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Characters / Boy Meets World

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    Cory Matthews
Played by: Ben Savage

The 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: 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: By Girl Meets World, mentioning anything related to skiing or even the word "ski" is enough to get him grumpier than usual, and if anyone remembers what happened in the two BMW episodes Lauren appeared in, that's why.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Season 1 had a whole episode (that being "Risky Business") dedicated to how protective Cory is of Morgan.
  • 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.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Early on, Feeny is pretty hard on Cory because the boy has the potential to excel but focuses on goofing off or clowning around. "Boys II Mensa" highlights this, as Feeny chastises him for getting a C but praises another student for getting the same grade. When Cory protests this supposed hypocrisy, Feeny says the other student sincerely struggles with the material and worked hard to do as well as he did, whereas Cory simply coasts by. Over time, Cory becomes a more successful student.
  • Butt-Monkey: Due to his Unlucky Everydude status. Shares this role with Eric throughout the show. Experiences it from time in Girl Meets World. Most notably in Girl Meets Semi-Formal, Maya's locker slamming has been getting chalk dust on him every time Riley complains to her about her boy problems. The third time it happened, he got steamed.
  • 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 Kid-and-Loser Friendship: The Loser to Shawn's Cool. Shawn eventually becomes popular in high school, but maintains his close friendship with the less popular Cory.
  • 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: 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.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: This ends up getting Zigzagged over the course of the show's run, due to the unpredictable nature of child actors growing up. 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 an awkward phase. This is made into a plot point in one Season 4 episode, which depicts Cory's insecurity that Topanga might dump him for someone more attractive. 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: He is best friends with Shawn from a young age; their friendship is just as (if not more) important than their girlfriends. In the sequel series, he and Harley Keiner have also become quite close despite the friction of their past.
  • High-School Sweethearts: With Topanga. In later seasons they claim it's a Childhood Friend Romance and they have been in love since preschool. This is odd to anyone who rewatches the first season in which Topanga wasn't Cory's friend, juts a "freaky" classmate, and Cory didn't like her at all until about Middle School.
  • 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!
  • 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.
    • This was also part of his Mouthy Kid characterization in Season 1.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: His first name is Cornelius.
  • Parental Substitute: Cory to Maya, his daughter's best friend. Maya's dad left her, so Cory is the closest Maya has ever had to a father.
  • 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.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The awkward Sensitive Guy (though not so much in the first season) to Shawn's rebellious "bad boy" Manly Man.
  • 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. He doesn't like being the middle child and he's insecure about his looks.
  • Verbal Tic: He tends to stutter when he's nervous.

