Characters: Boy Meets World

    open/close all folders 

    Main Characters 

Cory A. Matthews (Ben Savage)

The main protagonist, a neurotic everyman from suburban Philadelphia who grows from a young boy to a married man over the course of the series.

In the Sequel Series Girl Meets World, Cory is still married to Topanga, and has followed in Mr. Feeny's footsteps and become a history teacher—specifically, his daughter's history teacher.
  • Atrocious Alias / Awesome McCoolname: His ring name when he was briefly on the wrestling team? Cory "The Cory" Matthews. He was so good, comparing him to anything else would have been a step down.
  • Berserk Button: Threaten to take advantage of Topanga and you'll go sailing through a door.
  • Big Brother Worship: In the first two seasons, Cory wanted to get Eric's approval because he idolized him.
  • Book Dumb: In early seasons he doesn't really pay attention in class and is just a barely better student than Shawn.
  • Butt Monkey: Due to his Unlucky Everydude status. Shares this role with Eric throughout the show.
  • Cassandra Truth: In the final season, Shawn receives a letter from his Disappeared Mom not long after his dad died. Cory is convinced that nothing good will come from him reading the letter, but everyone dismisses him. The letter reveals that she wasn't Shawn's real mom.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Zigzagged between this and Cool Loser in Season 2. Often happened when he wasn't trying to get a date and make a name for himself. His Nice Guy status is largely responsible for this. Happens most notably in "The Beard" where Cory manages to unintentionally charm two girls that Shawn was interested in, and in "Sister Teresa" where he attracts the attention of Harley's younger sister. Could be considered part of his Butt Monkey characterization as these situations tend to not go so well for him and put him in awkward situations.
  • Control Freak: Becomes one in the later seasons. A dominant trait of Cory's is his fear of anything in his life changing and he will often go to incredibly manipulative lengths to make sure that it doesn't.
    • He grows out of it to some extent, certainly in his style of classroom management.
  • Cool Loser: This was prevalent in Season 2 where it seemed every other episode consisted of him trying to make a name for himself at school and no longer be a nobody. Given the kind of Zany Schemes he pulled off, it seems like he'd be a legend around the school, but his popularity never seemed to stick. This was given less emphasis as the show went on.
  • Cool Teacher: This is one of the roles he fills in Girl Meets World.
  • Determinator: Perhaps Cory's defining character trait, and one of the few to be consistent throughout the show's run. If Cory wants something, he will never, ever give up until he gets it. (And he usually does.)
  • Embarrassing First Name: Cornelius. Just to be clear, not even Topanga knows it.
  • Embarrassing Nick Name: Gets the nickname "(Johnny) Baboon" from Harley. Becomes more of an Affectionate Nick Name when they're both adults in Girl Meets World, though Harley wasn't supposed to tell anyone, but he told the kids anyways.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Cory is the Phlegmatic.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Zig-Zagged. Cory started out as a normal, average kid who took interest in the weird, frumpy social outcast Topanga; however, over the next couple of seasons, Topanga became much more normal and less geeky, and Danielle Fishel grew up into a beautiful young lady, while Cory became more neurotic and dorky, and Ben Savage went through a awkward phase. Later on, Topanga became more neurotic and grade-obsessed and put on a bit of weight while Cory grew out of his awkward phase into a more handsome young man, so by the end, they were more on each other's level.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Shawn.
  • High School Sweethearts / Victorious Childhood Friend: With Topanga.
  • Large Ham: In later seasons, though not to the degree that Eric became. The chickens in the hallway scene in "Graduation" is the most notable with Ben chewing every bit of scenery he can find.
    Cory: Chickens in the hallway. CHICKENS! In the hallway! HUH? Someone must've let them loose as the official senior prank! Why, this is hilarious! Look at 'em! LOOK AT 'EM! Oh my gosh, look at the chickens! Chickens! Wooo! Oh my gosh, this is crazy! I wonder which CRAZY senior thought this up! This is nuts, huh!?
    Feeny: What'd you do, rent a couple of chickens?
    Cory: Yeah, don't step on them or else I lose my deposit. CHICKENS!
Also, later on, SHOVEL!
  • Middle Child Syndrome: A general theme for much of the series, but a real plot point in "The B-Team of Life."
  • Mouthy Kid: Only in the first season. Later seasons cast him as a classic Nice Guy.
  • Nervous Wreck: In later seasons. In one episode, he is diagnosed with hypochondria and prescribed placebos.
  • Nice Guy: Often made him a Clueless Chick Magnet.
  • No Indoor Voice: In later seasons, he often yelled.
    UNDAH-PANTS!!!
    THEE ICE CAPADES...NEVA TAKE ME THERE.
    • This was also part of his Mouthy Kid characterization in Season 1.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: His first name is Cornelius.
  • Right Behind Me: Done on multiple occasions one of the earliest examples was in "The Beard". This gets heavy Lampshade Hanging in Girl Meets World when Cory does it with both Maya and Shawn. With the latter, he has no reason to believe that he's behind him (other than he's talking about him) as Shawn paid a surprise visit and doesn't even live in the same city.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Some of his outfits in the early seasons were like this, though not as bad as Shawn's.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Cory Shawn and Topanga go from 11 -18 in five years.
  • Tempting Fate: Lampshaded and played with in a way in the episode where he and Shawn turn Feeny's house into a bed and breakfast. Cory's seen this story play out so many times in his life, he actually freaks out when it looks like they'll get away with it.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: A borderline example. He was never a perfect angel to begin with (he was quite a smartass as a kid) but as he got older his neurotic tendencies made him come off more insensitive and cranky, though he would always own up to it and apologize.
  • Unlucky Everydude: Especially in the early seasons.

