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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Girl Meets World Analysis: Girl Meets Triangle

First off this show is amazing! It is the best written show I have seen in a very long time.
Now, this television show started with a very specific story. 
Riley, daughter of Corey and Topanga, wants her independence, but she has not yet earned it. Her best friend Maya is her idol, and Riley is determined to be her, but Maya goes too far. We have two main characters whose identities depend on each other. 
We are also introduced to Lucas, a boy Maya sees on the subway, and Maya pushes Riley toward him, literally. 
After this scene, we see the classroom where Corey has become the teacher (taking Feeny's role in Boy Meets World). And we are introduced to Farkle (son of Stuart Minkus) who states that he has been in love with Riley since the first grade, but he is also equally in love with Maya. When Corey asks why FARKLE explains that Riley is day and Maya is night.  
Cory says some very specific things. His lesson is on the topic of the Civil War, but the real lesson, the life lesson is inner turmoil. 
Lucas walks in late after Corey says " bad things happen when you don't know who you are." 
This is no accident. It's key dialogue that sets up the conflict for the entire series. Who are these students?
He asks the students what they are willing to fight for. Maya goes overboard about no homework. Riley, determined to be Maya follows along. This entire dynamic sets up the actual conflict that Riley has for the series. She is depending on Maya to define her identity. She doesn't want to be herself. This situation is key during later episodes where Farkle tries to choose between Riley and Maya. But now, in the episode Girl Meets Triangle, we have Lucas trying to decide between them. 
Now the "plot" of this episode appears to be that Maya is going through an identity crisis, and that Lucas is trying to choose between Riley and Maya. But there is so much more going on underneath the surface. 
Riley is going through the same identity crisis. This is easily shown in the jelly bean scene: 

The jelly bean scene was pure gold: 

Here’s why. First off, jelly beans. They are using jelly beans to determine who Lucas likes more. Ridiculous right? Not so much. If you pay attention, you’ll notice the color scheme, which boy has each jelly bean and the way Lucas answers every question.
So, blue beans represent Riley, and yellow for Maya. If you remember, in the pilot Farkle said Riley was the sun, and Maya was the night. These colors have switched. Now Maya has become the sun, and Riley the night. (Remember what Farkle said about Jexica? She was mysterious- like what he said about Maya in the pilot.)
Maya and Riley have switched roles here.
Now, each boy is wearing the colors that represent Riley and Maya.
Lucas is all blue. Zay is both blue and yellow. Farkle is wearing a blue and yellow swirled pattern on a purple shirt.
If we go by the jelly beans, Lucas is blue for Riley. Zay is blue and yellow for both, and Farkle is wearing purple, blue and yellow.
If we go for the pilot, Lucas is blue for Maya. Zay is blue and yellow for both and Farkle is wearing both, but his color is also purple.
Just colors of a shirt for each guy right? This is far too detailed and overboard for an analysis right? Wrong.
It’s all on purpose, symbolic.
Before I explain why, let’s go over the dialogue.
The boys each ask Lucas a question. He starts with Riley, then mentions Maya. Why is this important? Farkle.
Watch his reactions. Not to mention who Farkle represents on the jelly bean scale- Maya. He reacts to Lucas’s mentions of Riley with a bit of a sharper tone, but when Lucas mentions Maya, he’s a lot happier. Then there's the obvious outburst after Lucas says it's always been Riley. Why? Look at the color he’s wearing. Purple. Who does purple represent? Riley.
Remember the Pilot. It was Farkle who couldn’t decide between them, but now it’s pretty obvious who he chose, even if he’s not aware of it, or in denial about it.
Whenever Farkle mentions the girls, he uses Riley’s name first. We also know he pays more attention to Riley because of episodes like yearbook, rileytown and Texas.
What about Lucas? Listen to the way he ends each of his answers with Maya. Not to mention he actually acknowledged the fact that Maya pushed Riley toward him. He’s basically chosen Maya - here’s why. He says that is who she is.
He never says this about Riley, but who has? Farkle.
Now, what about Zay? He represents Riley, wearing both colors, and he has flirted with both girls. Lately we’ve seen him flirt a little more with Maya. It’s possible that he likes Maya more than he lets on, but for the sake of the mise en scene, he appears neutral.
Why is this scene so important? Because it represents the way each one of them interprets the girls’ identities.
For Zay, he sees qualities of the dark and the light in both girls. Lucas likes the darker side. But Farkle? Well he was the original guy in the triangle. He has seen both qualities in the girls, and according to the color scheme, he sees qualities of both dark and light in them, but it is obvious that Riley is more important to him.
So why can’t Lucas choose? Why is he so indecisive? He doesn’t see both light and dark in either Riley or Maya. The same dilemma Farkle had in the pilot episode.
Lucas likes the dark side of Maya. We’ve seen this in episodes like squirrels, 1961, creativity, and of course, Texas.
The point?
Remember Farkle’s choice? Remember he promised to love both of them the same? He couldn’t, just as Lucas can’t. While Farkle pays more attention to Riley, Lucas pays more attention to Maya.
But why show this with blue and yellow? Why the purple?
The color scheme matters, because it reveals who the other character is thinking about.
Real quick, what color represents Farkle? Orange. Who’s been wearing orange lately? Riley.
Don’t forget that amazing bay window scene.
The writers have told you never assume. They mean it. If you look deeper, you can see the game they’ve set up for these characters. It’s quite brilliant.
Just like Riley, we have to pay attention. The answer to the triangle has been there all along, just in disguise.
Let’s go through the scenes of Triangle: 
We open up with Riley and Maya staring at a specific pattern of colors with shoes. Purple, brown and orange.
According to the connections in previous episodes:
Orange: Farkle
Purple: Riley
Brown: Maya
Now what does Riley say? For the orange pairs she says she likes them, then loves them. This is an obvious nod to Farkle. She likes who he is. She loves who he is.
Then there’s Naomi. What’s she wearing? Purple socks with brown sandals. (Riley+Maya)
Riley says that she’s better than that. This is no accident. It’s symbolism to show that neither girl is being true to who they are. Riley is trying to be Maya. We know that from the pilot. So what’s changed? Maya is now trying to be Riley. Why?
Because Lucas likes Riley.
The next scene we have is the bathroom. Orange, purple and red are everywhere! We know that red is a color for Lucas.
We also get an obvious representation of Riley and Maya fighting over the same guy.
First off what the representation of Maya says is not Maya. I don’t believe that Maya doesn’t like Lucas. It’s very clear she does, without the influence of Riley. 
There's also a key moment of dialogue in the next and only scene that the girls and guys are together. Lucas tells Riley and Maya that they need to decide, but he doesn't want anyone to get hurt. What Farkle says here is key: 
"Oh somebody's getting hurt. But I've been saying all along that if you can't be honest with each other then everyone gets hurt." 

