oy Meets World ran much longer than it should have. Much, much longer. Maybe you remember it. It used to be part of ABC's "TGIF" lineup. Now, it has been reduced to ranks of "ZoogDisney". Shudder.
The following is a character-by-character analysis for you to delight in an enjoy (something like a cotton candy playground).
WARNING: This piece is very long! Don't be scared, though. Don't fear the truth. Open your mind and your heart!
Characters Introduced in the 1st Season
Cory: The main character of the show. Eh.
Shawn: Cory's best friend. I like him because he has nice hair and he's pretty. He's also kinda cool--good with the ladies and conscious of his nice hair, both qualities I'm known to admire. I even like him being from a trailer park. My favorite part being, the extreme likelihood of a boy from a trailer park and a boy from an upper-middle class household in central Philadelphia going to the same elementary school. After all, what is Philadelphia if not merely a garnish, a circle of skyscraping metropolis spiralling about the center, the heart, the core, the TRAILER PARK?
I like that he's poor and underpriveleged, and I like him not minding, and not thinking of things any other way. However, I don't like it when they go too far with that lone-wolf crap. Oh boo hoo, when I was young I had only a cardboard box and drunken old man to play with--GET OVER YOURSELF!
Topanga: What happened? WHAT HAPPENED? In the first season, she was Crazy Topanga, Strange-Named Topanga, the kooky, new-age, yoga-doing, incense-burning, tree-hugging weirdo. An aspiring pot-smoker. A nerd, fit only to play with Minkus (addressed later). Then, second season, BOOM! The boys are checkin' out her ass, and, almost without warning, she turns into: STEREOTYPICAL GIRLFRIEND GIRL! She's unpredictable! She's manipulative! She's even hypocritically superficial and catty! She is woman, hear her roar (but don't worry, it's really nagging, she just SAYS it's roaring)! Cory, you missed our anniversary. Cory, you looked at another girl. Cory, you missed my birthday. Cory, you think about sex sometimes. Cory, you missed Respect for the Aged Day. Boys, you make unfair assumptions about women! Well, you know WHY they make those assumptions, Tope? It's because of girls like you and your excruciating stereotypicality and unpleasantness! HAAAAAAA! (that was me breathing on her before my morning Tic-Tac)
Not to mention, the ridiculousness of having a serious character named "Topanga".
Minkus: A shortlived and one-dimensional nerd-boy who didn't return after first season. Except for the graduation episode where he explained that he'd been hanging out in the Other Part of the School, the part that's off-camera, with Mr. Turner.
BTW, I think the Minkus actor went on to play the youngest son in The Torkelsons. See the resemblance now, DONCHA?
Eric: Cory's big brother. In Season One, he was just Big Brother Boy. Kinda mean, but skooshy and lovey-brothery deep down. He was always a little dumb, and, like Homer Simpson, became increasingly dumber and more loveable as the seasons progressed. The parents attitude went from "He's smart, but he doesn't apply himself" to "Yes, we admit it. He's... special." A few years into the show he developed The Eyebrow Thing, where he raises one eyebrow and says stuff. That's great! I think they actually got some quality writers five or six years into the show, and he got some really good lines. The first season where they're in college Eric's really awesome.
Morgan: Cory and Eric may as well not have even had a little sister. She appeared in what, eleven episodes? In the first one or two seasons, there were a few Morgan plots, then she disappeared for a long time; then, midway through high school, she reappears with some hastily thrown together cover story about a "really long time-out"--an explanation which would have been fine for, say, season one, but by that time, it had really lost touch with its early "comedy" too much for something THAT over the top. In the later seasons, she only appears when it's necessary, like if the entire family is gathered, and it would be a serious affront to the rest of the family not to attend (like Cory's wedding or Christmas). Basically, she has no life, no character, nothing, other than the fact that she's Cory and Eric's sister. That's a full-time job for this kid.
The Parents: I feel unsettled and vaguely unclean when they make out, but I think that's what you're supposed to feel. I mean, they're parents.
Mr. Feeny: Mr. Feeny creeps me out. First of all, he's not only Cory's wise but crotchety sixth grade social studies teacher, he's also his next-door neighbor. His advice, which he insists on hoisting on everyone, ALL THE TIME, is often times mad. MAD!! Either it doesn't make sense, or it's just plain WRONG, and you can see it, and I can see it, and even probably Mr. Feeny can see it. But no one else can, or if they can, they are reduced to sheepish apologies when it turns out that Mr. Feeny was right all along. Because in the world that Boy Meets, there are but two rules: 1. Don't talk about Fight Club, and 2. MR. FEENY IS ALWAYS RIGHT.
Listen to me babbling on, and we haven't even gotten to the brunt of Why Mr. Feeny is Creepy. As if it wasn't bad enough that Cory had to deal with The Feenster in and out of school every day all year, Mr. Feeny FOLLOWS him to high school! Instead of teaching another year of sixth grade, like he's done every year for THIRTY FRIGGING YEARS, he decides he's going to take a principalling job at John Adams High! Where--whoop, look at that! The nubile young boy who lives next door to him, into whose bedroom window Mr. Feeny can easily look every single night, say, around the UNDRESSING HOUR--THAT boy JUST HAPPENS to be graduating to the VERY SAME HIGH SCHOOL that VERY SAME YEAR!! Give it a rest, man! If only to shake suspicion! He's still going to be at that school next year, and the year after, and EVERY SINGLE YEAR UNTIL HE GRADUATES!
