Log in

No account? Create an account
28 September 2015 @ 12:03 pm
Girl Meets World  
I've mentioned before how Girl Meets World has pleasantly surprised me, and it has continually been impressive, particularly with the most recent episode.

Girl Meets World 2.17 "Girl Meets Rileytown"

While the show has tackled the issue of bullying before, this episode specifically dealt with cyberbullying and how it can affect someone without others ever knowing about it. Riley being targeted, having been dealing with someone threatening and harassing her through text messages for three weeks, it was heartbreaking and absolutely devastating seeing this sweet child go through that, trying to ignore it but it just got worse and worse until she started snapping at her best friend. I liked that it was Farkle, who understood the signs since he was previously a target of bullying, and who told Maya who then went to talk with Riley about it. Everything about that scene with that gentle confrontation, leading to Riley breaking down and crying because of everything she has been holding in this entire time, that was completely heartbreaking and hard to watch, but beautifully done. There was nothing over the top about it, nothing comical, no laughter involved. It was real, raw, and emotional.

It hit home with me, since I was bullied intensely throughout my school years, especially in junior high and high school. While times have changed with technology adding more accessibility with anonymity through means of bullying someone, something I'm kind of glad didn't exist when I was in school otherwise I don't know what I would've done, it still hit a raw nerve when I saw how what was happening to Riley deeply affected her so much that she felt like she couldn't talk to her friends or parents about it. Just, that feeling of helplessness, not knowing how to approach the situation, feeling utterly trapped by someone who took a stab at you during your most vulnerable moments. I've been there. Unfortunately I never had close friends to confide in like she did in the end. I didn't have that support system. I was often alone in dealing with it by myself, repressing everything and reacting in different ways, usually self-destructively.

Which is another thing I thought the episode did really well. Riley lashed out at Maya because she didn't know where else to direct her emotions, which she kept bottled up inside of her and as the situation was getting worse, she needed an outlet. It was a misdirected one, and one she has apologized for, but as Maya said in the episode, no matter what happens she would always be by her side and she was thankful that Riley felt safe enough to chose her to lash out at. Not only that, but the rest of her friends had her back as well.

But the thing I loved most about this episode was how it was resolved. The stylistic choice of how the ending scene was filmed was perfect, because it was about how Riley was taking agency over what was happening to he rather than focusing on the bully. We never even see who was bullying her, because that wasn't the point. It was about her taking her life back, of regaining and turning around what this person thought they were destroying. Also, it makes sense with the concept of cyberbullying in general; it's all about anonymity, and while Riley certainly knew this person who went to school with her, it wasn't important to give that person power. It was about Riley, how this was affecting her, how she regained confidence through her friends, and how she, herself, took control of the situation. As with each episode there is a lesson to be learned, and this was about how one deals with conflicts. And while it would've been satisfying seeing her friends confront this individual, it wasn't their conflict to deal with. They offered Riley support, something she needed after keeping this to herself for as long as she did, and that's what made her confront this person on her own terms.

Just, this episode was handled really well, showing that there are different kinds of bullying and that it can be handled in different ways, and it can affect others differently, and how to resolve such a conflict by having a support system around you and the confidence and bravery to stand up for yourself, taking your life back from your tormentor, not giving them any power. And, of course, the power of friendship. How Maya, despite how Riley treated her, knew immediately that her best friend wasn't herself and she and the others, once realizing something was wrong, stood behind her. Also, seeing Riley break down crying was the hardest thing to watch. Seeing her that devastated, seeing that dam breaking from what she was holding in all that time, was done is a wonderful, beautiful way. Rowan has really grown as a young actor in this role. ♥

One of the things I have been loving about Girl Meets World is how they handle certain issues. This show has tackled things like bullying, cultural appropriation, autism, understanding the importance of political elections, talking about current world events, friendship, acceptance who you are along with personal growth, and many other important messages. It reminds me when kid and family shows used to focus on serious issues and discuss them. And it's fitting too, since it brings in the nostalgia not just by bringing back old cast members, but the show is still run by some of the old crew from BMW and both Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel are producers on the show, allowing that sense of familiarity of its themes and messages to shine through. It makes fans of the original series happy by bringing in that nostalgic feel while maintaining that same level of dealing with issues that are relevant to today's youth, and connecting everyone through what these characters are going through, from the adults to the kids.
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
Current Music: Daughtry - Get Me Through
Julie: TFP ★ elita-oneragnarok_08 on September 28th, 2015 09:04 pm (UTC)
Girl Meets World really surprised me too and the way they handle certain issues is something outstanding.
author_by_night: Folks by ozqueen (quoted from To Kill aauthor_by_night on September 28th, 2015 09:14 pm (UTC)
I didn't see the episode, though I may now. (I've mostly seen the callbacks to BMW episodes.) It sounds very well written. I do remember the other bullying episode, and how close to home it felt. I was a bit more snubbed than bullied, but I did have bullies here and there. (I was very much a Riley. I even had a Maya, though my Maya... well, reality tends to diverge from fiction.)

I didn't know they'd tackled autism... is it one of the main characters?

Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel are producers on the show

Really?! I didn't know that! I knew they were in it obviously, but I figured they'd basically just been asked to come back. I wasn't aware of their strong involvement in the running aspect. Good for them. :) That also explains why it's so faithful to the original. (Though I wasn't a huge fan of the original - not in a bad way, I just got in so late that I missed the earlier seasons. A friend had to explain Shawn's backstory to me, for instance, because by the time I started watching his "bad kid"-ness was mostly in the past. I've seen some of the first season since, and it's adorbs.)

