The best episodes of “Girl Meets World” are often the meaningful ones, but specifically, they are the ones that figure out a way to include meaning in a rather unexpected way. They are morally inspiring, but simultaneously clever and sharp. You can be all of these things, and you can be them wonderfully.
While imperfect, “Girl Meets a Christmas Maya” on Friday night delivered what we personally were hoping to have from a holiday episode of the series. Let’s start by getting the glaring, disappointing flaw out of the way: The absence of Lucas. The characters was apparently off in Texas celebrating the holiday there, but the idea of him jumping ship on Riley and her Secret Santa was not exactly kind. She obviously cares about it, and as a character, even a young man still trying to figure yourself out, you do need to learn to be cognizant so that you can attend properly to the needs of those around you.
Moving forward, how Secret Santa was incorporated into the story proved interesting given that at first, it was looked at almost as thought it was a burden for Riley’s friends to take on. It was a test of how well they knew each other, and after the first wave of results, it appeared as though they all failed. For example, Smackle purchased for Zay a Settlers of Catan game, hardly the sort of thing in his mind that he’d consider worthy of his attention. It wasn’t until later that he realized that Smackle and Farkle had gifted this to him so that they could bring him further into their own world, knowing that Farkle was away and there was a reasonably good chance that he would be feeling lonely at some point. Sometimes, the best gifts are the ones that merit said explanation since you get a better understanding of the meaning behind them.
The same was true for Zay in trying to give Smackle an etiquette book. He didn’t really think through the execution of said gift, but the attention was to help her improve on social cues that she wants to be better at, while at the same time keeping the things that make her wonderfully the person that she is.
Maya tries to hide out – Using a loose construction of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Maya tried for most of the episode to determine a way to avoid her family, and in turn her idea of a terrible Christmas filled with drama. She was viewing the holiday through a lens of what she thought she wanted versus what she had. After seeing numerous “ghosts” of Christmas past, present, and future, she realized that when the dust settled, she really was better off being grateful for the life that she had, especially when people like Shawn Hunter had it so much worse. Her mother loved her, and wanted her to have the best Christmas possible.
Overall – This was a Christmas that, despite no Lucas, still felt warm, welcoming, and perfect for this show. There were a few funny moments, but also heartfelt ones as Riley finally found her perfect time of the year, and Maya understood that there was no reason to be afraid of future Christmases. They magic of the holiday comes in the element of surprise. Grade: B+.
If interested, head over here to see more news regarding the “Girl Meets World” renewal effort, and some of the work that was done in regards to that tonight. (Photo: Disney Channel.)