TV Review: Girl Meets World 1×17 – “Girl Meets Game Night”

Girl Meets World credits“Family Game Night. My favorite night of the month! Me, my family, and my jammy pants,” Cory declares, opening this week’s episode of Girl Meets World and singing the song of twenty-something introverts everywhere. Lucas and Farkle buzz up to the apartment for Family Game Night, effectively damaging Cory’s calm. “The second she allowed Dr. Turtleneck and Mr. Howdy into our household, our family was compromised by interlopers,” Cory hisses to Topanga. He rants about Riley choosing her friends over family, but as far as I’m concerned, this is Riley wanting her friends to spend time with her family.

Jump to Cory’s History class: keeping the tradition of no consecutive timeline whatsoever, Mr. Matthews is now covering the American Revolution. Farkle is King George, Riley is John Adams, Lucas is playing Washington, and a miserable Maya is Benjamin Franklin. Cory narrates, comparing England to a father and America as a child ready to break away. The kids point out the parallels, but Cory balks. “Not everything I teach you in class applies to our lives,” he argues, but Lucas disagrees. “It does sir. Every time,” Lucas insists.

Back to Family Game Night: the living room descends into chaos, with Maya and Auggie fighting over Josh, Topanga yelling “I WIN!” every time a bell rings, and UGH AVA showing up to join their party. Cory offers to be Maya’s partner, but she isn’t feeling it. “You represent homework and no fun. While you,” she says, turning to Josh, “are so handsome it almost makes my eyes hurt.” Josh opts to be the game show host for The Family Game (which appears to echo The Game of Life) instead.

Cory lands on a square that should gift him a daughter, but since Farkle and Lucas already own it, they take his daughter. I see what you did there, Girl Meets World. “She’s not Riley Matthews anymore! She’s Mr. Dr. Howdy Turtleneck,” Cory laments. Ava’s cheating results in her sending Topanga back to the start of the game. Topanga keeps her cool until her teammate Riley chooses to take the opportunity card that will send her to Europe with a friend (Maya), effectively swapping the partners.

Maya and Riley are having a team strategy talk in the window. “You’re destroying your parents,” Maya bluntly states. Maya certainly has the tendency to be Riley’s conscience when it comes to her family. Cory and Topanga’s team talk involves more lamenting the loss of their children. “I just thought you get more time with them! She’s twelve and she’ll be gone in a blink. He’s five and he’s been married for twenty years,” Topanga says, motioning towards Auggie and Ava, who are bickering like an old married couple. Riley is so much Cory—Topanga just wants to make sure she makes a lasting impression on her daughter. Cory is confident that Riley will find her way back to them if she does break away.

The Family Game once more: Riley throws a twelve, which would allow her to win, but she passes on her success square. They are forced to play the long game, in which all of the players team up to take on the game. Wait, like Jumanji? Riley soothes her mother’s fears: “Mom, I wanted to beat you so you would be proud of me,” she says, demonstrating a very Topanga-like quality. Cory says that if the kids present are the people Riley is going to leave them for, he’s okay with it. They plan to buy The Friends Game, now willing to open up the family to Riley’s friends.

Dawn at the Apartment Matthews: I’d like to ask why everyone’s parents are okay with them just not coming home for the night when they’re about twelve years old (five in Ava’s case), but instead I’ll just move on. When they finally beat the game, it opens and fills the room with a colorful glow. “In the long game, friends become family,” Cory says. It is ABSURD that this even needs to be pointed out considering Shawn and Topanga’s relationships to the Matthews family.

I still think Cory’s freak out was ridiculous, both because of how he grew up with his friends and family and how Riley wanted her friends to hang out with her parents. However, the humor in this one was on point, especially Josh’s. He should definitely come around more often.



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