The horrors of helicopter parents.
Hey, why not follow up a day of Boy Meets World revelry by checking in with its belated spin-off progeny...
Girl Meets World
This is probably the most recent Halloween episode we'll be watching this year, so allow me to describe the feel of this budding nostalgia-vulture.
I've watched a few episodes, and I'll be honest with you... it's kind of a strange experience. Picture all of the BMW constructs you've come to know and tolerate - the best friends, the love interest, the class oddball, the snarky, knowing parents - and then wrap them in a blanket of moist, yellow fever. The faces are the same, and yet slightly... different? Shawn Hunter is still Shawn Hunter, except he is a she, and she is a blonde named Maya. Former-Torkelsons cast-off, Minkus, has emerged from his chrysalis of time, having transformed into a stunning Farkle - the hallmarks of his role remain, yet his elfin features have been toned down in favor of floppier bangs.
This show emits the feeling that any of these characters could wake up at any moment and realize that it was all just a dream. Is there a chance that the final episode sees William Russ emerge from his coma, finally unfettered from this delusional projection of hope for his family? Will he turn to a shocked Betsy Randle and tell her about this strange dream of one of his idiot sons somehow stumbling into a healthy family-life that enables and even encourages his predisposition to talky, self-involved monologues about life and how to live it, so long as you're living it within the rigid structure of his morality?
And if Betsy Randle ends up being the Suzanne Pleshette of this world being met by so many of her genetic inheritors, where does that leave the incomparable Ms. Pleshette? Does she likewise become Betsy Randle, and if so, does this change the tenor of this show from that of Child Manipulating World, to one wherein the family-Matthews continues to collectively mourn the loss of their matriarch, their own Pam Tanner? Will the memory of Ms. Pleshette be paid tribute to with a somber pre-closing credits title card that acknowledges her loss and projects a promise by the cast and crew to never forget her!? I really have no idea, but it certainly bears looking out for in seasons to come.
John Adams High is exactly how you remember it, except it's actually John Quincy Adams Middle School, and this lauded Philadelphian institution (named after one of Pennsylvania's almost-neighbor's finest citizens) is now located in New York for reasons to be determined. The setting you've grown so used to has survived, yet the traditional 3-4 camera set-up has not; two-shots next to lockers are borderline-claustrophobic as the producers cast the fate of their fourth wall to the winds, offering us a too-close examination of our protagonists and the world they are supposed to be introducing themselves to. It puts one in mind of the episode of Frasier Jim Burrows shot entirely from the point-of-view of the fireplace.
Even those who are actually the same - same actors, same characters - even they are slightly-off in this dreamlike scenario. Cory grapples with his latent control-issues by helicoptering over the aforementioned Girl, Riley, teaching her classes and inexplicably imploring her to take the world and make it hers. His once off-putting teenaged face is now adult and equally off-putting, as he frowns it into a veil of earnestness.
Meanwhile, Topanga stands in the doorway, shaking her head, and thankful that her daughter was actually the product of an office-affair with some hunky sales rep. from another branch, who will only be revealed to us in later seasons, when Riley needs a runaway plot-line that can arc over several episodes (my guess: Jonathan Turner). Naturally, with this affection towards her brilliant, bastard of a daughter, she can't help but rue her decision to stay married to the dope they call Cory, forever starring in his own episode of Man Repels World. Her despair may be buried deep within her heart-chakra, but all the dreamcatchers in all the world cannot stop its tendrils from choking the joy out of her spirit, at which point things can only end one way: Woman Meets the East River.
From there, universes collide with the fury of paradoxical television casting-couches splintering into endless zero-gravity shards, for Danielle Fishel will have finally fulfilled the prophecy of becoming the Suzanne Pleshette-infused Betsy Randle that millenials will turn to upon waking forever-after .
I look forward to many more seasons of callbacks, guest cameos, and unvarnished grief!
Space: New York, NY
Time: October 2nd, 2014
Episode: "Girl Meets World Of Terror" Season 1, Episode 11
Well, I'm afraid it's time for me, your time-traveling pilot, to face at least one fact while we are on this journey together: Disney's Girl Meets World might not be aimed at 34-year-old men. It's just a hunch, but I have to say, I did not find much to relate to here, and rather than blame the show, I'll just blame myself, and we can carry on looking at costumes and lanterns.
Okay, so Riley's brother, Auggie, is the host of this ep, and it's done in anthology style, probably to not linger on any one idea for too long. We get some quality production design during his narration segments, as we bloody-well should; Disney owns Marvel, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Disney - I think they can afford the child-sized casket.
We're taken to a story about Farkle, in which he is fearful, as evidenced by this:
Perhaps he's reluctant to be pulled into Cory Matthews' world, as well he should be, or maybe he's just not ready to be a part of Riley's steampunk gang...
...though, again, he should be.
Here we find Auggie shouting-out the master (as well he should), and I wonder who the audience for that visual gag is, though I suppose Alfred Hitchcock Presents is on Netflix, some maybe there's some hope for the future yet? Eh, probably not - especially when Riley can't even make it through a sleepover because she's haunted by bizarre grandmothers and clever shadow puppets:
And no girls' slumber party would be complete without the boys popping in to scare them with their rubber crone mas-, um, rubber werewolf demon(?) masks.
Hey, it's their first season, the cast is young and has not yet whittled itself down to its core elements, so cross your fingers that Cory has to move to Pittsburgh for some reason. Perhaps to live with a Monkee. Or Lenny Kosnowski rather.