Boy Meets World
|Boy Meets World|
|Theme music composer||Ray Colcord (seasons 1–4)|
Phil Rosenthal (seasons 5–7)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||158 (list of episodes)|
Walt Disney Studios, Stage 2 (seasons 1–2)
|Camera setup||Videotape; Multi-camera|
|Running time||21–23 minutes|
|Distributor||Buena Vista Television|
|Original release||September 24, 1993 –|
May 5, 2000
|Related||Girl Meets World |
Boy Meets World is an American coming-of-age sitcom created by Michael Jacobs and April Kelly that aired on ABC for seven seasons between September 1993 and May 2000. The series centers on Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) and his friends and family, as he progresses from childhood to adulthood. Episodes chronicle the everyday events of Cory's home and school life; his teacher and neighbor George Feeny (William Daniels) delivers life lessons as Cory learns to cope with social and personal issues of adolescence. Cory has strong relationships with his older brother Eric (Will Friedle), younger sister Morgan (Lily Nicksay), and parents, Amy (Betsy Randle) and Alan (William Russ). Cory's friendship with Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong) and romantic interest in Topanga Lawrence (Danielle Fishel) serve as central focuses of episodes. Overarching themes include a focus on family and friendships as well as discovering one's identity. Further characters were introduced in later seasons; Jonathan Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn), Eli Williams (Alex Désert), Jack Hunter (Matthew Lawrence), Angela Moore (Trina McGee-Davis) and Rachel McGuire (Maitland Ward).
The Walt Disney Company commissioned the series for its youth-oriented TGIF programming block airing on ABC. Jacobs had previously produced Dinosaurs for the block and was asked to create a new series for a 12-to-14-year-old audience. Savage was under a contract with ABC at the time and Jacobs chose to include him as the central character. Boy Meets World was produced by Michael Jacobs Productions and Touchstone Television, and premiered on ABC on September 24, 1993. The series concluded on May 5, 2000, as a result of the aging cast and a shift in the network's programming directives.
Boy Meets World experienced strong ratings for the teenage demographic throughout its seven seasons, and it was later syndicated on Disney Channel. Several cast members were nominated for Young Artist Awards. Savage and Fishel reprised their roles as series regulars in the spin-off Girl Meets World, which aired on Disney Channel from 2014 to 2017, and depicted Cory and Topanga as married parents.
Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) is a witty eleven-year-old middle school student who speaks his mind and has an interest in sports. He shares a love-hate relationship with his sixth-grade teacher and neighbour George Feeny (William Daniels), and often finds himself in trouble during class. Cory's relationship with his older brother Eric (Will Friedle) becomes strained when Eric's obsession with dating girls, which is a foreign concept to Cory, begins to take precedence over the time they spend together. Cory shares a strong bond with his parents, Amy (Betsy Randle) and Alan (William Russ), and his younger sister Morgan (Lily Nicksay). His classmates include his best friend Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong), the intelligent Stuart Minkus (Lee Norris), and the nonconformist Topanga (Danielle Fishel), who he gradually begins to develop feelings for.
In the second season, Cory, Shawn and Topanga begin high school and are taught by Jonathan Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn), an unconventional English teacher, while Mr. Feeny becomes their principal. Cory and Topanga admit their feelings for each other and begin dating in the third season, while Eric is not accepted to any colleges or universities following his high school graduation. The fourth season includes Eric revisiting his studies and Alan opening a sporting goods store with Eric as his partner. Eric begins college in the fifth season and moves into an apartment with Jack (Matthew Lawrence), who he learns is Shawn's half-brother. Throughout the season, Shawn develops a relationship with a new student, Angela (Trina McGee), and Amy falls pregnant. Topanga is accepted to Yale, but rejects the offer to remain close to Cory, which leads her to propose to him at their graduation.
In the sixth season, Cory and his friends begin college, where Mr. Feeny is offered a teaching job. Rachel McGuire (Maitland Ward) moves in with Eric and Jack and they both develop feelings for her; Jack dates her. The new Matthews baby, Joshua, is born prematurely. Cory and Topanga get married in the seventh season and move into an apartment on campus. The series concludes with Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Eric moving to New York City, when Topanga secures an internship at a law firm.
