Episode 4: "Girl Meets Father"
As Riley feels she has outgrown Cory, Maya seems to depend on his investment in her more than ever.
Review (with Spoilers)
I sometimes have such a hard time watching this show because just as much as Riley and Farkle seem like your run of the mill Disney kids, then there are moments in which they interact with Cory and it brings this sense that as superficial as things may seem, it is how everyone copes. Be it how Riley talks with Lucas, and how Maya corrects her; How Cory expresses the sadness of Riley growing up; or Maya, whose story continues to get sadder and sadder to the point I damn near cried this episode. Truly, you can see that as time goes on the creators/ writers are really trying their best to balance the Disney image with what fans expect in the long run.
Topic 1: The Supporting Characters – Auggie and Topanga
Both Auggie and Topanga play supporting roles in the story, mostly by helping Cory deal with the fact Riley is growing up, is interested in makeup, and is slowly going to rely on Topanga more for things she needs to know. But, even with that said, Topanga tries to help Riley understand why Cory is so hurt by her saying she can’t learn anything from him anymore, much less that she’d prefer a school dance to her and Cory’s rollercoaster tradition.
As for Auggie? Well, he is just the cute little sarcastic brother. He tries, in his own way, to make Cory feel better, and in the end talks about how come he and Cory don’t have any traditions? Which upon him mentioning that, I realized there really is see a real split when it comes to this family. Cory focuses on Riley, and Maya, far more than he does Auggie, and while Topanga and Riley are on good terms, she pretty much only has a focus on Auggie life and fills in Cory on the details.
Topic 2: Breaking Tradition – Cory & Riley
With Riley’s first school dance opportunity coming, she strangely isn’t as nervous as you would think. If only because Maya is so deep into her relationship with Lucas that it is hard to tell if Maya is trying to make things easier for Riley or flirting with Lucas herself. Either way, despite how Riley usually is, her dancing with Lucas doesn’t lead to her usual antics. If anything, dealing with Cory is the problem.
You see, for a couple of years now they have gone to this rollercoaster ride and Cory has relished the moments when Riley holds onto him as the coaster goes down and he can feel like her knight in shining armor. However, between boys, her wanting to put on makeup, dances, and etc., he is slowly losing his little girl and finding in her place a young woman. One who, from what she says, doesn’t have as much to learn from him anymore. Which, as you can imagine based off how Cory has acted in the past, hurts him deeply. To the point he gets a bit immature with how he handles her, though naturally in a comical way. But all ends well for rather than break tradition, they simply change it. So while they don’t go on the rollercoaster, they do have a father/ daughter dance at the end of the middle school dance. One which Maya joins, leading me to wonder, as time goes on, will either Auggie or Riley possibly get jealous of the attention Maya gets? For Riley does remind Cory he is her father and, with Maya having a similar background to Shawn, you can see he increasingly is investing time and effort into her. Be it the pencils and cell phone he gave her, or just him being a surrogate dad. I mean, we know Riley and Maya are bound to fight over something, so between Lucas and Cory I wonder which it will be.
Topic 3: Time and Patience - Maya
Since the beginning of the show Maya has been the character that has kept hope alive. For every moment Farkle has had which makes you roll your eyes, for every time Riley was just a tad too goofy, Maya represented, in my opinion, the adults watching who just wanted Riley to act like she got some sense, and to make Farkle come off just a little less out there. But, alongside her being the one to give people a reality check, she has also been the one to really give this show some depth and bring out the lessons.
Such as the one she presents in this episode which deals with how grades make kids feel. Maya gets an F on a paper and with F meaning fail, she identifies as a failure and decides to leave class and skip school. Something which doesn’t seem to be a big deal to her folks since her dad has a new family, and who knows what her mom is doing. But, with her getting an F on her paper I think she feels it explains her father’s abandonment. Leading to Cory, once again, showing her that despite the way her parents maybe, she is loved, wanted, and very much invested in. He reminds her that she knows what was required to get a better grade, it is just she didn’t put it in the words which were required.
Leading to perhaps the teary eyed moment at the school dance when Cory goes to Maya first for the father daughter dance. And I swear to you, I don’t know if it is the story or the abilities of Sabrina Carpenter, but either way I was getting very emotional. To the point I think I am going to be cursing at the screen whenever we meet Maya’s parents, if I’m not bawling on the floor because of something cruel they say or do.
Things To Note
- At this point, as much as the show maybe pushing for Riley and Lucas to be together, I’m shipping Lucas and Maya. They have such a playful relationship to me. She makes fun of him, and he in a flirtatious manner gets her back. Like in this episode, she makes fun of how he isn’t supposed to square dance and makes fun of his Texan ways, then to spite her he puts on a cowboy hat and takes it off and gives her a rose. Not because Riley said it would be a good idea because Maya is going through stuff, but on his own!
- As much as I note how much I’m not fond of Farkle and Riley’s antics, as I watch the show I realize that their odd personalities is just how they cope. Farkle, thus far, has only been seen as someone Riley and Maya talk to and, though this has yet to be seen, I would assume everyone else either ignores or bullies him. Hence why he is over the top and silly since who really picks on the funny kid? Plus, while we aren’t introduced to how Minkus is as a father, maybe only at school he is allowed to be silly and at home he is forced to do nothing but study? I mean, I’m making assumptions to make him perhaps deeper than he is, but it is better than thinking he is just a really odd kid.
- When it comes to Riley though, as we know the girl is socially awkward and Maya is trying to help her the best she can. Like in the episode she has Riley lower her voice and adjust it to something socially normal. Which of course is used for jokes, but at the same time it helps push the point that as much as Maya gets a family out of her friendship with Riley, at the same time Riley gets someone who understands her and is willing to help her assimilate so that she can remain herself, but not weird people out.