20 years later, girl meets Boy Meets World

Sept. 24, 1993 was the day the world met the boy: loveable Cory Matthews. Cory and his family and friends, including the troubled best friend Shawn Hunter, the know-it-all with a wacky name Topanga, and the wise next-door neighbour/beloved teacher Mr. Feeny entertained television audiences for seven seasons.

Boy Meets World became a regular at the height of ABC’s TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) lineup, occupying a Friday night timeslot on the network for the show’s entire run. The sitcom joined the rotation with other favourites like Family Matters and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. I certainly remember watching the show with my family in elementary school; TGIF television nights always managed to start the weekend off on the right foot.

I think this is the exact reason why the show was such a success: it was something families could watch together. It was funny and heartwarming, and was never overly sexual or inappropriate for younger children. More than that, the characters were relatable. Audiences sympathized with Cory and his status as an average student. He wasn’t the Brad Pitt or Albert Einstein of his school, but he was certainly funny, charming, and sincere.

Discussing the show, executive producer Michael Jacobs has been quoted as saying that the show represented the “natural experience of actually growing up.”

Boy Meets World first aired twenty years ago, but the show still has a dedicated following, never really leaving the air even after production had stopped.

“It ran on Disney Channel, it ran on ABC Family, it’s running on MTV2, you can turn on the television any time of day and catch an episode. There has to be a realization that the public does want this type of honest show or at least the aspiration to be honest in its characters,” said Jacobs.

If you were a fan of the program, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a spin-off in the works. Yes, you read that correctly, the much-loved characters are about to return to the small screen with a new show called Girl Meets World. The sitcom will revolve around Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley Matthews, and her adolescent exploits. While it will in many ways be an homage to Boy Meets World, it will also stand on its own two feet as a contemporary show.

Jacobs explains that a lot has changed during the past twenty years in regards to growing up, so ignoring these new challenges would do a disservice to this new generation. The need for honesty and realism on television seems to be even more important now than it was back in 1993.

Jacobs stated that Riley is just going to be “a girl who is going to aspire to put one foot in front of the other and to try and understand the confusion that is her life.”
This will not take place on the upper-east side in a performing arts school, or with a 90210 zip code – as are many of the current depictions of TV middle-schoolers and teens these days.

Ben Savage (Cory) and Danielle Fishel (Topanga) have already officially agreed to reprise the roles that made them famous. Jacobs has stated that previous cast members are also invited back, “[whoever] wants to be part of this show will be and whoever wants to move on will.”

Boy Meets World definitely represented the sensibilities of the 90s. Will the second time around also charm audiences and represent the 21st century family? I guess we’ll just have to wait and watch!