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Riley decides to do something even Maya wouldn’t dare do: Say no and disobey Topanga.
Review (with Spoilers)
With it still remaining unclear if Girl Meets World may have a season 4, episodes like this kind of remind you why Disney is kind of iffy about the idea. The writers seem to want to push beyond the Disney boundaries, yet the age of the stars don’t warrant this moving to FreeForm and it isn’t like the show is such a hit a move to ABC can be warranted either. So, for now, let’s enjoy this while it lasts and discuss “Girl Meets Her Monster” aka when Riley (David) went up against Topanga (Godzilla).
Main Plot (with Commentary)
There is a show named Red Planet Diaries and it consumes one whole weekend of Riley and Maya’s life. This perplexes Topanga but it’s Riley’s weekend, so what right? Just as long as she comes to the bakery to help for, with Katy gone without a trace, assumingly on an extended honeymoon, Topanga is by herself. Something a bit strange since with Riley and all her friends not having a job, you’d think she would have called on them to help.
But I digress, Topanga specifically asks Riley to help for one day and strangely Riley says no. Don’t ask where she gets this from, this ability to be disobedient. You may want to say Maya but, really? I mean, she may be lazy when it comes to Cory’s request in class but Maya has yet to really be disobedient. Yet, despite this, Topanga asks Maya if she had a hand in Riley’s disobedience and being that everyone is scared of Topanga but Riley, she says no. Leading to Riley being adamant about her rights, noting how good of a person she has been up till now, and it comes to a point where we finally see an adult address a kid as an adult. There is no compromising, there is no placating, Topanga puts her foot down and that’s it.
Leaving us with an episode showing a very different side to Riley. A rebellious side which seems foreign but we know it isn’t going to last. No progress, when it comes to Riley, is consistent. For while there are apologies and we see the Riley and Topanga bond, I bet you Topanga will go back to just having scenes with Auggie and Ava. I bet you after being addressed on how entitled she is, Riley will still have conundrums about something and send everyone into a frenzy. Thus explaining why, as much as it would be nice for this series to transition to a different station, it will more likely end than continue. Especially as the actors take on major productions. Granted, under the Disney umbrella, but it seems just as Girl Meets World will outgrow the Disney channel, so might also the cast.
A Different Side to Riley
Though not permanent, these flickers of potential are hard to not get excited by. Each time there is some temporary shift in who Riley is as a person it gives you hope. It leads you to believe she may finally have met the real world and realized it doesn’t revolve around her. She is but one gear of a huge machine. In those moments, she seems to fit right along Maya, Farkle, and Smackle as characters who have changed and evolved since the first season.
Let’s face it. Cory isn’t much for being a disciplinarian. He is the generic fun dad and Topanga your usual mom who actually make sure her kids toe the line and are more than silly people. Yet, in this episode, it was interesting to see Topanga really go there. She wasn’t screaming or yelling, there was nothing comedic about her being upset. She was stern and almost frightening, like if this wasn’t the Disney Channel she might have whooped Riley or smacked her. Something which was only amplified by Rowan crying during the scene.
Leading you to be reminded, that while this show often is comical, as Cory makes sure of, when it decides to be serious it can be heartbreaking or even showcase its actors in ways which show they have more range than given credit for. Perhaps being why many, like myself, would like to see how things would change without the Disney Channel bondage.
But I would be remiss to not mention how much I loved Cory’s place in this as a parent. He knows his capabilities and Topanga does too. There isn’t an argument about him not being supportive, making her the bad guy, and etc., she knows who she married. She knows he supports her and won’t undermine her decision, but he isn’t going to strike fear into his children. Something I kind of appreciated for despite it all, they still seemed like a team which knew each player’s strengths and position.
Why was he throwing Riley under the bus? He spends the most time with Topanga and unless he was jealous of Riley getting attention this one time, I don’t get all the nonsense he did this episode.
Why Punish Maya and Where is Katy?
As noted, Topanga looks to Maya when she learns Riley has directly disobeyed her and strangely she punishes Maya for being an accomplice. She takes her phone and then when Riley runs away to Maya’s house, it seems she is left there alone. Now, with Katy not working at the diner anymore, assumingly, you have to wonder if Maya is just being left alone for days, if not weeks, on end? That or is she just getting her meals at the Matthews and then going home after? It altogether is a bit perplexing but considering Maya is mostly used for jokes, especially when it comes to how poor she is, what do you expect?