List of Boy Meets World characters
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2007)|
- 1 Main characters
- 2 Recurring characters
- 3 External links
Cornelius A. "Cory" Matthews (Ben Savage) is the main character of the series. His best friend is Shawn Hunter, and his mother and father are Amy and Alan Matthews. By the end of the series, he has three siblings: Eric; Morgan; and Joshua. Cory Matthews has a happy life with Topanga. Mr. George Feeny is Cory's teacher/principal, mentor, and neighbor. He goes to him for advice on his problems. Cory always works his problems out.
Cory struggled in high school, where he often had trouble with bullies. Cory married Topanga Lawrence, his "first true love," late in the series. Sometimes, Cory and Topanga do not get along when Cory is not doing "the right thing", or not doing things "the right way" (humorously), complete with deadpan humor and puns. Topanga, Cory, and their friends eventually left Philadelphia for an internship that Topanga got with a law firm in New York City. In the last episode, it is revealed that Cory is actually short for 'Cornelius'. Cory's personality changes somewhat as he gets older. For the first few years, he's a slacker and just barely a better student than Shawn. One major difference between Cory and Shawn is that Cory seems to get more worked up or neurotic about random things, whereas Shawn is more laid back. If Cory does not want to do something school-related, he will make a big production about the fact that he does not want to do it, and how unnecessary he finds it; whereas Shawn will just not do it, preferring to fall asleep or make paper airplanes. As the series progresses, Cory's "slacker" tendencies diminish, and his neuroses increase, along with his pessimism and paranoia. After Cory and Topanga begin to go out, a lot more women seem to be attracted to Cory than before, which Shawn explains as girls being attracted to men who are off the market. In the past, Cory has kissed other women while with Topanga, one which led to them being broken up for a while, and a college girl almost had sex with him once.
By the time of the events of Girl Meets World, Cory has had two children with Topanga, a son named Auggie plus a daughter named Riley. Cory is, at this point in his life, a seventh-grade history teacher.
Eric Randall Matthews (Will Friedle) is the elder brother of Cory, Morgan, and Joshua Matthews. He began the show as a suave, popular young man, who constantly went out on dates. He was originally portrayed as the stereotypical elder brother. Eric's character changed mid-series from preppy elder brother to "crazy, moronic brother". During the fourth season, Eric takes a year off from school when he doesn't get into a college of his choice.
Eric often plays off his hero and mentor, Mr. Feeny. Though Eric and Feeny are not originally seen as having a close relationship, the two develop a bond, that—at least in Eric's mind—is one of love. This culminates at the end of the fifth season when Eric sings a rousing of "To Sir, With Love" at Cory's high school graduation. Eric also coins the "Feeny call", and even makes a talking doll for Feeny to "make the call", so Feeny will not miss him when he moves to New York with the others.
Eric is actually highly intelligent, and Feeny mentions that Eric can get passing grades in his sleep (in fact, he once did). He compares this to Cory who, though lacking Eric's natural intelligence, makes up for it by being hard-working when he wants to be, and thus succeeds. Eric, on the other hand, is too lazy and immature to be anything but a ridiculous "goof-off", to the annoyance of his family and Mr. Feeny.
During the later years, storylines involving Eric became stranger and wackier, often bending the rules of reality itself, such as an episode where Eric continually tries to sneak up on Topanga by using many disguises and crazy situations. The change from a girl-crazy cool-conscious teenager (the first half of the series) to a scatter-brained odd-ball (the second half of the series) was a drastic change. Eric often provides comic relief in tough situations throughout the series.
On the contrary, Eric has appeared sensitive when it comes to matters of family and friends, as in the episode "Brotherly Shove", where Eric feels rejected by Cory when he was not asked to help clean out the garage, which was filled with memories from their childhood. Also, in the episodes "The War" and "Seven the Hard Way", the audience realizes that Eric finds friendship a serious matter and values it more than anything, apparent in his quote, "Lose one friend, lose all friends. Lose yourself."
