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Friday, August 19, 2016

Empathy: A Girl Meets World Theory

In Girl Meets 1961, a very important episode according to the writers, Rosie McGee (Riley's ancestor) and Ginsburg (Farkle's ancestor) wear outfits that allude to the movie Funny Face. 

Funny Face itself has an allusion that I think relates to Farkle's narrative in the show: Pygmalion. 

In Funny face, the photographer Dick, tells the model to look at the statute. 
"Now, I want you to look at the statue as if you understand it. As if it understands you."  

Pygmalion is a Greek play about an artist who falls in love with his own creation. Aphrodite brings the statue to life due to his love. Some common stories related to this dynamic are Pinocchio and My Fair Lady. 
Now Farkle created the dynamic of Riley as Day and Maya as night, but he loves Riley. It's obvious from his actions and dialogue. He's fallen in love with his own creation, similar to Pygmalion. 

Pygmallion is played out in Funny Face, but there is a twist: empathy. 

Jo, a bookworm that is labeled as a "funny" woman and not "beautiful" is very interested in empathy. But throughout the film, she doesn't actually use empathy until it appears to be too late. She wants to discuss Empathicalism,  but she only practices it when she realizes that she has hurt Dick, the photographer of Quality magazine. 

Dick wants a girl who thinks, and he says this fairly often in the movie, but he falls for Jo while taking the pictures. He creates each story for her to roleplay as she models, until she takes over, creating stories and ideas of her own. This reminds me of Farkle's defense of the Riley Commitee, and him wanting to keep Riley's hope and happiness alive through fantasy ideas. 

He admires this and falls for her before he realizes what has happened. 

The conflict in Funny Face involves the professor that Jo wants to see, and the real reason she agrees to the project to go to France and meet her idol. He turns out to be very different from what he appears to be. 
Although the she falls for Dick, Jo still believes that the professor is an amazing philosopher and she is surprised when he reveals that he wants more than a philosophical conversation. 
It's nearly too late as the misunderstanding between Jo and Dick interferes with the runway demonstration, but it all works out in the end. 

The outfits that Rosie and Ginsburg have are identical to the outfits in the misunderstanding scene of Funny Face and Ginsburg takes a picture of Rosie. 
The major lesson of this episode is "Don't let your history be made of missed opportunities. Learn from the past." 
According to the dynamic of the 1961 scenes in this episode, Rosie and Ginsburg almost connected, but Rosie got distracted by Merlin (Lucas's ancestor). 

This is similar to the plot line of Funny Face. 
I found a connection between Riley's lack of empathy towards Farkle, and Jo's lack of Empathy towards Dick. 

In Girl Meets World, Farkle is often considered to be "not part of the story". This is proven when Farkle says that his grandfather was never "in the pictures, because he took them." Then we get a visual of both generations: 

In both pictures, Ginsburg and Farkle are seperate, but still in the picture. 

Due to this "not part of the story" expectation, Farkle's remarks and actions are ignored, or made into a joke. But he is an extremely important character in the story, and once Riley understands that, we see a glimpse of who she truly is, without the influence of Maya. 

In Girl Meets Flaws, Riley was there for Farkle when he needed her most. She finally understands that he needs her. 
This is echoed in Girl Meets I Am Farkle, when Riley lets Farkle go so he "can understand love." And, she has never forgotten what he said. 

In Girl Meets Rileytown, Farkle was the first out of Riley's friends to understand that Riley was going through a hard time. He also says something very interesting: 

Farkle understands empathy when it comes to Riley, but he doesn't pick up on Maya's feelings, or understand them. (interesting since he claims to love them both the same)
In Funny face, Dick has empathy for Jo, and that leads to a kiss. What does that remind me of? Girl Meets Truth! 

Girl Meets STEM echoes a scene in Funny Face where Jo explains that women can make decisions for themselves. Riley proves this in her science experiment with Farkle, because is aware of her surroundings. 

Riley's awareness determines her ability to empathize with Farkle, but I also think she is distracted by the influence of Maya. In Girl Meets First Date, Riley joins Farkle by "walking in slow motion" until Maya tells her to stop. 

Then, in Girl Meets SemiFormal, she almost dances with Farkle until Maya says no. 

Until Riley stops allowing herself to be influenced by Maya, she won't grow as a person. Since the pilot episode, Riley made it clear that she wanted to be Maya, and in Girl Meets Popular she changes her appearance to fit in with Farkle's friends. In Girl Meets Jexica, Riley creates a new identity online and takes it too far. 

At the end of Girl Meets Jexica, Riley says something very important: 
"I'm still figuring out who I am, and everything could change tomorrow."
She is still learning who she is, and she is more aware of Farkle than she appears to be, but she has yet to empathize with him and realise who she truly cares for. Unless she does know that she cares for him, but she is afraid of those feelings. 

Now, because Riley believes that her world needs to be just like her father's she is blinded to what is actually happening in her own story. Part of the reason for that is her lack of empathy for Farkle. 
I also believe that at this point, Riley has been hiding her feelings for Farkle, possibly since the beginning, but obviously since Girl Meets New Years. 

Riley became aware of these feelings in Girl Meets New Year, because Cory writes three things on the board, one for each theme of the season. 

Riley's the main character of this show. She's the "Girl" in Girl Meets World. 
Riley has always shown that she cares for Farkle, since they first met. Farkle saves her life, (because she won't lift her head- very symbolic) and Riley asks how she can repay him. 
Then when Farkle promises to love both girls the same, she asks, "but what if you love one of us more? What if you marry one of us?" 

Riley would do anything for Farkle. This is proven in Girl Meets Maya's Mother when she goes along with Farkle's lie to his father. Girl Meets Truth made it very obvious that Riley could never hurt Farkle. In Girl Meets Yearbook, Riley follows Farkle down the rabbit hole and changes who she is. 
Riley's had these feelings from the beginning, but her perception that she needs to be like Maya, and that her father's world holds all the answers prevents her from seeing her own story. 

Once she empathizes with Farkle, and sees things from his point of view, she is able to grow and learn. 
I also think this was visually implied in the most recent episode Girl Meets the Real World, when Riley finally acknowledges Farkle's point of view. 


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