Shawn Patrick Hunter (Rider Strong)

Cory's lifelong best friend, a Street Smart but Book Dumb kid from a broken home who grew up in a trailer park. While Cory relied on Shawn to help him with girls and navigate the high school social scene, Shawn relied on Cory to bail him out of trouble and provide stability in his turbulent life. Along with Cory, Shawn appears in every episode, cementing their status as Heterosexual Life-Partners.

Though Rider Strong had initially demurred from appearing in Girl Meets World (going so far as to issue a formal statement on the matter), Shawn appeared in two episodes of the show's first season, with further appearances in the upcoming second season. It is revealed that Shawn left New York shortly after Cory and Topanga's daughter was born and is now a travel writer (and photographer, in a Call Back to his interest in the hobby during the fifth season).
  • Affectionate Nickname: Cory often calls him "Shawnie."
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: When cross-dressing, less than a minute after showing up at school, "Veronica" had a date with a male classmate. And even after groping "her," the guy still didn't notice anything wrong. Even Cory, who convinced him to do it, calls him a "babe."
  • Berserk Button: Mocking his upbringing in the trailer park.
    • As revealed on Girl Meets World, Parental Abandonment is another one. When he finds out about Maya's home situation in "Girl Meets Home for the Holidays", his response is a simple "I'd never let a kid grow up like that" tinged with both disgust & Tranquil Fury.
  • Beta Couple: With Angela.
  • Break the Cutie: Part of his Character Development. It seems pretty reasonable that he'll join a cult in one episode to make himself happier.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: In later seasons. By Season 6, he's shown to be intellectually equal to Topanga, but is often too lazy to put the effort into his work unless it's something he's interested in.
  • Butt Monkey: Pretty much every misfortune, big and small, that can possibly befall a kid and still be appropriate to be shown on a family sitcom happened to him. However, he alternated between this and The Woobie, as some of his problems (such as Parental Abandonment) would have verged into Dude, Not Funny! had they been Played for Laughs.
  • Character Development: He was pretty dumb in early seasons and a troublemaker but he eventually grew into the deepest and possibly most well-developed character on the show. By season 6 he was one of the more sensible ones in the group.
  • The Ditz: To a degree in earlier seasons, especially with stuff that's common knowledge. He once though the Rocky Mountains were a description and not a name. Subverted however after his Character Development, by season 5 he's pretty much strictly Book Dumb, or even Brilliant but Lazy.
  • Flanderization: Shawn got dumber and wackier throughout seasons two and three. This was later reverted in the college years through a combination of Hidden Depths and Break the Cutie.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Shawn is the Choleric.
  • Drop-In Character. In early seasons. He tends to just walk into the Matthews' house though the kitchen door, which is implied to be at least on the side of the house or in the backyard, as if he lived there.
  • Hidden Depths: Can apparently speak wonderful French, though he has no idea what he's saying. He speaks a phrase in Spanish as well, but it's a random word salad. In another episode, he's seen speaking Dutch, but it's lightly implied he is unaware of what he's actually saying. Another episode suggests he at least understands German.
  • Hair Flip: He had one of those 90's curtained hairstyles that required him to constantly brush it out of his face. He got a haircut in the later seasons.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Cory.
  • Honorary Uncle: Shawn becomes this to Riley, Auggie, and to a lesser degree, Maya in Girl Meets World.
  • Kid-anova: Till he grew up and became The Charmer.
  • Malaproper: A lot, during his dumb period.
    Shawn: "Cory, I'm no rocket Scientologist but... I'm sensing there's something wrong."
  • The Matchmaker: Especially during Cory and Topanga's second breakup.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The show could never keep Shawn's backstory straight, mainly pertaining to how long he's lived in Philadelphia. An early episode suggests he recently moved there prior to the series, while a later episode suggested he lived in an apartment that Chet once shared with Jack and Jack's mother prior to them leaving him. Some episodes also suggest he's always lived in a trailer, namely Season 4 and 5; the latter has Shawn mention the teamsters' strike of 83 affecting his sleep as the lights from the trucks helped him to sleep.
    • His and Cory's relationship is a lesser example; some episodes suggest they'd been friends since infancy while one in Season 5 claims they met early on in grade school.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: As a senior class project Mr. Feeny assigns Shawn to go to the Super Bowl with absolutely no input on how he should manage it and no real hope that he'll accomplish it. Shawn makes it but we're never told how.
  • Parental Abandonment: His mother takes off (taking the family trailer with her) and his father goes off after her leaving Shawn to the Matthews and later Mr. Turner. Both his parents return and stay together as a family for a while but then his mother takes off, again and his father follows after her, again.
  • Parental Substitute: In Girl Meets World he becomes a sort of father figure to Cory and Topanga's daughter's friend Maya.
  • Pretty Boy: Pretty enough to pass very convincingly as a girl. He grew a beard later in the series' run.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Many of his outfits in the earlier seasons were like this, which looked unkempt and mismatched even by early 90s grunge standards (though he was from a poor family). His outfits became more normal as the show went on.
    • His clothes became more normal, but he appeared to have less of them. Fitting with his "poor" characterization, he wore the same clothes for years. One brown t-shirt, in particular, appeared in nearly every other episode.
  • Shipper on Deck: The prospect of Cory and Topanga not being together sends him into an existential crisis.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Cory Shawn and Topanga go from 11 -18 in five years.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Cory remarkably doesn't know whether his name is spelled Sean or Shawn.
  • Street Smart: Especially compared to Cory.
  • Technical Virgin: As of the middle of his senior yearnote ; he reveals this when he and the others are discussing the Sex Equals Death trope.
    • By freshman year of college, there are hints that this is no longer true (Cory references being the only virgin amongst a group of guys that includes Shawn) and by sophomore year, it's made flat-out clear he and Angela are sleeping together.
  • Troubled, but Cute: A troublemaker with Parental Issues who lives in a trailer park, and a Kid-anova also thanks to his "bad boy" image.
  • Two First Names: Shawn and Hunter.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Only ever does it once onscreen, but admits to having thought about it before, even having a preferred name for his female alter-ego "Veronica."
    • He seems to have kept doing it off-screen because several years later; in the last season, Eric and Jack decide to cross-dress as a way to avoid a gang that were after them and they turned to Shawn for advice. Afterward, he advises Jack on toning down his overcompensating masculinity.

