When I informed some of my students of this momentous occasion today, some responded with the proper amount of enthusiasm and a few (poor, unfortunate souls) gave me the deer-in-headlights look that could only mean they had no idea what I was talking about. What? You don't know Cory, Topanga, Eric, Shawn, and Mr. Feeny? Alan and Amy? Morgan? Minkus? Jack and Rachel and Angela? Mr. Turner? My feeble mind simply can't fathom this. I was tempted to send the children home with the homework assignment of "educate yourselves in quality television" but I refrained.
"Come on, Mr. Feeny. You haven't talked to another student in three years."
One of these days I'll write a post dedicated entirely to George Feeny and his perfect one-liners (and speeches that make me cry. "Go. Dream. Do good.") Although, I have no desire to live next door to a student, I do wish I had the ability to deliver one of his awesome lectures then sternly announce, "For once, I choose to walk out on you," followed by a good door-slamming. Perhaps one day I'll have the boldness...
...or maybe I'll be the coolest teacher ever when I ride a death-defying roller coaster with one of my students.
I try to pass on some of Mr. Feeny's wisdom (and the wisdom of some of the others, come to think of it) One of my favorites is, "Life's tough... get a helmet!" (said Eric to Cory... I say this is as often as possible at school.) And with the unforgettable quotes came some unforgettable moments... like Cory and Eric's cross-country road trip, or Eric's dream about being a crime-fighter ("when a crime breaks out, all the cute girls shout, get the good-lookin' guy") or Cory and Topanga's wedding or the heart-wrenching moments when Shawn loses his dad or when Shawn tries to teach Cory to be poor. Of course there are more, but these are a few of my favorites.
And you know what I love most? I can recommend this show to my students knowing that not only will be they NOT be filling their heads with filth but they might actually learn a little something.
Think about it... Boy Meets World, while being laugh-out-loud funny and not near the same cheesiness level of other 90's shows (looking at you, Full House!) actually taught positive life lessons- lessons about friendship, and love, and hard work, and character, and honesty, and family. Even when teaching these lessons, it wasn't preachy. And although it certainly wasn't an overly religious show, the characters discussed prayer and church respectfully, not with contempt. It ran for seven seasons and had (and still has, thanks to reruns) a huge and loyal following. It did this without swearing, without sex-centered plots, without lame-o song-and-dance routines or pervy humor of today's sitcoms. And it certainly did deal with real-life teen issues but they were handled tastefully.
Anyway, I could easily go on and preach a sermon about the evils of today's television and long for the days that shows geared to kids weren't centered wholly on teen pregnancy and promiscuity. And I won't, but I will say this... the junk on TV these days didn't bother me nearly as much until I started teaching teenagers and seeing firsthand the effects of these shows on them. I know kids are going to be exposed to "bad stuff" but it can certainly be portrayed in a way that shows its consequences. So many shows today normalize and even glamorize things that should not be normal and are certainly not glamorous. And I take personal offense to this deceit, because it is teaching my students not only that these serious decisions are perfectly okay but that they're "cool." That's just not true! (Oops... looks like I preached a sermon. Sorry.)
So, happy birthday to Boy Meets World, a show that restores my faith in the goodness of the entertainment industry while making me snort-laugh at regular intervals. Oh, and had me in an ugly cry during the last episode. That's good television right there.
Now... class dismissed. (*sobbing*)