Review: Girl Meets World

by Dexter Brown
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Disney Channel/Family's Girl Meet World title card

Girl Meets World title card (screenshot via YouTube)


Riley with her arm around Maya

It’s a Disney show, no way around it (screenshot via YouTube/Family)

Don’t be mistaken – despite its relationship with Boy Meets WorldGirl Meets World is a Disney Channel sitcom through and through. It’s often simplistic, clunky and bland, but (and there’s a big but we’re dealing with now) throughout the series’ run it features many members of the cast of Boy Meets World, one of TV’s most celebrated teen sitcoms.

     In Girl Meets World, Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley, desperately tries to find her place in the world. If the show’s title isn’t enough of a hint, or the theme song, they sure as heck beat you over the head with it by making repeated references to the girl finding her place in the world premise in the dialogue.

Cory, Riley and Maya talking in Riley's bedroom

It’s his world, stupid (screenshot via YouTube/Disney Channel)

     “It’s not your world yet, it’s still my world,” Cory says near the start of the debut episode but by the end of it he changes his tune and says, “Riley, I’ve already met the world, it’s your turn.”
     In addition to the problem of finding her identity and place in the world, Riley also has trouble with boys and in the first episode she is eager to shed her good girl reputation, but seems to learn to be content with herself by the end of it. Giving up trying to be a bad girl seems like a good call as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna were so determined to shed their good girl personas and look how well that turned out for them.

     Girl Meets World also features Farkle, a rather annoying oddball who talks in third person. He reminds me of Family Matters’ Urkle, perhaps because of his similar sounding name. Boy Meets World also had Minkus (whom I forgot all about until someone else brought him up) who was a know-it all like Farkle, but Farkle seems more over the top.

Cory dragging Lucas across the cafeteria on Girl Meets World

There’s something off about Lucas (screenshot via YouTube/Family)

     There’s also Lucas, a Texas boy, who Riley and her best friend Maya randomly meet on a subway ride to nowhere and somehow miraculously, not only goes to their school, but also has a class with them.

     The strange series of coincidences don’t stop there. Cory also happens to be Riley’s teacher and since he’s her teacher that makes it possible for him to notice Lucas with the girls at the table during lunch. Cory asks him what part of Texas is closest to Mexico, Lucas says El Paso, Cory says let’s go there and drags him out of the cafeteria by his chair.

Maya attempts to set papers on fire in class

Maya attempts to set some homework on fire in the middle of class because who hasn’t (screenshot via YouTube/Disney Channel)

     Adding to the absurdity that is Lucas, Cory’s class is a circus with Farkle taking it over and Maya starting a protest against homework since she’s such of a bad girl. Maya eventually sets off the sprinklers after she tries to set some papers on fire in class.

     It doesn’t help that Cory doesn’t seem to be a good teacher either. He just mentions the Civil War, gets the kids to turn to page 48 then page one of their textbooks, asks them to read what’s in between and gives them an assignment of writing three pages of whatever they’re interested in. So much for “jamming some learning into your heads” as Cory put it.

Girl Meets World loses touch with reality sometimes, like when Riley somehow summons superhuman strength to open a subway car door (screenshot via YouTube/Family)

Girl Meets World loses touch with reality sometimes, like when Riley somehow summons superhuman strength to open a subway car door (screenshot via YouTube/Family)

     By the end of the episode in yet another one in a million coincidence, Riley and Maya also meet the same woman from the previous subway ride. During this trip however, Maya pushes Riley out of the train, but then Riley opens the closed subway doors with her bare hands and the door remains open until they have their chat so they can run out of the train as friends. Like what? How does a preteen girl open closed subway doors and get the subway system to stand still until she’s done chatting? Forget the daughter of Cory and Topanga—she must be the daughter of Superman.
     The thing primarily saving this show from being like any other Disney Channel (or Nickelodeon) live action sitcom in the past 10 or 15 years is the novelty of seeing the Boy Meets World cast years later. However, it’s a shame the material they have to work with isn’t any better. While most of the Girl Meets World‘s debut episode is tepid, it picks up by the end, but that’s also when the show really goes off the rails in terms of realism. I’m referring here to Riley opening the subway doors by hand and Maya trying to set papers on fire in class. While the acting is rather good considering this show is produced for the Disney Channel, if you’re old enough to remember Boy Meets World you might still leave the debut episode a bit disappointed.

Episode Reviewed: Girl Meets World 
Girl Meets World airs a special sneak peek Friday at 9:34 p.m. (after the Disney Channel original film Zapped) on Family

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