    Shawn Hunter
Played by: 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 initially had no desire to return for Girl Meets World (going so far as to issue a formal statement on the matter), he had a change of heart and made infrequent guest appearances as a recurring character. 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".
  • Badbutt: Much talk was made of how Shawn was such a badass in high school, but this was ultimately a kid who didn't lose his virginity until senior prom at the earliest (and maybe even into his college years), never smoked or did drugs, and got drunk like twice in his life.
  • 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.
  • Breakout Character: The first season featured Shawn in a more supporting role, as the series was more about the Matthews family as a whole. It wasn't until season two that more of Shawn's home life was explored and it proved to be a hit with fans. Overtime, Shawn would eventually grow into becoming the Deuteragonist of the series.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cosmic Plaything: He spent the first 11 years of his life in a trailer park with an alcoholic father and a mother who constantly left home without warning, right up until she leaves for good and takes the trailer with her. When his father goes after her and effectively abandons him, he's taken in by his teacher, Mr. Turner, and discovers that his biological mother was a stripper he never met and his father had a second family, including a son a little older than Shawn, who knew about him but made no attempt to contact him until Shawn was well into high school. On top of this, Mr. Turner is then involved in a serious motorcycle accident which leaves him hospitalized and prompts Shawn to join a cult, which he has to be extracted from by the Matthews, and then his biological father dies right after he finally comes back into Shawn's life. Shawn's very turbulent childhood (and likely his family history) lead to him becoming an alcoholic, which comes to a head after his father's death. His only serious relationship was with Angela, who left him, and Cory - essentially the only person in his life who consistently was there for him and didn't let him down - inevitably gets married, leading Shawn to have a breakdown on his wedding day. He eventually is able to find a stable family with Katy and Maya, but it takes him thirty years and a whole lot of suffering.
  • Cool Kid-and-Loser Friendship: The Cool to Cory's Loser. Shawn eventually becomes popular in high school, but maintains his close friendship with the less popular Cory.
  • The Ditz: To a degree in earlier seasons, especially with stuff that's common knowledge. He once thought 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.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The death of his father, coupled by his so-called "mom" denying Shawn, absolutely devastated him. It was enough to make Shawn oppose an Aesop he and Cory had learned about not drinking and relapse just because he couldn't deal with the pain he was in. It required everybody's support to pull him out of his spiral and give him the courage to keep on going.
  • Despair Speech: He has a couple of them, most notably his "don't blow me off, God" speech in "Cult Fiction" when Mr. Turner is involved in a serious motorcycle accident and Shawn begs God not to let him die.
    Shawn: Jon, how could you be in here? How could you screw up on your bike? I have never seen you screw up on anything. I'm the screw-up, remember? C'mon, you remember... Don't do this to me, Jon. I don't do alone real good... I know you're in there, but it's like you're not really here. You're not talking, but I know you're here. So I'm just gonna talk, you can listen. Jon, even when I was at the Centre, it was all the things you taught me that made me wonder if it was the right place for me or not. But you didn't teach me enough. You, and Cory, and my parents, and the Matthews, and the handful of people who really care about me, so don't blow me off, Jon! Don't blow me off, God! I never asked you for anything before and I never wanted to come to you like this, but don't take Turner away from me; he's not yelling at me yet. God, you're not talking but I know you're here, so I'm gonna talk, and you can listen. God, I don't wanna be empty inside anymore.
  • 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.
  • Drop-In Character. In season one. He tends to just walk into the Matthews' house through 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.
  • Hair Flip: He had one of those 90's curtained hairstyles that required him to constantly brush it out of his face. It was even the subject of a running gag in season 2, in which he, much to Cory's jealousy, could repeatedly cause girls to stop and hit on him out of nowhere simply by doing a hair flip in a crowded school hallway. This stopped in the later seasons after he got a haircut.
  • Heel Realization: He discovers in "Chick Like Me" that he wasn't quite the charming ladies' man he thought he was when he realizes Gary acts a lot like him (or rather, that he acted like Gary).
    I'm not like that. I'm not!...I won't be ever again.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: He is best friends with Cory from a young age; their friendship is just as (if not more) important than their girlfriends.
  • 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.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: He believes this about himself, and it's true to a degree, but he's also dealt a massively difficult set of circumstances and has nearly no reliable help in dealing with them.
    Shawn: Cory, people like me, we don't go anywhere because we don't believe that we can get there! I'm my own worst eskimo!
  • Honorary Uncle: Shawn becomes this to Riley and Auggie in Girl Meets World.
  • Kid-anova: Till he grew up and became The Charmer.
  • Ladykiller in Love:
    • In season 3, Shawn falls for a "nice girl" who doesn't want to spend all their time kissing and doesn't see him as boyfriend material. He spends the episode angsting about it until he realizes all he needed to do was listen and be honest about his feelings with her.
    • Two seasons later he falls in love with Angela, who's also a serial dater and just as afraid of commitment and being hurt as he is. Even that one didn't pan out in the end.
    • In Girl Meets World he starts dating Katy Hart and then they get married.
  • 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 very short time, but then his mother takes off again and his father follows after her, again. Then Chet returns, but suffers a fatal heart attack, and Shawn's "mother" reveals that he is not her genetic son in a letter and basically turns tail for good.
  • Parental Substitute: In Girl Meets World he becomes a father figure to Maya, the best friend to Riley - Cory and Topanga's daughter. He eventually becomes Maya’s stepfather and adopts her in the finale.
  • Pretty Boy: Pretty enough to pass very convincingly as a girl. This look diminished in the final season where he adopted a much more "adult" look, which included growing a goatee.
  • 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.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The rebellious "bad boy" Manly Man to Cory's awkward Sensitive Guy.
  • 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.
  • Son of a Whore: Chet's ghost reveals that Shawn's biological mother was a stripper he had a relationship with, who took off right after he was born. A stripper rather than a hooker, but close, and this is basically Shawn's reaction.
  • 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.
  • Trauma Conga Line: 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.
  • Troubled, but Cute: A troublemaker with Parental Issues who lives in a trailer park - and that's only the beginning.
  • Troubled Teen: He had a very rough upbringing (to say the least). His family situation was never stable, he's gotten in trouble with the law for vandalism, and it's hinted he's dealt with emotional turbulance and abandonment issues all throughout his childhood.
  • Two First Names: Shawn and Hunter.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: A very literal example, as his father leaves to go after his mother and promises to return shortly. He doesn't.
  • 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.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: He's the recipient of quite a few of these.
    Mr. Turner: Hey, if you don't know that deep down inside you're all right, then I haven't taught you anything at all.
  • You Are Not Alone: Shawn tends to think that nobody is on his side, likely because he's been abandoned so many times and doesn't think he's deserving of love. In reality, he has many, many people who care about him and would do anything to protect him, even if he has trouble believing it.
    Mr. Turner: Oh, you think that was an accident? Huh? That you have a friend who thinks so much of you, he's willing to put his own neck on the line? No, I don't think lowlifes have friends like that. Do you?
    • And:
    Alan Matthews:A judgment I made a long time ago is that Shawn Hunter is the best friend that my kid ever had. And I will kill to protect Shawn Hunter from people like you.

