Nostalgia 101: The Wonders of the 90's: Growing up with the Matthews
Published: Sunday, September 15, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 15, 2013 23:09
If you have ever bragged about being a 90’s kid, you better be able to back it up with a least a mild recollection of the after school sitcom “Boy Meets World.”
If the name Topanga means nothing to you then stop reading and go watch this show now. That name is not an easy one to forget, but aside from Topanga, you should also remember Cory, Shawn, Eric, and Mr. Feeny.
The thing that made this show what it became was the way it perfectly balanced family and social issues of the 90’s.
The Matthews family, just like any family, had its problems but always figured them out by coming together, sometimes with a little help of the wise George Feeny.
George Feeny, neighbor, teacher, Buddha-next-door, always knew just what to say to get the Matthews boys back on track.
Eric, the oldest of the Matthews kids, was anxious about taking the SATs and asked Feeny, for the keys to getting a perfect score. Feeny, clever man that he is, employed Eric to do extensive gardening in exchange for the secrets.
When Eric finished and Feeny delivered his end of the bargain, he told Eric the key to doing well on the SATs was getting a good night’s sleep, having a good breakfast and studying hard. Not exactly the answer Eric was looking for, but one that would ultimately help him succeed.
The other reason this show is so encompassing, aside from its witty writing, was the fact that it was on for seven years. The show began in 1993 and ran until 2000. At the start of the show, Cory, played by Ben Savage, is a small little kid trying to make his way through middle school with the help of his best friend Shawn, played by Rider Strong.
According to IMDb, Ben and Rider are the only actors to appear in all 158 episodes. 158 episodes, even over seven years, can say a lot, especially when the cast is aged appropriately so that when they age, they look as old as they should be when they enter high school or college.
The series follows Cory and Shawn all the way to college. And as the series aged, so did the fan base and the story line.
In the beginning Cory and Shawn were always in trouble for not doing their homework, sleeping in class, and making snide comments. As the series developed it turned much more into a soap opera, featuring the relationship of Cory and Topanga, amongst other things.
The show became much more serious. The characters were all getting older and facing harder life decisions such as getting in to college, handling the stress of moving out, getting married and taking different paths than their closest of friends.
Comedy sustained in brief interjections from Cory and Shawn, but the real comedy rested in the hands of Eric and Mr. Feeny. The show was undoubtedly still a sitcom, but there was much more drama in the later seasons.
In the early seasons, serious drama did not extend much past Shawn’s unorthodox home life in the trailer park and Cory’s father wondering if he wanted to spend the rest of his life being a grocer.
One of the most relatable episodes revolves around Cory feeling “average.” He does not want to be average and he doesn’t want to be like his father. In response, his father makes a very compelling argument that average does not mean inadequate and there is nothing wrong with it, especially when average is a huge step up from where you started.
The show lived on for seven years, but even with the time play it gets on MTV, kids in this generation won’t understand what it was like to watch the show as the characters grew.
But there is hope! “Girl Meets World” is scheduled to appear in 2014. It’s supposed to follow Cory and Topanga’s daughter Riley, now in seventh grade. According to Screen Rant, Cory will be stepping in as the New Feeny type character, although William Daniels, the original Mr. Feeny, has been confirmed to appear on the show.
Keep an eye out for that, especially if you actually read this far into the column. If you think I missed anything or you just enjoyed it, tweet at me @GiGantos.