For kids who grew up in the ‘90s, there are a few shows that they feel a real connection to. They feel like they know the kids on the show and they grew up together. One of the most enduring of these is Boy Meets World. The adventures of Cory Matthews, his best friend Shawn, girlfriend Topanga, older brother Eric and their long-suffering teacher Mr. Feeny have stood the test of time in a way other ‘90s teen comedies haven’t. Despite the dated clothes and technology, the lessons are timeless.
We tuned in every Friday night as Cory and Shawn navigated high school and faced regular teenage issues, both serious and ridiculous alike. The pair’s friendship remains unshakeable through Shawn’s family problems, their obvious class difference and various girls not understanding why they need each other so much. We became extremely invested in the ongoing saga of Cory and Topanga. Like Cory, we knew they were each other’s endgame and never thought for one second that things wouldn’t all work out. Its continued popularity even led to a Disney Channel spinoff called Girl Meets World, which followed Cory and Topanga’s daughter and her wacky group of friends. It’s time for a trip down memory lane with the Internet’s best Boy Meets World memes, with some guest appearances from Girl Meets World.
15 BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
One of the running jokes about Boy Meets World is that Mr. Feeny follows them through middle school, high school and college. He just keeps popping up as their teacher. However, it’s not out of any bad intentions that he keeps following these kids around, it’s because he knows that they have potential and he wants to make sure they reach it. He never gives up on Cory and Shawn because he can see that they’re smarter than they think they are.
He puts up with Eric’s antics because he knows beneath his dumb exterior, is a genuinely good person who just wants to help people. As far as we know, Mr. Feeny doesn’t really have a family of his own, so the kids he teaches become his family. In the final episode, as the characters prepare to leave and start their adult lives, they ask Mr. Feeny for one last lesson. He replies with “Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.” It’s really the perfect ending, as any fan of the show can tell you, this is what he’s really been teaching them for seven seasons. It was never about the facts and figures; it was about him making them good people.
14 ALTERNATE REALITY
Long before it was cool, Boy Meets World would do outrageous, sometimes meta episodes. These include a time-travel crossover with Sabrina the Teenage Witch that became a full-night event on ABC’s T.G.I.F. programming block, a two-part fight that broke up the group and a wrestling match that featured WWE legend Vader and a very young Adam Scott. However, one of these craziest stories followed Topanga as she was sucked into a time portal and ended up in a Casablanca-style bar run by Cory lookalike Rory. All the show’s stars appeared as alternate reality, hilarious versions of themselves.
One of the show’s final episodes took place in a 1940s-esque alternate reality.
Everything starts when Topanga gets too stressed out while studying, has a fight with Cory, then finds a time vortex in the back of the closet. Things just get crazier from there, with everyone living stupid lives, but not caring because it’s Shangri-La. The alternate Eric shows up as a ‘40s detective who must solve Topanga’s murder. Of course, he’s still just as endearingly clueless as always. Unfortunately, he’s still just as dumb, so Cory obviously isn’t buying his time portal story. Ultimately, Cory reminds Topanga how she makes everyone’s life better and the whole thing turns into a dream that taught her to relax more. It’s one of the more out-there episodes of the show. The kind of thing you can only do when you’re two episodes from the finish line.
13 IT’S BEEN MY ANSWER FOR TWO YEARS
It’s no secret to fans of the show that Shawn and Cory are not the best students. They have come up with every scheme possible to get out of studying. Over the years, we’ve seen them steal test answers, copy from other students and of course, try to turn in joint assignments. Frankly, if they put half as much work into preparing for class, they would get straight A’s. Despite their academic setbacks, every once in a while they surprise their teachers and themselves.
This is hilariously highlighted when Shawn finally gets an answer right in history class. Apparently, he’s been using the same answer for the last two years, just waiting for the day it would eventually be right. As we learn in later seasons, the boys are actually much smarter than they pretend to be, so it really just comes down to youthful laziness that keeps them from studying for school. Many of their craziest adventures require a great deal of planning and intellect to come up with. Shawn even sneaks off and holds his own in a college philosophy course. We’ve always gotten the feeling that Mr. Feeny, and later, Mr. Turner understood this, and that’s why they let the duo get away with so many shenanigans.