But wait! There's more! After Shawn, Cory and Topanga graduate, they all give Mr. Feeny big hugs and sloppy wet kisses and weep on his tweed jacket about how they can't handle life without him (because their hatred for the lecher has somehow given way to-- can it be?--loooooove!!), and move on to college. Where there will be no Feeny. OR SO THEY ARE LED TO BELIEVE. But--double whoop! When they get there, who is filling some position-or-other? Why, it Mr. George Creepy! Just kidding! It's really Mr. Feeny again.
And so the obsession continues, forever, and no one ever catches on-- no one pauses and says, "Hey. Why have you never been out of my life for more than one second since I was in sixth grade? As if I didn't see you enough before that, you being my next-door neighbor and all? How come you just happen to be everywhere I turn?"
No one ever says that. In fact, they all love him. Maybe not at first, but soon they realize that he is not a lonely sex-crazed stalker man. He is the finest, most upstanding citizen ever invented. They believe this because he hypnotizes them with his eyes. You know why they never close up on Mr. Feeny's eyes? Yes, it is because he is a crusty old man, and that would be unpleasant. And yes, it would be weird to close up on ANYONE's eyes. But also, it's secretly because he might hypnotize us.
Characters Introduced in the 2nd Season
Mr. Turner: The "cool" teacher. He's not that cool, but he's cooler than any real teacher. You can't go too far wrong with a character who has a motorcycle which he loves dearly. My only problems with Turner are the same problems I have with Feeney:
1. He's Johnny Omniscient. Even Mr. Feeny is wrong a few times so Mr. Turner can be right about EVERYTHING. Mr. Turner is right about things he has no right to know about--that is, that the extremely vague assignment he gives will lead to Cory, Shawn and/or Topanga having the exact same experience as the characters in the book they happen to be reading at the time. In this way, our main trio of characters gets a much better education than any of the other students. I feel bad for the kids for whom the literature never came alive because they were smart enough to keep their mouths shut in class and not dumb enough to walk right into the same situations as the book characters without even realizing it until five minutes before the show ends.
2. He's kinda clingy. Not the the same extent as Feeny--he's strictly a high school teacher, he wasn't there in elementary school and he stops being after a few years in high school-- but the kids seem to have the same English teacher for a good two, three years. You wonder how they could fail English so much, since they keep walking right into the plots of their English books, and always at the same time as they're going over that book. Perhaps it's the strain of having to read a new classic novel all the way through, AND live it, every single week.
The Bullies: I like the bullies. Harley Keiner, the ringleader, is all right--just your average greasy-haired, 35-year-old, leather-jacket-wearing, vaguely Italian head bully. I like the thugs, Frankie and Joey, better. Joey is the Small Thug whom some of you may remember from his later stint on Nickelodeon's Salute Your Shorts. He wasn't Jessie or Dina or ZZ or Donkeylips or any of the memorable characters though, he was just a boring guy with short hair. But while he's on BMW he has longish hair. His best friend, Frankie (Willam in Mallrats), is your average Big Thug: dumb lug on the outside, but with a creamy soft-spoken poetry-writing nougat center.
Characters Introduced Later On
Jack: I think he was Shawn's long-lost half-brother or something. I had this feeling he was Eric's, but I know he wasn't Cory's, so I guess he must have been Shawn's. I don't like him. He's a little like Eric only less so. They only put him in because they thought chicks would really dig Matthew Lawrence (hence the inane tinned "whoooo!" whenever he comes onscreen).
Angela: She was kind of useless. I don't think Shawn should have had a steady girlfriend. He should have just slept around a lot. And she really was only there for a Shawn love interest. She had nothing of her own. She and Shawn were supposed to end up together because they both like poetry, Van Damme movies, and Vivaldi's Four Seasons. I can handle Shawn liking Van Damme movies, but he never showed any interest in poetry or Vivaldi until Angela came along. I know Rider Strong writes poetry, but Shawn never did. Never! And don't try to tell me he did because I've seen a lot of those early episodes and I'd know. Believe me, I'd know. Don't confuse the actor with the character, guys! It just ain't cool! Because I like Shawn Hunter a lot better than I like Rider Strong.
Rachel: A tall redhead introduced as Eric and Jack's new female roommate when Shawn moves out. Eric and Jack keep trying to hook up with her, but she's not interested. She's just kind of goofy and fun. Sure, she's the third most goofy and fun of the three, but I like her, because most of the scenes with her in them also have Eric.
Season Quality Rundown: Season I was kinda lame. The writing wasn't that good. Season II was pretty classic--mostly about Cory and Shawn at school, and Cory isn't with Topanga yet, so that's a plus. Then there's a bunch of seasons where Cory and Topanga are on-again off-again, and they suck. The first season when they go to college is awesome. The writing is genuinely good a surprisng amount of the time, and Eric shows off his skills as a comic actor. Once it starts being all about Cory and Topanga's wedding, that's annoying. And when they're married, it's no good.
Boy Meets World is on The Disney Channel on weekdays at 5:30 and/or 6:30. Two different episdoes. On weekends, it's on about every even half hour (any even number:30). But what are you doing watching The Disney Channel at 12:30 on a Saturday? You haven't been outside this darkened living room in months, except once a week to go to the bathroom. What is this you're covered with, cold sweat? Ew. Turn off the TV, and get out of that bathrobe, already! It's mine.