Eric Matthews arrived at John Quincy Adams Middle School last night, and let me just say it was THE BEST EPISODE EVER! I’m qualified to make this assumption because I have now seen five episodes total of this show.
Riley and Maya are having a fight over Riley not defending Maya when someone insulted her but the insult was true. It’s a classic case of truth vs. undying loyalty. Corey is in over his head, so he calls in his big bro, Eric–who shows up at the younger Matthews apartment in a shot-for-shot remake of the original Mr. Squirrels lollipop introduction.
Also, he holds balloons in Corey’s doorway and seems to have stolen the balloons from reunion party in Boy Meets World.
Eric is currently the mayor of a small town in upstate New York near border of Quebec. He dresses like Mr. Squirrels because that’s how his townspeople dress and it makes them more comfortable, supposedly. At this point in the show, I’m groaning a bit because I’m like ugh they’ve decided to perpetuate the stupid Eric trope of the latter years.
Stupid Eric is exceedingly funny, but I always loved the charming thoughtful Eric years of his high school to early adult days, personally. I did enjoy his ridiculous behavior in the college years, but it was such a departure from his original character that my brain had trouble reconciling it.
Anyway, Eric does remove his Squirrels outfit and try to help the children work out their friendship issues. (Plays with Squirrels was classically helpful with friendship, if you recall the original series). He comes to school with Corey the next day and is still full-on goofball, putting scotch tape on his face and forgetting what he’s said seconds before. My heart mourns for the loss of the sensitive, intuitive Eric we once knew.
When he orders the class out into the hallway to better discuss the issue of “friendship war,” Corey pulls him to the side and says that they joke around a lot, but he needs to know that Eric has this under control. Then the show gives me everything I’ve ever asked for and assumed as a viewer. It’s like a switch flips and Eric totally drops the act. He’s not stupid at all. It’s all some ridiculous act–the kind you see from people who really are too perceptive and intuitive for their own good–and he actually is the problem-solving thoughtful person we once knew. Sure, Eric is not an intellectual and never has been, but he knows how to be serious when the moment calls for it. The Eric we see at this point reminds me a lot of the Eric who told adorable little sixth grader Topanga that they couldn’t date in the most “let ’em down easy” kind of way I could imagine from a teenage boy.
As it turns out, Maya is constantly insulting cute-boy Lucas, and he finally retaliated by calling her a “short little stack of pancakes.” That to me sounds like bizarro middle school flirting, but she takes it to be the world’s greatest insult, and she’s pissed when Riley doesn’t stand up for her because she actually is short. I actually like the kids at this point because the whole class goes all “Breakfast Club” and Eric actually gives them the chance to work it out themselves. This show seems to have a lot of Corey unloading a lot of life lessons he’s already learned, so it was nice to see Eric let the kids figure it out for themselves…which was kind of the thing Boy Meets World excelled at.
Very Special Lesson: We’re still who we are, even when we seem not like ourselves. Eric is just the best. Also, if Girl Meets World continues on this track, I’ll have to give the writers more credit.
Very Special Question: Will we ever find out what happened to Topanga’s sister Nebula?