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Girl Meets World - Girl Meets Farkle - Review

I am not qualified to speak on this episode.

Of course, I say this, and there is the obvious problem that this is what I do. Episodes air, and I review them, hopefully fairly and usually with an eye towards the entire world of World, so to speak. And it’s not that I don’t feel like I have a stake in tonight’s episode, I should be clear. I would like to speak. I’ve lived alongside Autism, in fact, for most of my life. My younger brother, diagnosed since three, because his branch on the tree is very different than what is typically referred to as Asperger’s. He speaks, though not well. He can take care of himself, but he can’t handle money. He’s outgoing and warm—more so than me, really—but he shies away from touch that he doesn’t control, from conversations that he hasn’t asked to have. I’ve watched people treat him differently, for most of my life, and I’ve gone through the stages of development in how that makes me feel. I’ve been humiliated, and bitter—and not proud of either. Angry, and protective—mostly that nowadays, thankfully.

I know how tonight’s episode of Girl Meets World makes me feel. I appreciate Smackle’s diagnosis, as a girl with Autism when very often the media forgets it is possible. I appreciate that someone who is intelligent and interesting and has been presented on the show as being desirable and cool for all her weirdness also is Autistic, and deals with that as both a power and struggle. I appreciate that the steps Farkle has taken towards considering her as a romantic interest come partly from that.

I also feel a little cheated that Farkle is not. I feel a little strange about how dire the whole possibility of it is treated, like he might be dying rather than being, you know. Exactly the same person he was the day before. Some ambivalence and strangeness is only to be expected but Cancer, this isn’t.
But tonight’s episode isn’t about really how it makes me feel. It wasn’t about the humor (though the jokes were a little more heavy-handed than usual) or the structure (by the numbers but fine as the show goes). It wasn’t about the continuity fails (though it was annoying to see Riley take a leap backward in understanding her feelings about Lucas) or the continuity nods (how did they even find Kristanna Loken to play Jennifer again).

It was about shining a light on all those we walk alongside. Giving them a voice, a face, a name on a show that has, as diversity goes, been fairly lacking. It was about a lesson, yes, as most BMW and GMW episodes are, and about labels, murky as the show’s final stance on them is.

But most importantly, tonight’s episode is about Autism. It is about Autism, and Autistic people, and how they feel—and while I may ask this without reaching those readers, I’d rather open the floor to them: Did “Girl Meets Farkle” succeed?

You tell me.

      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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