jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2015

Girl Meets World!

Hyvaa paivaa, fellow IDN fans (addressing all three of you like a boss) :P

I know it's been a long time since I last posted anything, but hopefully this will make up for that (besides, we couldn't say that we have been bored around here, since our very own Domingo H has been doing nothing but providing us with excellent content ever since I made my last post back in February... how's THAT for a deal, huh? You all seemed to like what he had to offer, since the visits to this place have gone all the way to the roof). Let's see if I still remember how to do this... probably not, but let's do it anyway :P!

I'm going to start this off by saying that I have never seen the classic series "Boy Meets World", but I'm well-aware of its reputation among the people and I understand that it has been one of ABC's most beloved sitcoms. And probably because of that lack of information regarding the show I shouldn't be making this statement but... I have seen more than enough comments destroying "Girl Meets World" based on the fact that it "seems" to be damaging its predecessor's hard-earned reputation and that it just seems like a dull and cheap knock-off made to leech on the previous show's fame while coming out as an effortless piece of comedy. Guys, I understand your points but this is really easy to dismiss... do you really think that they would have gone thru all the hassle of hiring the two leads of the other show if they were planning to make this one as cheap and easy-to-make as possible? I seriously doubt it.

Besides, many characters from the original series have made cameos here (even if only for a few frames)... that alone goes to show that real care and effort went into the making of this thing. The event wasn't rare either, making it an experience to look for who was going to pop up on screen next (and this is coming from someone who hasn't even seen that other show, so I think that that says a lot). I could be listing facts all day, but I don't wanna lost my impartial input on this... I just wanted to point out the obvious -even though it seemed to have flown over everyone's head. And that's the problem with nostalgia as a whole, it becomes a blindfold tied tightly in front of everyone's eyes to prevent them to "damage" their memories of nicer and simpler times. Old videos and pictures are always shown on either black and white or sepia, and that's precisely because those tones don't allow you to put shades on your understanding of the whole picture-.

Fans of the original show might be glad to hear that Topanga and Cory are often the limelight, providing a large part of the show's comedic factor.

Now -and back on topic for once- I would like to say that the first thing that I absolutely liked about "Girl Meets World" was the nature of its ensemble... look, I'm a BIG fan of Disney and their sitcoms but... haven't you ever felt like if most of those guys weren't actually "comfortable" with the thing? Some things -from dialogue to characters- seemed out of place at times and that used to hurt those shows. Many characters from newer and older jewels of that channel simply didn't register enough chemistry to sell the moments as a group -though, succeeding as individuals- and that's why series like "Dog with a Blog" (really nice despite the obviously not very inspired title), "Wizards of Waverly Place" and even "Good Luck, Charlie!" felt so shallow at times. Luckily, "Girl Meets World" largely doesn't have that problem.

Not only there's actual chemistry between the main part of the ensemble, but even those weird match-ups (like Topanga and Farkle -which we know aren't going to have much screentime devoted to them-) come off as natural because of strong writing and good acting... all of that being powered by which I'm going to swear is an actual friendship shared by all the members of the cast. This is a show where dialogue plays an even bigger part than in most other programs of its own type and NONE of those verbal exchanges has ever felt out of place to my ears. I will say more, even the comedy seems to have been upgraded for this particular show... and there are so many examples of this scattered throughout the whole series that it would be pointless to list them all. BUT what I will say is that some of the best jokes occur when there's no eye-contact -and not even proximity sometimes- between the two involved parts, and the precision of those reactions -happening exactly when they are required to happen- are a delight to watch as they serve as a showcase for the rest of this program's fine humor.

All of that is truly great, but no program can be entirely perfect and neither is the case with "Girl Meets World". The shows does indeed have flaws and I think that the bigger one comes directly from one of its strongest parts. This show loves to teach valuable lessons to the viewer and I appreciate the effort but, sometimes, it just feels too eager to force the moral down everyone's throat and the result is quite uncomfortable in its good intention. Most of the time one finds himself trying to enjoy an episode that has suddenly gone "too melancholic" and the effect lasts its good couple of minutes before being left behind until it is time to bring it up again for the final wrap-up. None of the morals has ever crossed the line of disgusts due to excellent writing and passionate acting, though, but some of them have landed dangerously close to that imaginary borderline.

The good thing is that most of those scenes are placed at the beginning-to-middle part of the episodes, when we are still establishing characters and situation, but there's been at least two entries of the series where the WHOLE thing was about that awkward moment of sadness... and that bothers me because the writers obviously know how to get their message across without having to resort to being "too gray" to accomplish the goal; so, when they do something like that, it feels like a waste of time (looking at you, 60's-themed episode).

The Halloween episode might not be the best one in terms of content, but the setting gets a maximum grade just for the level of commitment that went into making it (look at the guys playing softball still on their costumes!).

Another thing that just feels kinda weird is the first episode of the starter season. The premise of Riley wanting to show that she's ready for the world by taking the subway all by herself is good enough and there's definitely some charm behind the idea, but... is that really it? I get it that travel alone must be a huge step towards maturity and the like but it still doesn't convince me in any favorable way. In fact, the only two parts that I can even remember of that first episode are the cameo by Crazy Hat (who we won't get to meet in detail until several episodes later) and the introduction to the character of Lucas, that also includes the first pure taste of Maya's wicked sense of humor. But what I'm listing there is pretty much all there is to that FIRST episode (you know, the one that's supposed to convince us to keep watching) and, honestly, episodes two and three would DESTROY this one in terms of entertainment value. I don't know what they were thinking when they made it, but the dialogue in that episode is all great so I guess that it pass.

The last thing that I'm going to say regarding this show is that it has one of the catchiest theme songs ever. I kid you not when I said that I have been listening to it for the whole afternoon and that I don't have any plans of stopping in the near future. How couldn't you love it? It's energetic, the lyrics match the show's feel perfectly and it just makes the intro all the more enjoyable by having it. Still, it might be way too sugary for the average listener, so... proceed at your own risk :P

These two shots from the opening come literally one after another in the space of a few seconds... and I like the mood they set. Just like the show itself, they go from cheerful to miserable in the blink of an eye -and the song being played over the transition thankfully doesn't break the immersion-.

Also, kudos to the writers for more than one joke that found its way into the show itself.

In conclusion: "Girl Meets World" is a surprisingly nice show which -somehow- makes up for pretty much every flaw that's been on the genre in recent years, but that also suffers from its own mistakes in ways that are frankly avoidable -or at least, that's how it feels-. The program as a whole features enough laughs to make its serious moments go away easily and enough seriousness to prevent itself from falling into mindless comedy, but what makes it unique before my eyes is its heart. Right down from its cast (with Rowan Blanchard and Sabrina Carpenter nailing every episode) to its message it is clear that a lot of love went into making the show as good as possible -things like the supreme attention to detail present in almost every shot support this- and it just shines as a result. Definitely something that I would recommend. 

3 comentarios:

  1. To our international readers: I hope you had no problem that everything I wrote is in Spanish...

    Averigüé y ésta se llama aquí "El mundo de Riley".

    Me gusta que hayas dicho "pues esto no es una afrenta a la nostalgia de nadie, pero tampoco es una maravilla infalible que se merienda ella sola a la original y a cualquier otra anterior". =D

    1. Muchas gracias :)! Ojalà màs gente se sentara a valorarla por lo que es, en lugar de buscarle similitudes y/o diferencias con la original... asì no se puede disfrutar de ninguna de las dos y todos acabamos cabreados.

  2. De hecho, voy a probar a ver si el anterior está esperando moderación o si hice algo mal...