    Topanga Lawrence
Played by: 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 As 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.
  • And Starring: In Girl Meets World, she's credited as "and Danielle Fishel".
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button: Auggie's friend Dewey's insistence that his name is pronounced "Doy" drives Topanga up the wall for reasons unknown.
  • 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. Almost 20 years after graduating high school, she complains to Mr. Turner that he gave her an A- in one of his classes, and implores him to change it.
  • Book Smart: She is an overachiever who gets straight As.
  • 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.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Season 3 reveals her relationship with her mother and father is tempestuous and amongst the spouses themselves, and by Season 6, their marriage is outright collapsing, which is part of the reason why she started trying to act out and be loony in the first season of the show, because Topanga couldn't deal with the pain of reality at home.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Season 1 she is portrayed as a Granola Girl and Cloudcuckoolander. 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.
  • 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. It nearly destroyed her faith in having a marriage to Cory, but with a lot of love and compassion, she bounced back terrifically and married him in Season 7.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Played for Laughs. In an early episode when her Granola Girl aspects were in full force, Topanga protested that she wanted to stop wearing shoes and come to school barefoot (something her daughter accidentally does later on), but Shawn drolly replied, "We who sit behind you would rather you didn't." She's actually quite fond of her shoes.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Topanga. Her character was given that name to emphasize her initial Granola Girl personality and overal weirdness (the name comes from Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles, where a lot of hippies reside).
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: She won't reveal her middle name because of this.
  • First Girl Wins: Topanga is the first girl Cory speaks to outside his family, and the first girl he befriends. Though initially their relationship is a case of Slap-Slap-Kiss, they begin dating in the third season. Shortly after, however, they break up, but get back together a few months later. In season five, they break up again because Cory kisses another girl, but they quickly reunite. Finally, at their high school graduation, Topanga proposes to Cory, and they get married in the show’s final season.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: In the first season she was liked only by Minkus. Largely averted from season 2 onwards as a result of Characterization Marches On.
  • 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. In an episode of the sequel show has Topanga acknowledge "This is who I am inside," implying that hippie Topanga is still there, somewhere.
  • High-School Sweethearts: With Cory. In later seasons they claim it's a Childhood Friend Romance and they have been in love since preschool. This is odd to anyone who rewatches the first season in which Topanga wasn't Cory's friend, juts a "freaky" classmate, and Cory didn't like her at all until about Middle School.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Of the pretty variety, of course.
  • Important Haircut: Episode 2 of the 4th season is all about this for her. see Reality Subtext for more.
  • 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.
  • Love Hurts: Deconstructed. Part of the major romance she has with Cory throughout the show is how Topanga tries to overcome the notion that love is destructive and doomed to fail. She eventually finds that true love conquers all.
  • 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.
  • Odd Name Out: The only character with a strange name. She has an implied excuse that her weird name was probably a result of their equally weird parents (at least with how they were characterized at the time).
  • Phrase Catcher: Early on, she garnered people (almost always Cory and/or Shawn) excitedly shouting "TOPANGA!" whenever she showed up.
  • Precocious Crush: She has one on Eric in a season 1 episode. Also a case of Unrequited Love Switcheroo since Eric has a crush on her in the last season.
  • 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.
  • Quirky Curls: She has them in season 1, to go with her original quirky personality.
  • 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.
    • After Danielle expressed a desire to cut her until then signature Rapunzel Hair during the summer before filming of the 4th season there was an episode written about it, wherein Topanga lops off her hair in odd lengths to prove a point to Cory about confidence and has to have it even out afterwards.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: A variant: after she comes seeking Cory out in the pounding rain, she is soaked to the bone, so Cory lends her his favorite blue jean jacket. Topanga adores the coat, so much so that she insists on keeping it, and after a little bit of badgering, Cory lets her.
  • 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.
  • Their First Time: Played for Laughs- Cory and Topanga are hungry to consummate their marriage on their honeymoon... until learning it's being crashed by their friends and family.
  • 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 raising a family, and having to put up with Auggie's bratty friend Ava. However, as Riley matures, she gradually slides back to her original demure self.
  • 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: Zig-zagged. Cory and Topanga are on equal standing and equally liable to make mistakes, but Depending on the Writer, they'll get into Battle of the Sexes-style matches over who's brainier than who. One time it is Played for Drama and the two get into a huge fight over who thinks they know best and who can't put up with the other.

