This week’s Girl Meets World was a little more serious, a little more educational, and a little unexpected. Cory’s Class: as Cory explains that human beings are made of atoms, the guidance counselor arrives to tell Farkle that he has a genius IQ and that his aptitude test said he was suited to rule the world. This is a terrible thing to tell someone in middle school, but at least she also tells him that it’s important to not make his friends feel inferior.
Topanga’s Cafe: Minkus and his “unexceptional wife,” AKA ex-girlfriend of Shawn Hunter and Cory’s living nightmare Jennifer Bassett, are holding a Farkle is a Genius party. They present his birth certificate to the group, proving that he’s a real boy. Sometimes, the joke continuity on this show is impressive. Farkle and Riley’s fake marriage (echoing Farkle’s and Maya’s) is interrupted by Smackle, who has arrived to convince Farkle to transfer to Einstein Academy with his new genius status.
Cory’s Class: “Don’t live under a label. It gets in the way of who you are,” Cory says, teaching his kids a blatant piece of wisdom. This may or may not have something to do with the guidance counselor bringing Farkle in for more testing, this time to figure out whether or not he has Asperger’s Syndrome. The parents of Minkus explain that the first thing he wanted to do was come over and tell his friends, who are all very protective of him.
Riley’s Window: Lucas is running through a list of Asperger’s symptoms, and Farkle is checking off each one. Farkle seems okay with the idea of having Asperger’s, but he does request that his friends never let him not understand love.
Topanga’s Cafe: After Farkle’s tour of Einstein Academy, Smackle is attempting to lure him over there with her awkward feminine wiles. Remembering their promises, Riley and Maya nudge him to explore love. Outisde the cafe, he holds Smackle’s hand as he explains that they’re testing him for Asperger’s, and she too expresses her support.
Cory’s Class: “You observed me in my natural habitat, so I asked Mr. Matthews if I could observe you in mediocreville,” Smackle explains. Farkle arrives and explains the autism spectrum to the class, letting everyone know that he tested negative for Asperger’s. Cory reiterates that labels don’t matter, it’s what you do and how you live your life. Smackle admits that Farkle belongs there, since there are friendships and lessons that can’t be taught with a textbook.
Riley’s Window: Smackle explains to Riley and Maya that Farkle won’t want to be with her now that he knows for a fact that he doesn’t have Asperger’s. To her surprise, Riley and Maya assure her that he will, that it doesn’t matter to him that she does have it. Farkle was also aware of it, and asks Maya and Riley for twin divorces. He asks Smackle if it would be okay if he hugged her since she doesn’t like to be touched, and it’s a genuinely sweet moment. Afterwards, the group tries to convince her to transfer to their school.
This might be Girl Meets World’s best episode yet. They explored topics like the autism spectrum and consent with a great deal of sensitivity, never moving into maudlin territory. The support expressed by each of the characters was touching, while the episode was lightened by Smackle’s and Lucas’s interactions, as well as Cory’s and Jennifer’s. I’m impressed.
Boy Meets World Throwback Factor: HIGH. We find out that Minkus is married to Jennifer Bassett, Shawn’s ex-girlfriend who wouldn’t let him see Cory anymore. She later handcuffed Shawn in a boathouse to “protect” Angela, which she references: “Hey remember when we were in high school and you thought I was a monster because I was bigger and different than everybody? And I handcuffed Shawn to a boathouse?”
Episode Rating: 10/10.