my mother’s father’s father”, but still. It’s weird. Most people in larger countries these days have four great-grandfathers. Also it’s really weird because I’m not much older than these characters, but all of my great-grandparents were born in the late 1800s/early 1900s, but it seems like these character’s great-grandparents were only born in the 40s or so.
So basically, there’s an entire generation between my great-grandparents and theirs, even though there’s not a generation between me and these characters.
Long story short, Farkus’s one and only great-grandfather was named Ginsberg. ZOMG JUST LIKE IN THE FANTASY FLASHBACK.
Maya’s looking at an art book. She’s impressed and depressed because she’ll never do anything that great. Ah hey here’s a great moment where Cory should pop up out of nowhere and be like “THAT ART BOOK. IT’S HISTORY. YOU SAID HISTORY WASN’T IMPORTANT. LOOK AT IT.”
Maya’s so saddened by the art book that she leaves it in the cafe. Yo okay Maya, I took 6 quarters of art history classes, and while I certainly understand you feeling like you have nothing interesting to “say” through your art, you really shouldn’t feel bad about not having the art skillz like all those old dead guys. Painters during the Renaissance didn’t seem to understand where breasts were actually located on the body. I totally get the monks and stuff getting it a little off, but it’s like some of these painters literally never a saw a woman in their entire lives. Also, babies. Nobody apparently knew what babies looked like.
Also what does Maya’s lack of confidence have to do with anything?
We go back to 1961. Blonde girl, whose name is May, was on her way to California until her bus broke down. She’s trying to get to some hippie paradise where people make art and write music and probably smoke a lot of dope. She’s traveling to Topanga Canyon, and Rosie writes this down, remarking that it’s a lovely name for something you want to love, which is a weird statement but we all know why it’s in there. Also, fun fact – Topanga Canyon is a real place, and our Topanga was named for it. But May better hurry because there’s a really bad fire that’s going to burn down a chunk of Topanga Canyon in November 1961.
May is announced onto the stage, and she sings what might be an original song. It’s a pretty good song, and Sabrina Carpenter has a good voice. All right. Also the Bob that was mentioned earlier as being in the cafe is Bob Dylan.
Then a man all outfitted in black, carrying a guitar, goes on stage. It turns out to be Merlin Scoggins, Lucas’s great-grandfather. Talk about your coincidences. Back in the present day, Lucas is doing his presentation and apparently Merlin sold a hit record back in the day. All of the civil rights and political turmoil that was going on in the 60s, but I’m sure glad we get to know that Lucas’s great-grandfather lived through selling a hit record.
Lucas explains that he kept this information from Maya to avoid getting more stupid nicknames. Maya says she’s so impressed with Lucas’s cool background, that she’s throwing out those nicknames forever, and is now going to call him Bucky McBoingBoing instead. Calling people stupid and mean nicknames against their wishes is hilarious!
Riley then does her presentation, because she and Lucas are presenting at the same time for some reason. As near as Riley can tell, her great-grandmother Rosie was a wide-eyed optimist who only saw the good in everyone. Yeah, okay, but I thought Cory said you were supposed to examine the 60s through the eyes of your great-grandparents, not that you were just supposed to talk about the kinds of people they were. Think if Lucas’s great-granddad had been a real person, how cool would it have been to learn how he struggled with breaking into the music business as an old-timey Texan in New York? Not just “Oh he had a record deal, that was cool.”
Lucas then plays Merlin’s old record because Riley’s presentation was only that 5 second sentence. We flash back to 1961 again. Rosie flirts with Merlin, and I was hoping it would turn out they actually got married and Lucas and Riley were actually second cousins. Merlin’s a little weirded out by Rosie, though, and goes to hit the road, but not before wishing Rosie and May luck. May echoes Maya’s earlier out of nowhere attitude by saying she’ll title her new song “I”m Nowhere Near As Good as You Two”. That’s stupid because Rosie didn’t even sing anyway, and Merlin’s song was terrible. May – oh hey, May and Maya! I just got that – tells Merlin that at least he had something to say when he sung. Merlin replies “Yeah, but you only know that because I got up there and said it.” He tips his hat and leaves. That was actually a really good line. What’s with this show?
[Note: This is where the video crashed before, so everything after this point was written 6 months after the previous part.]
May leaves the cafe forever after assuring Rosie she’ll be “right back.” Back in present-day, Riley says that Rosie never saw May again. Then Lucas says that people thought his grandfather was going to change the world after that one hit record, but he “made some bad choices, and went to jail for a little while.” Lucas decides he went bad because he needed better friends.
