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Girl Meets World - World Meets Girl - Review

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I hope we’re all going to forgive the fact I’m not really reviewing “World Meets Girl,” however endearing it may be. There’s not really a story in it, nor nearly as much of a behind the scenes feel as one might think from the early peeks at the set, the writers, the classroom where the actors catch up on their law-mandated hours. These tidbits amount only to glances, and don't provide much of an understanding of what working on a show is like at all.

Besides, really “World Meets Girl” is all about what I do want to talk about: The end, and how very nigh it is.

The series, per recent announcement, is over in just two episodes. You’d be forgiven for not knowing it though, given how lately just about the only thing that has happened of any narrative importance is Shawn and Katy’s wedding—and that was episodes ago. Season three is then set to leave this world, our world, just as it began: In a frustratingly uneventful yet somehow still madcap rush, with questions the show doesn’t seem to care it’s set up still in the air. Are Lucas and Riley really dating? Who knows! Does Zay have feelings for Maya? Your guess is as good as mine! Where’s Shawn living? Ha, we’ll never know! And whatever theories may linger still about the show’s intentions for the gang’s endgame scenarios (I see you, Tumblr) it’s difficult to believe that the next two episodes  can change the course much (or if they do, that it could possibly be satisfying). We seem to be stuck with a show that has, after a season of promising a new order, returned to the status quo of season one.

Which is why “World Meets Girl” sort of feels like a squashing hug from a well-meaning aunt on your birthday. You’re glad to see her. You’re glad she cares. But also, it’s your birthday and too tight, can’t breathe, where’s the gift, oh it’s socks.

How … practical.

I don’t mean to be a scrooge, especially not this close to the holidays. Yes, I’m glad all these children across the globe can express what the show’s meant to them. I’m glad we all get a taste of the experience of actually interacting with the cast during a taping (seriously—though the multi-cam sitcom’s fallen out of fashion, at its best it is theater fused with television, and this is the closest the vast majority of people will come to seeing the energy up close).

But for all that I’ve tried to make peace with what the show is, I can’t help but wish we were ending the season—and show—on a happier note, a more exciting note. Or at least, I wish it were a note that convinced me the show has earned this almost full hour to spend on itself, celebrating the good it does. Diehards will appreciate it, and again, I emphasize: “World Meets Girl” is truly affecting at times. The final scene with Sabrina and Rowan, as they recall their first meeting and find themselves only barely able to discuss it without breaking down, is particularly striking. It's the right amount of reference and callback, with the thunder/lightning exchange. The right amount of real, as they choose to do this as them, not as their characters. Obviously I don’t know how close they are outside of work, or even how it would have played without us knowing the show’s fate (as I suspect they mostly did throughout this taping). It doesn’t matter though. These are young kids who have lived a life-changing experience with each other (it’s not like either were old hats at the child star life before this). Add the fact the show has never skimped on Maya and Riley, no matter what issues other bonds may have had, and it would take a cold, cold heart not to care even a little.

But even with that, “World Meets Girl” mostly makes me wish for a better Girl Meets World. It makes me wish for better storytelling, stronger focus on character over platitudes, through more showing and less telling. It makes me wish that this show had tried more consistently to hit that mark of truly meaning something, making me feel as in touch with humanity as I felt watching the lot of these kids—kids I’ve never met before, kids I’ll never meet again—as they perched on the bay window and bared their souls not to the camera but to the people who mean the most to them.

In that sense, maybe “World Meets Girl” was the best possible episode that could have aired this week. Because while I can’t say it makes me miss the show, it does make me wish it had another shot at figuring things out, to be the show these invested kids deserve. Girl Meets World may always have been better at affecting its audience than it was at making them laugh, but it still could have learned a thing or two from watching their viewers.

Judging by the dedication shown here, maybe the show had finally learned that lesson too.

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