Topanga Lawrence-Matthews (Danielle Fishel)

Cory's girlfriend for the majority of the series, and eventual wife. Though she began as a classic Granola Girl, she morphed into a perfectionist Hollywood Nerd fairly early on and generally was the superego on Cory's shoulder in comparison to Shawn's id.

In the Sequel Series Girl Meets World, she is still married to Cory, and they have two children. Although initial plans were for her to be the proprietor of the Local Hangout, this was changed during production, and she is now (as the series finale portended) a successful lawyer working with a major firm.
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Topanga counted up her A's for the year, and insisted that her final assignment get an A, even though it wasn't for the grade, just to ensure that she was valedictorian over Minkus.
  • Amoral Attorney: As of Girl Meets World, she's earned a reputation as something of a shark in the courtroom, though she does use this fact to save a local bakery that's about to be run out of business by a frozen yogurt corporation.
  • Animal Metaphor: There's an episode where Cory wants to get back together with Topanga. He follows her to Disney World to win her back. There, he talks to a dolphin who is sad because it has lost its mate and tells it that he believes Toganga is his mate.
  • The B Grade: Straight As in high school. When Feeny gave her a B on a mid-term in college, she proceeded to chase him around campus, demanding he change it from the same grade he'd given Cory and Shawn.
  • Breakout Character: She originally was created as a fairly generic granola girl character with a funny name, not intended to last beyond the typical "the main character dates a funny weird girl" storyline she had been created for. But her chemistry with Cory was so natural that she stayed on and ended up being Cory's one true love.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Season 1. She is portrayed as a Cloud Cuckoolander. By Season 2, it's dropped, though there are some slight Granola Girl traits present for the next couple of seasons, but they are very subtle. This ends up being Lampshaded when Topanga mimics an earlier incident where she smears lipstick all over her face. Apparently, she just grew out of it.
    • Though an episode of the sequel show has Topanga acknowledge "This is who I am inside," implying that hippie Topanga is still there, somewhere.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: In the first season. Soon afterward, maturity kicks in, but that doesn't stop her from lampshading her antics later on.
  • Despair Event Horizon: She crosses this when her parents split up at the end of Season 6.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Topanga. See Who Names Their Kid "Dude"? below.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: She won't reveal her middle name because of this.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Topanga is the Melancholic.
  • Girl Next Door: Starting in Season 2.
  • Go-Getter Girl: Once she gets over her Granola Girl phase.
  • Granola Girl: In Season 1, but she grew out of it. See Characterization Marches On above.
  • High School Sweethearts / Victorious Childhood Friend: With Cory.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Of the pretty variety, of course.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: With Topanga's admittance to Yale, then her decision to attend Pennbrook College with Cory and their friends.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One character comments on how her name sounds like a freeway exit. Michael Jacobs has stated that's exactly how he came up with the name by seeing the Topanga Canyon freeway exit sign.
    • The Girl Meets World episode "Girl Meets 1961" takes this further by establishing that she was named after Topanga Canyon In-Universe.
  • Matriarchy: In the episode "Class Pre-Union" where the class is supposed to dress up as themselves as adults with future careers, Topanga shows up as the President of the United States, which isn't a prestigious job since women eliminated war by moving all men underground to use only for breeding.
  • Progressively Prettier: She originally wore frumpy clothes and had wild, unruly hair to demonstrate her Granola Girl personality. However, as her personality shifted to being a normal Girl Next Door and Danielle Fishel grew up, she was given more attractive clothes, hairstyle and makeup.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In Season 2.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: As part of a Reality Subtext, Danielle Fishel's very slight weight gain was subject to excessive criticism in the press. The show's producers mocked this response with an episode titled "She's Having My Baby Back Ribs!" where Topanga decides to go on a diet and doesn't tell Cory, accidentally leading him to think that she's pregnant.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Inverted. Topanga was the right age, but a Time Skip aged the character in proportion with the rest of the setting without a change of actor.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: She's definitely much more abrasive and catty in Girl Meets World although this justified by having both a demanding and stessful job as a lawyer as well as rasing a family, and having to put up with Auggie's bratty friend Ava.
  • Tranquil Fury: Girl Meets World shows she's apparently developed this over Cory making fun of her cooking.
    Topanga: If you stop now, I promise you, nothing bad will happen to you...
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?
    Topanga: I have a weird middle name.
    Jack: Your first name's "Topanga." What can your middle name be, "Schmaboogie?"
  • Women Are Wiser: Sometimes...

