waynepygram.com: Girl Meets World Reviewed: Girl Meets A Christmas Maya

waynepygram.com: Girl Meets World Reviewed: Girl Meets A Christmas Maya

It's not Christmas anymore? Please, like that matters.

As far as I know, this is my first Girl Meets World review in almost a year. Since the show ended back in January, actually. To tell you the truth, it was strange watching this show again. It was like texting your old friend who you haven't talked to in years because you had a big fight, but you still remember the good times. And I did have good times with Girl Meets World despite everything I've said about it. With the exception of my rant near the end of the "Goodbye" review, yeah, I still stand behind everything I've said in the past.

So I've gone to hell and back with this show. The question is, why am I going to review more episodes? Well, there are some that I have thoughts on but never officially reviewed ("Game Night"), and in this particular case, this is an episode that I never watched before I reviewed it. Plus, it's a Christmas episode, and since Ray has taken the time to go through several holiday episodes of Disney Channel shows (his memory is downright scary), I've decided to fire back with the one show that makes him sick. It's weird how our opinions of Girl Meets World come from different places. When I went nuts on an episode, it came from a place of frustration, because I always felt like this show could be better. And I still think that. It was the poster child for wasted potential. When Ray talks about it (and he's taken every chance possible over the past number of weeks to spit on GMW's grave, not that I have a problem with that), it's always comes from a place of hatred. I could be wrong about this, and I encourage Ray to respond if he has a problem with my theory, but I remember a time where his favorite whipping boy was School of Rock. Now the tables have turned.

Woah woah woah woah here! First of all thanks for the compliment on my memory - in many cases I've had to go back and try to Google everything, but an episode summary will only get you so far and for the most part episode summaries are all you're gonna get so thanks for the compliment and I guess I do deserve props for that. That said, if you read my reviews carefully you'll no doubt spot gaps or at least notice that it's painting broad swaths in generalities. Even in places where I could watch the episodes (Disney has a habit of putting up all their holiday themed episodes up on Disney NOW so props to them for that too), it's just a particularly tedious exercise when done for only review purposes. So if it came across that I remember more than I actually (think) I do, well, I guess I deserve kudos for that.


Anyway, Girl Meets World doesn't make me sick. It makes me bored at its absolute worst moments - granted, that's the absolute greatest sin a piece of fiction can do (unless it, I dunno, does literally make you sick or as I said in my Shimmer and Shine review [yes I reviewed that show] it literally teaches the wrong lesson - incidentally a trait it shares with Meets the Tell-Tale Tot) but believe it or not there's at least episodes of this show i like. In Season 3 no less! Meets She Don't Like Me and Meets Hollywood (I never thought I'd say this about an episode that references Hollywood in the title) are the least overrated episodes the series has to offer. 
When I go nuts on GMW it's also from a place of frustration - but maybe the sources are a bit different compared to Mike. Mike's frustration comes from the show not living up to its promise (I'm going to say promise instead of potential, a distinction I may get into in a future essay, after I really nail down the articulation of that distinction). That's also where my frustration comes from - but my frustration also comes from the fandom in using the rest of the network as their whipping boy, the insane Stan culture many of them brought, the clueless entertainment pundits, and so on. I think I even ended up writing separate essays about each of these elements at one point or another, and certainly about all these issues together last February. 
It feels exceptionally hard to explain since I very much seem to be alone in this. I guess it's like...it's like the split reaction with Star Wars: The Last Jedi (I'm burned out on the Star Wars franchise myself, but that happened much before TLJ, and for different reasons entirely. Hell TLJ might rekindle my love of Star Wars based strictly on what I've heard, but I'm hesitant to have to watch TFA in order to do that). Or spit reaction to the Abramsverse Star Trek movies, which is something I'm also burned out on (and yes this time for many of the same reasons). 
Or...trying to think of a better example...remember that movie Boyhood? Or that weird-ass Spike Jonze/Joaquin Phoneix movie Her? Remember how those were the hottest movies around but everybody hated them? (And yes I've seen Her, it's...weird-ass as hell and a pretty lengthy, confusing borefest). It's like that. It's Hype Aversion (it's a TVTrope, you can Google "TVTrope Hype Aversion" to see for yourself). Honestly it probably wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the loud, obnoxious GMW fanbase that makes me feel like I actively have to spite them in retaliation. But...like Mike said, I can write more about that later.
Also, School of Rock is getting canceled after this season so my work there is done.  







