Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gearing Up For GIRL MEETS WORLD:
T.J.'s Top 5 BOY MEETS WORLD Episodes!

Over the past week I got a chance to catch up with some friends who I hadn’t seen in a while.
One of the first things any of them would say to me was along the lines of, “So, what do you think about the new Boy Meets World show?”

Girl Meets World is the reported title of the follow up series that is being developed by show creator Michael Jacobs for The Disney Channel.

Cory and Topanga, America’s couple, will be back as Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel have signed on to reprise their signature roles for a pilot episode.

According to TVline.com,  the show will be told through the eyes of their 13-year-old daughter Riley. There have also been reports that Cory will basically take over the Mr. Feeny role, teaching Riley’s class and in my opinion, will somehow teach her and her friends until they graduate college.

After the news broke that the two “stars” were ready to make magic again, those of us who grew up in the 90s started to ask ourselves and each other who would be back? 

Number one, Mr. Feeny.

Would the delightful William Daniels return as the ultimate TV show teacher George Feeny? 
His character died on Grey’s Anatomy which led a friend of mine to say, “Maybe he has a clause in his contract to get killed off on whatever show he’s on if there would ever be another Boy Meets World?” I predict Feeny does come back but only for a short time. He’ll be the Yoda to Cory’s Luke, guiding him to greatness. 

Number two, Shawn Hunter.

Who could forget the trailer park raised, leather jacket wearing, kiss the girls and make them cry, rebel without a cause, ultimate best friend?
Right now it looks like he isn’t part of the show according to Rider Strong himself.

I think Shawn will eventually be back, but only for cameo appearances, visiting Cory and Topanga and being the cool Uncle Shawn for Riley.
As for his love interest on the original Boy Meets World, Angela, she looks a tad different now than she did more than a decade ago.

I don’t think she comes back, but one character who has to is “Plays with Squirrels” himself, Eric Matthews.

I found it quite irritating towards the end of the show’s run of how absurdly over-the-top Eric’s character became. He went from being the cool older brother Cory looks up to, to the low IQ, ridiculously over the top goofball brother who couldn’t do one damn thing right. (But then again, Topanga became the weird, smart girl who used lipstick to draw on her face and draw “ew’s” from Cory into the smart, attractive girl who Cory adored since they were two-years-old.)

I picture Eric coming back for the slapstick portion of the show. 

I always felt like Boy Meets World was so good because there was a lot of clever dialogue that probably didn’t belong in a TGIF show targeted towards young kids and teens.
So in honor of that, and of course the fact that we may be “this” close to the return of Cory and Topanga, I’ve assembled a list of my five favorite episodes and hoping the new series caries over the charm that made millions of 90s kids fall in love with the show. 

It’s so hard for me to rank my favorite episodes because I loved so many of them so I put this list together in chronological order, ranking them from oldest to newest. 

The B-Team In Life 
Season One, Episode 14. Original airdate: Jan 28, 1994)


I love the show and I love basketball. So putting these two together can only be a good thing in my eyes. Cory wasn’t the best athlete, but he made the school “B team” in basketball with the odds in favor of him never getting any playing time. He felt like he was also relegated to the “B team” in his family, and being the middle child can do that to someone. His family plans to watch his team and more importantly be there to support Cory even though he’s only on the bench. The problem is Cory doesn’t go to the game. He learns that his family made that trip to see him and he bugs the heck out of Mr. Feeny to drive him to the game. He eventually gets a chance to play and impresses his family.


Wake Up, Little Cory 
Season Two, Episode 7. Original airdate: Nov 4, 1994


I always felt like Boy Meets World was not afraid of pushing the envelope, even just a tad. This episode certainly did because it involved the topic of teen sex. Mr. Turner wanted the class to understand Much Ado About Nothing a little better so he had his class pair up and make a documentary about sex and love. Cory and Topanga, the future Mr. and Mrs. Matthews work in the school’s editing room late at night and both fall asleep. The ever observant Janitor Bud discovers the two of them asleep next to each other the next morning and alerts Mr. Feeny. Rumor goes around that the two did more than just sleep and Cory, loving the attention, doesn’t do anything to clarify. Topanga wants her good name back, Cory realizes what he’s done, and their project turns into an honest look at people’s feelings on sex and love and Cory comes clean, clearing his future wife’s reputation.


Brother Brother 
Season Three, Episode 22. Original airdate: May 17, 1996


Cory feels like his world is falling apart as school ends and summer vacation begins. Topanga is going to camp, Shawn is traveling with his father, and Eric leaves for college. Problem is Eric didn’t get into the school he wanted to go to (How he only found this out now is beyond me.) He was set on leaving for a cross-country trip for the summer before leaving for college and decides to do so but with Cory by his side.


Shallow Boy 
Season Four, Episode 5. Original airdate: Oct 18, 1996


Eric sees a cute girl named Corrinna singing cherry, corny songs outside of the family wilderness store. He takes her out to Chubby’s but is really annoyed by her and tells her she needs some edge. She goes dark and edgy and comes up with this classic.


There’s also a very clever conversation between Cory and the young kid Topanga is babysitting. They complain about a fictional TV show (within the show’s universe) being moved to a later timeslot on the “Friday night lineup” This mirrors what happened to Boy Meets World at the time. 


Sixteen Candles and Four-Hundred Pound Men 
Season Four, Episode 9. Original airdate: Nov 15, 1996


Frankie and I have written about this one before.  

To quickly sum it up, it involves Cory and Shawn pulling off a “Fred and Barney,” Vader and Jake “The Snake” Roberts meeting in the ring, and Cory and Topanga dancing in the middle of the squared circle.

So there you have it.

As you can see, most of my favorites were part of the earlier part of the show’s run. I thought the show was at its very charming and clever best. I hope Girl Meets World follows more of that model than the zany, shell of its old self, show it eventually became.

Frankie's Note: I'm pretty certain I've watched every episode of Boy Meets World at least once.  I don't remember most of them, not to Mr. Martinez's level of detail.  But once upon a time, the show was appointment TV in the Thirteen household.

That said, I'm not sure what to think about Girl Meets World.  I'm curious--why wouldn't I be?  But I'm also wary, because I do remember The Munsters Today and What's Happening Now.  It's great to have Cory and Topanga back (mostly Topanga), but I guess it won't be the same without the rest of the cast, no Shawn to be alternately goofy and tortured, and no Eric to get the titular girl into some sort of weird scheme.  Let's not even get into the likely lack of Feeny.  (Then again, what if Mr. Hunter came back and became this generation's Feeny?  No?  No...?  Eh, didn't think so.)

I guess I'm trying to say I'm cautiously optimistic, but more of the former than the latter.  The Disney Channel is a good place for this sort of show, given they never really stopped airing it.  (Much of their comedies feel like '90s leftovers, right, Suite Life?)  Part of me hopes they try a mutli-camera approach, but ultimately, it kind of has to be a traditional single-camera show, given the content and the network.  (If it were ABC Family, maybe it'd be different, but then again, they do air Melissa and Joey.)

Anyway, we'll soon see what happens when Girl Meets World.  Guess I'll be watching too.

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