- Cory Matthews (Ben Savage), the protagonist, who experiences challenging scenarios and life lessons as he grows up
- George Feeny (William Daniels), Cory's teacher, and later principal, who imparts life lessons and advice to his students
- Amy Matthews (Betsy Randle), Cory's mother
- Eric Matthews (Will Friedle), Cory's scatter-brained older brother
- Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong), Cory's best friend who comes from a troubled family
- Stuart Minkus (Lee Norris) (season 1, guest season 5), an intelligent student in Cory's sixth grade class
- Morgan Matthews (Lily Nicksay, seasons 1–2; Lindsay Ridgeway, seasons 3–7), Cory's younger sister
- Alan Matthews (William Russ), Cory's father
- Topanga Lawrence (Danielle Fishel) (seasons 2–7, recurring season 1), Cory's classmate and friend, who he develops a relationship with and later marries
- Jonathan Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn) (seasons 2–4), Cory's high school English teacher who is easy-going and inspires his students
- Eli Williams (Alex Désert) (season 3), another teacher at Cory's high school and Jonathan's best friend from college
- Jack Hunter (Matthew Lawrence) (seasons 5–7), Shawn's long-lost half-brother
- Angela Moore (Trina McGee-Davis) (seasons 6–7, recurring season 5), Topanga's best friend at college who develops a relationship with Shawn
- Rachel McGuire (Maitland Ward) (seasons 6–7), Topanga and Angela's friend at college and Eric and Jack's roommate
Development and casting
Boy Meets World was created to air on the TGIF programming block which had been airing on ABC since 1989. The series was created by Michael Jacobs, who produced Dinosaurs for the same block. Jacobs was approached by a Disney executive after the conclusion of Dinosaurs, to write a new series for the 12 to 14-year-old demographic. Jacobs noticed how other sitcoms focused on the oldest child of a family, which led him to create Boy Meets World with the middle child as the central character.
Ben Savage was already under a contract at ABC at 11-years-old and Jacobs chose to include him in the series, which became known as The Ben Savage Project. Jacobs wanted to work with William Daniels, but Daniels was apprehensive about acting in a sitcom and initially rejected the offer before asking for the pilot to be re-written. Daniels had threatened to quit, and told Jacobs he did not want the role of Mr. Feeny to make fun of teachers, but knew the character would be respected when Jacobs stated it was based on a mentor of his. Rider Strong was the first actor to audition for the role of Shawn and was successful. Strong's older brother Shiloh Strong was shortlisted to play Eric alongside James Marsden and Will Friedle; Friedle secured the role, however, a different actor portrayed Eric in the unaired pilot. Danielle Fishel was not the original actor cast as Topanga, but she assumed the role before the character's first episode; Jacobs also threatened to fire Fishel during the filming week.
Boy Meets World was renewed for a fifth season in April 1997. In the fifth season, Matthew Lawrence joined the cast as Jack Hunter, Eric's college roommate. Daniels' wife Bonnie Bartlett portrays the recurring role of Dean Bolander, the dean of the university, in the later seasons of the show.
Writing and filming
During the writing of the pilot, network executives removed the episode's references to Shakespeare, considering these elements as too mature for the audience. The episode was poorly received at the table read, and Jacobs re-wrote the pilot overnight. Part of the rewrite was to ensure that Mr. Feeny was portrayed in a way that was respectful of teachers and did not make fun of them, at Daniels' request. Strong later commented on the difficult atmosphere of filming on-set, which he described as a "damaging" environment that was cultivated by Jacobs, who had high expectations of the cast. Director David Trainer stated that Jacobs used "emotional manipulation" on the younger cast.
The chemistry between Savage and Fishel led to producers developing a romantic relationship between Cory and Topanga. Jacobs was told by an ABC executive that marrying the pair would be irresponsible, before a favorable Internet poll led to the decision being approved. As the series progressed, Eric's characterization became more foolish and unintelligent to accommodate Friedle's comedic abilities.