    Eric Matthews
Played by: 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. He also was fairly protective of Morgan back in the early seasons.
  • Big Brother Mentor: He was to an orphan named Tommy for a while.
  • 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."
    • In Girl Meets World he finally drops the laziness and becomes first a mayor and then Senator.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite his ditzness, he is great at solving people's problems, which makes him an effective politician. His Secret Service guard even tells Cory he's the smartest Senator he's ever worked for.
  • 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.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Mr. Feeny? MISTER FEENY!?"
      • "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.
  • Cool Big Bro: Seen this way by Cory in the early seasons. He also has a nice relationship with his little sister Morgan, especially in season 1.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • He is the first person to stand up to Harley for Cory.
    • He managed to semi-successfully hijack a wedding described as the social event of the year. Sure, he, Topanga, and Cory got arrested, but they got a great wedding ceremony!
  • 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: Season 3 and thereafter:
    • 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. A common joke among the fan circles is studying for the SATs fried his brain, as that was when the change in character started to hit.
    • 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.
  • Foreshadowing: In a wonky Imagine Spot during the original series after a prank war escalated so badly it hit the skids and estranged everyone hurt by these petty and spiteful acts, Eric goes by the crazy Indian-ish name "Plays With Squirrels" in a Bad Future. In the real future in the sequel series, Eric actually has adopted this moniker.
  • 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), and he was justifiably angry with Cory for excluding him from helping sort out the family garage. When he returns in the sequel series, his old and new characterizations have blended and Eric has become more of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer and Genius Ditz.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: He was liked by everyone in early seasons, but after he becomes a deranged Cloudcuckoolander, the other characters often don't like having him around and is seen as an embarrassment even by his own family.
  • Friend to All Children: His own Manchild 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. Lampshaded by Jack in Girl Meets World:
    Jack: You're still an idiot genius, aren't you?
  • 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.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Being a girl-crazy teenager was his defining trait in the first few seasons, before his Flanderization into a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Large Ham: In the later seasons. He started out fairly subdued, but as Eric got crazier and Friedle developed better comic timing he added more and more ham to his performance until he became a full on large ham by about season six.
  • Manchild: Up to Eleven in later seasons.
  • No Party Given: When he runs for [[and is elected to]] the United States Senate, challenging incumbent Senator Jefferson Davis Graham, his political affiliations are not stated. However, he's confirmed to be registered in a party, the same one as Senator Graham, because they participated in a primary race against each other. His political beliefs seem to align more with the Democrats, however.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • There's evidence that at least some of Eric's stupidity and wackiness is put on, sometimes to get out of work and sometimes just for his own amusement.
    • In Girl Meets World he intentionally messes up Maya's name because it's funny. When he becomes depressed he stops.
    • In a later episode he subtly manipulates Jack right from the beginning into becoming a better person.
  • Out of Focus: As the series would start to take a more dramatic turn, and Eric got sillier and sillier, he would start to lose a lot of his initial prominence to Shawn and Topanga. While Eric would get his own ocassional spotlight episodes note  he was mostly relagated to being Plucky Comic Relief.
  • Papa Wolf: He can be a Papa Wolf to Cory, especially when he stands up to a bully bigger than him.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: In later seasons he provides all the funniest moments.
  • Reality Ensues: As his senior year went on, he made a big push to get into college, only to ultimately be rejected by every place he applied to. He admits it was rather stupid to think he could make up for more than three years of goofing off in just a few months.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Despite his ditzness, he can give his friends reasonable advice and has his moments of brilliance.
  • 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.
  • 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
Played by: 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. He makes one guest appearance on the spin-off Girl Meets World, where he reconnects with Eric and Cory after many years apart.

