Children of the nineties, cry with me.
Boy Meets World, the seminal sitcom of my childhood, is back, after a fashion. Cory and Topanga are all grown up and have a tweenaged daughter of their very own (I’m told the math works out. I still have my doubts). Once I got over a brief “ohmygod I’m soooooo old” crisis, Girl Meets World was as enjoyable as I could expect. The writers made a concerted effort not to do something new or edgy with the show. Thus far, it’s basically a genderbent Boy Meets World. Starring as Cory Matthews is Riley, who is just as awkward and uncertain as her father was at that age. The role of Shawn Hunter is taken by Riley’s official BFF Maya, a rebellious troublemaker with a heart of gold. Minkus, BMW’s famous nerd character who was surprisingly only in the first season has been replaced by Farkle.
Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel reprise their roles as Cory and Topanga. For the pilot at least, Topanga didn’t have too much to do. Cory, on the other hand, was clearly inspired by Mr. Feeny and has become a teacher. Although I’m happy they figured out a way for Cory to be more involved in the story, his presence in the classroom felt a little intrusive. I just kept thinking about how they never would have put his daughter in his class. And then there was a whole scene where Farkle is climbing on top of Mr. Matthews which was hilarious, but again, it occurred to me that that would never, ever be allowed in public schools today.
Unlike Cory, Riley has no older sibling, but she does have a Morgan Matthews-esque little brother, Auggie, who didn’t have much to do in this first episode. But hey, Morgan never had a lot to do either, at least in the beginning. All the parallels might make GMW seem lazy, but there’s really no harm in repurposing a formula that works for another generation. Boy Meets World ran for seven years and had a long life of reruns on cable after that. Why mess with something that you know works?
Hopefully Girl Meets World will fill the niche Boy Meets World made its home: the family sitcom. Not a show for ten year olds full of fart jokes and ridiculousness, but a show adults can watch with their children and enjoy just as much, if in a different way.
Bits and Pieces
Mr. Feeny is not a ghost. Do not worry. I repeat: Mr. Feeny is not a ghost. Why they included him only to make him seem like a ghost is questionable.
In addition to Savage and Fishel, a lot of the writing staff and some of the crew of Girl Meets World are veterans of Boy Meets World. I’m sorry, but that’s adorable.
Look forward to lots of BMW guest stars coming up this season, including Rider Strong (Shawn) and Lee Norris (Minkus).
If you are going to keep watching, be sure to watch for the changing height difference between Sabrina Carpenter (Maya) and Rowan Blanchard (Riley). In the original, unaired pilot, Blanchard was quite a bit shorter then Carpenter. Here they are about the same height. By the end of the season, Riley will tower over her friend, wait and see.
Speaking of the girls, they sang the show’s theme song.