Ok 90’s babies…listen up, because we have much to discuss.
As you may have heard the childhood memories maker series “Boy Meets World” that shaped the hearts of many of us; “Boy Meets World” has been reinvented and brought back into a new series spinoff “Girl Meets World.”
For those who aren’t familiar with Boy Meets World, it was a story of a young boy named Cornelius “Cory” Matthews who with the help (and at times push from) his best friend Shawn finds his way through all the mistakes and ups and downs of being an adolescent. We watch Cory grow from a young boy, to a young man, and we get to see him go from thinking girls have cooties to falling in love with Topanga (What’s a Topanga?…get out just get out!); the weird girl who may or may not decide to shave her legs, and who draws red lipstick hearts on her face and tribal dances in Cory’s kitchen during their brainstorming for a school project. We watch as Cory balances all the different relationships in his life and we see the people and the life lessons that shape the man he is today.
In the new series we follow Cory and Topanga’s family as they raise two children; Riley and Auggie. This story is about Riley’s journey into the world and how she will make it hers and step out of her father’s slightly taller shadow.
I have to say when I heard about this I nearly combusted. I’m an extremely nostalgic person. And Boy Meets World was such a great show to grow up with that it made me super excited to relive that feeling. The buzz this show was and still is getting was crazy and only made the premiere even more of an anticipation. The interviews, the behind the scenes photos, the guest stars; It was like a giant flashback that I didn’t mind living in forever.
However, with that being said. There is something you need to understand going into this. Before even watching the pilot. You need to understand, Nostalgia is all well and good. But we can’t live in the past. Girl Meets World will not be Boy Meets World. And it shouldn’t try. What it needs to do is be it’s own show yet embracing opportunities for homage to where it all starting. And I have to say, in my honest opinion, I liked it! It was adorable. Granted being that it’s on Disney channel, the target audience is significantly younger then most of us 90’s babies are, and the writing has to remain a little more PG then it was on Boy Meets World. BUT it was fun to see Cory and Topanga as parents, did anyone else secretly feel like an Aunt. 😉 I had to tune in to see how they pulled this story together, and I’m glad I did.
Girl Meets World premiered on tv on Friday, June 27th at 9:45. (Regular time: Fridays at 8:30 starting July 11th, *no new episodes the week of July 4th*)
As far as I can remember, when we last saw Cory, Topanga and the gang, Topanga had received an internship offer in New York, and she and Cory were off to New York to start their new lives as a married couple just out of college. Along for the ride were Eric and of course Shawn. While Rachel and Jack were off to the peace core. Whoever knows what happened to Angela. Haha. And left in Philly were the rest of the Matthews family; Amy, Allen, Morgan, and baby Joshua. [Click for goodbye scene.] And last but certainly not least, the very beloved, very insightful Mr. Feeny. Who before dismissing his class for the very last time, said something that will always stay with me “Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.” As Topanga asks “Don’t you mean do well?” And he replies simply… “No. I mean do good.” It’s a scene that gets me Every. Damn. Time.
So with that picture in mind, fast forward 11 or so years later…til new aged Girl Meets World.
Cory and Topanga are parents to Riley and Auggie, living in New York, where Topanga carries a briefcase and wears and blazer and Cory is best known as Mr. Matthews; John Quincy Adams’ U.S. history teacher, and also Riley’s worst nightmare since she’s in his class. And he’s trying to run her life, so she says.
