My feelings about this show in a word: No.
You know how you loved Boy Meets World until the end when you hoped the series finale would just end up being that Pembroke had in fact been an insane asylum and the whole thing just existed in Eric’s head because he couldn’t cope with not getting into college and feeling like he had stagnated in life? I figure it happened around the time he was on Singled Out and made up his own television theme song.
I was disappointed when I heard Girl Meets World would be on the Disney Channel. I’m not saying the Disney channel doesn’t have quality programming. We all loved Stepsister from Planet Weird and the gender bending Motocross, okay, no one’s denying that was quality television, but… Let’s be honest, the quality of the contemporary programming is lackluster.
The most obvious thing I can say about this show is that it lacks the relate-ability that made Boy Meets World such a great show. Corey was adorkable and awkward and slightly obnoxious in a way that you could relate to–he wasn’t a good looking kid. He had a kind of doofus face and that hair. We all remember the episode where Corey tried to straighten his hair because it a) turned out so badly and b) it was one of the few times we heard about Shawn’s illusive sister “Stacey.” Corey balanced out Shawn’s good looks. He was insecure, but it wasn’t just around girls, it was a general way that he carried himself. The world was so confusing and Corey embodied how we all wanted to fit in to it but weren’t really sure what to do with the parts that didn’t fit the mold. I think that’s why his hair became such a running joke throughout the series.
The girls in the new series look like they’re dressing to go to some terrible tween club. There’s nothing awkward or adorkable or relateable about these girls. They’re probably going to end up being models or something. AND THOSE SHIMMERING SEQUINS. Ugh. Is it possible to have a female protagonist who, like Corey Matthews, doesn’t fit the aesthetic mold? And part of the reason we can relate to her and root for her is that she’s trying to fit in only to realize that maybe she shouldn’t have tried in the first place? (TOPANGA AND COREY’S FIRST KISS. HELLO.)
Add to this the ridiculously good looking kid who I don’t really understand at all, and it’s just like, no, wait, where’s FEENY?! (Was I the only one who thought “OMG IT’S FEENY TIME!” when she went into the classroom?) He doesn’t add the quirky character that Topanga did, and dare I say it Topanga was more of a great girl to look up to than either of the protagonists. She was smart, she was able to defend herself and all the ladies of the world against Shawn and Corey’s stupidity, and she was a girl who didn’t care what other people thought of her (until that episode where she cut off her hair…). She was the 6th grade version of a feminist hippie chick who wasn’t all about being boy crazy and WE LOVED HER FOR THAT. Because yeah, Corey, maybe she’s not going to shave her legs. SO THERE.
I think the show, if nothing else, raises some interesting gender questions:
- How does a coming of age story for a girl differ from a boy’s?
- How can a female protagonist be written and portrayed in such a way that she’s accessible and relate-able to not only girls but to boys as well?
- How do you have a female protagonist who is not knowlegdeable and learning, but at the same time isn’t just an vapid, dumb airhead?
I feel like these are important questions to ask and consider, because Riley isn’t, at least to me, likeable in the same way Corey was and that’s what made the show.
Has anyone else seen it? Thoughts? Feelings?