Anyone who’s followed me on Twitter for a while will remember that, for a while there, I was watching Boy Meets World reruns on ABC Family in the mornings. I made my way through most of the series and eventually stopped because that tends to be how I absorb older TV shows: watch it all and then leave it alone for awhile so it doesn’t get repetitive and annoying. I even wrote a post here on Pop Poppa about how great of a dad I though Alan Matthews was on the show, but I figured I’d go into a little detail about what I liked about the original series and also why I’m cautiously optimistic for the somewhat recently announced spinoff Girl Meets World.
If you’re completely unfamiliar with the show, it follows the adventures and exploits of young Cory Matthews (Ben Savage), his best friend Shawn (Ryder Strong), his brother Eric (Will Friedel) and Topanga the girl he eventually started liking, dating and marrying. Mr. Feeny, Corey’s neighbor, teacher, principal and professor acts as the wise old soul who imparts wisdom as do Cory’s parents Amy and Alan. Since it ran from 1993 to 2000, the series covered a lot of ground as Cory went from grade school through high school and into college.
I watched the series when it was originally on and remember liking it, but I was really taken with it upon this second viewing. As I said, the series spanned plenty of years and handled many of the trials and tribulations of maneuvering the landscape of adolescence and on-coming adulthood. I don’t remember how I related to the show when I was a kid, but past that time in my life, I could definitely relate to it. I hope that the new series, Girl Meets World which will theoretically follow Cory and Topanga’s daughter as she goes through similar things offers my daughter a similar viewing experience.
I do have a few concerns though. The original series did some weird things with the character of Cory. He started out as a good intentioned class clown type who found himself getting into situations and working them out, usually after trying to lie his way out. As the series progressed Cory turned into, essentially, a 90-year-old Jewish Borscht Belt stand-up comic with the voice and everything. Eric also got ridiculously stupid, which got on my nerves and some of the episodes went into completely cartoony adventures. But, when it stuck with the real heart and soul of the show, I thought it was fantastic.
The other thing I worry about is exactly how Disney will roll the show out. The beauty of the original series is that it honestly dealt with everything from class differences and racism to pregnancy and drinking and not in an After School Special kind of way. I’m guessing the House of Mouse will either groom this show for the Disney Channel or ABC Family, neither of which gives me much to look forward to. Disney Channel’s live action shows are all very surfacey and, in my experience, lack a realness that I can’t quite put my finger on. Meanwhile, my idea of ABC Family is that they almost go too deep with shows like The Secret Life Of An American Teen. Now, I’ve never seen that show, so that’s based solely on hearsay and commercials and is not a fair judgement whatsoever.
What I’d like to see from Girl Meets World is not only a show that kids can learn a little bit about life from, but also one that they might be able to grow along with like my generation could have with Boy Meets World. Obviously that will only work for kids in a specific age group and is probably not what Disney’s aiming for, but that’s what this Pop Poppa would like to see. Either way, I’ll probably still watch because I’ve had a crush on Topanga (Danielle Fishel) for as long as I can remember.