Shawn Patrick Hunter (Rider Strong) was born in Ohio and lived in Oklahoma for a while as a child. He had been in five different schools before he was 12. Shawn has always been the best friend of Cory Matthews. The two met when Cory fell into an animal pen at a zoo and Shawn came to his rescue. Shawn has a personality almost opposite of Cory's. Shawn takes more risks and has more of a bad boy image. Their personality differences do cause problems between the two a few times, but these problems can never destroy the friendship between Cory and Shawn. Later seasons depict the relationship between Cory and Shawn as being so intimate that Topanga is jealous of it. Several innuendos are made as to the subconscious homoerotic nature of their friendship [according to whom?].
In the first season of Boy Meets World, not much is known about Shawn Hunter except that he is Cory's best friend. In season two and thereafter, the show began to focus on Shawn's life as well. In the beginning, Shawn lives with both his parents, Chet and Verna Hunter. One day, Verna runs off with the trailer and Shawn is left under the care of the Matthews family when Chet chases after his wife. When the Matthews find that Chet will not be returning for a while, Jonathan Turner, a teacher at John Adams High School, offers to be Shawn's legal guardian. About a year later, Chet comes back and eventually Verna rejoins her family temporarily before taking off again. Shawn goes through many issues, including joining a cult briefly. In a later season, Shawn's half-brother Jack arrives in town for college. Shawn moves in with him and Eric Matthews, Cory's older brother, which leaves Chet free to take off again. However, on a trip back to town, Chet dies of a heart attack. Towards the final episodes of the series, Shawn discovers that Verna was not his biological mother when she sends him a letter after Chet's death. Apparently, Chet was left to take care of Shawn after his biological mother, who was actually a stripper, left shortly after his birth.
Shawn is a ladies' man, something of which Cory sometimes is envious. Conversely, however, Shawn is jealous of Cory's close, long-term relationship with Topanga. Later in the series, Shawn falls in love with a girl named Angela. They have a tempestuous relationship, but genuinely care for each other. Things get rocky when his best friend Cory breaks up with Topanga. At the end of the series, Shawn moves to New York with Cory, Topanga, and Eric.
In discussions about Girl Meets World, creator Michael Jacobs has been noncommital as to the return of the Shawn Hunter character but has stated if he returns, he will not have had the same positive outcome as Cory and Topanga have.
Topanga Lawrence-Matthews (Danielle Fishel) is Cory's main love interest. Her character underwent dramatic changes during the course of the series. When she was initially introduced in the first season, first as a guest character and later recurring, she was a hippie vegetarian and somewhat of an outcast, sitting at the table with the other "weird kids." Even her name was taken from a hippie hangout, Topanga, California. However, once the characters entered high school (and Danielle Fishel became a main character), she became more of a "regular teenage girl," and her beliefs about the environment and other topics were less emphasized. Much was now made of the fact that Topanga was attractive, popular, and academically successful. She also cut her trademark long hair in an episode in season 4 while trying to show Cory that true beauty is on the inside. She grows distant from her parents, whom she once was very close to; by the fourth season, her parents force her to move to Pittsburgh; but she runs away from them back to Philadelphia to be with Cory.
Also starting in high school, her on-again/off-again relationship with Cory became one of the major elements of the show. Their relationship seems to mirror traditional high school sweethearts, dealing with normal boyfriend/girlfriend problems. However, this only continues up to "A Long Walk to Pittsburgh," when the show starts to depict them as predestined lovers. The series tries to justify this by saying that Cory and Topanga first met as toddlers and became best friends, only to be driven apart as they grew older and Eric pressured Cory to think of girls as "icky." However, this seems to contradict first season episodes which show that Cory knows almost nothing about Topanga.
Although Topanga was accepted to Yale University, she instead decided to attend Pennbrook College with Cory and their friends and proposed to Cory at their high school graduation. They married before their sophomore year (during the final season), after which the show attempts to put them in stereotypical marriage problem situations. At the end of the series, she and Cory move to New York with Eric and Shawn, with Topanga pursuing a law internship in that city.
