Monday, August 18, 2014

Are you guys watching Girl Meets World? Because ya really should be.


I was a little leery about this whole thing when I heard it was being made. One the one hand, I'm getting real tired of my childhood (or in this case, my teen-hood) being re-sold to me in shinier packaging. On the other hand, I really loved growing up with Cory and Topanga, and I was happy to see them again. They were TV representations of weirdos who love each other and keep committing to being themselves right when I most needed to hear that, and I wanted them to stay that and not get messed up with modern TV stuff.

I didn't have to worry.

Yes, the show is much more styled and slicker than the old one--but that's how all Disney shows are these days. And it doesn't get in the way.

Girl Meets World is just as much a story about figuring stuff out for yourself and learning the lessons you get yourself into as it always was, and it not any more heavy handed than the old one was. But better yet, it's so cheerfully silly that there's no cynicism in it. There could be--Maya has a crappy life with a deadbeat dad* and a hands-off mom who works too much--but it always pulls back around to this central message that friendship is the same as family when you don't have a family of your own, that your problems don't have to define you, and that you are always free to be who you are.

And better yet, it's as much about Cory and Topanga as it is about Riley and Maya. I was afraid they'd get sidelined, but they're vitally important to every story, and they have their own stories going too--in the most recent episode, Topanga had a minor crisis about how normal she is now, and how much of her hippy-dippy self she'd given up to be where she is. Solved quickly but earnestly, of course.

The first episode is a little thin, but it sets everything up perfectly, and by the second everyone knows who they are and the characters all have to connect in a way that makes total sense and makes you like them more--and it keeps getting more delightful each episode. Like, giggly, silly, nostalgic-but-not-sappy, charming, off-the-wall delightful.

The little brother is adorable and has pretty good comic timing. The Cute Boy is charming and has unexpected skills and is cutely amused by all the craziness these two girls point at him, in a way that isn't condescending at all. The Nerd is as annoying as Minkus** once was, but is also sweet and a little delicate*** and totally reasonable more often than you'd expect. The background kids in Cory's classroom are frikken priceless--watch their faces as they react to the lunacy of the main characters. It's like they have their own show going on there. And recently, there's been an expansion of the world--there's other nerds than just Farkle, there's other teachers than just Cory, there's a librarian and a bakery-shop owner that I really really hope we get to see more of****, and the kids around them are starting to standardize into familiar faces you see each episode.

It's an antidote to all the grimdarkness invading all the other shows I watch every week! I wish there were more episodes of it already. And it's a lovely example of how to be a parent if you grew up with Boy Meets World as your view of how the world should be. It's a good view.

So if you're not watching it, I say go get yourself a bowl of popcorn and click on that On Demand, and just gobble it up.



NOTES:
*I really hope her deadbeat dad isn't Shawn, because his major arc was that he had a deadbeat dad of his own and didn't want to be like that...unless his story is to get him back in contact with Maya and actually be a real dad now that he can.
**And, actually, despite still being rivals all these years later, it doesn't stop the Mathews clan from inviting him over for dinner along with everyone else, which I love.
***I'm pretty sure he and Maya are going to get married.
****I really want the grouchy old librarian lady and the Ukranian baker to be best friends, and to sit around and drink coffee and snark at the kids. Also, there was Jackee on the train in the first episode and I really want her to come back, too!
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