“Girl Meets World” Created by Michael Jacobs and April Kelly; Starring Rowan Blanchard, Sabrina Carpenter, Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel, August Maturo, Corey Fogelmanis, and Peyton Meyer; Run time 22 minutes; Originally aired June 27, 2014.
My relationship with “Girl Meets World” has been like an out of date rollercoaster, up and down, a little shaky, exciting but also terrifying. You see, “Boy Meets World” has meant a lot to me, still means a lot to me; it is revered and looked upon as scripture in my house. I watch the show often, according to some people in my house, too often. Roughly once a month I meet with a good friend who shares my obsession, and we binge watch as many episodes as possible in a single day. Suffice it to say that “Boy Meets World” and the characters that inhabit that universe are very dear to me.
So when I heard they were making a sequel I was initially through the roof with excitement, then almost immediately after that I was scared. I lived with that mix of anticipation and skepticism for months. Then, finally, the day arrived. The show premiered and I watched the first episode, I was disappointed, and I didn’t go back. The series is in its second season now and I had only seen one episode, convinced it was bad and that watching it would only sully the golden nostalgic experience I have when watching its predecessor.
Then recently I had one of those binge watching sessions and we tore through about half of the first season of “Boy Meets World” in a sitting. I realized something re-watching those episodes something I probably always knew in my secret heart but had never acknowledged, that first season of “Boy Meets World” isn’t that great.
Don’t get me wrong, we laughed, we quoted, and we hugged in a manly television pair bonding ritual. We did all this because we were watching the show through nostalgia colored glasses. The first time I watched those episodes I was a kid, on par with the characters and I saw them, the writing, the acting, all of it, in the way only a kid can.
When “Girl Meets World” hit Netflix recently I knew it was time to give it another chance. I made a discovery then, it’s not as bad as I originally supposed. While that may not sound like a glowing review, it really is. Because what I realized is that it feels exactly the way the original series did in its first season. Just like before, the show is finding its feet and in fact, it has the benefit of being anchored by side characters that you already know and love.
The show centers on Riley Matthews, daughter of Cory and Topanga, along with her best friend Maya. The dynamic is identical to the original series. Riley is well behaved and goofy, but susceptible to the suggestions of her more rough around the edges best friend. Sound familiar?
While the writing and performances are sometimes heavy handed, they feel right at home in the world previously introduced to a boy. Michael Jacobs, creator of “Boy Meets World” returned to helm the ship once again and his signature style is present and accounted for.
As I continued to watch the season currently streaming I saw the show tightening up, figuring what it was, and getting stronger. I’m confident that if I watched the first few episodes, even the first couple of seasons, of “Boy Meets World” for the first time today I would have the same reservations I had when first watching this. But those characters were allowed to mature and develop relationships and a mythology that made me care about them and this show deserves the same chance.
I realized that I was comparing the first episode of a new series to the highlight reel in my head from a seven season long legacy that I grew up alongside. It wasn’t the show that disappointed me, it was my unrealistically high expectations and at the end of the day it’s a teen show on the Disney channel, I’m not exactly their demographic.
My favorite moments from “Boy Meets World,” and what makes the show so special, is when it hits you in the heart, and it does. In the fourth episode of “Girl Meets World” they proved that this show is capable of the same type of content. When Cory takes Maya to task for failing a test she decides to drop out of school and Riley and Cory step in to stop her. The episode culminates with at a school dance and there is a moment that I’m not ashamed to say had me cutting onions. Say what you will about the world Jacob’s created but it has heart and that makes a show memorable.
If you’re not a fan of the original series, or you’re not currently going through puberty, this show might not have anything to offer you, though if you have a heart I think it might be worth checking out, in the privacy of your own home, with the lights off and the doors locked so no one can judge you when you feel things at the hands of family programming. But if you are a fan of the original series, you’d be doing yourself a disservice to pass it by. On top it being a reincarnation of the show you loved growing up, soul deftly cut out and transplanted, there are cameos enough to give your face rigor mortis with glee. Oh, the cameos.
As always, you don’t have to take my word for it, I’m just a humble messenger. It’s streaming right now so stop watching “Cupcake Wars” and give it a shot. And if I haven’t yet convinced you, here’s a list of what was recently added, what’s coming soon, and what’s going away.
Available September 1
“Arthur: Season Seventeen”
“Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher”
“Lawrence of Arabia: Restored Version”
“Mister Roger’s Neighborhood: Volume One”
Available September 12
“Portlandia: Season Five”
Available September 21
“The Following: Season Three”
“Gotham: Season One”
Available September 27
“The Walking Dead: Season Five”
Leaving September 13
Leaving September 27
“LEGO Nijago: Masters of Spinjitzu: Seasons One and Two”
Leaving September 28
Leaving September 29
“Comic Book Men: Season Two”
Leaving September 30
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”
“The Expendables 3”
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
“Star Trek: The Motion Picture”
“Star Trek Into Darkness”
“Transformers: Age of Extinction”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”
“World War Z”