Eric Randall Matthews (Will Friedle)

Cory's older brother, by turns a fun, charismatic ladies man and a lovable (but seriously deranged) Cloud Cuckoolander. Though Eric struggled academically, he was usually portrayed as being immensely intelligent deep down and filled with hidden potential and complexity, causing him to be frequently underestimated by friends and family.

Although Eric left for New York City with Cory, Shawn, and Topanga in the Series Finale, he did not appear in the first season of Girl Meets World. He makes his first appearance in the season two episode "Girl Meets Mr. Squirrels" where Cory enlists him to help solve a fight between his daughter Riley and her friend Maya. Eric, using his Mr. Squirrels persona to win people over, was elected the mayor of a small town on the New York-Quebec border and does a great job of helping people solve their problems. By the end of the episode has set his sights on running for Congress.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Originally.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Eric shows this toward Cory intermittently.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: He has Rain Man-like counting skills, is able to manipulate many scenarios to his own advantage, gives Cory and his other friends sage, reasonable advice, and has Mr. Feeny constantly going on about his "true potential."
  • Butt Monkey: Eric beomes a Butt Monkey in the later seasons after he Took a Level in Dumbass. In one episode he gets struck by lightning. While indoors.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Mr. Feeny? MISTER FEENY!?"
    • "FEE-NAY! FEE-HEE-HEE-NAY!"
      • "FEENY! Ooh, that was a new one!"
  • Chick Magnet: Zigzagged in Season 1. Early episodes played this straight; however, once Jason shows up, Eric becomes more of a Casanova Wannabe. In later seasons, he occasionally drifts back into this, most notably in Seasons 5 and 6.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: More so as time went on. In one of the later seasons, he had a dream about becoming a hermit named "Plays with Squirrels" that marries a moose.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He is the first person to stand up to Harley for Cory.
  • Diet Episode: Has one in Season Seven.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Even post-Flanderization, Eric had moments of being profoundly insightful. This may be BECAUSE his thought processes were...different, rather than despite it.
  • Dumbass Teenage Son: Especially in Season 7. He was put in charge of his father's surprise birthday party. His first plan is to poison Morgan and then have the party at the hospital. His mother later reveals he was a decoy because he's too stupid.
  • Dumb Is Good: Eric becomes a lot sweeter as his intelligence decreases.
  • Flanderization:
    • Eric went from a clever, smooth-talking ladies man to a dunderhead imbecile who would strip others of their sanity if they spent more than two minutes near him, with Mr. Feeny usually being the resident victim.
    • He also went from being obsessed with girls (dating them, trying to date them, thinking about them) to someone who could hold a steady relationship, and establish friendships with people besides his brother and the girl of the week, in addition to becoming goofy.
  • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Was flanderized from the cool, rational older brother into an irrational Cloud Cuckoolander except for one of the series' very last episodes, in which he was suddenly portrayed with something resembling his original characterization (which was lampshaded by the others).
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Eric is the Sanguine.
  • Friend to All Children: His own Man Child status allows him to relate to children as equals without talking down to them.
  • Fun Personified: He really hits his stride as the most entertaining part of the show after he doesn't get into college at the end of Season 3, then has crossed over into just downright weird by the time he cuts his hair in Season 7.
  • Genius Ditz: Eric is so ditzy, it's a wonder he can feed and bathe himself. However, the series is full of episodes where it turns out Eric possesses hidden insight and depth, and that his behavior is more a result of his combined eccentricity and inability to apply himself and reach his true potential. And then everyone feels bad about underestimating him.
  • The Heart: Of the seven friends; he's the glue that keeps them all together despite in-fighting.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jack in the later seasons.
  • Hidden Depths: As dumb as he was, Eric was probably one of the wiser characters. Mr Feeny often tries to get Eric to reach his full potential, with one such example being when Feeny has Eric tutor an F student, with the hope that Eric's attempts to get through to the student he was tutoring would benefit Eric as well. Eric not only raises the other student's grade to a C, but aces the test himself.
  • Large Ham: In the later seasons.
  • Man Child: Up to Eleven in later seasons.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: In later seasons he provides all the funniest moments.
  • The Social Expert: In both Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World, he is great at helping people solve their relationship problems. This gets him elected mayor of a small town, St. Upidtown.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Kept getting dumber in later seasons. By Season 7, most of his Hidden Depths are gone and is just a plain idiot for the most part save a few rare moments of brilliance. Even moreso in Girl Meets World, to the point where he clearly has history mixed up. Cory and Topanga are not excited at the prospect of an idiot becoming senator.
  • The Unfavorite: Later on, sometimes his parents are none too shy about it.
  • Wacky Guy: After his Flanderization to the point of becoming almost a cartoon character in season 7.
  • Weight Woe: Spends an entire episode obsessing about his weight and trying to lose weight. It doesn't work.
    • Mostly because he was piggybacking of Topanga's insecurity so she would give him her food.