  • 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 Bus Came Back: He appears only once on Girl Meets World where it's revealed that he became a successful businessman after college.
  • 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.
  • Nice Guy: Until season 7, where he becomes sort of a dick. Thankfully, he reverts to his kindhearted self when he guest stars on Girl Meets World.
  • 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, he becomes rather vain and self-centered in season 7.

    Angela Moore

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. 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.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • She lets Shawn believe that their break-up in freshman year is mutual so that he won't stop searching for who he is.
    • Then again 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 resulted in them going their separate ways to find happiness, and that he should no longer be afraid to become closer to Maya's mom Katy.
  • 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.
  • 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 few lines lampshading this trope.

    Rachel McGuire
Played by: Maitland Ward

Eric and Jack's neighbor, who they take in after her ex-boyfriend kicks her out.

One of two series regulars (the other being the short-lived and long-forgotten Mr. Williams) to never make a reappearance in Girl Meets World, although she is name dropped when Eric mentions that he still keeps in touch with her and considers her one of his best friends.

  • Dude Magnet: 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 her spaghetti footsie and other teasing antics in "Hogs and Kisses." (Maitland Ward became a real-life Ms. Fanservice (after retiring from mainstream acting, first as a cosplay model and eventually as an adult film actress.)
  • 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.
  • Put on a Bus: In the finale of the original series, Jack and Rachel move away to lead a happy life together.
  • 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.
  • Statuesque Stunner: The tallest of her peers and a Dude Magnet. She also uses this surprising height to immediately discourage a snooty girl from picking a fight with her.

Matthews Family

    Alan Matthews
Played by: William Russ

Cory, Eric, Morgan and Joshua's father.

  • Bumbling Dad:
    • 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. See Papa Wolf below.
  • Dad the Veteran: Former US Navy
  • Good Parents: To his kids as well as Shawn.
  • Former Teen Rebel: After Shawn blows up a mailbox with a cherry bomb, Alan tells Cory his relationship with Shawn is just like the relationship he had with his childhood best friend. Cory is surprised he had a friend like Shawn, but then Alan clarifies he was the one who was like Shawn.
  • Happily Married: To Amy.
  • Papa Wolf: To Shawn, before and after Chet dies. A notable example comes in "Cult Fiction" where Shawn joins a Cult, when the cult leader accompanies Shawn to the hospital after Mr. Turner gets into an accident, Alan tells the cult leader to get lost. When the leader starts going on about how judgmental everyone is being, Alan pushes him up against a wall and tells him that he will kill to protect Shawn. The cult leader, unfortunately, isn't fazed.
  • Retired Bad Ass: Not only was he a US Naval Officer, but a champion boxer as well.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: On a couple of occasions.
  • Silver Fox: In Boy Meets World, he was auburn-headed. In Girl Meets World, his actor's hair has turned entirely gray with age, and given his interactions with his wife, he qualifies as studly enough to fit the bill.

    Amy Matthews 
Played by: Betsy Randle

Cory, Eric, Morgan and Joshua's mother.

    Morgan Matthews 
Played by: Lily Nicksay (Seasons 1-2), Lindsay Ridgeway (Seasons 3-7), Lily Nicksay and Lindsay Ridgeway (Girl Meets World)

Cory's little sister.

