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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 25, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Sentimental themes carry Disney series

"Girl Meets World: Season 2"

Season two of “Girl Meets World” begins and ends with Riley Matthews (Rowan Blanchard) and her best friend, Maya Hart (Sabrina Carpenter), sitting by Riley’s bedroom bay window. In between these two scenes is a storyline of heartbreak, drama and a middle school love triangle between Riley, Maya and Riley’s seasonone boyfriend, Lucas Friar (Peyton Meyer).

This season has 30 half-hour episodes, featuring Carpenter, Blanchard, Meyer, Corey Fogelmanis as Farkle Minkus, August Maturo as Auggie Matthews, and Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel as Cory and Topanga Matthews.

Although many college students watch this story as a sequel to the hit ’90s show “Boy Meets World,” this Disney Channel production would still be highly appreciated if it were not connected to the previous show. Riley’s exuberant personality and Maya’s snarky persona bring life to the themes and lessons they learn in a typical middle school day.

Cory teaches the eighth-grade students at John Quincy Adams Middle School history lessons that can then be applied to their lives in one way or another. Cory, the boy many millennials watched turn into a man in “Boy Meets World,” follows the same class of students year to year, a parallel to Mr. Feeny in “Boy Meets World.” The main characters — Lucas, Farkle, Maya and Riley — attend his class.

This season goes more indepth about Maya’s troubled upbringing with a father who walked out on her and a mother who works all the time to make ends meet and escape from negatively influencing her daughter. Just as she did in season one, Topanga takes Maya under her wing as a second daughter. Cory’s best friend and one of the main characters of “Boy Meets World,” Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong), plays a paternal role in Maya’s life as well. He takes her camping, helps her pick out clothes and teaches her that it is OK not to be loved by the people who are supposed to love her if she has a strong group of people still supporting her.

This season had many love and romance storylines, including a love triangle between three best friends and Maya’s love for a boy too old for her, who also happens to be Riley’s uncle. Maya realizes she and her classmate Lucas may perhaps be more like siblings than romantic partners halfway through the second season. She explains this to Riley, who runs with it and begins to refer to her complicated romantic partner as a sibling. In a three-part event, the characters travel to Texas to see Lucas compete in a bull-riding competition. There, Maya’s feelings for Lucas, the boy she constantly bullies, are addressed as they sit beside a romantic campfire. Maya, Lucas and Riley spend the rest of season two trying to figure out their awkward and complicated love triangle while still trying to maintain their friendships with one another.

Much of this season deals with the characters trying to figure out their identities and who they are and want to be as people. Although Maya, Riley and Lucas worry about their changing identities, they all soon understand it is a part of growing up and becoming an adult. By the end of the season, they have all changed and matured after undergoing multiple struggles.

The friendship Farkle, Maya, Riley and Lucas have is honest, strong and caring. Even through the love triangle, the characters remain honest and true to one another, always taking everyone’s feelings into consideration. This series not only shows genuine friendships, but also authentic characters who show people how to live with sincerity and respect toward others.

Throughout the season, the characters of “Girl Meets World” learn that it is important to stay true to their identities, have moral character and always stick by their loved ones but that it is OK to make mistakes and have bad days. Through an experiment taught by their science teacher, Mr. Norton, and a speech from Topanga, the characters learn one of the biggest lessons of the season: The characters learn to never give up on their dreams, and the show gives the example that girls sometimes give up on their dreams to work in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math because they think they are supposed to. But the message is that they should not be afraid to follow their dreams regardless of cultural barriers. These are lessons that the audience should learn and remember, even if they are occasionally cringe-worthily cheesy. This season can be found on Netflix, along with the first season. Those who liked and watched “Boy Meets World” can catch up on the lives of the characters they watched growing up and relive the awkward and bewildering times of adolescence through this Disney Channel hit show.

“Girl Meets World” is signed up for a third season, but it is up in the air if the show will continue on Disney Channel or move to Disney’s Freeform channel to cover more mature subject matter as the characters take on high school.

Ashley Wolf can be reached at awolf2@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @@ashleyjcwolf