By the time of Girl Meets World, Topanga, still married to Cory and by this point the mother of two children, has abandoned her pursuit of law as a career and has opened a trendy restaurant that specializes in pudding.
George Feeny (William Daniels) Throughout the series, George tries his best to guide young Cory, Shawn, and their friends as they encounter problems in their lives on their road to adulthood. He first appears on the show as their school teacher, principal, and neighbor, and eventually toward the later years, their college professor (teaching such diverse courses as archaeology, English literature, and quantum physics). Cory mentions more than once that Feeny is the only teacher he has ever had since kindergarten. Later on in the show, George Feeny becomes the mentor of Eric Matthews. George Feeny is a Boston native and enjoys gardening. He delivers the final line of the series finale, directed to an empty classroom just vacated by his students: "I love you all. Class dismissed."
Mr. Feeny was once married to a woman named Lillian, who died before the series began. He later marries Dean Lila Bolander (played by William Daniels' real-life wife Bonnie Bartlett).
Alan Matthews (William Russ) is the husband of Amy Matthews, and the father of Eric, Cory, Morgan, and Joshua. Alan, as the father of the Matthews children, provides guidance to his children. He has a quick temper, though when it shows up, usually through consultation with his wife, he often apologizes afterwards for words spoken in anger. In some later episodes, Alan does not support Eric in all of his ventures, and Amy, in turn, tells Alan that his coddling of Eric is the reason Eric has turned out the way he is.
Alan was also somewhat of a "father figure" for Shawn Hunter. He explained to Cory in the second season that he saw a lot of his younger self in Shawn, and encouraged Cory to be there to help Shawn through his tough life. While there were times when he thought that Shawn was too much of a negative influence, such as when Cory and Shawn were arrested for underage drinking, he always cared about Shawn's well-being, even stating in the fourth season that he would "kill to protect Shawn from con men like you" to a cult leader who was trying to take advantage of Shawn's feelings of isolation.
He began his career as the manager of the Market Giant supermarket, eventually winning a prized "Grocie" Award. Eventually, he becomes disillusioned with his standard "9-5" job that he had worked for so many years, and quits without discussing it with his family first. A brief period of family distress follows, with Amy proclaiming that she will, in turn, "make a major decision that affects the entire family without consulting with him first". Accordingly, she purchases a sporting goods and outdoor supply store that is up for sale, which Alan takes over, and renames Matthews & Son.
Amy Matthews (Betsy Randle) is the wife of Alan Matthews and the mother of Eric, Cory, Morgan, and Joshua Matthews. During the earlier years of the show, Amy was a real estate agent and eventually became an art gallery worker toward the end of the show.
Amy often plays counterpoint to Alan in giving their children discipline and guidance. In dealing with Eric, she always discourages "babying" him, whereas several episodes involving Cory see a much more gentle and motherly Amy.
Morgan Matthews (Lily Nicksay/Lindsay Ridgeway) is the daughter of Alan and Amy Matthews, the younger sister of Eric and Cory and the older sister of Joshua. She inexplicably disappeared partway through the show's second season and reappeared a season later in the episode "A Kiss is More than a Kiss" played by a different actress. In the episode of her return, a joke is made about her long absence. Upon her reappearance, she says, "That was the longest timeout I ever had!" With the introduction of a new actress in the role came a shift in personality as Morgan went from being the cute and innocent little sister to being a more sarcastic character who delights in making fun of her brothers, especially Cory.
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Stuart Minkus (Lee Norris) was the resident genius and nerd in Cory's sixth grade class. During his time on the show, he was shown as being in love with Topanga, and was often made fun of by Cory and Shawn. Everyone referred to him as "Minkus," except Topanga and Mr. Feeny. Before Topanga's character changes, he was the one constantly obsessed with grades and academic achievements. Minkus was on the show from 1993-1994, reappearing in the "Graduation" episode in 1998, with Minkus and Topanga now portrayed as bitter rivals. The reason given for his absence was that his class was on the other side of the hall.
