Season 2 | Episode 6 | “Girl Meets the Tell-Tale Tot” | Aired June 5, 2015
Aaaand we’re back! Following a brief hiatus, Girl Meets World returns with a new episode. Tonight’s offering takes a cue from Edgar Allan Poe, as Riley’s conscience takes the form of a speaking tater tot. However, the bigger lesson at the end of the day isn’t that lying to your parents is wrong (it is), but that accepting the truth and choosing not to lie is part of growing up.
The episode starts off with Josh Matthews arriving at Cory’s place bearing nothing other than a response to his NYU college application. Maya tries to play it cool and leave for school with Riley, but curiosity (and her massive crush on “Uncle Boing”) brings her back, eager to know the answer. (Interesting that no one pointed out that it was a “big envelope,” and therefore most likely an acceptance.) In any case, it is a yes, which means that Josh will be spending the next four years on the show in New York.
To celebrate the good news, the future freshman decides to get a jump start on his first year of college by attending a party that very same night so he can make a few friends. However, this doesn’t sit well with Maya, who is afraid he’ll fall in love with a college girl, so she decides to sneak out and attend said party. Riley, being the loyal friend that she is, decides to tag along.
Unfortunately for her, Maya doesn’t trust her BFF’s ability to keep their plan a secret, so before they can set off on their “caper,” she puts Riley to the test by making her eat a tater tot she steals off of Cory’s plate and keep it secret. Riley does so, only to make her conscience take the form of a large—and extremely fluffy—tater tot. (Side note: Is it just me, or was it voiced by Mr. Farkle Minkus himself, Corey Fogelmanis?)
After dinner, the girls retire to Riley’s room, where Maya stuffs some pillows under the bed covers to make it look like Riley is asleep. Alibi all set up, the girls leave out the window, ready to crash attend their first college party. Only it’s nothing like what they expected.
Riley immediately takes to college life, bonding with some sports fans and pledging a sorority (ironically, the two least popular activities at NYU)—where she gets voted “Best Friend to Have.” Meanwhile, Maya sees that Josh has made some friends, one of whom is a girl he seems to like as more than a friend. Disheartened, she asks to leave. But Riley, being the great best friend she is, tells her to take a chance and gives her a push into the room where Josh is instead.
For his part, Josh isn’t too happy to see his niece and her best friend there, but the college kids seem fine with this interruption. One of the kids, Andrew, even shows a romantic interest in the girls, until they remind him they’re in middle school, at which point he backs off. At this point, Riley gets kidnapped by her soon-to-be sorority sisters, prompting Josh to try to rescue her, and giving Maya and the college girls a chance to talk.
What follows is a sweet heart-to-heart where Maya reluctantly tells the older girls, Jasmine and Cynthia, about her crush on Josh. They give her some of the best advice this show has produced: “It’s not the big gestures that we do for other people that help us grow, but the small choices you make for yourself.“
Unfortunately Josh doesn’t really want to look at Maya differently, once again citing their three-year age gap. A newly rescued Riley then asks what it is Maya specifically likes about him; this is where things get a lot more interesting.
At first Maya says it’s because he’s a part of Riley’s family, which she loves. But later on, she admits it’s because of all the little things Josh does. Like driving all the way from Philadelphia so he could open his college response with his brother. Or always making time for Auggie. By the time she’s listing all of Josh’s great qualities, even Andrew wants the guy to give her a chance. When Joshua tries to argue, both Jasmine and Cynthia threaten to ensure that no girl at NYU will ever date him (which is a lot of girls). Conceding defeat, Josh decides to walk Riley and Maya home. (Side note: I appreciate how each of these kids wishes someone would make a big romantic gesture for them. It’s surprisingly earnest.)
The next day, Riley wrestles with her conscience, but as it turns out, she doesn’t need to worry for long, as Maya tells Cory and Topanga all about their night out. For their part, Riley’s parents are both calm and understanding, acknowledging that both Joshua and Maya made mature decisions—him forgoing the party he’d been excited for, her choosing to come clean to them. This offers an interesting parallel between their stories, with Cory recognizing that his baby brother is much older now, and Joshua realizing that Maya is more mature as well.
Much as with Shawn’s storylines on Boy Meets World, I quite enjoy episodes where Girl Meets World explores Maya’s emotional baggage. Not only do they give Sabrina Carpenter a chance to unpack her character’s issues (which she does quite well), but they also allow Rowan Blanchard to display Riley’s best qualities—namely, her loyalty and wackiness. More than that, it lets the show delve into some of the deeper topics that made its parent show so meaningful. That said, I don’t think Boy Meets World could have pulled off a talking tater-tot puppet quite as well.
Girl Meets World Meets Observations:
- Considering this season marks the start of a new school year, doesn’t this mean that Josh is getting his college acceptance in early September/late October? Did he apply Early Early Admission?
- Zay is still here! And it turns out he knows his Poe. I know it was previously established that Zay isn’t a good student, but it would be nice to see someone who isn’t Smackle give Farkle some academic competition in class. Even Minkus had Topanga.
- Of course Farkle faked his kindergarten naps.
- Riley’s excitement about college was reminiscent of the time Shawn’s brief stint “auditing” a college class got him all pumped up about higher education too.
- The alternate title for this recap was: “Are you there, Tot? It’s me, Riley.”
What about you? What did you think about tonight’s episode? Do you think Joshua is right about the age difference? Or should Maya set her sights on someone younger? Let me know down below!
Girl Meets World airs Fridays on Disney Channel.