Jack Hunter (Matthew Lawrence)

Shawn's estranged half-brother who reconnects with Shawn when he comes to Philadelphia to attend Pennbrook University, and becomes Eric's best friend and roommate.
  • Formerly Fat: Season 7's "She's Having My Baby Back Ribs" reveals that he used to be called "Jumbo Jack" in high school, which is why he goes to the gym so much and is obsessed with his looks.
  • The Generic Guy: Cory, Shawn and Eric had the market cornered on the comedy, so Jack was often just there to look pretty and react to strange things. His personality would shift based on what the story called for.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Eric.
  • Long Lost Sibling: Shawn's.
  • Not So Above It All: Jack does go along with some of Eric's antics, but not without a little snark about the situation.
  • Satellite Character: As explained above, despite being a main character, Jack is the least dynamic of all the cast. His main role is to serve as the Foil to Eric or Shawn.
  • Straight Man: To Eric.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In an effort to give the character a comedic angle, later episodes sometimes make him vain and self-centered.

Angela Sheneneh Moore (Trina McGee-Davis)

Shawn's first serious girlfriend, who becomes Topanga's best friend and a member of their group.

She was the only continuing regular not to appear in the Series Finale, having departed for Europe in the show's penultimate episode in order to spend some quality time with her soldier father. The fate of the Shawn/Angela relationship was left in limbo... only to be resolved many years later, when it's made clear that the two of them never reconciled. Surprisingly, Shawn seems okay with this. However, Trina McGee made a return appearance in the second season episode "Girl Meets Hurricane", presumably to resolve the Shawn/Angela storyline once and for all.
  • Beta Couple: With Shawn.
  • Black Best Friend: To Topanga. However, her primary role was as Shawn's girlfriend and her friendship with Topanga grew out of her relationship with Shawn.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In Girl Meets World, she tells Shawn about how she got married to a soldier and is considering having kids with him and encourages Shawn that life decided them to go their separate ways to find happiness, and that he should not be afraid to be closer to Maya's mom any longer.
  • Military Brat: Her father is an Army sergeant.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her mother abandoned her when she was a child.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In Season 6.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Related to the Parental Abandonment above. Angela, fearful of repeating the above spoiler, dumped Shawn and spent the next two episodes insulting him at every turn. Of course, this was because she was scared, and they eventually reconciled.
  • Token Minority: Somewhat of a subversion as her race is not brought up very often and she's not treated any differently then the rest of the cast, to the point where her character could have been white and almost all of her dialogue could be kept, save for a lines lampshading this trope.

Rachel Kimberly McGuire (Maitland Ward)

Eric and Jack's neighbor, who they take in after her ex-boyfriend kicks her out.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Attracts the affections of Eric, Jack and Chet.
  • Ms. Fanservice: In her early appearances (where it was her entire character) where she would often wander around in a tiny bathrobe, and in "Hogs and Kisses."
  • One Head Taller: Gender-inverted. She is quite a bit taller than all the guys, something both she and Jack were insecure about at first, with Rachel thinking Jack thought she was too tall, and Jack thinking she thought he was too short.
  • Satellite Love Interest: She was mainly there to give Eric and Jack someone to fight over, and never really came into her own as a character.

    Matthews Family 

Alan Matthews (William Russ)

Cory, Eric, Morgan and Joshua's father.
  • Bumbling Husband: Often gets this in earlier seasons often trying to do something nice for Amy, only to have it blow up in his face. Often, this involves his poor read-between-the-lines skill. If Amy even hints at wanting something, Alan goes and buys it for her without looking at context.
    • He bought her a minivan after she said she could see herself driving it when they were discussing what new car she should get.
    • For their 17th wedding anniversary, he bought her an expensive garbage disposal because she said she wanted one. Feeny's experienced enough to see this blowing up in his face after he tells her what the box he's been hiding for Alan contains.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: While he may seem to be The Ditz on occasion, it's a very dangerous thing to forget that, not only is he a Navy veteran, but was the second-best boxer in the entire Navy.

Amy Matthews (Betsy Randle)

Cory, Eric, Morgan and Joshua's mother.