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Jonathan Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn), known as Mr. Turner, was the teacher of Cory, Shawn, and Topanga starting in the second season. His more laidback approach to teaching often clashed with Mr. Feeny's more traditional methods, and the students found that they could more easily identify with the hip, Harley-riding Mr. Turner. In the third season, Shawn found residence with Mr. Turner (when his dad went on a cross-country search for Shawn's mother Verna), and found in him a friend and mentor. Mr. Turner remained on the show until midway through the fourth season, when he was put in the hospital after being involved in an accident. As an homage to the character, the show made a reference to him in the graduation episode when Stuart Minkus returns for a cameo and calls out to an off-screen Mr. Turner. Mr. Turner is also best friends with Eli Williams.
Eli Williams (Alex Désert) was another teacher to Cory, Shawn, and Topanga. He joined the show in season three when his best friend and former college roommate Jonathan Turner got him a job at the school, teaching media arts. Like Turner, Williams is considered "hip and cool," and can relate easily to the young students. However, being a former journalist at a television station in Philadelphia, he sometimes finds teaching and reaching out to students to be a difficult chore, something that Turner helps him out with. Stories in the third season were written to focus on the friendship between Turner and Williams and the single bachelor life of dating, partying, and socializing that they experience outside of their teaching, showing the life of young adults post-college. Williams had a starring role for some of the third season before he disappeared with no explanation.
In the DVD commentaries, Michael Jacobs and some of the actors discuss the network pressure during seasons 2 and 3 to bring more young adult characters to the cast. Eli Williams strongly reflects this trend.
Angela Moore (Trina McGee) was the sweetheart of Shawn Hunter in Seasons 5 - 7. Her first appearance, uncredited, was in Season 5, and she became a regular cast member in Season 6. Angela is witty and passionate about causes and people. She enjoys things for their artistic value. Although she broke up with Shawn during one or two episodes, and once for a longer period in the show's Pennbrook stage, they resolved their issues and became very close, declaring their love for each other. Angela left for Europe with her father in the series' penultimate episode. There was never a mention of Angela's race over the course of her relationship with Shawn, except for her mentioning a paper she did about "maintaining black identity when you have three very white friends," and commenting that she "has to get some black friends."
Jack Hunter (Matthew Lawrence) is Shawn's half-brother, and very different from him. He has money, works out, and has experienced relatively little difficulty in his life. He became Eric's roommate and best friend. Jack, along with Eric, pined for Rachel after she moved in with the two, eventually winning this battle once Eric realizes he was competing more for the sake of competing, rather than due to any genuine feelings for Rachel. The relationship between Jack and Rachel ultimately doesn't work out. Jack's personality was often adapted to the episodic storyline, rather than having his own distinct character. Jack also reveals he once had a gambling problem, but falls into brief relapse when placing a school bet. He currently has six percent body fat, though he confides that in high school he was referred to as "Jumbo Jack," much to Eric's delight.
Rachel Kimberly McGuire (Maitland Ward) dated Jack for a relatively short period of time. Prior to moving in with Jack and Eric, she lived down the hall with her Texan boyfriend. She also roomed with Topanga and Angela for a while. Rachel eventually joins the Peace Corps in the last episode, taking Jack with her.
Shawn's father, Chet Hunter (Blake Clark), is an on-again, off-again father figure, frequently leaving town for months or even years at a time. He is a jack-of-all-trades, holding a wide variety of (usually low-paying) jobs over the course of the series. Shawn originally idolizes his father and thinks he himself is responsible for his father's frequent departures. In time, though, he grows angry and resentful at the way his father treats him.