  • Alliterative Name: Morgan Matthews.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Especially to Cory. She often makes fun of her older brothers.
  • Big Brother Worship: Seemed to have this for Eric, only in season 1 when she was portrayed by Nicksay.
  • The Cutie: In early seasons when played by Lily Nicksay.
  • Demoted to Extra: With the second season Retool shifting the focus from Cory's place within his family to his place within the high school hierarchy, Morgan's role became much smaller (especially as Eric's role got bigger, by virtue of him also being a student at John Adams High).
  • In-Series Nickname: Called "Weasel" in Season 1 by Eric on several occasions. Cory refers to her as this once as well.
  • Little Miss Snarker: When she returns in season 3, after the actress switch, she becomes a sarcastic character.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: She's the only girl with two older brothers, and one younger one.
  • 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 
Played by: 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's 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, according to Amy, 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.


    George Feeny
Played by: 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 in a brief cameo (as a figment of Cory's imagination) as a "passing-of-the-torch" gesture to Cory. Feeny later returned for multiple appearances, 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: Mr. Feeny is by far the locus of all benevolence and wisdom in the show, always reliable, and the one who calls out people the most when they deviate into the wrong.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: A variant, Played for Drama in the final episode of Boy Meets World, and his most touching moment in the entire series, fittingly. Feeny's students want him to tell him how much he cares about them and how much he'll miss him, but he cannot bring himself to say the words in front of them. Then... when they all have left his company, he delivers the piercing last line of the series (thankfully not the very last in the grand scheme of things):
    "(choking up) ...I love you all... (regains his composure) ...Class dismissed."
  • 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. By the time of Girl Meets World, he's become legendary enough to appear on inspirational posters on the streets of New York.
    Feeny: I'm cool. God, help me.
  • 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).
  • Fake Nationality: Feeny is from Boston (just like John Adams); William Daniels is from New York. He speaks with a Mid-Atlantic accent that could fit either background (which is Daniels' own).
  • 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: Mr. Feeny puts up with Eric's wacky treatment of him (including the vaunted Feeny Call) for years. Finally, at the end of the show, Eric gets him to admits he enjoys the Feeny Call.
  • 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 young professor Stuart showed his true colors, Feeny did everything possible to support both Cory and Topanga.
  • Parental Substitute: He's outright a second father for the group, with Topanga outright calling him more of a father than her actual dad in the finale of Boy. Their affection for him (and vice versa) never diminished even into their adulthood, as they all speak very highly of him to young Riley and Maya.
  • Psychologist Teacher: He tries to avoid it in the early shows, imparting life lessons begrudgingly outside of the classroom. After Mr. Turner disappears between seasons, Feeny fits this trope much more readily, having given up any semblance of trying to maintain a professional distance in his relationships with the main cast of students (to the point that, when he resists telling them he loves them in the Grand Finale, none of them believe him). It gets to the point that he gets upset after an incident involving Cory pushing his father, because nobody sought his advice about it.
  • 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.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: His Establishing Character Moment. Cory learns that George Feeny lost out on a chance to have a family when a romance during his youth smoldered out, and ever since, he has spent much of his life as The Aloner, who sets a table for a failed dinner date. This is much of the reason why he's so stiff and curmudgeonly. It isn't until Season 6 that Feeny lands true love and overcomes this aspect of his character.
  • Stern Teacher: A stern but wise Cool Teacher.

    Jonathan Turner 

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.
  • Catchphrase: "Are you kidding me?"
  • 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 Odyssey? He tells them to read X-Men and that the class discussion will be a compare/contrast.
  • Convenient Coma: A rather dark example, used so he can be written out, as the last we see of him in the original show, he's been involved in a car wreck and doesn't come out of his coma. It isn't until much later in a throwaway comment by another disappeared character several years later that he got okay offscreen, so we can infer Jonathan was in a looooong coma.
  • 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, which was the one where he went into a coma for an indeterminable amount of time and was quietly written out until gently acknowledged and officially brought back much, much later.
  • Honorary Uncle: To Riley in Girl Meets World, who often calls him Uncle John.
  • Parental Substitute: Served as a necessary adult presence in Shawn's life while the latter's mother ran off and father followed after her. In Girl Meets World, Maya (who herself wants Shawn to serve as her own father figure) asks self-consciously asks him how close they were, given how he wasn't Shawn's real father. Turner assuages her fears by affirming that he loved Shawn like a son, and still does.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He was relatively open with his students and tried his best to engage his students in ways they would find appealing.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: With Mr. Feeny.

