Cory’s Class: This week Cory is waxing poetic about the Great Lady of New York, aka The Statue of Liberty. The Cultural Fair is coming, so he tasks the kids to celebrate where they came from by discovering their heritage. Riley is disappointed that her family doesn’t seem to have an interesting story, because all her parents can tell her is that they’re American.
The Matthews’ Apartment: Riley takes her complaints home with her. Topanga declares their family to be multi-generational Americans. She’s in the midst of making a traditional Cuban dish, ropa vieja, in order to make Auggie’s new friend Raphael feel at home. “I wouldn’t want anyone to go out of their way to make me feel welcome!” Raphael says, quite happy with Topanga’s gesture. Ava busts in, dressed as a Cuban dancer, “Too much?” she asks.
Cory’s Class: Riley hasn’t gotten over her lack of heritage, and I haven’t gotten over the fact that the Matthews and the Lawrences must have come from somewhere else down the line. Riley throws slices of American cheese into the crowd, yelling at Cory that he made her this way. Maya discovers that the Clutterbuckets come from Ireland, so she’s sporting a giant hat, potatoes, and Irish Spring soap. Zay and Lucas are dressed like crazy cowboys in honor of their Texan roots. Cory is disappointed in everyone and demands that they dig deeper. Explaining that a lack of understanding and fear of others is how conflicts and war begin. The only kid he approves of is Farkle, who says that he has to find out more information about his grandfather before giving his report.
Topanga’s Cafe: Farkle is in the midst of trying to figure out why his grandfather immigrated to America. Zay’s phone call to his grandmother is interrupted by Riley, who grabs the phone to apologize for eating the cookie two episodes ago. Turns out it’s his other grandmother, and now she’s riled up about which grandmother Zay is closer to. Was that scene necessary? Nah. Was it a fun bit of continuity? Yup. Zay reveals that his grandmother told him their family was originally from Ghana, went to Jamaica, then jumped from Texas to New York. Topanga explains to Riley that their family comes from San Francisco and spent time in Pennsylvania’s Dutch country. I still don’t believe that neither Cory or Topanga has any idea about their ancestors’ origins before coming to America.
Cultural Fair: The kids ask the woman in the Cambodia booth (their classmate’s grandmother) about her immigration experience, despite Riley’s discomfort. She explains fleeing from Cambodia to the Philippines, and ultimately to America. Farkle is especially interested in her tales. Maya connects to the poetry and art in the Irish booth, while Riley gets pissy about the fact that there’s no booth for America so she can discover anything.
Cory’s Class: Maya explains that the Clutterbuckets are a fishing family from Galway, Ireland. After researching Galway, she’s decided that it’s beautiful and she’s going to bring her mother there one day. For Riley’s presentation, she says, “Field trip,” and takes the class out into the hallway. She explains that America is one big cultural fair, made up of many cultures they can learn from. Cory dismisses the class.
The rest of the gang realizes that Farkle hasn’t shared his family’s story yet. He explains that his grandfather was adopted by the Christian Minkus family as a way of keeping him safe during World War II. There is no record of the rest of his family, presumably as a result of the Holocaust. “My story will be about how lucky we are to live in a place that allows you to be who you are. But that’s all I can really tell you about my heritage right now because I’m still finding out who I am,” Farkle explains.
Well, if this episode has taught me anything, it’s that Girl Meets World isn’t quite ready to tackle culture and diversity just yet. The episode felt a little scattered and unsure of itself, and I’m not entirely comfortable with the way they presented everything. One thing I will say is that Cory Folgelmanis did a wonderful job as Farkle — he proved that he can handle more emotional storylines and serious topics.
Boy Meets World Throwback Factor: nonexistent.
Episode Rating: 5/10