Art class: Ms. Art Teacher establishes that Maya has talent, but laments that it’ll be Maya’s last time painting, since the the school board is cutting arts funding, effective after the next meeting. Maya and Riley are upset for Maya’s future as an artist, Farkle is distraught because he was finally going to play Pippin after his year-long audition ban, and Isaiah is pissed because he won’t be able to lift cute girls in ballet anymore.
Cory’s class: this time, Cory doesn’t even pretend that he’s not teaching a random history topic in order to teach a lesson. “The Dark Ages…was a time of cultural deterioration…the Dark Ages was the decline for the creative spirit of an entire continent…the Dark Ages is when they cut the art classes at this middle school and you, Maya Hart, yes you, Maya Hart, can’t paint anymore,” he explains, amidst Maya’s interruptions. Lucas expresses a desire for Maya to be able to explore her art and be happy, prompting Riley to demand Bay Window time in five hours. Using the example of the Renaissance, Cory plants the idea that the students might need some creative thinking to get their program back.
Bay Window: Riley refuses to take the reins on this one, hoping that her lack of effort will cause Maya to admit that she cares about art. When Maya eventually caves, the girls take the problem to Topanga, who sadly cannot help them. She does suggest that they combat the school board’s cold logic with a different type of thinking instead.
Topanga’s Cafe: Isaiah gives the disheartened group a pep talk, stating that this isn’t the group of people Lucas had told him about. He also mentions that Lucas called Maya a “blonde beauty,” but I’m sure we’ll hear more about that in a few episodes. “Einstein says we can’t solve our problems using the same type of thinking that created them,” Farkle explains, citing a very wise piece of advice.
School board meeting: Turner’s impassioned speech changes nothing, and he dejectedly gives up the podium. Isaiah and the rest of the gang take a crack at creatively convincing the school board not to cut their funding. Their tactics include but are not limited to: removing all of the artwork from the meeting room, Maya’s arguing that they should get rid of other school subjects instead, Farkle dramatically performing a list of prime numbers, and Auggie demanding that they remove their kids’ artwork from their refrigerators as to not be “Hippopotamuses.” Chairperson Sanchez attempts to cut them off to let adults speak, but each adult yields their speaking time to the students.
In his closing argument, Isaiah brings up that Chairperson Sanchez was an art major at Princeton. She explores her feelings on Picasso’s “Guernica” and the horse that looks on in horror at the events in the painting, seemingly having a change of heart. She can’t promise an immediate solution, but she can force the rest of the school board to stick around to find a better solution. The episode ends with the students back in the art room, happily painting and singing together.
Far from the worst, but definitely not the best. While there was some good humor on the parts of Riley and Cory, this episode was mostly filler. Kids banding together to take on the school board is well-trod territory (see also: when Saved by the Bell tried to stop the oil drilling on their football field and the Donna Martin Graduates storyline on Beverly Hills 90210), and this one didn’t feel like anything special.
Boy Meets World Throwback Factor: Low. Filler episodes generally are, but at least we got to see Mr. Turner again.
Episode Rating: 6/10.