The opening scene is between Riley and her best friend Maya. As they try and decide whether or not Riley can stand up to her father and tell him she wants to ride the subway by herself. Thinking she’ll know his answer, Riley and Maya decide they have a better chance of getting what they want, by sneaking out her bedroom window. (Cory and Shawn flashback? I swear they didn’t know what the front door was until they were about 15. haha)
Just as they do, Cory chases them back in, only to explain to her that the world is hers and let’s her go. It is here that we notice the instant dynamic of the show. Where Riley says to Maya…
“How long do I have to live in my father’s world?” -Riley
“Until you make it yours.”-Cory
“Will you still be there for me when I do?”-Riley
“Right here. We’ll be right here.”- *ENTER* Topanga
****The moment I almost cried, Oh the feels… the nostalgia got to me.****
Cory plays a protective father, striving to help his daughter Riley make the best choices for herself and we see a daughter who is trying to find her way and find who she really is. Riley is a good girl, always used to following the rules, but while her best friend Maya is a rebel, Riley wishes to be “cool” like her and goes on a mission to “reinvent” herself. Much like the dynamic between Cory and Shawn. Cory was always the more levelheaded, think before doing something stupid, while Shawn never thought. Maya is the female version of Shawn in this case. The rebel with a cause. It’s really cool to see this dynamic with two females in the roles. I think it causes for a different perspective and doesn’t re-tell the story Cory had to tell.
*Girl Meets World reenacts Boy Meets World Archived Photos*
Girls are going to experience everything differently, they are going to feel differently about things. They are going to go through certain things, the boys never did, or never understood. P.S. it’s Girl Meets World and I think Topanga should have more lines as she is the original Girl. Because after Cory was the Boy in Boy Meets World he became the Boy in Boy Meets Girl and well, Topanga was that Girl. Topanga held the responsibility to portray the girl’s perspective in Boy Meets World. She was independent and made choices that were her own. Despite giving up Yale to be with Cory, Topanga never made her life all around a boy, she knew there were other aspects to life. She never NEEDED Cory, she knew how to survive without him, she just Wanted him. There is a difference. And when the opportunity to move to New York came, she took it, with Cory supportively by her side. And let’s face it Topanga (the mom) is way more suitable to deal with Riley’s up and coming teenage girl, mood swings then Cory (the dad) will be. And I believe Riley and Maya have a better understanding of the term “woo her,” than Cory and Shawn ever really did.
Speaking of Wooing. Enter Farkle. Farkle is the new Minkus of the group. Spoiler alert, I believe he’s Minkus’ son…BUT besides the point Farkle is the very smart, very much in love with Riley and Maya. He definatley will try his hand at wooing. We’ve already seen a few attempts at flirting. The same way Minkus was infatuated with Topanga, Farkle is infatuated with Riley (and Maya.) The friend dynamic between Topanga, Cory, and Shawn, seems like it’s going to be relived through Farkle, Riley, and Maya.
Enter Lucas. Riley’s cute “subway boy”, who turns out to be a new student in her history class, who she has her sights on. Riley much like Cory has a lot to learn about flirting. *Thumbs up*…doesn’t count Riles. Just ask your father. While Maya much like Shawn, is going to be the trusty friend flirting guide.
While most of the time I was kind of expecting “Uncle” Shawn to pop up, I realized it made sense that he didn’t. Not in the first episode at least. When trying to brand a new show, and make it it’s own, having the initial dream team of Cory and Shawn in a show entitled Girl Meets World, may just squash all the efforts of Riley and Maya’s friendship.
The show also follows Cory and Topanga’s life; raising their children. So the way they did it made sense. They had to set the stage for the story that will be told. However, knowing that Farkle is Minkus’ son (the audience doesn’t know just yet, but I’ve read it) and seeing that Riley is Cory and Topanga’s daughter, I half expected Maya to be Shawn’s daughter but I’m not sure how likely that is. However, I wouldn’t put it past the creators to have Shawn pull a Mr. Turner and become a badass motorcycle riding, mentor to Maya. Hell Shawn did like to write, maybe he can teach English. 😉 Although seeing how Shawn moved to New York with Cory and Topanga at the end of Boy Meets World, Shawn is a must for a guest star. And from what I’ve seen Shawn, Amy, and Allen are to be in future episodes. Uncle Joshua has also been rumored to have been cast, so that should be super fun to see.