12 NOT THE BEST WRITERS
Right from the start, Boy Meets World had no problems giving the audience a wink-wink, nudge-nudge acknowledgment that it was a TV show. One of the show’s most brilliantly meta episodes came when Eric got a job as an actor on a TV comedy about a teenage boy and his wacky group of friends. It featured the cast playing over the top, hilarious versions of themselves while sort of breaking the fourth wall. This trip to Hollywood came late in the show’s run, but there were others like the crossover with Sabrina the Teenage Witch, that had a similar tone.
The show’s characters always dropped self-aware hints that they were in a TV show.
Long before that episode, the series would just drop little hints at it being an actual TV show. In season one, as Mr. Feeny struggles to get through to TV-obsessed Cory, the kid begins to realize that there’s a reason everyone on TV sounds so smart. Of course, Mr. Feeny lets him know that not every show is blessed to have the best writers on TV. It’s always great to see a show with a cast and crew that aren’t afraid to poke fun at themselves. Especially on a series that appeals to kids and families, it makes the audience feel like they’re in on the joke. This is just one small example from seven seasons of meta-humor.
11ERIC AND JACK
Cory and Shawn’s friendship, as great as it was, could occasionally swallow up other characters to the point that they didn’t have storylines of their own to fall back on. This sometimes happened to Eric in early seasons of the series. For a couple of years he had a best friend, Jason, that he hung out with, but after a while, poor Jason just disappeared. Perhaps, he went to the other side of the school like Minkus and Mr. Turner. It wasn’t until Shawn’s long-lost brother Jack showed up in season five that he got another best friend.
Eric and Jack’s friendship is the definition of opposites attract. Eric is a simple, trusting guy who just wants to help people. Jack, who was raised by his rich stepfather, is more money-oriented, often coming up with get rich quick schemes and chastising Eric for his trusting nature. Despite their differences, Jack can’t shake Eric and seems to enjoy the chaos he brings to his life. He’s aware of how clueless Eric can be at times, even occasionally calling him names, but he never really thinks his friend is stupid. He and Shawn were able to overcome their estrangement, and really became the brothers they were looking for all along.
10 ERIC’S FUTURE
Parents are the ones who love you unconditionally and never judge you for your flaws. In the case of Boy Meets World, Alan and Amy Matthews are the ideal parents who don’t just look out for Cory and Eric, they also take care of all their friends. However, in Eric’s case they know he needs a little extra attention. There are several stories of accidents in Eric’s youth alluding to his now interesting outlook on life. Apparently, he was left unattended on a roller coaster and tried to fix his hair with a clothes dryer. This would be enough to worry any parent.
Despite his worrying youth, Eric grew up to become one of the show’s most accomplished characters.
As Eric nears graduation from college, Alan and Amy begin to wonder what his plans for the future are. Turns out they didn’t really need to be worried at all. In Girl Meets World, we find out Eric is the mayor of the New York border city St. Upidtown, or as Topanga calls it Stupidtown. He later runs for U.S. Senate against a corrupt, incompetent incumbent and actually wins because he’s such a good person. Of all the characters from the show, Eric was not the one we thought would end up in Washington.
9 THEN AND NOW
When Disney Channel announced it was doing a sequel to Boy Meets World, fans were excited but also nervous. While we wanted to see where our favorite characters were at, we were also concerned that the show wouldn’t have the same spark as the original. As it turns out, we had no reason to worry. As you can see from the meme, stars Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel, Ben Savage and Will Friedle have barely aged.
Once we began watching Girl Meets World, it felt like we never left. Cory was still crazy, Topanga still knew everything, Shawn was still a restless spirit and Eric was still adorably clueless. Cory was now the wise teacher who used events from history to relate to his students’ everyday lives. Topanga was a successful lawyer and mom, who knew all the tricks Riley and Maya were planning because she had already lived through them with Cory and Shawn. Eric and Shawn popped in from time to time as the weird and cool uncles respectively. While the focus was on the new kids and how their problems paralleled those we watched on the original, the adult characters absolutely retained the same charm that kept us captivated throughout the ‘90s.