    Eli Williams 
Played by: Alex Désert

Mr. Turner's best friend who gets hired as a media arts teacher at John Adams High.

Alongside Minkus, he enjoyed the shortest tenure as a regular character (only one season) and alongside Rachel, never appeared in the spinoff Girl Meets World.

  • 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 
Played by: 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 
Played by: Lee Norris

Cory and Shawn's nerdy classmate in the first season. Due to his actor being signed on for another show following this season, Minkus was said to have simply ended up taking classes in a separate department from Cory and company, and in his reappearance, asserted himself as Topanga's rival. He makes a brief return around graduation time.

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.

  • Butt-Monkey: Often picked on by Cory and Shawn. That said, he's also quite arrogant towards them.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Lampshaded when he returns in the graduation episode (in which he claims that he spent the last four years "in the other part of the school").
    • Minkus makes a proper return for Girl Meets World, making him the first character to do so other than Cory, Topanga, and Mr. Feeny. He becomes a recurrer on Girl Meets World, (ironically) appearing more often than any other BMW regular except for Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Mr. Feeny (they're tied at five appearances).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Minkus always gave as good as he got in the snarking department.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: He initially appears to still be bitter about it as an adult, though a subsequent appearance shows that his marriage is a generally happy one. As a result, his comments about Topanga choosing Cory could come off as more wistful and bemused than genuinely annoyed.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Their worries about Farkle potentially having Asperger's leads to Cory and Topanga reassuring and comforting them, bringing the four much closer together than they were as kids.
  • Good Parents: He's a caring and loving father to Farkle, claiming that despite his successes, he's most proud of his son.
  • Happily Married: He ended up marrying Jennifer Bassett. While they both make jokes about her forceful personality dominating their relationship, they ultimately appear to play off of each other quite well. They also both show a deep and genuine love for their son.
  • Insufferable Genius: Cory and Shawn often found him incredibly grating when they were growing up. Later in life, Topanga becomes annoyed when she discovers that Stuart and Farkle have accumulated more As in school than she and Riley have.
  • Last-Name Basis: The only person who calls him Stuart is Topanga.
  • 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. Farkle is also elevated to the main cast in the second season, which alone causes 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.
  • 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 
Played by: Danny Mc Nulty

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 another 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. In "Girl Meets the Forgotten," while lecturing the kids, Cory asks Harley if he feels bad when kids make messes, Harley responds that he feels that he deserves what he gets.
  • Big Bad: Harley can be seen as this, considering that he is the overall leader of the bullies.
  • The Bully: In the original show's first few seasons, Harley is a delinquent who razzes Cory and Shawn. Later on, he is forced to attend reform school as punishment for his misdeeds.
  • Bully Turned Buddy: The Bully who antagonizes Cory in Boy Meets World Took a Level in Kindness and becomes friend with him in Girl Meets World.
  • 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 in the original series is "Harvey", but by Girl Meets World, it's retconned back to just Harley
  • Gang of Bullies: Leader of one.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Cory had pity on Harley, and helped him secure a job as a custodian at John Quincy Adams school. Thanks to this one generous act from Cory, Harley became a person who deeply cares for children, especially those who were bullied. In addition, he has grown to idolize Cory, resulting in a close friendship. So much to where Cory uses Harley as backup to teach his students a lesson sometimes.
  • Hidden Depths: Contrary to how he may seem, Harley acted downright sophisticated at times. In Girl Meets World, it's revealed he has a liking for music and arts.
  • Honorary True Companion: Ultimately becomes one to Cory. In the final episode of Girl Meets World, Harley is one of the many friends and family members that Topanga recruits to get advice on whether or not she, Cory, and the kids should move away. However, we never get to hear Harley's piece of advice. His actor Danny Mcnulty revealed on Instagram later on that he and Minkus shared a scene together where they both gave their opinions and in the process, tell the Matthews' how much they would miss them.
  • Honorary Uncle: Sort of averted; Harley is the only close friend of her father that she doesn't call "Uncle". She's very fond of him regardless, and the sentiment is mutual.
  • 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. In the Boy Meets World episode, "Sister Theresa", Harley indirectly reveals that he thinks Cory is a good guy and would want his sister to date someone like him.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Played straight and played hard. In Boy Meets World, he got sent to reform school for his life of bullying. In Girl Meets World, we learn this didn't help him prosper much. Being a delinquent in his youth ruined much of his prospects, and now the best thing he's managed to do with his life since growing up is hold down a post as a custodian.
  • 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. He and Cory, his former favorite victim, are now pals.
  • Undying Loyalty: To both Cory and the kids at the school in Girl Meets World.
    • Several of his episodes have him emphasize his gratefulness to Cory and showing him friendship even when Harley had spent so much of their childhood picking on him. This includes bemusedly recognizing one of Cory's lessons playing out in "Girl Meets Rules" and reporting back to him about what each of the kids in detention were doing. Even when he makes call backs to their youth by bringing back Cory's "Baboon" nickname and asking for his lunch money, it's done in a good-humored way where Cory is in on the joke.
      Maya: (Regarding her rule-breaking) So, you were like me. What changed you?
      Harley: Well, it turns out, there's always two doors. (Looks at Cory) He showed me the other one.
      Maya: (Looks at Cory meaningfully)
      Harley: (Clasps Cory's shoulder) It's good to know there's someone like that around.
    • Regarding the kids, Harley takes great pride in his janitorial work, looking at it as a way to make the school comfortable for years' worth of students who inevitably shuffle in and out. In "Girl Meets Legacy", Lucas thanks him for the positive influence Harley's had on him. Harley is genuinely touched, and offers some final advice for the future.
      Harley: Thanks for saying bye to me, Lucas. It means a lot to me. Make good decisions.

