Season 3 Overview

Season 3 is one of the most overall enjoyable seasons. Few episodes stand out, but few make you groan; most are of average to above average quality, making it a strong workhorse of a season. All told, the third season is a definite improvement from the second, although it is not a sudden turnaround the way Season 2 was from Season 1. Rather, Season 3 matures subtly, building on the seeds planted in Season 2, and showcasing the series' steady growth both as a comedy and a drama.

Season 3 is the first season to show real commitment to season- and series-long story arcs. This is certainly a change from Season 1, which tended toward the "new lesson in every episode" school of television. Season 2 began the process of building continuity of themes, characters, and relationships from episode to episode. Finally, Season 3 carries over not only relationship elements and general themes but specific storyline concepts. By Season 3, the writers have learned that not everything needs to be resolved by the end of the half hour. Things change over the course of the year, some for good, some for bad; some things are resolved, some are not; sometimes what seemed like a resolution turns into a new source of conflict. The show is not soap-opera-ish enough to be annoying or to bewilder new watchers, and each episode still has its own distinct plotline. But the increased use of long-spanning arcs in the storytelling not only draws audiences in further, but shows the characters' matured understanding of the world and the increasing complexity of growing up.

Let's look at some of these season-long arcs.

Cory and Topanga
Season 3, like 5, is one of Cory and Topanga's "on again, off again" years. But one can forgive them their missteps here; this is their first real season as "boyfriend and girlfriend," and exploring new territory often leads to pitfalls.

The relationship begins in 3-1 "My Best Friend's Girl" when Shawn realizes his friends will never get up the nerve to get together--despite having danced around each other for the past year or so--unless he gives them a little push. He asks Topanga out, making Cory jealous, as intended. Finally, Cory and Topanga have a heart-to-heart and decide to date.

The young couple's first major problem comes in 3-3 "What I Meant to Say", when Cory tells Topanga he loves her. Topanga is intimidated by Cory coming on so strong so early in the relationship. To Cory it doesn't seem that sudden, though, since they've been friends for so long before "officially" dating. They have another heart-to-heart and decide to continue dating.

The pair continue more or less serenely for several more episodes. They have minor squabbles--notably, their disagreement about the propriety of Shawn keeping a pet pig--but their relationship is made all the stronger for it. Even in 3-9 "The Last Temptation of Cory", when Cory kisses another girl, they manage to work things out: Topanga tells him never to do it again, and Cory enthusiastically agrees.

Their actual impetus for break-up, in , makes less sense. Cory and Topanga have settled into a comfortable routine, but they begin to feel that they are in a rut. Instead of talking it out, they separately decide to go party and flirt elsewhere. They discover each other self-medicating their relationship problem in the same way at the same place, but they decide to break up anyway.

We are only given one episode's respite before the relationship, or lack thereof, is again at the forefront of everyone's thoughts. The ex-couple has initially decided to remain friends, but after seeing Topanga kissing a guy at Chubbie's in 3-16 "A Kiss Is More than A Kiss", Cory gets pissy and tells her he doesn't want to be friends anymore. He attempts to date another girl, but his heart isn't in it. He ends up apologizing to Topanga, and they both admit they don't like having to move on, but they feel that it must be done. They decide to keep on being friends.

The just-friends plateau is a stable one. They seem to get along tolerably well as friends while their main attentions are diverted elsewhere; adventures at school and at home take up Cory's time, as well as looking after the needy lone wolf Shawn. Cory kisses Topanga's 1950s alter ego in the time-travel episode 3-17 "No Guts, No Cory", but otherwise the Cory-Topanga issue is fairly unpushed for the next ten episodes.

Finally, in 3-21 "The Happiest Place on Earth", everything comes to a head. Topanga wins a trip to Disney World along with a classmate known for his ladies'-manhood (not Shawn, someone else). Although Cory has, by all appearances, been moving on--evidently dating someone else every night--he is not "over" Topanga, and decides to follow her to Florida. There, he proceeds to stalk her, and she proceeds to be angry at him. His philandering behavior has led her to believe that his attempts to curry her favor are insincere. When she secretly witnesses him telling a dolphin his true feelings (about Topanga, not the dolphin), she realizes he truly cares for her and forgives him. Not only that, but she is enough charmed to get back together. Well, whatever--silly breakup, silly reuniting.

