Episode 8: “Girl Meets Smackle”
With the topic of beauty being skin deep as the focus, you get an odd mix of Disney making fun of their brand of geeks and touching moments.
Review (with Spoilers)
After a short hiatus, I felt a little off when first watching the episode. If just because this is the sole series dealing with tweens I watch, and with me being damn near a decade off from being a tween, it takes a little while to remind myself what middle school was like. Of which, as I think for most people, while Girl Meets World at its core can be deeply relatable, either in retrospect or in terms of your current life, every time there is a Disney moment you get a quick reminder that you have long since outgrown where Maya and Riley are. Though, even with that said, as you watch the episode it seems those Disney moments have less and less of an effect on you and almost seem as natural as everything else.
Topic 1: Too Great a Precedent – Auggie
Auggie is having an existential crisis as Ava talks about him and her not being together forever. Something which hurts Auggie for with Cory and Topanga meeting so young, and still being together, he sees them as what he should be able to achieve. Though thanks to a combination of Farkle, Riley, and Maya, Auggie seems to calm down his belief that him and Ava, who both are only 5 and 6, if I recall right, need to be together forever. It would be cute though if they did stay together throughout the series’ run.
Topic 2: The Superficial – Smackle (Cecelia Balagot), Maya, Riley, Farkle and Lucas
The heart of the episode deals with the topic of beauty and how it can change someone and give them access to things and people they desire. Take Smackle for instance. She is Farkle’s arch nemesis due to her intelligence and debate skills, and while she sees her and Farkle as a good match, romantic wise, he doesn’t show any signs of interest. So, she takes note of how he acts with Maya and Riley and asks to be made over like this is some teen rom-com. Which leads to Smackle revealing that partly her whole makeover was done for research, but through the makeover she, and we, also get to see, and be reminded of, how much appearance can change things for a person. Like with Smackle and Lucas. Despite how generally nice Lucas seems, he doesn’t compliment her on her appearance until after her Riley/ Maya makeover. Then, when it comes to Lucas, the stereotypical nerds judge Lucas so much just because he has a jock appearance. Almost to the point that in a normal situation, you can see him perhaps being uncomfortable with the idea of joining a passively aggressive debate team and avoiding them all together.
Topic 3: What’s Deep Inside – Smackle, Maya, Riley, Farkle and Lucas
But while there is a lot gone over when it comes to things dealing with how superficial things can affect a person internally, and opportunities they may have, there are also a lot of interesting things not directly focused on that I thought were interesting. Such as the idea of multiple intelligences. For while it is obvious that Farkle and Smackle are book smart, socially they are novices. Something shown in most of Farkle and Smackles interpersonal interactions, unless the moment calls for them to drop the Disney part of their persona and step into their Girl Meets World alter egos. Take for instance Smackle’s awkward hugging of Riley in which she simply sticks her arms out, speaks about her emotions like a robot, and yet when she needs to switch into Girl Meets World mode, she can hug Riley without looking like an idiot and can properly convey her past and current feelings when it comes to being herself, beauty, and even how she feels about Farkle.
Though the show also exhibits multiple intelligences when it comes to Riley and Maya as well. For with Riley being emotionally intelligent, in terms of empathy and kindness, it gives you the sense that life isn’t solely about being book smart. It is also about learning and understanding how to interact with people or, in Maya’s case, learning how to deal with life and people who are different from you. Never mind surviving less than seemingly viable circumstances.
Leading to one last topic: Why does Farkle take to Maya and Riley over Smackle, at least in the beginning of the episode ? Well, with this topic comes the question if Farkle likes to be the book smart one of his relationship? For with him genuinely seeming to not notice how beautiful Riley and Maya is, it makes it seem that the main reason he may not have liked Smackle, or acted like he did, was because she could match him at the one thing he is good at: topics dealing with books, science, and what is essentially the core of his identity. Making it so that dating, and being with her, would mean possible feelings of inferiority. That is in comparison to Maya and Riley who may not match him when it comes to book smarts, but they have forms of intelligence he admires for he perhaps feels he can’t achieve them. So rather than have his match, or someone just like him, he’d rather have someone who compliments him. Think of it like Bill Masters and Virginia’s relationship on Masters of Sex. Farkle is like Bill, he is the technical one, and he needs/ wants a Maya or Riley who can be his Virginia. Someone who can show him how to interact, be personable, and will love him despite his eccentricities and faults.
Things To Note
- By the end it seems Farkle recognizes Smackle’s crush on him and may foster it. However, him recognizing Smackle’s feelings don’t less the established ones between him and Maya and Riley.
- When Smackle, for a moment, flirts with Lucas, Riley gets jealous. Leading me to hope that eventually, after all the back and forth banter, Maya and Lucas may end up together for, as said in another episode, while Riley and Lucas seem cute together, something about Maya and Lucas seems like genuine chemistry. Especially when you consider how Topanga and Cory got together. For Cory thought Topanga was weird and they certainly weren’t the best of chums at first, but then it sort of evolved into the relationship which even the show jokes is probably too perfect to look up to.