Riley then reads a poem Rosie wrote. It’s about “the girl with the long blonde hair” who needs to believe in herself. Maya astutely guesses that Riley actually wrote the poem, but Riley says she just continued it. She’s a continuation of Rosie, after all. Then Riley drops the bombshell that Rosie was her maternal great-grandmother – Rosie gave birth to Chloe/Rhiannon, who had Topanga, who had Riley. Trippy. This actually works a little better than her being Amy’s mother, as I was complaining about earlier – since Amy would’ve had to have been born in 1961 to give birth to Eric in 1979, which would make her 18 even though she didn’t get together with Alan until she was older so she would’ve been born in the 1950s. I don’t remember if they ever say when Chloe/Rhiannon and Jedediah got together, but also since Topanga is their only child (I mean, since Nebula was only mentioned the one time, I think she doesn’t really exist) it’s easier to accept Rosie would’ve been single and childless in 1961.
Riley gives Maya a guitar. The guitar’s been in the family for 50 years, and is giving it to Maya so she learns to never give up. Maya sings a song full of the stupid nicknames she’s given Lucas.
Later, Maya heads back to the Blakery to pick up her art book, because she decides it’s important after all.
Later-er, Riley brings Topanga into her room to sit on her window seat, which really excites Topanga. Apparently she rarely if ever gets to sit on the special window seat. Riley called her in to have her look at one of Rosie’s journal entries. “Topanga – what a beautiful name for something you want to love.” D’awww.
At class the next day, the bell rings and Farkle bolts in. He’s giving his presentation. He found a photo of his great-grandfather working at his cafe, and then asks Lucas and Riley if they know the year and month they were in New York, and what cafe they preformed in. They’re both stunned when they give the same answers to each question – 1961, December, and Cafe Hey. So, a couple points. 1, 2e already knew all this. 2, as I pointed out earlier, a good chunk of Topanga Canyon burned down in November 1961, so May’s gonna have a hard time visiting it if she left in December 1961. 3, Cafe Hey is a reference to an actual cafe that was founded in 1961, Cafe Wha.
Farkle asks Maya what she found out about her own great-grandmother. Maya replies that her mother told her to just forget doing any research. Farkle figures she did some snooping behind her mother’s back, Maya denies this, Farkle says “Come on, what was her name?” Maya pauses and then says “May Clutterbucket.”
Lucas is thrilled that now he has a stupid name he can call Maya. Farkle’s excited because all of their great-grandparents met on the exact same night. I mean, again, they should actually all have eight great-grandparents each, it would be cool if they weren’t acting like Ginsberg, Rosie, May, and Merlin were their only great-grandparents.
Riley figures out that Maya’s great-grandmother May is the same one who was friends with Rosie, but Maya points out that they weren’t friends. May left. Maya comes from a long line of people who give up on on things, she says. Cory tells her that this is her chance to change history – learn from the past.
Farkle rolls in a tv stand.
Schools are getting flat screen tvs now?? Sheesh. But they still have a chalkboard.
Farkle says it was hard to research his great-grandfather because he wasn’t in any of the photos from Cafe Hey, because he was the one taking the photos. That is the dumbest sentence in this whole episode. You know what’s even dumber? If these people were in the late teens/early 20s in 1961, they could very well still be alive right now! You know, it’s hard for me to research my great-grandparents, because they were born 100 years ago, and are long-dead. All these people were alive in the 1960s but it’s super hard to get any research on them? Did any of them just ask their grandparents?? Oy, sheesh. Anyway, it doesn’t make sense that Farkle had a hard time doing research because there weren’t many photos of Ginsberg. There aren’t many photos of Ancient Greece, and yet we can still research Ancient Greece.
Anyway he has a photo of Merlin, Rosie, and May sitting together. It transitions to be one of Lucas, Riley, and Maya.
The next day, Riley, Lucas, Maya, and Farkle are all in class early because they’ve decided that history is interesting. I’m not sure why. I mean, learning that they each had a great-grandparent who were all in the same place at the same time and were even photographed together is pretty cool, but knowing that, I wouldn’t be like “Oh yeah! The 1960s were so cool!” They didn’t actually learn anything about the 1960s at all, for one thing.
But they ask where they’re “going next” and Cory recites the beginning of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, which is a good speech but totally irrelevant to anything that happened in the episode. Then Cory’s just like “The ’60s, man!” and that’s the end of the episode.
They should’ve made this take place in the last 60s and sneak in some Wonder Years homages, since Fred Savage was in that show, and Fred is Ben Savage (Cory)’s brother. Ben Savage was actually in an episode of The Wonder Years, actually.
This review only took 10 months to write and post.