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Girl Meets World - Episode 1.12 - Review: "I appreciate you, baboon"

Not everyone can conjure up the precise moment of realization that school faculty exists outside the school, but I think we all know the feeling.  It’s buggy and guilt-tripping, because on the one hand, of course they do. They are people. You see people all the time, shopping and running and languishing in post offices on the corner of hell. Logic dictates that if you go to school and then come home, and your parents go to work and then come home, and school is work for the teachers and custodians and lunch ladies, they too go home. They eat and sleep and yes, shop and run and languish.

For me, my only explanation is that as a young and thriving geek of a child, I thought of everything as a story. Mine was always on the air, obviously—a real hit—but just as TV characters were only really visible when their episode came on and book characters were only really present if I flipped to their chapter, the school staff I worked with everyday probably existed when I wasn’t crossing over, but surely were confined to those installments of my life.

And then, once, I saw a teacher in the supermarket. Shopping, maybe running. And they became, all at once, just so … real. They were a real live person and unlike the real live people I knew, they didn’t have a name or favorite color or a hobby and that’s all because I never cared. I remember not even wanting to look at their shopping cart really, because it felt like information overload. This person existed and had cereal preferences and I had never even bothered to care.

So too long, didn’t read version: “Girl Meets the Forgotten” might be the best episode yet of Girl Meets World. For me, might even just be a plain old great episode. The plotting might have been slow—in particular, the crystallization of just how good Geraldine the lunch lady is at her job and just how much work actually goes into being good at a job Riley and Maya have never before respected felt oddly drawn out. (Did we really have to go back to Riley’s room? Is there a rule that life lessons can only be learned on Riley’s window seat? Mysticism like this is why I felt deprived as a child, Disney.) But I was genuinely very impressed at how well the show managed to convey the emotional spectrum you run through when you realize just how much of a child you are, and just how large the world is, all without dramatics and still with the usual lesson attached.

Part of why this may have gone done particularly well may be the spoonful of meta magic. I refer, of course, to the sneak attack return of Boy Meets World bully Harley Keiner as the school’s janitor, in a subtle play to the audience who no doubt also may be inclined to forget that Harley Keiner is played by a real actor who’s still out there and alive and kicking and real. Also? Delightful. Harley was never a major part of the cast, but with his oddly charming '50s Greaser buffoonery, he was always a welcome one, and it’s fascinating to see how well he instantly clicks into our world. Perhaps it stretches credibility that he could end up exactly at this school, but hey. He seems happy. Who am I to judge? I actually hope he comes back; it’d be interesting to see him and Cory interact more, given their history, and while McNulty may have lost something in the hair department, he still gives the role his all.

Another part of this may be the very appreciated dose of Riley/Topanga this brought as well. The show’s definitely been lacking in ways to bring Topanga into the major storylines, and that still would be nice to see. I also feel like a private moment between them would’ve lifted this episode even higher. It’s wonderful, however, to see Riley realize through her exploits with Geraldine that her mother is also a real person, one who works incredibly hard in ways Riley will never get to see, and appreciate her for it. May this be the first of many more such relationship building moments to come.

I think this settles the question of whether the show’s starting to hit its stride. It’s been a chain of, if not all winners, promising underdogs, and I’m almost sad that—unless I am horribly off—the season is almost over. More like this, Girl Meets World, and we’ll be just fine.

No random thoughts today, but please do share some of yours with me, per usual! 

About the Author - Sarah Batista-Pereira
An aspiring screenwriter and current nitpicker, Sarah likes long walks not on the beach, character-driven storytelling, drama-comedy balancing acts, Oxford commas, and not doing biographies. She is the current reviewer for Girl Meets World.


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