TV Review: Girl Meets World (2×17) “Girl Meets Rileytown”

 

tumblr_nvaeyhuyDk1qajoyio7_540Riley’s Room: Riley’s faking sick, but Maya doesn’t buy it: “Let me look up your fake disease on the fake internet,” she says, scrolling on air. Maya mentions Rileytown, which causes Riley to shove her off the bed, upset at the reference to how goofy, silly, and weird she is. “You never should have come up with it and you’re a bully,” Riley says, shocking Maya.

Cory’s Class: this week, Cory is discussing conflict resolution and the Aaron Burr/Alexander Hamilton duel. The girls continue their Rileytown conflict, which leads to Riley challenging Maya to a duel. Cory tells Riley that there’s a difference between a conflict with a friend and dealing with a bully, warning the girls about attempting to resolve conflicts without words.

Topanga’s Cafe: the girls prepare for the ice cream duel with their seconds. When Maya asks why Lucas ends up being her second, he’s got a good answer: “It was decided that if things got out of hand, I was the best choice to contain you.” They have a flirty exchange, and I’m annoyed at myself for being fine with the impending Lucas-Maya relationship. Bye bye, good ship Maya/Farkle. We hardly knew you. Maya makes a show of giving her ice cream to Cory, but Riley smashes hers in Maya’s face for saying that she loves her just the way she is.

The outcome of the ice cream duel confuses the gang, now very concerned for Riley and Maya. Farkle realizes it’s just like when Farkle gave up wearing turtlenecks because someone was bullying him, so he sends Lucas and Zay away to explain the situation to Maya. Maya runs out to find her, so Farkle and Zay stay behind to tie up Lucas in order to explain the situation.

Riley’s Window: Maya vows that she will always be Riley’s friend, then asks why Riley wouldn’t tell her about someone bullying her. Riley tears up, explaining that she’s humiliated–she thought it would eventually go away, but instead it’s getting worse. Someone is texting her about how her happiness and goofy exterior is getting in the way, how they want to kick her in the face when they see her, etc. Afterwards she claims she’s fine, but one more prod from Maya with the word “Rileytown” sends her right back over the edge.  Lucas breaks out of his towel bonds (breaking part of Topanga’s counter in the process) to confront Riley, upset that she wouldn’t come to him.

Cory’s Class: it seems that Cory can sense that Lucas is going all “Texas Lucas” again (I would still like details on what exactly this means), considering his comments about the Burr/Hamilton duel: “Aaron Burr might have won his duel by killing his rival, but he never held office again.” He asks Riley how she’s doing, which begs the question, why is he addressing this in class? This week’s instruction is to learn from each other, and that he’s always there for help if they need it. ALSO he names every other kid in the class! He recognizes them all…then asks if their math teacher helps them with their real life problems using algebra.

Topanga’s Cafe: Riley explains that the bully is blackmailing her, threatening to share a video of Riley being weirder than ever–weirder than even Maya knows. Every Friday Riley holds a fake awards ceremony, presenting herself with awards for good deeds. It may involve fake accents. Maya isn’t fazed, telling Riley to turn to her friends for strength if she needs.

School Hallway: Riley addresses her bully, bringing out the entire school to witness her awards ceremony and taking away any blackmail power the girl originally had. I found it to be an interesting stylistic choice to have Riley address someone off screen and never show the bully. Riley thanks her friends for letting her be who she is, and thanks her bully for the growth of this experience. The bully runs away.

The episode ends with Riley questioning why they’re all having ice cream at Topanga’s while Maya looks on, holding six scoops on a cone and smiling in a mischievous way. Maya did say she’d get back at Riley…

This week’s Girl Meets World was a surprise for me. A topic like bullying can easily turn a half hour comedy into a lesson-heavy after school special, but Girl Meets World addressed a serious topic and surrounded it with the show’s patented humor and heart.

Boy Meets World Throwback Factor: None!

Episode Rating: 9/10

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Bri is a 25-year-old born and raised in the swamps of Jersey. Just kidding, she lives at least twenty minutes from those swamps. She’s a publishing professional that moonlights as a writer. She enjoys going to concerts (anything from Rooney to Springsteen to NKOTBSB), roadtripping, and complaining that she truly belongs in the 1950’s, the 1920′s, or the 1980′s depending on her mood. She definitely owns more books than she should and reads every chance she gets. If you stop hearing from her, it’s because the book piles have fallen over and smothered her to death in the night. You can contact her at bri@theyoungfolks.com. Twitter: @bri_lockhart