Girl Does Not Meet World – Why This Show Doesn’t Meet My Expectations
I kind of, just a little, teeny, tiny, bit loathe myself for what I'm about to say. But here it is.
I do not like "Girl Meets World."
The "Boy Meets World" sequel premiered at the beginning of summer with so much hope and promise and sooooooooo much hype. Heck, I had been posting updates to my Facebook wall about the show for well over a year.
But here's the thing. It's not Boy Meets World. And I really, really wanted it to be just exactly like Boy Meets World. Sure, there's Cory and Topanga and Mr. Feeny, and even Eric and plenty of promised cameos from the rest of the old cast. And yes, Cory's character kinda pretty much channels Mr. Feeny. But that's where the similarities end.
I read one review that said the show was "heavily rooted in nostalgia." Um, kind of, if by nostalgia you mean some of the same actors from the original show grew up and are now in this show. That happened. But the rest of it is just a mess. It's like the writers never watched the original show. If they had, they wouldn't be writing something that is such a mis-mesh of themes. Girl Meets World is :30 minutes of what should be perfectly loveable and relatable characters, who instead spend the show waxing poetic.
As I eagerly watched the pilot, I tried so hard not to be disappointed. The whole show was choking on the symbolism of young Riley desperately wanting a metro pass so she could go meet the world and dad Cory not ready for her to grow up just yet. At the end when Cory tells Riley "I've already met the world. Now it's your turn." Ok, I see what you did there. I see where you're going with it. But, um, gag. Nobody talks like that. Any true Boy Meets World fan knows the original show would never see the characters deliver such a cheezeball line.
I thought, hey, they need their prophetic, symbolic pilot to give us all the warm fuzzies and bridge the two shows. I get it. It'll get better.
But it didn't. It got sooooooooooo much worse. And I have tons of questions for the writers and producers and creators.
First, what... the heck... did you do to Topanga? Our quirky, zen, Topanga is now a lawyer and she wears--gasp--pants suits. In one episode, we got to see Topanga let the "real" Topanga come out for, like, 25 seconds. Then it was back to the pants suit.
Second, why does Topanga spend most of the show just nodding and smiling and only occasionally gets to deliver a snarky one-liner? Topanga was so much more integral to Boy Meets World than just a head nod and a wise smile.
Third, I like that Cory became a teacher, because what else would be appropriate for a boy who spent his entire childhood torturing the same educator, than for that educator to become such an enormous influence the boy would have no choice but to spend his adult life trying to influence future generations? But what I don't like is that so much of Cory's storyline is cheezy. He gets to deliver tidbits of wisdom, but sandwiched in between are bouts of cheezeball and moments of near anarchy where the kids step all over him. Mr. Feeny would never have let that happen.
Fourth, why do Cory and Topanga live in an apartment complex in the city? It seems like it was a decision made just to tangibly differentiate Girl Meets World from Boy Meets World. I didn't expect them to live in the old Matthew's house, but I don't really see this family as urban. SUB-urban, yes. Loft in the middle of downtown, no.
Fifth, and this is probably the one that bugs me most... the writing is way too convoluted for the audience. Boy Meets World was chock-full of wisdom and lessons and inspiring messages woven into the antics of Cory and Topanga and the gang. Girl Meets World is no different in that respect, except that you have to make some pretty giant leaps to be able to follow jokes-leading to moral of the story-leading to the resolution where everyone hugs and has learned a lesson. I don't know how children my kids' ages (elementary school) can really pick out the messages. They're there, but they're not woven into catchy script. They're tangled in a clunkily-written hodge-podge of themes.
Sixth, that Maya is so wise, yet so much trouble. She's this generation's "Shawn," but Shawn was so much more believable because his character delivered a storyline that taught the audience through his experiences. We learned with him. Maya has a family situation similar to Shawn's, and she's constantly trying to teach us something, but never seems to be learning herself. I just don't find her character believable. And it's not the actress that's the problem. It's the writing. It all goes back to the writing.
Finally, why, oh why, do you guys not develop some of the other characters more? Augie is precious. Farkle is hilarious. Maya's mom is supposed to be a trainwreck, but she's not. They need to work on the setting, wardrobe and writing for her character. But we don't know anybody else. Outside of Cory, Topanga, Riley and Maya, the rest of the cast is practically just on regular cameo duty.
Disney just picked up a second season of Girl Meets World and I'm happy about that. My kids like it. And I watch it with them. I don't hate it. But I really don't like it either. This Boy Meets World purist would love to see more of the original show, than just some of the same cast, in Girl Meets world.