Some shows built around adolescents either die off when their child star is no longer a child or go to absurd lengths to deny the fact that the star is no longer child. The long-running ABC sitcom Boy Meets World chose a more intelligent alternative: it allowed the show to mature along with its main character as he aged, following its star from childhood to young adulthood without missing a beat. In the process, it became an important member of ABC’s TGIF programming lineup.
Ben Savage, the younger brother of The Wonder Years’ Fred Savage, starred as the intelligent and often mischievous Cory Matthews. When the show began, he was an 11-year old just trying to get along in school. A tough enough task, but Cory’s was made tougher by the fact that his teacher, Mr. Feeny, also happened to be his next door neighbor. Mr. Feeny never hesitated to give advice and squelch any of Cory’s mischievous ideas. Later in the show, Cory also had to deal with bullies like Harley, Joey and Frankie.
Cory’s family included parents Alan and Amy, big brother Eric and kid sister Morgan. Shawn was Cory’s best friend and a frequent co-conspirator in his schemes. Another important character was Topanga, a free-thinking female classmate who would become a very big part of this boy’s world.
As the young stars grew older, the show downplayed Cory’s schemes in favor of playing up the attraction between Cory and Topanga. The two eventually became boyfriend and girlfriend in the third season, and in a sign of how far Cory had come in his TV years, he and Topanga got married in November of 1999. By that time, the two childhood sweethearts had gone through middle school and high school and were struggling through college.
Mr. Feeny ceased being a continuous influence in Cory’s life after he graduated high school and was replaced with a new authority figure/nemesis, Dean Borak. However, Feeny still popped up on the show and was even given a love interest in the form of Dean Bolander.
After seven seasons in the TGIF lineup, Boy Meets World had done just about all the growing up it could handle. School fears and bully fears had given way to fears of making ends meet and even contemplating parenthood. Cory and Topanga had come a long way, and Matthews’ seven-year TV journey was capped off by a flashback-filled farewell in May of 2000. The show left the air at the end of the season, and boy and his new bride went off to meet the world together.
USA / ABC – Michael Jacobs Prods. – Touchstone / 100+ x25 minute episodes / Broadcast 24 September 1993 – 5 May 2000
Creators: Michael Jacobs, April Kelly / Executive Producers: Michael Jacobs, Bob Young
BEN SAVAGE as Cory Matthews
WILLIAM DANIELS as George Feeny
BETSY RANDLE as Amy Matthews
WILL FRIEDLE as Eric Matthews
RIDER STRONG as Shawn Hunter
LILY NICKSAY as Morgan Matthews (1993-96)
LINDSAY RIDGEWAY as Morgan (from 1997)
WILLIAM ‘RUSTY’ RUSS as Alan Matthews
DANIELLE FISHEL as Topanga Lawrence
LEE NORRIS as Stuart(1993-94)
ANTHONY TYLER QUINN as Jonathan Turner (from 1994)
BLAKE SOPER as Joey (from 1994)
MATTHEW LAWRENCE as Jack Newman (from 1997)