Eric was missed dearly as well. But the few seconds Cory’s son Auggie had on screen was enough to convince me that Auggie inherented his uncle Eric’s sense of humor. He was totally aloof and made absolutely no sense, and he had me cracking up. Which leads me to believe that Riley and Auggie’s relationship could possibly mirror Cory and Eric’s, except this time Riley’s the older sibling.
What we did get that was a true token and treat to fellow Boy Meets World fans like myself came towards the very end…as Cory and Topanga graced Riley with her very own Metro Card to ride the train herself….
“You trust me with this?”- Riley
“You showed us we can.”- Topanga
Riley goes and comes back and her parents are waiting for her as she gets of the train.
“You guys waited to come pick me up?”-Riley
“We told you we’d always be here for you.”-Topanga
Behind the scene there’s a huge poster with Mr. Feeny on it that reads “It’s cool to stay in school” and then Mr. Feeny himself appears (in what I can only suspect is in Ghost form) as he says-
“Well done, Mr. Matthews.”- Mr. Feeny
Then after a smile and nod from Cory he disappears.
And I was a goner….it was such a slight homage and yet it was enough for me to want to tune in every week, to see what else they’ll have for us.
I hope they do this throughout the series, as if Mr. Feeny serves as his conscience. He did say in the final episode of Boy Meets World, that Mr. Feeny would always be with them. And well, it’s amazing to see that he is.
What I loved most about the episode were the small hints back to Boy Meets World. They were pretty subtle, but they were there. Aside from the ones I’ve already mentioned, there were a few others…
Farkle falls asleep and mumbles in his sleep just like Cory and Shawn used to do.
Cory uses his class (and his parenting style) to teach valuable life lessons, about being who you are and making the world your own. Much like his parents and Mr. Feeny did with him.
Cory calls his students by last name…for example, Maya Hart..is Ms. Hart in his History class. And gives his students the class room floor whenever they have something to say. Much like Mr. Feeny used to do in his HISTORY class. Talk about following in the footsteps of greatness.
They used the same transition music they used to use in Boy Meets World. Listen closely!
Riley and Maya stage a no homework rebellion, similar to when Cory and Shawn rebel against the idea of taking a test in Mr. Turner’s class when he said there would be no test if they just read the book. However, while Riley followed along in Maya’s plan, she secretly still does the homework for both herself and Maya. Proving that she knows the difference between right and wrong and where to draw the line. While Cory went right along with most of Shawn’s crazy anecdotes. And suffered the consequences later on, which usually lead to the grounding of a lifetime and a lot of groveling. Riley gets her own Metro card and more freedom for being who she is and knowing her limits.
I think eventually Girl Meets World needs to be switched over to abc family, right now it’ll do ok on Disney. Riley is still so young. But if the series lasts til she gets older, I think it’s going to be a little difficult to tell certain stories on a network like Disney. The original Boy Meets World used to air on abc. And although it never crossed a line, I think a lot of the appeal of the show was the idea that the humor was a bit risky within reason and the show actually dealt with serious life lessons and issues kids and teens and adults face. On a network like Disney, Riley’s story won’t be able to get as far as Cory’s did. So being that abc family is abc 7’s sister network, it would just make more sense. abcfamily is home to many shows with a young audience yet they have a little more freedom to tell stories and express issues a little more aggressively and maturely.
With all that being said. Godspeed, Girl Meets World. It’s the same creators as Boy Meets World, so I have a great deal of faith! As a 90’s baby who til this day still laughs hysterically at Eric’s Feenayyy call, tears up when Shawn has difficulty telling Angela he loves her, and who is still looking for the Cory to her Topanga, I still tune in to watch the BMW reruns and will continue to see where Girl Meets World takes the newest Matthews Family installment next. And remember kids…
Dream. Try. Do good.
Girl Meets World airs Fridays at 8:30 on Disney Channel.
P.S. Who else caught that Jackee Harry guest star spot…
a.k.a “Lisa” from Sister Sister, Holy 90’s!