When This Boy Meets World...

It's hard to believe, but Boy Meets World premiered twenty years ago today. This makes me feel very old (probably not as old as it makes the cast feel) and simultaneously nostalgic, not only for this, probably my favorite 90's show, but also for the departure from wholesome, hilarious teenage television in general. (Yes, I'm recalling the good old days at age twenty-four.)

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.

We all have a favorite character or relationship. I love Cory and Shawn's bromance, but of course Eric is arguably the most hysterical and lovable goofball on TV. And of course Cory and Topanga's relationship, from sworn childhood enemies to husband and wife, is now considered one of the great love stories of all time (you know, as sitcom love stories go.) Now that I'm a teacher, Mr. Feeny may be my favorite character of all... If I could ever be the fountain of wisdom (and sarcasm) that he is, I'd be a legend. 

"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*)



  1. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing! :)

  2. As a 20 year old who still watches this show on a daily basis, this blog hits it right on the head. This show taught me a about life (still does) and made me laugh all at the same time without being completely dirty. I'm glad I am not the only person out there who appreciates this show for what it was and still is. Here's hoping that Girl Meets World is half as good as Boy Meets World was.

  3. So Danielle Fishel actually tweeted a link to this on Twitter and that's how I came across this.....:):) You and I share the very exact same feelings about this show and I admit.....I am almost 29 and I still DVR episodes of BMW. Now if we could only get Will Friedel on the social media band wagon we could laugh again! Thanks for writing this!!

  4. I'm an almost 32 year old guy, and I own every season of BMW on DVD. I LOVE this show.

  5. I'm an almost 32 year old guy, and I own every season of BMW on DVD. I LOVE this show.

  6. Excellent writing about one of the most important television shows of our generation, perhaps any generation. You're a little young for this (so am I), but I love television and I would compare this show with Happy Days, in that it gave birth to some of televisions most memorable characters, was never afraid to get serious without getting maudlin, and in plain terms, entertain. In a TV landscape where everything and everybody has to be extraordinary, what made BMW work so well was that its central character was so painfully normal. In other words, WE COULD RELATE! Cory represented us, or at least what we thought was us, the normal one surrounded by crazy people. That center of gravity is what drew both an audience and all of the characters to Cory. You could never quite understand what a kid like Shawn Hunter would be doing hanging out with a kid like Cory Matthews until later on, because Cory did for everybody around him what everybody secretly wants (both in real life and TV Land) HE KEPT IT REAL.

    I miss these characters dearly, and I watch the show in some form every day. Imagine a show today being able to shift focus from its main character to tell stories about others in the world that the show creates. You could immerse yourself just as easily in a story about John Turner and Eli Williams as you could about Shawn Hunter and Cory Matthews, or Amy and Alan, or Eric and Jason (later Jack), or even Harley Keiner and Frankie and Joey! And with Feeny watching over the entire clan like God, look at the world these people created for us, the web of comfort and joy we have to take us through the tough times in our lives. I miss it, I really do.

    Yes, I am looking forward to Girl Meets World. But skepticism is present, I must say, only because it is so rare for a television program to be able to do for its audience what shows like Boy Meets World and Happy Days have done. I hope the writers, producers and actors do not lose sight of what made their first show such an important part of our culture, and could be again. They made us love the world, through the characters, not the other way around. In a way, I'm glad the show is on The Disney Channel, because that means that the producers will have time to let the show breathe and grow, instead of trying to hit a grand slam their first time at bat, which is what network shows need to do to survive to the second week. And yes, I know we don't want to live in the past, but the past cannot be ignored, because we feel we are so close to Cory and Topanga Matthews (a credit to Savage and Fischel), that if we don't get to spend time with them spending time with Shawn, Eric, Amy, Alan, Morgan, Feeny, and Mr. Turner, we'll feel as if they've turned their backs on them, and their absence will be present like the elephant in the room. Use these characters to sell the new ones to us, and let them all live in this world. Do what the new Dallas has done-continue the story, don't go out of your way to create a new one. Don't make it a sequel, make it a new season. That's the key. Make us feel as if we never said goodbye, we just took a break.

    Anyway, Happy Birthday, Boy Meets World. Do what you need to do, we'll be right here waiting when you get back.


  7. I love this show! Can remember sitting at home on Friday's waiting tor T.G.I.F to come on! Thanks for such a beloved show that I still watch!

  8. The trick to making Girl Meets World work will be to let it be like the show it follows, not like the shows that surround it. Otherwise Michael Jacobs risks ruining the legacy.

  9. Man, I love Boy Meets World! I'm a school counselor and I use episodes all the time as teaching tools in my lessons.

  10. I love reading your blogs! But this one has to be one of my favorites. :)

  11. Being a teacher really does make you appreciate Mr. Feeny in a completely different way! I can't wait to read that blog post just for him. I completely agree....this is such a wholesome but entertaining show. Definitely a show that I miss having around.


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