We’re trying a new piece today based on sports and entertainment because by Sunday there’s not much left.
This will mean nothing at all to most of you but does illustrate the kind of sensibility I’m trying to bring to the post. There is a show I like called Girl Meets World and it’s a silly Disney ‘tween comedy. What makes it interesting to me is that in some respects it breaks almost every rule.
It was just a matter of knowing the secret of all television: at the end of the episode, everything is back to normal.
Things change. In a way it’s like a 30 minute Gilmore Girls except that Cory and Topanga are Cory and Topanga, a power couple that make Ward and June look like the Bundys (the Gilmores, as you are well aware, have their own kind of family dynamic). This year’s primary story arcs have been about Maya’s damaged family hooking up with Shawn, and Riley dealing with her feelings about Luke (see, Gilmore Girls!). It’s not without its charms.
So what made this episode, Girl Meets Yearbook so interesting? Well partly because it’s about acting and partly because it’s about change.
The change thing first. Farkle Minkus is the son of Stuart Minkus, one time suitor of Topanga now filthy rich which he never tires of reminding you. Stuart is whip smart and charming in that Lex Luthor kind of way. He’s also a total dweeb. Farkel is his mini-me.
Both of them have suffered the normal harassment which being an individual in that environment entails. Farkle is lucky enough to have fallen into Riley’s circle and they’ve stood for him. In this episode, Farkle is disappointed he’s become an adjective in the yearbook (despite editing it apparently, because that’s just the kind of dweeby job he and Riley like), so he rips off his distinctive Farkle outfit and emerges as Donnie Barnes, regular guy.
Riley is not unhappy with her description- ‘Most likely to smile herself to death’, even though her friends tell her it’s a total dis’. That is until she finds out that she and Luke are not the cutest couple, it’s Maya!
And here we branch-
There is no resolution for the change plot (so far). At the end Farkle Minkus admits to Luke and the gang that he still knows stuff but is not interested in conforming to previous expectations and pre-conceptions. It makes one wonder what is going on at Casa de Minkus and if Stuart shows up with a Topanga clone wife I’m thinking we’re going Twin Peaks with the plot.
I’ll add this. In some ways the character resembles my personal experience, but my image was exactly what I expected and cultivated. Once I had made my connections I didn’t really have to behave in any particular way at all. Study Hall? I work at the Library, see you. I got away with some atrociously massive crap that would have had me expelled if I wasn’t labeled and categorized. I had a key to my own office!
Which brings us to acting.
The McGuffin on the second arc is that Riley is set off by Farkle’s rebellion and her non-pairing with the one she thinks is her dream Corey guy so she dramatically adopts the gothic character of Morosia M. Black (the second ‘M’ stands for Morosia too). Maya is upset that Riley is not around to help her fix Farkle (that’s what Riley does, and she smiles all the time).
The details don’t count, but they end up carrying this dispute into the cafe Riley’s mother owns and Maya’s mother, an out of work actress, manages. Maya asks her mother how she can be Riley.
Alright, but before you become another person understand you may learn things about them you didn’t know before. You may learn a secret even they don’t know about themselves.
And then Katy Hart delivers a spot on Riley.
I love today! Today is even better than yesterday and yesterday was the best Day EVER!!! I’d think about tomorrow but I am afraid I would burst into sparkles!
Maya is supposed to be the rebel tomgirl but she’s grown a lot less dark since her mom and Shawn seem to be getting along. Next day in class she shows up as Riley, fooling even Cory momentarily.
She is likewise a virtual clone of Riley, exposing the artifice of the character, in fact all of them. Maya’s classmates tell her that they’re happy she’s playing the role, that they need a Riley and don’t care who does it (with the implication that they don’t much need a real Maya, or a Riley either).
Maya throws herself into the role until…
When you become someone else, even though you’re just acting, it’s impossible not to discover something you didn’t know before.
In this case Maya is reacting (in character as Riley) in defense of Luke and Riley being the perfect couple ‘it’s like we’re brother and sister’.
Now do it again for the cameras. Action!
My point has multiple layers, multiple layers has my point. ‘Kid’s’ programming tackles some scary stuff in ways that are unexpected, especially by adults wedded to their tropes. The actors are talented, some of them. The writing and direction can be good. I don’t expect you to like it.
And the final layer is that this spot shall oscillate between discussions of TV and Movie Trivia and Sports of varying popularity.
Rethinking an Olympic Format in Light of Katie Ledecky’s 1,500 Feat
By KAREN CROUSE, The New York Times
AUG. 9, 2015
Ledecky charmed her hosts last week on her way to becoming the first swimmer to sweep the 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyles in a major competition.
Ledecky broke her 1,500-freestyle record on consecutive days in front of crowds that enthusiastically cheered her on. She had to strike while she was rested because she will not race the event again in a major meet until 2017, at the earliest. After Ledecky’s performance, the exclusion of the 1,500 freestyle from next year’s Olympic program has never seemed more ridiculously retrograde.
Yes, Fantastic Four is really just as horrible as you heard.
- Doctored doom: Reshot ‘Fantastic Four’ gets clobbered at box office with dismal $26M debut, By Michael Cavna, Washington Post
- “Fantastic Four is an unmitigated garbage fire,” and 15 other terrible reviews director Josh Trank is not responsible for, by Anna Silman, Salon
- Fantastic Four review – a dawdling indie drama dressed up in superhero garb, by Henry Barnes, The Guardian
- Here’s the Bigger Problem With the Failure of ‘Fantastic Four’, By Kate Erbland, Indiewire
- Fantastic Four, By Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Not the Fantastic Four
- Hannibal Recap: season three, episode 10 – And the Woman Clothed in Sun, by Brian Moylan, The Guardian
- True Detective: place your bets on the identity of the killer, by Sarah Hughes, The Guardian
- We Mapped True Detective’s Wildly Implausible Road Trips, by Jordan Crucchiola, Wired
- True Detective Season 2 Finale Recap: ‘Omega Station’ Was a Satisfying Descent Into Chaos, By Jacob Hall, Esquire
- ‘The Mindy Project’ gets Hulu premiere date — and Kaling is ‘grateful’, By Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times
- Now that Jon Stewart has stepped down, does anyone have his edge?, by Edward Helmore, The Guardian
- Doctor Who Season 9 News: Reece Shearsmith Guest-starring in Gatiss Episode, Den of Geek
- Steven Moffat on why he hasn’t cast a female Doctor yet: “I think it would have been a disaster”, by Sonia Saraiya, Salon
That last is not as bad as it sounds. Moffat really wanted to write for a Peter Capaldi Doctor, there was never any serious second choice.
Obligatories, News and Blogs below.