During his first major departure, Chet leaves Shawn in the care of Alan and Amy Matthews, but this ends quickly and Shawn goes to live with Jonathan Turner instead. He moves back in with his father when Chet returns to town, but at Chet's insistence, moves in with his half-brother Jack and Eric Matthews. When Shawn goes to Pennbrook, Chet goes to Jack's stepfather to ask for money to pay for Shawn's tuition. Chet returns to Philadelphia briefly, prompting a conflict with Shawn, who finally loses patience with his father's inability to stay around. Chet tells Shawn he always wanted the best for him, and stayed away because he didn't think he was good enough for him. Chet has a heart attack soon after, and he and Shawn are only able to begin reconciling when Chet dies.
Chet appears as a ghost in three episodes, "Road Trip" in Season 6, as well as "Family Trees" and "Brave New World (Part 2 - Series Finale)" in Season 7. His spirit acts as a counselor for Shawn in the hard times portrayed in these episodes.
Two episodes which involve Chet ("We'll Have A Good Time Then..." and "I'm Gonna Be Like You, Dad") are named for lines from the Harry Chapin song "Cat's in the Cradle," which is about a broken father-son relationship.
Francis Albert "Frankie the Enforcer" Stechino (Ethan Suplee) is one of Harley Keiner's "lackeys" at John Adams High. Surviving much longer than his counterparts, Harley and Joey, Frankie's character began his tenure on the show's second season as the "enforcer," torturing the other students, especially the seventh graders, including Cory Matthews and Shawn Hunter. Season three put him into a friendship with Cory and Shawn.
He enjoys writing poetry. His father is the professional wrestler Vader (whose real name is stated on the show as both Francis Albert "Frankie" Stechino, Sr., and Leslie). He has a younger brother named Herman, who develops a crush on Morgan Matthews. He lives in the same trailer park as Shawn.
His last appearance as a recurring character was in the fourth season, and he returned once more, along with Joey, for the graduation episode in season 5.
During the series' second and third seasons, Joey "The Rat" Epstein (Blake Sennett) is Harley Keiner's other "lackey," also antagonizing both Shawn and Cory. Joey's exact purpose in the bully entourage is never really explained. Sennett left the show in season three to pursue music with his band Rilo Kiley, but he made one last appearance in season five's graduation episode.
First appearing as the bane of Cory's existence at the start of season two, Harvey "Harley" Keiner (Danny McNulty/Kenny Johnston) was an occasional player for about a year of the show's run. One of the gags surrounding his character was the oddball sophistication he added to the bullying trade, often referring to the harassment of underclassmen as if it were a career and to his gang as if it were a corporation. He had a younger sister named Theresa "T.K" (Danielle Harris) of whom he is overprotective.
When McNulty left the cast toward the end of the second season, Harley made one appearance as a different actor (Kenny Johnston), only to be subsequently written out under the pretense of going to "juvenile boot camp." The original actor made one last cameo in the third season.
When Danny McNulty left the show at the end of season 2, Griffin "Griff" Hawkins (Adam Scott) stepped in briefly as his replacement. A far different sort of bully than Harley, Griff was a smooth-talking freeloader who used his wits and charm to weasel his way out of many an obligation and punishment. He was on the show from 1995-1996.
Jason Marsden (Jason Marsden), Eric's best friend from the age of three. He is often more calm than Eric, and can either be his voice of reason or the one who gets him into trouble. He is quite fond of girls, as is Eric. He was on the show from 1993-1995; he left the show after graduating and going to college, leaving Eric at home to be a "townie," and was never referenced again. He is the only character on the series to have the same exact name of the actor portraying him.
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Janitor Bud (Bob Larkin), the high school janitor, who later becomes Mr. Feeny's secretary due to Cory's getting him fired from his janitorial duties. After the change is made, he never appears on the show again, though he is referred to in an episode in a later season. He was on the show from 1994-1997.
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Dean Lila Bolander (Bonnie Bartlett), Dean of Pennbrook, who later marries Mr. Feeny (played by his real-life wife, Bonnie Bartlett). She was on the show from 1997-1999. After marrying Mr. Feeny she isn't seen again, and is mentioned only a few times the following season.
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