Edited at 2015-09-28 09:16 pm (UTC)
Renée: Inara Serra. Smile.rogueslayer452 on September 29th, 2015 12:50 am (UTC)
Be prepared for all the feels when you do, because even though I knew what was coming it still had me all choked up. It was incredibly well-done and well-acted.

I didn't know they'd tackled autism... is it one of the main characters?

I don't want to spoil you, but it does involve the possibility of one of them having AS. It was a very well done episode, very respectful, and very cute too.

Really?! I didn't know that! I knew they were in it obviously, but I figured they'd basically just been asked to come back. I wasn't aware of their strong involvement in the running aspect.

Rider Strong has also directed a couple of episodes, I believe. So they are very much involved with the show, and I'm really glad about that. It makes me very hopeful for the future of these child actors, since the original cast seem so well grounded that they will have a positive influence on them. Not to mention having the show be a mixture of both a nostalgic trip and doing its own thing for the newer generations. They're doing a marvelous job so far, I know that many were worried how it was going to be in the beginning, myself included, but it has further exceeded my expectations and I hope it continues doing so. :)
author_by_nightauthor_by_night on September 29th, 2015 02:20 am (UTC)
I think I know who the character is, and it makes a lot of sense when I think about it, actually, especially having/having had friends on the spectrum and recalling some characteristics. More when I actually watch the episode.

I don't think it would be as much of a success if it weren't for the fact that the original cast is into it. And of course the new cast should get some credit - apparently the girl who plays Riley wrote the opening song, and from what I've read of her she's smart beyond her years.

It might be a bit disturbing too because the lead actress looks a lot like a young relative of mine! Might opt out of watching it tonight.

Edited at 2015-09-29 02:27 am (UTC)
Renée: Claire. No ordinary girl.rogueslayer452 on September 29th, 2015 07:37 am (UTC)
I don't think it would be as much of a success if it weren't for the fact that the original cast is into it.

Well, of course. You can't have a sequel series to Boy Meets World without the original cast. And what has kept it going is slowly bringing in other cast members throughout, which has been very smart. It doesn't overhshadow the kids, but rather makes it a part of the show and what is happening with the characters. I think it's a good balance.

apparently the girl who plays Riley wrote the opening song, and from what I've read of her she's smart beyond her years.

Rowan has surprised everyone with how intelligent and socially aware she is for someone so young. Just reading what she has written about things makes me incredibly jealous that I wasn't this aware at 13/14 years old. She truly is Topanga's daughter. ;)
author_by_nightauthor_by_night on September 29th, 2015 11:10 am (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't communicate that point very well. I more meant that they're not just starring in it because they were called to and they haven't had roles in so long so what the heck - they love doing it and are even writing/producing episodes. The show also seems to be produced with the original spirit in mind, rather than an attempt to capitalize on something older without really getting what made it special in the first place. Does that make more sense?

And the balance seems good to me, too. Though I do wonder how the new audience responds to the other plotlines - but they may not think anything of it.

You're right, Rowan really is Topanga's daughter.

Edited at 2015-09-29 11:12 am (UTC)
telly telly bo bellylusimeles on September 28th, 2015 11:49 pm (UTC)
i haven't been watching this show, but your post makes me feel like i should be! loved the og, have heard great things about GMW, and i love that they did such a strong episode on cyberbullying <3
Renée: Kaylee. Giddy.rogueslayer452 on September 29th, 2015 03:55 am (UTC)
It's really a cute show, and the way they handle certain subject matters is quite impressive. It does have a sense of the original series in there, while not straying from being its own thing, which I really appreciate. I think you'll end up liking it. :)
Kelly: tv + bones + booth & brennan store walkteagues_veil on September 29th, 2015 06:48 am (UTC)
I've only seen the first few episodes of the show, but this makes me super encouraged to keep watching it. THANK YOU, NETFLIX.
Renée: Pretty Little Liars. Spencer Hastings.rogueslayer452 on September 29th, 2015 07:46 am (UTC)
DO IT! There may be some episodes that are a hit or miss, like with all shows, but that gets overshadowed by the fact at how utterly adorable it is overall. From the cast and the chemistry between characters, and the nostalgia bringing all the feels. And as I mentioned above, I am impressed with the way they handle particular issues and subject matters in relation to teenagers today, and how it can also transcend generations (i.e. the bullying aspect). So, yeah, definitely recommend. :)

Edited at 2015-09-29 07:47 am (UTC)
americana exotica: Cassandrainterchanges on September 29th, 2015 04:04 pm (UTC)
Rowan and Sabrina really brought their acting A game to this episode! I also loved how the parents showed their support without interfering.

I've also been enjoying Farkle as a character so much more this season since they toned back his creepiness.
Renéerogueslayer452 on September 30th, 2015 01:46 am (UTC)
Seriously, I was super impressed. Like, they've been really growing as young actors on the show and it's so wonderful seeing that development. It has me anticipating what will happen not just with their careers, but for the future of the show. As the characters grow up and mature, so will the subject matter, and it makes me anticipate what else the show will tackle.

Having the parents be there but not intervene was nicely done, because it would've been so easy to include the parents in this situation. Because honestly, what could they do? I like them being there for support, knowing that they will be there whenever she needs help, and that was enough.

Someone pointed out that show has been excellent in responding to the criticisms from the earlier episodes, such as having Farkle become a developed character, and recently with addressing all the kids in the classroom instead of just our main kids (something a lot of shows don't do, because they're just extras and not the focus). I love that a whole lot, and I hope it continues.