Christmas at the Apartment Matthews! It’s Topanga’s first time hosting, and she’s terrified about what Amy is going to think. “It’s going to be hideous,” Cory confirms. He doesn’t care—Shawn is coming! That’s right: the prodigal best friend returns! As Cory positions the giant Cory/Shawn ornament in front of his wedding ornament on the tree, Topanga turns to Riley and says, “My whole life.” When Maya inquires about the elusive Uncle Shawn, Riley can only tell her that he’s not around a lot and that he doesn’t seem to like her.
But first, two other familiar faces: Amy and Alan! Alan hands Auggie a ten spot. “Here’s ten bucks, like me better,” he says. Amy gives Auggie a plate of cookies, for which he gives her the ten dollar bill. “That’s how you do that,” she declares. Little brother Josh, who we last saw as a wee lad, is now a teenager that Maya has her eyes on. “Sweet, I would be your aunt,” Maya says when Riley tries to point out that he’s her uncle.
Shawn sneaks in and surprises Cory, who crushes him in a hug that almost swallows Auggie. “Hey Mrs. Cory,” Shawn greets Topanga. “Hi, Mr. Cory,” Topanga says, with a good natured bite to it. “How great is this?! My favorite person in the whole world! And my wife!” Oh Cory, you learned nothing in your Boy Meets World years. Shawn awkwardly greets Riley and Maya, acting like he can’t get away from them fast enough.
Maya and Riley interrupt Cory and Shawn’s talk. “Riley and I are the best friends on the planet,” Maya insists. Shawn has an answer prepped and ready: “Yeah? Well, Cory and I are the best friends in all of existence, which includes your crummy little planet.” The grown men boast about their ability to finish each other’s sentences, which doesn’t impress the girls, who can read each other’s minds. “One two three PIZZA….one two three CLOUDS…one two three FARKLE!” It is quite impressive, as best friend tricks go. Shawn admits they’ve been bested, so Maya takes the opportunity to confront him about making Riley feel bad. He insists that he doesn’t mean to. The girls begin asking Shawn about Riley’s birthday to prove that he cares at all about her.
Topanga makes butternut squash soup, which she shoves in Amy’s mouth before she can freak out. “I wanted you to know that even though the holidays are here now, you will always have a part in putting them together.” A+ daughter-in-law move, Topanga. Unfortunately, I don’t really buy how Amy has been treating her—I would believe it if Cory had married someone else, but Topanga has pretty much been in their family forever.
Maya and Shawn discover common ground when everyone reveals that Shawn writes for Hit the Road, a travel site that Maya reads. Riley asks about her birthday again, so Shawn caves. He takes the girls downstairs for dessert and details Riley’s birthday, what time she was born, and how long/heavy she was at that time. It was the day he left New York City, and he was the first one to hold her after her parents. He explains that sometimes when people get married, their non-married ones start to feel out of place. Riley understands perfectly: “He does love me—he loves me so much that sometimes he can’t even look at me.” She proceeds to grab Shawn’s face and demand that he look at her in an announcer voice. Shawn cracks a smile. “You’re Cory with Topanga’s hair. You got lucky.” Riley asks if it reminds Shawn of what he doesn’t have when he sees her. Shawn asks for the check.
When they return to the apartment, Riley banishes Cory and Shawn to her room to talk. Josh and Auggie interrupt their heart to heart. “Well, we interrupt Two Grown Men in a Girl’s Bedroom Window for this special announcement.” Auggie relays Topanga’s request to come down for dessert. “We now return to Two Grown Men in a Girl’s Bedroom Window. There are two grown men in a girl’s bedroom window, and nobody thinks that’s weird. A-WINK.” Josh sings, proving Shawn’s point about there already being a cool uncle for Cory’s children. You cannot for a second tell me that Shawn wouldn’t know how to act with Cory and Topanga’s children; I refuse to believe that.
“Laaaadiiiiees,” Farkle says, flipping his hair as he pokes his head into Riley’s window. When he sees Cory and Shawn, he’s unsure if he has the right house, which I find hysterical since he knows Cory. “Cory, what’s this here?” Shawn asks upon discovering that he’s a Minkus. Cory and Shawn manage to convince Farkle that he may or may not have been cloned in a lab.
“Cory, what’s it like to have children?” Shawn asks, realizing that even Minkus has offspring. “My life began when I had Riley. Shawn, find someone. Begin your life,” Cory proclaims. HOLY PROBLEMATIC THINKING, GIRL MEETS WORLD! You’re saying that nothing before having a wife and kids means anything? His successful career as a writer? His friends? I have a huge problem with this. Riley busts in, swapping Cory out in favor of Maya so she and Shawn can talk. “Look at them—they’re us,” she says to Cory, leaving their best friends to discuss their less-than-awesome parent situations.
Looks like Shawn will be sticking around for a bit more—he has an assignment in upstate New York, to which he has invited the entire Family Matthews. Riley extends the invitation to Maya, and Maya extends the invitation to Josh. Good god, can we see this gathering? Because it’s probably amazing.
“Girl Meets Home for the Holidays” was a bit of a mixed bag for me—I absolutely adored seeing familiar faces Shawn, Amy, Alan, and even Josh, now that he’s older and is pretty funny. I did not like their messaging around Shawn’s life choices, and the idea that life is only what Cory and Topanga have. I hope that Shawn continues to be around as a friend and mentor to Maya, and that we see even more familiar faces in the future.