The other day my heart was torn and my mind was blown to hear two people around my age say they’d never watched Boy Meets World. How could that be? Anyone alive in the ’90s should’ve been required to have no social life on Friday nights just so they could watch Cory and Co. go from spastic adolescents to even more spastic adults, along the way encountering everything from love to heartbreak, life to death, and anything else reality tossed at them.
Boy Meets World, in my opinion, is one of the best television shows ever. Yes, the episodes where they went back in time were a little iffy, but what show doesn’t have one or two of those? 20 years after it debuted, it’s in syndication, and every day it gains new fans who can appreciate the stories and lives of the characters who have come to be synonymous with the human experience. Every main character had their own issues, quirks, and reasons we identified with them and I feel that’s why this show has been able to surpass a place in time. Their problems, their triumphs, their lives are universal no matter what decade it is.
Cory Matthews was the average kid who was neither here nor there. If you couldn’t think of who the Cory in your life was, you were probably it. As a kid he had Major League dreams, but over the years we saw those fade as he became a worrisome man who was even more standard as he got older. Although he was a typical person, he was the boy who had to meet the world. We learned from Cory that even if you’re not the best at something, or the worst, you still have the ability to be the center of someone’s world — perhaps the odd girl who sits right in front of you.
Topanga Lawrence — oh, Topanga. Girls with unique takes on style were all the rage in the ’90s: Clarissa, Blossom, and dear old Topanga. Like Cory, she too changed going from a free loving hippy to a bombshell. Most girls who watched idolized her because she proved smart was always attractive — even when she was rambling on about utopian civilizations and drawing on her face with lipstick. Although I hated her take on divorce, that story had to have had an effect on kids out there and that was the most emotion we got from her. Well, other than the time Cory fell for Lauren the mountain girl. Can I just say years later that episode still makes me cringe? Those two are this eternal idea of love that will never die — NEVER.
Then there’s Cory’s other love, Shawn Hunter. He was one of my first delusional boyfriends. You can read why his and Angela’s relationship is by far the most crucial to my life here, and I’ll go on more about Shawn now. He was the bad boy that ended up being this sensitive writer — what? To me Shawn was the kid that had it the worst. While Cory and Topanga would’ve constantly hash tagged “firstworldproblems,” this guy was dealing with the real deal: trailer park living, absent parents, losing a parent, long lost siblings, financial woes, etc. He brought the most realistic take on life to the show and taught us that it isn’t perfect but as long as you surround yourself with the right people, it can get better.
I’d go on about Eric, Angela, Jack and Rachel, but I want to get to Mr. Feeny. You don’t identify with him, you want your own and, when you realize no one will ever be as wise as George Feeny, you settle on the fictional. His advice not only guided his students, but a generation of kids and continues to do so today. If there’s one thing you take from him, please let it be his last lesson: “do good.”
I mentioned the characters are the reasons Boy Meets World has been able to maintain a grasp on viewers, but it’s not only them it’s the ageless storylines. The fashion might look ancient to a 12-year-old today but the things they talk about are the same, only told in a very PG way: drugs, sex, relationships, family, school, futures, friends, etc. Any problem you had/have, Boy Meets World likely touched on it. (Unless you deal with some out there things, then you head to the halls of Degrassi — they go there.) I feel this show will never fade like Cory’s dreams of playing for the Phillies because they created something that can resonate with viewers year after year. If by some miracle I ever spawn, I’m sure I won’t even have to play my kids the DVDs because it’ll still be on TV.
20 years ago on September 24, 1993 Boy Meets World debuted on TGIF and became not only a show for kids then, but for kids today, and likely kids years from now on, thanks to characters we see ourselves in, lessons learned, and instances we all go through.