As Disney Channel moves forward with its spin-off Girl Meets World, I can’t help but look back, remembering the beloved, decades-old original and all the ways that it’s influenced my life.
A wave of nostalgia swept over me on Friday when the 30-second video teaser for the show premiered. Not only did I think about the Saturday mornings I used to spend on my couch-Cap’n Crunch in hand-watching Boy Meets World on TV as kid, but I also thought about how, nearly two years ago, the news that the series was being rebooted became the subject for the first Scene spread I ever worked on for The Heights.
The old arts editors and I did a piece on retired programs that either should or shouldn’t be brought back-Friends, Gilmore Girls, and, of course, Boy Meets World were among the ones we covered.
I was so excited about the spread and about the fact that one of my favorite childhood shows was being remade, that, when I ran to be elected to the board, my former mentors said, jokingly, that I would shape the section with my love for the ’90s classic.
My Boy Meets World obsession might not have manifested itself concretely in every single article, column, review, and feature I’ve written for the paper, but I’d like to think that the old arts editors were right about what they said to some extent. I’d like to think that the real-life lessons presented in the coming-of-age show have affected the way I do things.
Unlike most of the shows I’ve seen on TV, I learned a lot from Boy Meets World over the years.
Cory taught me, as strange as it sounds, that it’s okay to feel as average as a piece of celery. In many of the episodes, he felt inferior, and aside from his Brillo-Pad curly hair, he was pretty dull. But Cory always knew how to embrace who he was-to find the extraordinary in his ordinary self and to make even a boring vegetable like celery interesting, too.
Topanga taught me about embracing differences. Whether it was her crazy, flower-child style, unique and weird name, or philosophical way of thinking, she stayed true to her identity and helped everyone else do the same for themselves as well.
Eric taught me about being funny and charming and having good flow, but he also taught me about being persistent. He never did well in school, wasn’t very smooth with girls, and wasn’t great at most of the jobs he held-still, he never gave up. He knew that “life’s tough,” but he also had a solution: “Get a helmet.”
Most of the things I discovered from Boy Meets World, though, came from the old, sensible, and ever-endearing Mr. Fe-he-he-he-heeny. He always had something to say about friends, love, family-about everything, really.
Feeney’s wise words taught me about the gift of friendship: “It is given with no expectations, and no gratitude is needed, not between real friends.”
They taught me about communities and how the most important and special people in your life don’t have to be related to you: “You don’t have to be blood to be family.”
They taught me about what to do when you’re passionate and care about someone or something: “When you find love, you hold onto it and cherish it because there is nothing finer, and it may never come again.”
They taught me about how to be someone worth being looked up to: “A real hero is someone who does the right thing when the right thing isn’t the easy thing to do.”
Most importantly, though, they taught me how to live a life worth living: “Believe in [yourself]. Dream. Try. Do good.”
Boy Meets World has been off the air for more than a decade, yet it’s these things-not so much the jokes, or the actors, or even the characters exactly-that I remember about the show. It’s the lessons that have stuck around long past the series’ seven-year run. They’ve made it timeless and relatable for anyone-boy or girl-learning to live in this world.