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Girl Meets World / April 27th, 2013

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As everyone (or many people) know, Boy Meets World was an unique television show that focused on a young boy who’s name is “Cory Matthews” grows up, and faces problems with friends, family, and school. A talented girl has written an article about Boy Meets World for her college assignment (Great choice!). She gave us permission to publish her article on our website. Her Twitter account is https://twitter.com/@alyssaday. Scroll down to read the amazing article.

How Boy Met, and Conquered, the Small-Screen World

The idea behind Boy Meets World is simple. An average, middle class American boy from Philadelphia learns tough lessons through navigating life and his relationships. Cory Matthews truly met the world he was living in by confronting the harsh realities of the world around him with the help of family, friends, and his teachers. The family situation comedy originally aired in 1993 on ABC and was a staple of the “TGIF” line-up. Using humor in popular teenage situations, Boy Meets World often acted as a platform to inform teens about polarized topics and issues.

While Boy Meets World based many episodes around how Cory dealt with uncomfortable situations or interacted with others, it was definitely not just the Cory Matthews show. Without Cory’s close bonds with friends and family, the traditional familial values the series often portrayed would not be as influential. As time went on, these characters gained bigger and bigger roles. Like Cory’s best friend, Shawn.

Shawn Hunter is the only other character who starred in all 158 episodes alongside Cory (imdb.com). Unlike his counterpart, Shawn is a deeper and darker character, having experienced great wrongs in his life. Having grown-up in a trailer park surrounded by a dysfunctional family, he was left vulnerable with deep emotional scars. No matter how lost Shawn felt, Cory was there to build him up again. Shawn portrayed many realistic views of lower class America, and teenagers who may grow up too fast.

Topanga Lawrence, Cory’s long time love interest, was once a weird-hippie girl that blossomed into a curvy, smart, successful woman. She was adamant about her schooling and pushed Cory’s levels of acceptance to high degrees. Cory and Topanga’s relationship stood the test of time through many break-ups and doubts. Their love was a force to be reckoned with and they married (finally!) in final season while they were still in college.

A teenage themed show wouldn’t be fit without a knowledgeable parental figure. Mr. Feeny was not only Cory’s next door neighbor, but also taught him in school every year even becoming his professor in college. A vital character in the series, Mr.Feeny had infinite amounts of wisdom and lessons to teach not only Cory, but to every other character in the show. Mr. Feeny was usually the person to give Cory the ah-ha moment at the end of an episode when things had gone awry and needed to be fixing.

Eric Matthews, Cory’s older brother, provides much of the comedic relief throughout the series through his charm and lack of common sense. An extremely likable character, Eric believed people were inherently good which was detailed in his extreme naivety. His unique relationship with Mr. Feeny led Eric to share his own type of advice in later seasons. Even though he was often ignored, when the situation was resolved, it was usually Eric would have the right idea all along.

Angela, Jack, and Rachel were secondary characters that made their debut in later seasons of the show but proved to be necessary characters as the show evolved to fit the new environments like high school and college.

One essential Boy Meets World episode that truly encompassed the values of the series while detailing the various relationships apart of the show is “Seven the Hard Way.” After a prank war gone wrong, the friendships of these eight characters are tested when Cory, Topanga and Shawn team up against Rachel, Angela and Jack.

Mr. Feeny vehemently intervenes, with the help of Eric, by corralling everyone into a classroom to fix the relationships that were damaged. He adamantly protests that the relationships in the room are so valuable that they must be fixed or else they will “live life without each other” (Jacobs). When asked to talk out their differences, fighting ensues which prompts Mr. Feeny to ask why the fight escalated so quickly.  Jack suggests, “Our friendships aren’t what we thought they were” (Jacobs). Angela, Jack and Rachel express they feel like outsiders since they only met a few years ago, Rachel especially because she has no intimate connection with many members of the group. After this confession, Mr. Feeny prompts that everyone writes down what they all like about each other to start the mending. Rachel storms off when the others remain fighting without listening to her or Mr.Feeny. No one follows her.