8 SHAWN REMEMBERS ANGELA
No character on the series went through more upheaval and heartache than Shawn. First, his parents abandoned him and he went to live with Mr. Turner, but then once his family reunited he had a short time of stability. Then his long-lost brother surprisingly showed up in town, just as his dad left again. Luckily, he met his true love, Angela Moore. She was cut from the same tortured artist cloth as him and they seemed very happy for a while.
After the kids went to college, Shawn and Angela had an off-and-on relationship that fans loved.
Before the show ended, Angela decided to move to Europe with her father, once again breaking Shawn’s heart. Once Girl Meets World premiered, we knew it would only be a matter of time before we got to see the two together again. When she was set to come to town and meet Shawn, Riley and Maya wanted to know everything about her. To his chagrin, Cory and Topanga were only too happy to tell the girls all about the couple’s memorable meet cute, where Shawn fell in love with the contents of her purse after they had already dated for two weeks. Now separately married, Angela and Shawn parted as friends and finally gave fans the closure they needed.
7 MR. TURNER MEETS CORY’S KIDS
One of the best parts of Girl Meets World was the fact that the producers were the same ones who made the original. This meant they really understood the fans and knew exactly which characters they wanted to see again. Executive producer Michael Jacobs had pledged to bring back everyone and he didn’t disappoint with appearances from Harley, Minkus and Mr. Turner. Jonathan Turner never got the send-off he deserved, so it was nice to see him back in the universe. The last time we saw him on the original, he had been in a horrible motorcycle crash and was in the hospital.
Even when the kids went to college, Mr. Tuner’s fate was left unknown. As it turns out, Mr. Turner did okay, as he fell in love with his nurse and they got married. He showed up on the sequel series as the superintendent of New York public schools who was still good friends with Cory and Topanga. While Riley knows him as Uncle Jon, in his meeting with Auggie, the child has some questions. He understandably wants to know what kind of student his father was. Mr. Turner is reluctant to make Cory look bad so naturally, he lies. Of course, Topanga is having none of this. He eventually tells Auggie that the reason Cory is a teacher is because he had to go back to school. It was one of many callbacks to the original the sequel excelled at.
6 MR. FEENY
Everyone has had a teacher who changed their lives. We may not always realize it in the moment, but ultimately you understand that you wouldn’t be where you are without that person’s influence. For the characters of Boy Meets World, Mr. Feeny is obviously that person. Even when he knows they’re not listening, he continues teaching them.
Thanks to Mr. Feeny’s advice, the kids always knew how to make the right choice when they hit an obstacle.
Though he was their history and English teacher, his lessons usually had a greater impact on their lives than what was in the books. He’s so good at what he does that everyone just accepts that he keeps following the kids along their journeys. He also seemingly has no set field of expertise as he instructs them in everything from history to archeology to quantum physics. Mr. Feeny was the one who taught them the importance of just being a good person in a world where you won’t always be rewarded for being one. Living next door to the Matthews allowed him to watch Cory, Shawn and Eric grow up and become closely invested in their lives and the decisions they make. The truth is, Mr. Feeny is pretty much the best teacher in TV history. Yeah, we said it.
In the ‘90s, ABC decided to counterprogram Friday nights by grouping its family series together in a block called T.G.I.F. meaning “Thank God It’s Funny” and “Thank God It’s Friday.” The rotating schedule of shows was anchored by mainstays Family Matters, Full House and Boy Meets World. Other comedies like Dinosaurs, Perfect Strangers, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Step by Step and Hangin with Mr. Cooper were familiar parts of the lineup. It turned out to be a great idea for ABC, as the shows were ratings hits among families. It’s something ABC has been trying to revive for years, most recently with its Tuesday night block of comedies.
Through the years the shows would occasionally crossover, with Steve Urkel showing up on Full House and Step by Step. There was also a full night event where Sabrina’s Salem the Cat swallowed a time ball, then appeared on each show, causing it to take place in a different time period. For ’90s kids, T.G.I.F. was a golden age of television. Ask anyone who’s a fan of Boy Meets World, and they are probably also fans of most of the TGIF shows. Since we’ve seen sequels to Full House and Boy Meets World, the real question is when are we getting a Family Matters reunion?
