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Girl Meets World - Girl Meets Farkle's Choice - Review

I am vaguely aware that there was more to this episode than Jane Lynch singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” to an In Memoriam montage for dead bugs, but really, need there be? Particularly when the rest of the episode runs the way “Girl Meets Farkle’s Choice” does? 

Girl Meets World has learned well when it comes to its weak link. The Farkle of this nineteenth episode is a much quieter creature than the Farkle of the first. While still wackily intelligent and prone to flamboyant physical comedy, he's toned himself down to suit the rest of the cast, a difference noted particularly when next to Smackle. Designed for his earlier self (and apparently forgetful of her previous character development, suggesting some fortuitous episode shuffling on Disney’s part), Smackle feels fabricated in a way she didn’t in her last appearance. She’s robot weirdness battering against soft turtleneck-sweater-wearing walls and it’s all for the best that she is. Farkle of the first episode, screaming his name as if catchphrases can be born through sheer repetition, is not a Farkle I think anyone wants to see again.

Unfortunately one thing Farkle of the nineteenth episode still has in common with the prototype is his preoccupation with Riley and Maya. I’m not unkind. I’ve refrained from harping on it, and I’ll give the show its due. There’s a chance in “Girl Meets Farkle’s Choice” for the show to finally move past this plotline, and I’ll be happy never to mention it again if that’s true. The girls’ decision, after spending the episode trading blows to win the chance of being Farkle’s date for the Buggies, is after all a platonic one. They have fought less for Farkle himself but for what he represents as a kind, supportive friend. He sees and knows them for who they truly are, and likes them still. It’s an insecurity they both have, and it was nice to see that, rather than muster up romantic interest for him, they decide to always keep in mind they should never settle for anything less. Farkle likewise realizes that he likes them both as the team they make more than he likes them as his choice and a rival. All in all, problem situation potentially well solved.

Except the problem situation itself still nags at me. There’s a conflict between Farkle’s supposed moral superiority over other romantic options and his fantasy construction of the girls that I doubt GMW will ever address; and for me, an inherent creepy-crawly disgust to his obsession—which both girls have often, mind you, expressly rejected—that makes “Girl Meets Farkle’s Choice” a hard sell. Farkle hasn’t really done anything new to win the girls over. His earnest thoughtfulness as a friend has never been a question. Here though, as he speed dates both girls right in front of each other, he picks the right examples to demonstrate it—and exactly the right examples. Maya’s old skateboard, a symbol of her only moment of vulnerability. Riley’s old stuffed animal, a symbol of their entire friendship. It’s the sort of gesture television loves—outwardly romantic, implicitly problematic, akin to following your ideal girl home from school every day until she finally lets you walk with her. Is there something wrong with being sentimental? No. But there is something manipulative about using sentiment as a tool to get what you want, which when coupled with Farkle’s general obsession, doesn’t sit well with me. It sours what is otherwise a fairly well timed segment for the show, and highlights the major issue with Farkle’s crush. If he sees them as people, and that is his charm, perhaps he should start addressing them as people too.

I’m not, of course, arguing for the show to take a hard stance on gender politics of dating. This is a show where the B plot was Auggie’s book club—and by the way, worth it for Cory and Topanga acting out what has to be literally every children’s book in the world. I accept this. It's a time-honored trope, the nerd longing for the girl. I suppose the real issue of “Girl Meets Farkle’s Choice” is that it hit all at once how this could become, easily, a major plot thread as the characters age. Farkle isn't comic relief in the corner. He's their Canada, and an established part of the supporting cast. As romance inevitably becomes more of a factor and relationships cement. There exists a future in which Farkle recognizes he was just a kid—and there exists a future in which this is one chapter of a love story. I know which I prefer. Hopefully, the show prefers the same.

Random Thoughts

  • No, but seriously though, Jane Lynch singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” to an In Memoriam montage for dead bugs. A+, well done, GMW

      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.