Jeff Sherman, who was a producer and writer on the show, advocated to include issues such as vandalism and child abuse in the series, regardless of it being a comedy. An episode in the first season, "The Fugitive", discusses the idea of running away from home. Bob Tischler served as an executive producer alongside Jacobs towards the end of the show's run.
Boy Meets World was renewed for a sixth season in April 1998. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, another series airing on Friday nights, was the only other show to be renewed that year. By this time, the ratings for Boy Meets World had decreased by 14% from the last season, and the TGIF ratings had decreased by 17% overall.
In 2000, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, moved from airing on ABC to the WB; by this stage, it was expected that Boy Meets World would also end its run, causing doubt about the future of the block. By April, production on the seventh season of Boy Meets World had concluded, and Savage was already planning on attending university. The series did not produce a "large-scale" series finale, and there was a possibility the show could return. In the same month, ABC officially announced that the seventh season would be the final season of the show. The hour-long series finale aired on May 5, 2000, in which Cory and Topanga consider moving to New York.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||22||September 24, 1993||May 13, 1994||8.5||#37|
|2||23||September 23, 1994||May 19, 1995||11.5||#36|
|3||22||September 22, 1995||May 17, 1996||10.1||#48|
|4||22||September 20, 1996||May 2, 1997||8.7||#51|
|5||24||October 3, 1997||May 15, 1998||11.6||#55|
|6||22||September 25, 1998||May 14, 1999||10.9||#58|
|7||23||September 24, 1999||May 5, 2000||8.7||#73|
Boy Meets World reruns began airing on various Fox, WB, UPN, and independent affiliates from September 8, 1997 to September 1, 2000. During the latter month, Disney Channel assumed syndication rights, with the series running on the cable channel until 2007. To the consternation of some longtime fans of the show, Disney Channel edited many episodes that contained scenes with suggestive content deemed inappropriate for the channel's target audience of 7- to 14-year-olds. All 158 episodes aired during the series' initial run on the Disney Channel, however, due to the adult subject matter and complaints from parents, Disney Channel omitted three episodes from later airings: season five's "If You Can't Be with the One You Love..." (due to its depictions of underage drinking) and "Prom-ises, Prom-ises" (whose main storyline involves Cory and Topanga contemplating losing their virginity on the night of their prom), and season six's "The Truth About Honesty" (due to its sexual references). On May 5, 2014, the show temporarily returned to Disney Channel after a seven-year absence to promote Girl Meets World.
ABC Family aired Boy Meets World from June 21, 2004 to August 31, 2007 and again from April 12, 2010 to December 2, 2015. Though the network in a way inherited the syndication rights to the show from Disney Channel, the episode prints broadcast by ABC Family differed from those seen on Disney Channel and in broadcast syndication as it incorporated scenes cut from the Disney Channel broadcasts (though small portions of certain scenes from episodes during the earlier seasons were cut due to time constraints) and featured the three episodes that Disney chose not to air, incorporated each season's corresponding opening title sequence, and restored the placement of the teaser scenes during the season one episodes to running before the opening titles in the manner that they were shown in the original ABC telecasts (instead of having the cast and creators' names shown during the teasers). However, the program was dropped once ABC Family was rebranded as Freeform. The series also began airing on MTV2 since November 14, 2011, again with the original opening title sequences intact.
On September 29, 2017, Boy Meets World became available for streaming on Hulu along with fellow Disney–ABC television properties Dinosaurs and Home Improvement, in addition to fellow TGIF programs Family Matters, Full House, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Perfect Strangers, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Step by Step. On April 11, 2019, It was confirmed that Disney+, a new streaming service owned by Disney, will be carrying the series upon its November 2019 launch.
Boy Meets World experienced strong ratings for the teenage demographic. During the airing of the fifth season in 1997–98, Boy Meets World was the winner of its timeslot among children, teenagers and adults aged 18–49, while placing second in its timeslot overall. The series was on average receiving a 14% decrease in ratings from the previous season. It was described as the number 2 series for children on primetime television. By the airing of the seventh season, the ratings had continued to decline as the audience for the TGIF block decreased.