Morgan Matthews (Lily Nicksay (Seasons 1-2), Lindsay Ridgeway (Seasons 3-7))

Cory's little sister.
  • Put on a Bus: Lampshaded. Morgan appeared less frequently in Season 2, then disappeared without mention after the season finale, seeming to be an example of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. However, she returned midway through Season 3 (with a new actress). Upon being greeted with surprise, she responded, "That was the longest time-out ever."
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Lindsay Ridgeway as Morgan #2 in Season 4.
  • She's All Grown Up: Invoked by Alan when Morgan goes on her first date.

Joshua "Josh" Gabriel Matthews (Daniel Jacobs (Boy Meets World), Uriah Shelton (Girl Meets World))

The youngest Matthews child, who is born midway through Season 6.

Played by creator Michael Jacobs' son Daniel in the Series Finale (in which his only real line is the exclamation "Topanga!", concluding one of the show's running gags)

In Girl Meets World, Josh is a recurrer played by Uriah Shelton. He is now a teenager and still lives in Philadelphia with his parents, but visits his brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew in New York on a few occasions.
  • Big Brother Worship: The guy drove all the way to New York to open his NYU acceptance letter just so Cory would be proud of him.
  • Cool Uncle: In Girl Meets World he's this for his niece Riley and nephew Auggie.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In Girl Meets World.
  • Friend to All Children: In "Girl Meets Home for the Holidays" he spends most of the episode happily playing with his 5-year old nephew Auggie.
  • Maternity Crisis: Was a preterm birth, with all of the health risks that implies.
  • Meaningful Name: "Joshua" means "God is salvation"; Alan and Amy gave Joshua the middle name of Gabriel because it means "he who God protectsnote ."
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Josh was born in the middle of the sixth season; by the time of the Series Finale (a little over a year later), he appears to be two or three years old (old enough to walk and talk and accept life advice from his older brother). This is confirmed in Girl Meets World, which takes place 14 years later and depicts him as a 17 year old.

    Teachers 

George Hamilton Feeny (William Daniels)

Cory's teacher turned principal turned college professor, and next-door neighbor to the Matthews family. Though a mentor to everyone on the show, he formed a particularly special bond with Cory and Eric, helping them navigate the tricky journey from adolescence to adulthood. In the second to fourth seasons, when there's multiple teachers around, he's generally portrayed as strictly a history teacher, but in the seasons where he's the only teacher in the main cast, he basically teaches any subject that the narrative calls on him to.

Mr. Feeny appeared in the pilot of the Sequel Series Girl Meets World, though only in a brief cameo (as a figment of Cory's imagination) as a "passing-of-the-torch" gesture to Cory. The writers have confirmed that Feeny is not dead and that he'll make multiple appearances in the second season, including in an episode where the cast returns to Philadelphia.
  • Badass Teacher: Especially in "Everybody Loves Stuart" when he sticks up for Topanga and Cory against Stuart.
  • Big Good
  • Cool Old Guy: Eric even goes around telling people that Feeny is his grandfather and Rachel was excited to meet him.
  • Cool Teacher: While initially presented as a "square" Stern Teacher, he had enough Character Development over time to turn him into one of these.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Which overlaps with Gentleman Snarker.
  • December-December Romance: With the Dean of Pennbrook, Lila Bolander (who just happens to be played by Daniels' longtime wife Bonnie Bartlett).
  • High School Hustler: At times, he manages to hustle Mr. Turner and Mr. Williams on separate occasions. Turner goes out as far to call him a hustler.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He could be rather stern at times, but it's clear he does have everyone's best interests at heart.
  • Last Name Basis: Only Cory's parents (and later, Dean Bolander) consistently call him "George." All of his students, present and former, call him "Mr. Feeny" or sometimes just "Feeny." Or, in the case of Eric: "FEE-NAY! FEE-HEE-HEENAY!" This works both ways, as Feeny will almost always refer to his students on a last name basis.
  • Mentor Archetype: For Cory, Shawn and Topanga. With Eric, the bond is even stronger; he's almost a second father for the eldest Matthews sibling.
  • Not So Above It All: At times.
  • Papa Wolf: Do not screw with his students. He easily was just as angered with Mr. Mack as Alan was at trying to corrupt Shawn, and when the professor Stuart showed his true colors, Feeny did everything possible to support both Cory and Topanga.
  • Psychologist Teacher: His defining character trait, and the quintessential example of this trope.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: As a teacher.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: He has molded students into fine young people for 40 years, but isn't afraid to use words not found in a dictionary.
    Feeny: If you're asking me if Yale is one of the finest academic institutions in the country, then I would have to say...duh.
  • Stern Teacher: A stern but wise Cool Teacher
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Look at his intro paragraph again. It appears he has a Universal Teaching Certificate.

