Cory’s History Class: “Money is paper we put our faith in…I’m teaching you that the value given to money is not as important as how it’s used. That’s what matters. That’s what shapes who you are,” Cory explains, starting off the episode by spelling out this week’s lesson. Minkus arrives to inform his son that they’re no longer rich thanks to an ill-advised investment. And to have a mental breakdown in front of Cory.
Maya’s Room: Farkle asks Maya for lessons on how to be poor, which seems a little condescending. Maya shares her most important lesson with him: “I don’t really have much, but I try to appreciate what I do have.” Farkle is fascinated by Maya’s ability to see and interact with the hoi polloi in her neighborhood, since apparently rich people in their world don’t ever do that. I find it a little ridiculous that they’re painting Farkle’s situation as so different than the rest of the kids, considering they all attend the same school.
Cory’s History Class: Cory has a new secret of life to share with the kids — kindness and charity change people. Their assignment is to think about who they would help if they had money and how. Minkus arrives to announce that their money situation has been saved, but Farkle is humiliated by their excess of riches. He talks to his father about giving up their money, since they have too much stuff and never see each other. “What good is what we have if what we have keeps us apart?” he asks.
Topanga’s Cafe: Minkus takes his son’s request to heart and meets with Cory and Topanga about setting up the Minkus Family Foundation. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is there to help them choose the person who would benefit the most from the money. After Lucas and Riley fail to impress him, Maya spells out her plan: “I’m going to get an education from him, and I’m going to earn my own money and one day I’ll be in a place with good walls and a good roof…if I have enough, I’ll fix someone else’s roof.” Minkus grants Maya the money on the condition that she do something with it — it can’t just sit there.
The B plot for this episode follows Auggie asking for his allowance. When Cory offers to pay him, Auggie turns him down, as Topanga makes more money than he does. Auggie later apologizes to Cory for making him feel bad about his salary. The Parents Matthews assure him that both of them have the same value regardless of the difference in salary. Topanga’s lawyer job isn’t more important that Cory’s teacher job — both of them are in their chosen fields to help people.
The lesson-of-the-week vibe is strong in this episode. Unfortunately, there was little to further the overarching plotlines of the season in this one, though it didn’t feel pointless, unlike some of the episodes that fall under Disney’s themed weekends. There’s something about the way the kids treat Maya that doesn’t sit well with me; occasionally it seems like she’s their poor girl mascot. I do like how the episode showed how her character has evolved, especially concerning her goals for the future.
Episode Rating: 6/10.