    Frankie "The Enforcer" Stechino 
Played by: 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 good friends with Cory and Shawn.

Stechino had the longest run of any recurring student character in the show's history, and the second-longest overall behind Chet Hunter, appearing in four consecutive seasons (2-5), the entire John Adams High era, and the majority of the show's run (albeit his only season 5 appearance is a one-shot cameo in the season finale).

  • 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.
  • Good All Along: As proven by his reform, he was never truly a bad person he only did what he thought help him fit in.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After stepping out of Griff and Harley's shadows.
  • Hidden Depths: Frankie was a Gentle Giant.
  • I Just Want Friends: The only reason he ever associated with Harley, Griff, and Joey.
  • 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 
Played by: 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 
Played by: Adam Scott

Second leader of the John Adams High bullies.

  • The Bully: Downplayed; He's more of a slick-talker rather than a bully as he doesn't go out of his way to pick on anybody, and doesn't physically harm anyone. He actually seems to like Cory at times, unlike Harley.
  • 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
Played by: 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. He appears in every season except for the first, making him the longest running recurring character on the series. His appearances in the Season Seven episodes "Family Trees" and "Brave New World, Part 2" were as a ghost.

  • 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.
  • The Bus Came Back: Reappears in Girl Meets World as a ghost of course to encourage Shawn about his relationship with Maya and her mom.
  • 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. Returns again as a spirit in Girl Meets World.

    "Vader" Stecchino 

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 
Played by: Julius Carry

Angela's father, serving in the military away from the country.

  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Played with. He shows he can be the trope, even enforcing it when questioning Shawn about his relationship with Angela, but once he starts hearing more about Shawn's past, he shifts gears. Played straight with the ROTC candidates, though, as after what appears to be one day everyone quits.
  • 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. Makes sense given the actor died before the sequel series premiered.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: To a degree. He's a Master Sergeant with all the discipline and tough attitude that comes with it, but once he learns more about Shawn he drops the shouting and the hardass attitude and asks his daughter why she's so scared of being with Shawn.
    Sgt. Moore: I already like him. [beat] But I like my country more, and I don't want this boy anywhere near the Army.


A little boy to whom Eric acted as a Big Brother Mentor. He was later adopted by a family in California. He later goes by Thomas Jonathan "T.J." Murphy in Girl Meets World.

  • Break His Heart to Save Him: In order to get Tommy to go with the family in California, Eric flat-out told Tommy that he wasn't going to adopt him. Tommy later understands why he did it as an adult and tells Eric that the family was great and Eric giving him up was the best thing anyone ever did for him.
  • The Reveal: In the sequel series, Girl Meets World, T.J. Murphy, a political activist who helps Eric run against a corrupt senator and founder of a website called Thorn in Your Side, turned out to be Tommy.


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