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Episode 13: “Girl Meets Flaws”
In honor of Spirit Week, Girl Meets World does an episode on bullying.
Review (with Spoilers)
While I’m fond of the idea of spirit week, and the instilling of hope that it can get better, I must admit this seems like the type of story which shouldn’t be quickly wrapped up in one episode. For while I don’t think any Disney Channel shows have long arcing stories, I think the topic of bullying should have been met with a bit more realism. For truly, the whole, “they are just insecure people who need love and acceptance” is just way too optimistic of a belief. As for how this overdone storyline plays out in “Girl Meets Flaws,” look below.
Topic 1: It’s Ava! – Topanga & Ava
Though Auggie misses another episode, his friend Ava shows up since her parents are arguing and she was told to go to the Matthews home. And while Topanga still isn’t fond of how Ava treats Auggie, she handles Ava like she does Maya. She takes into consideration the home life of the kid who needs her more than what they say, do, and perhaps their influence on her kid.
It seems alongside Maya, Ava may also come from a broken home of sorts. For with her talking about her parents arguing non-stop, and how much she liked receiving kisses from Topanga, it seems like the show is hinting toward something it may not fully explore, or simply isn’t ready to yet.
Topic 2: The Evolution of Cory & Harley – Cory & Harley
With the episode dealing with bullying, and Harley being Cory’s former bully, their relationship is used to show that not only can things get better for you, and your relationship with the bully, but also the bully might get punished by ending up a janitor. Sort of backslapping last week’s episode.
While it is nice that a Boy Meets World alumni is back, and that they reminisce over the past, I got to admit I wasn’t all that fond of it seeming like Harley got punished in life for being mean to Cory. For the way the show painted it, the sole reason Harley has his job is Cory and, when it comes to bullies, they always have to be dumb jock types who always end up paying for being mean as kids. Which, as noted in the intro, seems like the silliest concept. Though it would be too much to expect the realism of Ava and Maya’s situation to also apply to the adults who, in my opinion, are solely there to bring in Boy Meets World viewers.
Topic 3: Billy the Bully – Billy (Zachary Mitchell), Farkle, Lucas, Riley, and Maya
Lucas’ new friend Billy we learn is making fun of Farkle because he is different. He thinks his turtlenecks are weird, he doesn’t think he deserves friends like the ones he has, and this leads Farkle hiding in Harley’s closet and using a webcam to still get his lectures. And being that Riley is a good friend, and wanted to make sure Farkle felt his friendships were real, she, as well as Lucas and Maya, remind him that they are his friends, as well as they will kick his bully’s butt.
Well, at least verbally they say that. But being that the kids are learning about Gandhi, Jackie Robinson, and Nobel Peace Prize award winner Malala Yousafzai, it is decided they are too intelligent to resort to violence. So, instead, they guilt Billy into revealing his insecurity as all of Cory’s class write on their foreheads what they are insecure about. As for what Billy’s problem is: He is jealous he didn’t have friends like Farkle.
There are times I feel the need to remind myself this is a kid’s show on the Disney Channel. That means any issue that comes up, it is going to be solved, 9/10, before the episode ends. Also, it means that bullying isn’t going to be handled as something people just sometimes do. No, instead there will be excuses like the bully is insecure, has a bad home life, or things of that nature. Which as an adult, sort of, I find to be terrible ways to explain why people bully each other. But, as mentioned, optimism is always the better option than the pessimism I think is much more realistic. And who knows, maybe some kid may find that the kid that is bullying them is just insecure and in need of a friend. It can happen. However, I find it unfortunate that the show can make such great strides when it comes to telling stories like Maya’s, Ava’s, and Smackle’s, yet still relies on tired and selectively true stories for everything else.
Things to Note
Who wants to bet we rarely, if ever, see Billy again?