Angela's interracial relationship with Shawn was a relative rarity for a major network television show targeting youths at the time. Trina McGee-Davis once remarked that the typical reaction she received from young fans regarding the relationship was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging, often inquiring as to when the characters would reconcile after a breakup. She expressed her personal wish that her character's relationship would serve as an example of color blindness for the world, in lieu of a less positive reaction a similar relationship had received on Ally McBeal at the time.
The show also addresses the cultural issues of child abuse ("Dangerous Secret"'), sexual harassment ("Chick Like Me", "Everybody Loves Stuart"), and underage drinking/alcohol use ("If You Can't Be With the One You Love…").
Awards and nominations
|Award||Year||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Category||Result||Ref.|
|Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards||1999||Boy Meets World||Favorite Television Show||Nominated|
|2000||Boy Meets World||Favorite Television Show||Nominated|
|Ben Savage & Rider Strong||Favorite Television Friends||Won|
|Young Artist Awards||1994||Ben Savage||Youth Actor Leading Role in a Television Series||Nominated|||
|Rider Strong||Best Youth Comedian||Nominated|
|Lily Nicksay||Best Actress Under Ten in a Television Series or Show||Nominated|
|Boy Meets World||Best New Television Series||Nominated|
|1995||Will Friedle||Best Performance: Young Actor in a TV Comedy Series||Nominated|||
|1996||Danielle Fishel||Best Performance by a Young Actress: TV Comedy Series||Nominated|||
|Justin Thomson||Best Performance by a Young Actor: Guest Starring Role TV Series||Won|
|Erin J. Dean||Best Performance by a Young Actress: Guest Starring Role TV Series||Nominated|
|1997||Ben Savage||Best Performance in a TV Comedy: Leading Young Actor||Nominated|||
|Rider Strong||Best Performance in a TV Comedy: Supporting Young Actor||Nominated|
|Danielle Fishel||Best Performance in a TV Comedy: Supporting Young Actress||Nominated|
|1998||Ben Savage||Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series: Leading Young Performer||Nominated|||
|1999||Jarrett Lennon||Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series: Guest Starring Young Actor||Won[a]|||
|2000||J. B. Gaynor||Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series: Guest Starring Young Performer||Won|||
|YoungStar Awards||1998||Ben Savage||Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Comedy TV Series||Nominated|||
|Danielle Fishel||Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series||Won|
|2000||Danielle Fishel||Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series||Nominated|
Home video releases
On August 4, 2008, it was announced that Lionsgate Home Entertainment had acquired the rights to the series. They subsequently re-released the first three seasons on DVD on September 7, 2010, with the same special features from the original releases. Season 4 was released on December 7, 2010. Season 5 was released on May 3, 2011. Season 6 was released on July 5, 2011. Season 7 was released on October 4, 2011, completing the series' run on DVD.
On November 5, 2013, Lionsgate released Boy Meets World: The Complete Collection on DVD in Region 1. The 22-disc set features all 158 episodes of the series as well as new and previously included bonus features from the original sets.
In November 2012, Disney Channel announced that it had greenlit a pilot for a sequel/spin-off series, Girl Meets World. This series picks up nearly fifteen years after Boy Meets World ended, and follows Cory and Topanga's daughter Riley (Rowan Blanchard) as she navigates the challenges of her adolescent years along with her best friend Maya (Sabrina Carpenter).
Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel reprised their roles as Cory and Topanga, while several other cast members from Boy Meets World made recurring appearances, most prominently Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter), Will Friedle (Eric Matthews), Danny McNulty (Harley Keiner), Lee Norris (Stuart Minkus), and William Daniels (Mr. Feeny). Michael Jacobs returned as showrunner. Girl Meets World ran three seasons before ending in 2017.
Strong, Fishel, and Friedle began hosting a podcast in 2022 in which they rewatch and commentate on every episode of Boy Meets World. The podcast, entitled Pod Meets World, is published by iHeartRadio and launched on June 27. Savage chose not to take part in the project after being asked. The podcast is expected to feature guests Daniels, McGee, Randle, Russ, Ward and Lawrence.
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