It pops up in conversation with people of a certain age from time to time. Maybe someone drops a Feeny quote or likens a couple to Cory and Topanga. Whatever the trigger is, what follows is usually a simultaneous exclamation of excitement that Boy Meets World, despite being off the air since 2000, has brought you to common ground.
I mean, who didn’t love that show? Cory and Topanga? Eric? Feeny? And now it’s sort of back — Disney recently announced a spin-off called Girl Meets World featuring Cory and Topanga’s daughter, set to premiere in 2014. Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel are even reprising their roles as Cory and Topanga, respectively. As exciting as that last sentence is, I’m not quite sure how I feel about this new show, considering I hate all things spin-off but love Boy Meets World.
The show played a big part in my childhood, and looking back on it now, I can appreciate its quality even more. The story lines are smart, funny and relatable, but they were not what set the show apart. It possessed something that would be hard to find if you turned on any sitcom today: morals. Each episode taught us something. Sure, it meant Boy Meets World could get cheesy at times, but it also provided moments that were astonishingly accurate and emotional. The show had a real plot that did not involve zombies or vampires; it was about a family and friends and their favorite teacher.
The seven-season run saw its main character turn from a smart aleck in the back of a classroom to a groom staring down the world before him. The show aged with grace, skillfully covering the ordeals life throws at us. Watching the show as a boy, I found this progression especially valuable. While I knew my life would not be exactly like a television show, Boy Meets World was reasonable enough that I knew things wouldn’t be that different. Although no one proposed to me at my high school graduation, I have found myself relating to Cory at several points over the last couple of years.
I was too young to watch the show when it originally aired on ABC, so I experienced Boy Meets World through reruns on Disney Channel and ABC Family. Even today, I catch an episode every now and again on MTV2. But my experiences watching the show then and now are the same. This is likely the same experience kids in the ’90s had, too, because its story lines and messages are simple enough to never grow old.
This is why I believe that, while I was a second-generation viewer, there will be many more generations to come. Cory and Shawn’s friendship will always make people smile, Eric’s antics will always make people laugh, Mr. Feeny’s advice will always make people think and Cory and Topanga’s relationship will always make people cry. With or without the spin-off, Boy Meets World lives on.