Topanga goes to an all-girls camp over the summer, but despite their temporary physical parting, she and Cory are still officially "together", leading us into season 4--a Season of Love.

Shawn and Mr. Turner
Last season, on Boy Meets World, Shawn and his father, Chet, were abandoned by Shawn's mother, Virna. Chet decided to take the family trailer on a cross-country trip to search for Virna while Shawn stayed with Cory's family. This was by no means an ideal long-term arrangement for Shawn, who desired more independence than the Matthewses were accustomed to granting their children, and so Jonathan Turner, the school English teacher, with whom Shawn had formed a close bond, decided to let Shawn crash at his apartment until such a time as his father and/or mother reappeared.

Season 3 opens with Shawn and Jonathan starting the school year in their still relatively new arrangement. There are still kinks, many stemming from the fact that, despite their guardian-guardee relationship, they're both single guys on the prowl. In 3-2 "The Double Lie", Shawn and Jonathan lie to each other in order to secure "private time" with their respective girlfriends. And in 3-17 "Stormy Weather", Shawn and his girlfriend Dana are shocked to discover Jonathan's latest date--Dana's mom.

Overall, however, the relationship works well. The pair have more of a big-brother little-brother vibe than that of father-son, which makes Shawn underestimate the extent to which Jonathan cares and feels responsible for him. This is underscored in 3-4 "He Said, She Said", in which Shawn decides to run away and see the world without telling anybody where he's going. Understandably, Jonathan is not thrilled when he discovers this, and he tells Shawn as much after trailing him to the bus station.

Eric and College Eric's idiocy reaches new heights in season 3. Previously just the pretty, airheaded yet cool brother, Eric is now legitimately stupid: he registers as having "absolutely no brain activity" while he sleeps in 3-7 Truth and Consequences, and displays austistic savant tendencies in 3-12 The Grass is Always Greener. Paradoxically, this is also the season where we see the most emphasis on Eric's potential, which Mr. Feeny continually insists is there. This is Eric's senior year in high school, and he has to think about his future.

Eric starts out by treating college as a game, trying to get in with shortcuts and scams, like bribing Feeny to write a good recommendation by buying him opera tickets in 3-6 This Little Piggy. But he gets his first taste of real ambition when he talks his way into an internship at Channel 5 News in 3-15 The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. He spends 3-16 Stormy Weather working hard at the internship, to the point where he's skipping classes to work and his grades suffer. Just as he's getting his big break--filling in for the weatherman--Feeny threatens to discontinue the internship. Eric drops out of school to pursue his work, but is informed that the internship is for students only and the real weatherman is coming back. Feeny suggests that Eric get a new job, but welcomes him when he decides to returns to school, now with a goal (to become a Weatherman!)

Unfortunately, Eric's last-minute burst of hard work isn't enough to get him into college; in 3-22 Brother - Brother, the last episode of the season, Eric's only acceptance is from "Boris", a fake scam college. When his final rejection comes, Eric is upset, but Cory convinces him to re-apply next year.

The Lists

Major Characters
Cory Matthews ....... Ben Savage
Shawn Hunter ........ Rider Strong
Topanga Lawrence .... Danielle Fishel
Eric Matthews ....... Will Friedle
George Feeny ........ William Daniels
Jonathan Turner ..... Anthony Tyler Quinn
Amy Matthews ........ Betsy Randle
Alan Matthews ....... William Russ
Morgan Matthews ..... Lindsay Ridgeway
Eli Williams ........ Alex Désert
Frankie Stechino .... Ethan Suplee
Joey Epstein ........ Blake Soper

Major Sets

  • School hallway
  • Mr. Turner's Classroom
  • Matthews Home (kitchen, living room, Cory's room, backyard)
  • Mr. Turner's apartment
  • Chubbie's

Big-Name Guest Stars










My head is full of silly ideas that in no way reflect the ideas or opinions of the cast, crew, producers or affiliates of the show Boy Meets World, with which I am not affiliated. Likewise, my opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Lance and Eskimo Enterprises and its affiliates, although they may reflect the individual opinions of Lance and/or Eskimo.