This seems to be an obvious shout out that Farkle is hurt.
Now let’s talk about Riley and Maya’s outfits. Both are a mixture of day and night. Again no accident. Riley and Maya influence each other and now it’s showing.
Maya’s painting is proof. 

We know that purple cats are a connection to Riley, but I think it's a little deeper than that. Purple is Riley's color, but the cat itself represents what Riley believes to be Maya's identity. 
Here's Riley's painting: 
A simple and obvious purple cat. There is no complexity, and no other colors. It is simply what Riley believes it to be. 
Now let's look at Maya's painting: 
It's a complex purple cat. Colors swirling everywhere but the outline of the cat is there. 
So Wwhat does this mean? Maya is trying to get out of the lines that Riley has drawn for her. Riley defines Maya a certain way, rebellious, getting bad grades and never putting up with anything. But now Maya has grown. She has endured hardships and she has made decisions for herself. 
Riley hasn't accepted this change in Maya, because she believes that Maya is a certain way. But Maya has now been able to see the world in a new perspective. 
As the art teacher says, Maya is screaming. Maya is struggling because she cares for both Lucas and Riley, and she wants to break free of the outline that Riley has created for her.
The dialogue in this scene is key.
Teacher: "What are you trying to say?"
1961 Maya: "You have something to say."
1961 Lucas: "Well now, you only know that because I went ahead and said it."
Maya is going through an identity crisis, Riley too. Neither are being true to themselves.
I already discussed the jellybean scene.
This isn’t just about Lucas. This is about how the girls view who they are. But it’s not as simple as Maya being night or Riley being day. It’s more complicated than that.
Both Maya and Riley are denying who they are. Lucas is a big part of this. Remember what Corey said before Lucas walks in?
Corey: "History says that bad things happen when you don’t know who you are."
No accident.
Lucas doesn’t know who he is either.
Fun fact: the only character who has accepted who he is - Farkle.

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