Tonight on “Girl Meets World,” things got awkward. As a matter of fact, “Girl Meets Her Monster” may be the most awkward episode of the show we’ve seen through three seasons. Almost the entire half-hour was spent in the thick of a nasty argument between Riley and Topanga, one that spiraled out of control from the first few minutes onward.
Also, it felt like for most of the episode as though the writers’ brains were taken over by writers for a far heavier drama than a comedy airing on the Disney Channel. Riley Matthews was more unlikable than we’ve ever seen her. She was desperate to turn watching a finale of her favorite show into the ultimate experience, one that consisted of her binge-watching episodes with Maya for days. Topanga was fine handling that until she was about to miss school and then renege on an agreement to help out at her bakery. This is when things started to explode. Riley refused to go through it, stressing her sovereignty as a teenager and saying that because she was a “good person” who never got into trouble, that somehow entitled her to the right to misbehave in the now. Unfortunately, here’s the key word: “Entitled.”
Riley, through her actions, showed herself to be incredibly selfish and delusional about what it means to be a teenager and what it means to respect those who care for you. Eventually, she took the feud so far as proclaiming that she was going to move out after Topanga grounded her for three weeks and took her phone and computer away. She went to Maya’s home, and spent most of her time there proclaiming how badly she wanted to be back home with her family.
Eventually, Riley of course did make it back and said what she finally needed to say to her mother, and her mother in turn recognized that sometimes, she may be hard on her — but she does it out of love and to ensure that all of the time she’s spent trying to raise her reaches the right end. This was a story ultimately about a mother and daughter trying to grasp onto their foundation in an era of change, and the closing scene with them on opposite sides of the door was almost heartbreaking.
The biggest problem that was present through this episode is that if you’re marketing yourself as a show for kids, we’re not sure that painting Cory to be a complete wet blanket is accomplishing much of anything. He came across as a goofy sitcom dad in the midst of a steel-cage match making light of chaos around him. It just felt weird, and we admired the Cory from “Boy Meets World” far too much to enjoy him referring to his wife as a “monster,” even jokingly so. We wanted to see him either come down harder on his daughter, or at least tell his wife that maybe there was a different way to get through to his daughter.
Meanwhile, the marginalization of Auggie was troubling at times, in particular the scene where Topanga tells him that he’s not enough for her in the midst of the Riley chaos. It was played off in a way that was silly, so at least there was no implication that Auggie had his feelings hurt through all of this.
Grade: B-. Arguable, this was the most-depressing “Girl Meets World” episode to date, even if it ended in the right way and produced a few tear-jerking moments. This episode was a manifestation in many ways of a parent’s worst fears. We just wish that the role of the men on the show was treated with more severity and significance to add to the weight of the crisis.
The next new episode – You’re going to be waiting until November 25 to see what is next with “Girl Meets Hollyweird.” Want to read more about that now? Then be sure to head over to this link! (Photo: Disney Channel.)