Mr. Feeny continues to spout his wisdom explaining how even little fights can divide friends and change your life forever. He gives up on trying to solve the issues at hand, something he has never done before, and the “friends” all go their separate ways, even Cory and Shawn. Shawn even remarks, “You’re going to let [Topanga] come between the greatest friendship of all time,” which shows just how deep the ties were severed after this war (Jacobs).

Fast forward 7 years, at Mr.Feeny’s retirement party, the group comes face to face with those they lost touch with. The awkwardness is palpable, as the personalities the audience loved have changed into people they don’t recognize. Confessing none of them have stable, good relationships with those around them it’s clear how tragic the prank war influenced relationship building forever.

Enter Eric who dissolves the tension by bringing the humor as his new personality, “Plays with Squirrels” who lives in the forest as a hermit. He claims he wrote a manifesto detailing “The Secret of Life” (Jacobs). While his thought process is unclear, through his outlandish behavior, he gives the secret to life using a simple line that speaks to the truth about the entire situation, “Lose one friend. Lose all friends. Lose yourself” (Jacobs). He then explains why he wrote this, “Nothing else seemed important” in which everyone agrees (Jacobs).

The show then transports back to the classroom that Rachel just abandoned. The audience realizes that they didn’t actually lose touch with each other, yet. Eric brings Rachel back in to read what he wrote and make one final attempt to sway everyone into forgiveness. Rachel reads Eric’s life altering line again. The group realizes how stupid they have been and begin apologizing to each other. A loving dog pile on the floor is the result of clearing away the issues and keeping their relationships are still intact, as well as their own identities (Jacobs).

This episode dealt with personal identity and the influence of friendships. While the series as a whole continually revolved around Cory’s scuffle with many characters, the ties were never completely broken, as this episode so clearly presented.

As young Cory grew to be a teenager, a college student and even a married man, the show evolved by broaching deeper topics putting Cory out of his comfort zone, as well as the audience of mainly teenagers. ABC’s “TGIF” was a staple for millennial aged kids of the early nineties (Tucker). When Boy Meets World first aired, it was in good company alongside shows like Full House and Family Matters. After a few years, these shows had fallen in ratings, or gone off the air, leaving Boy Meets World as top dog. The combination of Boy Meets World with another heavy teenage audience pleaser, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, saved “TGIF” from total disaster in 1998 (Tucker). ABC would often rerun older episodes before or after a new episode just to fill the popular two-hour slot, and audiences would still tune in every week.

After the series tear-jerking end in 2000, Disney Channel began showing reruns of the earlier episodes but stopped around the mid 2000s. ABC Family also ran syndicated episodes of the beloved sit-com during this time (Leamons). With the rise of the DVD, many were outraged when they realized they couldn’t find their beloved show in stores. Travis Leamons reported for insidepulse.com that “In August 2004, ABC/Disney released the first three seasons of Boy Meets World. Season three arrived in August 2005. Since then, plans to release the rest of the series seem to be stalled.” After years of no answers, Lionsgate announced they had obtained the rights to the series and would be rereleasing seasons 1-3 in late 2010 as well as the rest of the series in 2011 (Leamons). With this announcement ABC Family and even MTV began syndication of the series in the early mornings before regular programming.

Girl Meets World, the sequel to Boy Meets World, will follow Cory and Topanga’s daughter Riley through her everyday happenings (Marikar). While no official airdate has been set, the show began filming in March with many familiar characters gracing the set reprising their old roles (Busis). The show will air on Disney Channel, which has some fans concerned that because of past controversies that the new show may not live up to the former’s prestige. Syndications of past Boy Meets World episodes were pulled from running on Disney Channel because frank talk of pre-martial sex and teen drinking (Lang). The show was popular for covering controversial issues, and some speculate it may not be the same with Girl Meets World.

Boy Meets World began following the American family sit-com stereotype, but blossomed into a series that broke barriers of those labels. Using the character’s unbreakable bonds of love, friendship, and family, Boy Meets World helps strengthen familial values on American television by testing their connections time and time again. Ushering in a new era of viewers with syndicated reruns and a new sequel in production, Boy Meets World is still captivating audiences years after its initial run.


How amazing is this article? It summed up the whole show and she described everything in detail.

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