Episode 9: “Girl Meets Mr. Squirrels Goes to Washington”
In this themed episode, alongside Eric running for New York State Senate, and reintroducing a Boy Meets World character, the show delivers a heavy handed message on the importance of kids getting interested in politics.
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
Topic 1: This Weeks Lesson – Cory
Though the show is aimed at tweens, it seems Cory’s lesson this week is strongly about empowering his students and instilling the idea that they can make a difference. A point he really tries to push for with Maya, Riley and Lucas indifferent, and even Farkle ready to abandon the planet than perhaps even attempt to change things, it is rather disheartening. However, by episode’s end, thanks to seeing the difference between a seasoned politician, who only cares about himself, vs. a newcomer with a twinkle in his eye and perhaps the idea of change embedded in his heart, it seems the kids have learned to care more for while the ability to vote may not be in their hands now, it will be someday.
Topic 2: Eric for Senator! – Eric
Being that the episode is politics heavy, naturally it uses someone like Senator Graham to represent the worse type of politician imaginable. One which would try to have kids pay to use recreational and park facilities, one which would cut school funding, and of course represent the problems of politicians more so getting reelected because they have the right financial backers vs. because they have the love and respect of their constituents. Thus leading to why Eric is involved – he is the type of primary opponent which could allow senator Graham to continue his more than 3 decade reign in the senate. After all, he is Eric!
Someone who, unfortunately, fits very well into the Disney side of this show and becomes so silly and ridiculous, that honestly when Maya or Riley give him the side eye, or something similar, it is hard to believe that is acting and not them truly wondering what is wrong with this dude. For while physical comedy and Disney go hand in hand, and it has worked on this show in short doses, honestly Eric once again seemed to overstay his welcome.
Topic 3: An Uphill Battle – Eric, Cory, Maya, and Riley
With Eric eventually learning that the only reason he was chosen to be Senator Graham’s primary candidate being that he seemed like a big enough imbecile to make Graham look good, it hits him hard and knocks all the excitement out of him. This is worrisome for Cory, Maya, Riley, and the rest of the cast, due to not only the strangeness of a depressed Eric, but because he has given some hope to the kids that perhaps their voice does matter, and good people not only enter politics, but have a chance to win.
So, being that Maya and Riley aren’t willing to let Eric mope around and be depressed, they bring him some of his favorite food to pep him up and pursue getting him back on the horse. Something they do surprisingly quickly, and with him back to his normal self they send him off to debate Senator Graham. Thus leading to perhaps the sole moments which made Eric seem like his time on this show may not just be for nostalgia and being the idiot that those Auggie’s age may love to watch.
It all begins with a kid named TJ Murphy, someone Josh’s age, revealing himself as the one who began Senator Graham’s downfall. He introduces himself to Eric and mentions wanting to help him. From there the kid largely seems like someone who, like the Black kid who hasn’t been around in ages, who is here for this episode, and perhaps a few more, and then will suddenly disappear. However, upon senator Graham beginning to fight back in the debate, and use Eric’s lack of experience raising children against him, since Graham himself is being attacked when it comes to handling the future of kids, so rises TJ and he reveals himself as Tommy.
Now, as for who Tommy is? Well, thankfully the show flashes back to Boy Meets World and shows little Tommy is someone Eric was once going to adopt. However, likely because Eric wasn’t mature, or financially stable enough, to adopt the kid, he gives him up. Something which changed Tommy’s life for the better, and it seems he wants to thank Eric for his time and kindness by helping him defeat Senator Graham. Something we may just witness him do as the season continues, leading me to wonder how strong of a character Eric may become in future episodes with such a storyline?
Things To Note
Topanga, and her law firm, went against Senator Graham to stop him from trying to make a law in which people had to pay a dollar to use parks and recreational facilities. This pretty much is the main contribution she has in the episode.