Jonathan Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn)

Cory, Shawn and Topanga's high school English teacher, who becomes Shawn's guardian for a period of time after Shawn's parents abandon him.
  • Big Brother Mentor: To Shawn.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The last episode he appeared in saw him badly injured in a motorcycle accident. Despite the hope that he would recover, we never see such a thing on-screen (or him again for that matter), which has all sorts of Fridge Horror applications. As with Minkus, though, his disappearance was Lampshaded in the graduation episode. He finally comes back in Girl Meets World, as the Superindendent, and it turns out he's visited the Matthews family a lot since Riley was born.
  • Cool Teacher: How does he get his students excited about The Illiad? He tells them to read X-Men and that the class discussion will be a compare/contrast.
  • Demoted to Extra: Appeared less often and had less impact on storylines in his final season on the show. The only episode where he made a major impact was the last episode he appeared in.
  • Honorary Uncle: To Riley in Girl Meets World, who often calls him Uncle John.

Eli Williams (Alex Desert)

Mr. Turner's best friend who gets hired as a media arts teacher at John Adams High.
  • Black Best Friend: For Mr. Turner.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He was introduced in the third season as a main cast member (The Other Wiki says the focus on him and Turner in that season was an attempt to appeal to young college graduates) and was dropped immediately afterwards without even a single mention (aside from a clip with him in it appearing in the final episode).
  • Remember the New Guy: Subverted. While he is introduced in Season 3 getting a decent setup as the new media arts teacher at John Adams High, this trope is played straight as he's said to be Turner's best friend for years despite not even getting mentioned in Season 2.

Lila Bolander (Bonnie Bartlett)

A dean at Pennbrook University who develops a relationship with Mr. Feeny.
  • Badass Teacher: She deals with Stuart with a very firm hand and is not to be crossed. Even Feeny watches it around her, though there are arguably other reasons for that one.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She has a much drier wit than most people would expect.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: She appears briefly in the Season 4 finale and doesn't re-appear till Season 6 where she gets much more focus.
  • The Ghost: Oddly, she becomes this in Season 7, having made her last onscreen apppearance in the sixth season finale (in which she and Feeny finally tie the knot). Feeny mentions her occasionally, but otherwise she's conspicuous in her absence, especially from all the Pennbrook scenes (naturally, Feeny replaces her whenever an authority figure is needed).
  • Love Interest: To Feeny.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: After Cory punched Stuart (the professor, not Minkus) after he made a move on Topanga, she suspended Cory for one day and placed him on probation for striking a teacher, but also stated that Stuart's activities will be undergoing further investigation due to the seriousness of the allegations.

    Supporting Cast 

Stuart Minkus (Lee Norris)

Cory and Shawn's nerdy classmate in the first season.

In Girl Meets World, he is the father of Farkle Minkus, who attends he same school that Cory teaches at and is both a classmate and friend of Cory's daughter. Minkus himself is now a millionaire and CEO of Minkus International.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Even though Minkus only appeared in the first season, his legacy was so strong that Michael Jacobs created a son, Farkle, for the Sequel Series Girl Meets World. Minkus himself appears fairly early on to establish this connection. It is also known that Farkle will be in the second season, which will alone cause him to have more appearances than his father did between both series.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In Season 2, he's replaced by a character named Meese. However, he gets far less focus than Minkus did, appearing in only a handful of episodes before being chucked by Season 3.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: He's still bitter about it as an adult.
  • Worthy Opponent: There were some early hints that Cory and Shawn believe he was this to them. However, since he suffered from Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, it didn't go anywhere.

Harley Keiner (Danny McNulty)

The leader of a trio of bullies at John Adams High. Sent to reform school at the end of Season 2.

In Girl Meets World he now works as the janitor at John Quincy Adams Middle School, where his former victim Cory teaches. Harley has become a much nicer person than he was as a teenager and has made amends with Cory, who helped him get the job, and serves as a mentor to Cory's daughter and her friends.
  • Affably Evil: Not so much evil, but he is quite polite and often puts his arm around people while threatening to beat them.
  • The Atoner: In Girl Meets World, he tries to stop students who are bullies and help out their victims.
  • Big Bad: Harley can be seen as this, considering that he is the overall leader of the bullies.
  • Character Development: In the Girl Meets World, episode Girl Meets Mr. Squirrels Goes To Washington, Harley clearly cares and stands up for the little guy. He shows disdain towards a Sleazy Politician on his lack of care for the public, and even drills him on his policies. From someone who was once a bully picking on defenseless kids, this means a lot.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Harley's actual name is "Harvey."
  • Gang of Bullies: Leader of one.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Cory had pity on Harley, and gave him a job as a custodian at John Quincy Adams school. Thanks to this one generous act from Cory, Harley became a person who cared for children, especially those who were bullied.
  • Hidden Depths: Contrary to how he may seem, Harley acted downright sophisticated at times.
  • Jacob Marley Warning: He gives one to a bully in his appearance on Girl Meets World, pointing out that he was a bully too and now he carries a mop for a living.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: To his little sister, he is the closest to a father she has now.
  • Old Shame: In-universe.Girl Meets World shows that he's ashamed of his bullying, and he's reluctant to talk about it.
  • Promotion to Parent: Harley looked after his younger sister Theresa.
  • Put on a Bus: Harley is eventually sent away to reform school around the end of the second season, although he briefly returns in a third season episode.
    • Much, much later, Harley is revealed to be working as the janitor at John Quincy Adams High, where Cory teaches.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Harley only appears in the first half of the second season (one of the show's earliest story arcs is devoted to the other bullies finding and breaking in a replacement for him) plus a cameo in season three - he doesn't even show up in the cameo-palooza that was "Graduation". But his character was so firmly entrenched as the bully of the show that he was brought back for Girl Meets World, to positive responses from fans and critics.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In Girl Meets World.