But you know what? I didn't come here to ramble on. Let's take a look at this episode.

So the whole thing is about Maya not wanting to celebrate Christmas with Shawn and Katy because she's worried that Shawn will be alienated by the Harts' crazy Christmas traditions. I'm not entirely sure what the lesson is here. Shawn grew up in a trailer park. If anyone knows about awful Christmases, it's him. The whole episode is written as if Maya just met Shawn a few weeks ago and still doesn't feel comfortable around him yet. To really get into this one, we need to suspend our disbelief that Maya would be dreading Christmas because Shawn's not used to her and her mother's holiday experiences. And it doesn't really work the whole way because Shawn would be the first person to understand what Maya's feeling. Maybe this episode would be more interesting if Riley was in Shawn's shoes. Like, through some circumstance, she has to spend the holidays with the Harts and we get to see how crazy their Christmas is. But, uh.....this is season three and it's Girl Meets World so what you see is what you get.

If there's anything here that makes the episode worth watching, it's the secret Santa plot. I almost wish that was the main plot since it's more substantial and has a real payoff. Riley organizes this secret Santa thing every year, and of course, it doesn't go well because even though these people are a tight-knit group of loving friends, they don't seem to know each other. At least that's what it seems like because each person gives reasonable explanations as to why they got the presents they got. It was genuinely sweet to be honest, and reminded me that when they treat the characters like humans and not just people who explain everything while saying awkwardly written lines, it made the show more rewarding to watch. Everyone reacts with believability to the presents they received. For a minute, it felt like I was watching a different show.

This episode was pretty decent in the end. I don't know if holiday episodes were ever really the show's strong suit anyway. But I didn't have any serious problems with it. The main plot could have used some work, but the subplot was a lot better than it had any right to be. By the way, happy holidays to everyone reading. This might be my last post for the year so I don't want to leave anyone hanging.

Episode Grade: B-
Episode MVP: Amir Mitchell-Townes. Zay is really something else. I remember how no one liked him when he first came into the picture ("Who is this guy?" is one of my favorite quotes from him, though), and by the beginning of season three, he had become one of the best characters on the show. He's probably the only person I could see surviving in the real world, and it's a shame that I don't get to see his character shine anymore. The way he explained his present for Smackle was incredible.
Christmas Grade: Four Calling Birds. You probably could have done the main plot without the Christmas aspect, and the Secret Santa plot really should have been the main focus.

EXTRA THOUGHTS
-Lucas wasn't in this episode. In some ways, I don't think he was missed at all.

-Cory's impression of Chet was fantastic. It's almost like he was in the room himself.

-A big mistake here was not having Shawn show up. It's like they build it up so much and then it doesn't happen. Besides, it would have given us a chance to see Shawn. Did Rider Strong sign a contract with the network that says that he only appears when he wants and when the paycheck was fat enough?

-One thing I noticed, and I don't know if anyone else has, was that Zay seems to have similar mannerisms to his father DJ Jazzy Jeff. Watching Jazz on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I can see where his son gets his charisma from.

-When Riley was making that heartfelt speech about why she got Farkle that menorah, he seriously looked like he was about to punch her in the face. His facial expressions were creeping me out. Seemed like he was ready to give Riley the beating of her life.

-Riley throwing glitter everywhere was hilarious. Sometimes, I feel like she would have made a fantastic character if she was animated.

Nothing against Sabrina Carpenter, of course but...at a certain point I just didn't feel like watching episodes that directly reference Maya in the title. Which is to say, I haven't seen this episode. Hell I've forgotten this episode existed.


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