You’d be hard-pressed to find someone in my generation who doesn’t have at least some sort of connection with the 90’s sitcom Boy Meets World. Many people my age (myself included) consider it to be the greatest television show of all time. But even if they don’t feel that strongly about the show, most people have at least seen it and enjoyed the simplicity, optimism, and wit that the show was known for back in the day. Even though Boy Meets World has been off the air for nearly fifteen years, it still lives on in reruns and DVD sales, and it still has a pretty strong influence over its fans. Boy Meets World is still relevant today.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Disney. Last year, it was announced that Disney Channel planned to create a spin-off/sequel series to Boy Meets World entitled Girl Meets World. And despite criticism, doubt, and the oh-so-predictable cries of, “You’re ruining my childhood!” every time anyone creates anything remotely related to something someone my age enjoyed in the past, Girls Meets World is now a reality. After seeing the pilot, Disney Channel executives ordered a full first season. It premiered on June 27, 2014, before settling into its regular timeslot of Fridays at 8:30. (On an unrelated note, I will be busy on Friday nights at 8:30 for the foreseeable future.)
Girl Meets World is set approximately fifteen years after the end of its predecessor. Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel return as Cory and Topanga Matthews, the main characters of Boy Meets World, who now live in New York City where Topanga works as a lawyer and Cory (ironically) teaches middle school. But the series doesn’t revolve as much around them as it does around their 12-year-old daughter Riley, played fabulously by Rowan Blanchard. Along with her best friend Maya Hart (Sabrina Carpenter), Riley tries to navigate the seventh grade. Along the way, she learns about family, friendship, and growing up.
There are a lot of things I love about this show, and there’s no way I could go into all of them here. But I would like to cover a few of them. The first one, and probably the most important, is the involvement of the original cast and crew. I was excited when I heard that Disney Channel was making Girl Meets World, but when I found out that Cory and Topanga had both signed on to return, I was ecstatic. Seeing my favorite characters from my childhood come back to life is really fun. And the fact that the whole thing is run by Michael Jacobs, the man responsible for Boy Meets World, just makes the series that much more trustworthy. Girl Meets World has the same heart and tone that Boy Meets World had, thanks to the original cast and crew agreeing to come back.
That’s not to say that the new characters—the kids—aren’t compelling, too. Riley is a great protagonist and reminds me a lot of Cory in the early seasons of Boy Meets World. She’s idealistic, naive, and a little awkward. But that’s what we’ve all come to expect from Boy Meets World, and Rowan Blanchard does a great job. But by far the best new actor they’ve brought onto the show is Sabrina Carpenter, who plays Riley’s best friend Maya. If Riley is the new Cory, Maya is the new Shawn. Maya comes from a broken family and has a tendency to get herself (and Riley) into trouble. The Riley-Maya relationship is unique enough to not be boring, but it still has a lot of elements the Cory-Shawn relationship had, and I love that.
Speaking of Shawn, Girl Meets World also plans to feature guest appearances by other Boys Meets World characters, including Shawn, Cory’s parents, Mr. Feeny, and Minkus, who turns out to be the father of one of Riley’s friends. Using the new show as a platform to give long-time fans a look at where their favorite characters ended up is a great idea, and I think it will be really fun to see where the writers go with it.
Like I said, there’s so much I could say about this show. It’s only six episodes in, and I’m already hooked on it. Girl Meets World manages to be relevant for a current audience while still staying true to the heart of Boy Meets World and giving long-time fans the references and throwbacks that make them happy. If you haven’t yet, give Girl Meets World a try, and let your inner kid bask in the nostalgia for just a little while.
Girl Meets World airs on Fridays at 8:30/7:30 Central on Disney Channel. The show was picked up for a second season earlier this week.