Frankie "The Enforcer" Stechino (Ethan Suplee)

A very large and strong kid at John Adams High, Frankie served as The Brute of Harley's crew and was best friend of Joey the Rat. When Harley got sent to reform school, Frankie revealed his gentle side and became friends with Cory and Shawn.

Stechino had the longest run of any Recurrer in the show's history, appearing in four consecutive seasons (2-5), or the majority of the show's run. (He shares that distinction with only eight regulars: Cory, Shawn, Topanga, Eric, Alan, Amy, Morgan, and Mr. Feeny.)
  • Character Development: In the third season, when forced to choose between Harley and Griff, Frankie and Joey have an "epiphany," choosing instead to move on. Frankie then makes several appearances in which he becomes a friend to Cory and Shawn (although Joey doesn't do as well and winds up acting as more of a Con Man). He then disappears until the graduation episode, which ignores his previous development by showing him preparing to become a criminal alongside Joey.
    • Although, this could probably be justified by Joey's bad influence having a negative effect once he returns.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Disappeared by the end of Season 4, but resurfaced with Joey in the Season 5 finale.
  • Heel-Face Turn: After stepping out of Griff and Harley's shadows.
  • Hidden Depths: Frankie was a Gentle Giant.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Frankie loves poetry. Loves it! Got a problem with that?! No? Good.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: One episode was centered around Frankie trying to get closer to his dad, who was disappointed that he preferred poetry over wrestling.

Joey "The Rat" Epstein (Blake Sopler)

Flunky to Harley (and later Griff), and best friend of Frankie.
  • The Bully: Scarcely more violent than Griff, and not the most unfriendly gang member; but to anyone's feelings, he's clearly the most insensitive out of the whole gang!
  • Character Development: In the third season, when forced to choose between Harley and Griff, Frankie and Joey have an "epiphany," choosing instead to move on.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome after the above mentioned episode, he disappears entirely only resurfacing in the Season 5 finale. Though he's said to have gotten suspended early on this doesn't explain his nearly two-year absence.
  • Hidden Depths: Though this is true of Joey least of all the gang members (including Griff), he did prove himself much more insightful than first glance may tell you.

Griff Hawkins (Adam Scott)

Second leader of the John Adams High bullies.
  • Big Bad: After Harley was Put On The Bus.
  • The Bully: Though he's a nicer about it than Harley, generally doesn't go out of his way to pick on anybody and doesn't physically harm anyone.
  • Gang of Bullies: Takes over leadership of the gang.
  • Hidden Depths: Much like Harley, Griff is far more sophisticated than he first appears.
  • High School Hustler: Griff in a nutshell.
  • Magnetic Hero: Not so much a hero, but Griff was able to attract Vader, Robert Goulet and Yasmine Bleeth to a fight between Cory and Joey.

Chet Hunter (Blake Clark)

Shawn and Jack's n'er-do-well father who's constantly blowing in and out of their lives. Though Jack was raised by his rich stepfather and barely knew Chet, many of Shawn's issues stem from his complicated relationship with his dad.
  • The Alcoholic: It's revealed in Season 5 that Chet was an "abusive, ugly drunk" when he was married to Jack's mother, and that was why she left him and took Jack with her.
  • Back for the Finale: In ghost form.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • During Season 3, when he was trying to track down his wife.
    • And again during Season 5, though this was because he wanted Shawn to move in with Jack and establish a relationship between the two of them.
  • Do I Really Sound Like That?: When Shawn and Jack impersonate Chet, they put on a gruff voice and speak in the same manner as their father. Chet claims he sounds nothing like that.
  • Killed Off for Real: A heart attack puts him in critical condition until he passes away, but not before making amends with his children.
  • Spirit Advisor: Appears to Shawn when he was trying to look for his real mother, who turned out to be a prostitute who didn't care about his kid.

"Vader" Stecchino (Leon "Vader" White)

Frankie's Wrestler father.
  • No Indoor Voice: To the point that when Mr. Feeny says he doesn't need to yell, Frankie swiftly asserts that his father's not yelling.

Sergeant Alvin Moore (Julius Carry)

Angela's father, serving in the military away from the country.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: He shows he can be the trope, even enforcing it when questioning Shawn about his relationship with Angela.
  • Large and In Charge: Easily the tallest one of the whole cast aside from Vader.
  • Killed Offscreen: In Girl Meets World, Angela reveals to Shawn that he died doing what he loved and she tried to look for him to get advice if she should consider having kids with her new husband.
  • You Look Familiar: Julius Carry previously played a college professor in "Fraternity Row." This is especially jarring in that he spent most of his interactions in that episode with Shawn.
  • Spirit Advisor: Angela mentions that he is this to her after he died, just like Chet is to Shawn.