Like almost all series which reach a 3rd season, a “What If?” episode comes to Girl Meets World. One in which it is supposed to be about if Maya and Riley never became friends, but not entirely.
Main Plot (with Commentary)
Topic 1: Lack of Social Skills (Farkle, Smackle, and Lucas)
Without Maya and Riley, Farkle remained that weird little nerd. To make things worse, though, not only is he weird but, like with Riley without Maya, he developed arrested development i.e. he didn’t evolve into the Farkle we commonly know. The Same situation applies to Smackle, and maybe even Lucas. It seems without Maya and Riley bringing him out of his shell, he sticks to his cowboy persona.
Farkle staying who he was makes sense, there isn’t much to comment about there. However, I was rather unsure how in the world Smackle got geekier? Plus, on top of that, why in the world did she end up in a public school when there was no Farkle connection? Granted, it seems she still has a crush on him, and please note she doesn’t flirt with Lucas here, but with it seeming there isn’t much in terms of reciprocity, why would she, much less her parents, allow her a public school education?
Then when it comes to Lucas, honestly I don’t get why he goes all Johnny Cash on us. Out of all people, you’d just imagine him making other friends. Yet, instead, he is a loner. A watchful crow. One that doesn’t speak well of the noticeably absent Zay.
Topic 2: Maya Without Riley (Maya and Riley)
Maya without Riley is as predictable as Riley without Maya. She is moody, distrustful, a little mean, and without the Matthews, Lucas, or Farkle pushing her, she is unmotivated and just coasting through life.
When it comes to scenarios like this, it almost makes me wish this was a multi-episode situation. For between bringing back Carla and Renee from Girl Meets True Maya, showing how Katy is coping with this version of Maya and more, it is frustrating that this episode, which does really have an interesting premise considering its characters, is being used for one of Disney’s theme nights.
Topic 3: Riley Without Maya (Maya and Riley)
Riley without Maya is as predictable as Maya without Riley. She is a helium balloon with a rock to keep her from floating away. She is so naïve and childish she brings Barry the Bear-Bear, who due to no Maya, and strangely no Auggie, has his entire face, to school. Yet, there is the occasional moment we see the more likable Riley. It is just there is no one there to tap into her.
Now, I won’t pretend I didn’t grow up for a period of time without having friends. However, are we to honestly believe every single one of the group didn’t find someone else to be friends with? Maya didn’t find a nice emo or goth group? Riley didn’t find some cheerleaders or some happy go lucky people? To me, that is the weirdest thing for it isn’t like Maya and Riley met last year, they met as kids so imagining they were just alone all this time doesn’t really click.
Neither does some of the changes which have nothing to do with Riley and Maya. Take for example Auggie not being born. Last I checked, he was born before Maya met Riley so what is the explanation behind that? Also, Cory for some reason, despite all his influences growing up, is a straight-laced, by the book, teacher in this world line. Another thing which makes little sense for while one could argue seeing Maya’s potential, trying to find another way to get to his kids, would be the reason he is the Cory we know, it is like they erase the history of Boy Meets World to accommodate that.
- Smackle and Farkle: I love that no matter what, Smackle and Farkle end up together just as much as Riley and Maya.
- Missed Opportunities and Inconsistency: Between Switched at Birth, Awkward, and a few other shows, I have seen quite a few “What If?” episodes. Heck, Switched At Birth I think has done one every other season at this point. But the problem is with “What If” episodes is that often times they don’t dig deep. They seem like filler as the show begins to run out of ideas of how to keep up the drama and with Girl Meets World, all it presents is missed opportunities.
Take Maya, for example. Lord knows I probably focus on Maya more than anyone with this show and with the show constantly reminding us how much Riley changed her life and hinting at the life Maya would have had without her, I wish they used this episode to follow through. Like, take Renee and Carla. Those were Riley’s friends, or at least she associated with them before Riley came into her life. Yet, they don’t exist now. She is all alone and the selective memory of the writing is infuriating. Granted, maybe they couldn’t book those two actresses to flesh out this story. Heck, maybe Disney just wanted a quick Halloween-themed episode and they wanted to just appease their master. Either way, it is hard to not be left disappointed when they drop the ball on the most fleshed out non-BMW character on this show.
- The Auggie and Cory situation: Auggie’s birth has nothing to do with Maya coming into Riley’s life. Cory’s method of teaching may have been influenced by trying to reach students like Maya, but considering Mr. Feeny and the rest he emulated. I mean, like the Kevin Hart joke in What Now? went like “Maya not being in Riley’s life really had this much of an effect on everyone? Really?”