4 WHEN ERIC SPOTS FEENY
Though the show is packed with great relationships like Cory and Topanga, Cory and Shawn, or Jack and Eric, the real hidden gem of the series is the friendship between Eric and Mr. Feeny. As Eric hit his senior year, the character underwent a shift from womanizing older brother to a clueless guy everyone loves anyway. With the change, his relationship to Feeny became more of an unlikely partnership that always worked. The comic relief they provided kept things from getting too serious during the inevitable dramatic episodes. Its symbol was Eric’s enthusiastic call whenever he saw his mentor. “Feeeeennnnyyyyyy!” Remarkably, Will Friedle somehow made each call completely different and more ridiculous than the last one.
Mr. Feeny seemed to be the only person who could turn Eric’s ramblings into sensible thoughts.
The chemistry is showcased when Eric goes off to Hollywood, the two travel to Boston where their friendship really starts to develop. After Feeny falls in love with Dean Bolander, the kids help him woo her. The change made Eric and Feeny more interesting, adding a new element to the show as the young characters aged. The contrast of esteemed TV veteran William Daniels’ straight delivery with Friedle’s increasingly over the top portrayal of Eric was a balance that never disappointed.
As great as Boy Meets World is, like many ‘90s series, it suffers from a distinct lack of diversity. The main characters live in Philadelphia, a big city, and yet, it’s a very white show. Even the background players who just mill about the school hallway are mostly white. It wasn’t until Shawn started dating Angela that a black character was prominently featured. It may not seem like a big deal now, but in 1998 it was huge for a popular family show to have one of its leads in an interracial relationship. Even on Girl Meets World, we had our fingers crossed for a Shawn/Angela reunion, until we found out she was married.
Despite her game-changer status, Angela was pretty much the only black person in their universe. The best thing about Angela is that she wasn’t a stereotypical character. She got to be proud of her blackness, without it being her sole characteristic. She was also able to flaunt it among her white peers by having rotating hairstyles that included braids and color changes. She could often be seen wearing clothes with African prints, not afraid to express herself. Actress Trina McGee-Davis never let Angela become the token black girl of the series and that made her an important influence on its fans.
2 CORY AND SHAWN VS MAYA AND RILEY
The announcement of Boy Meets World sequel series Girl Meets World brought a lot of reactions from fans. One of the most frequent questions regarded whether or not would the show be able to recapture the spirit of the great friendship between Cory and Shawn. First of all, there’s no recreating Cory and Shawn. Secondly, no one needed to worry.
Maya and Riley were more than worthy successors to Shawn and Cory’s best friends crown.
The two teams met up to see who was the best during the sequel’s Christmas episode. We got to once again enjoy all the classic Cory and Shawn moves and get a cool reminder of why we loved Boy Meets World so much. The girls challenge the guys to see which pair are better friends and the result is a fun sentimental trip, as well as, a great passing of the torch moment. Since this show is about the next generation, Maya and Riley are proven to be the best friends who are more in tune with one another. This is also the episode that sets Shawn and Maya’s adorable surrogate father/daughter relationship in motion. It’s also where Girl Meets World transitions from being just a nostalgic reunion to an interesting show in its own right.
1 WORLD’S BEST COUPLE
Among teen comedies, there are a few couples who just have that meant-to-be quality. However, there’s only one who endured all the ups and downs of high school and college, while remaining together. Yes, Cory and Topanga had a few moments of drama, but if we’re being honest, they were never really broken up. As he continually struggles with fitting in while standing next to his super-cool best friend, Topanga is Cory’s one constant. She’s never cared about looks or popularity, it’s always been about what’s on the inside for her.
When they get engaged at such a young age, Amy rightly questions why they need to get married so soon. He explains that “she’s the girl I sat up every night thinking about, and when I’m with her, I feel happy to be alive. Like I can do anything.” That’s how every girl who grew up watching Boy Meets World measured her future relationships. We tracked all their bumps in the road like we were old friends. We were so invested in their relationship that Lauren, the girl from the mountain lodge is considered a major villain. For fans, their wedding was event viewing. The moral of the story is, find a guy who loves you like Cory loves Topanga.