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YMMV / Boy Meets World

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  • Bizarro Episode: For a normally grounded show, "The Witches of Pennbrook" sticks out, with a coven of witches trying to sacrifice Shawn and Jack, and a deranged pilot putting Cory and Topanga in danger, and ending with a crossover with Sabrina the Teenage Witch...which carried into the next episode "No Guts, No Cory"
  • Critical Research Failure: in "A Kiss is More than a Kiss", Eric unwittingly buys a degree from a diploma mill when he thought he was applying to college. But major diploma mills selling to Americans since the 1980s have been designed to make the buyer at least somewhat complicit with process, because defrauding customers would give the government cause to go after their operations themselves, regardless of how much they have toed the line elsewhere. While it certainly fits Eric that he ignored all the fine print when firing off his large number of applications, Eli William's description of these operations was an inaccurate description of their go-to MO.
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  • Crazy Awesome: Eric on a good day.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Mr. Feeny, written as a stodgy Stern Teacher (albeit with Hidden Depths), gradually endeared himself both to his students and to viewers with his low-key, no-nonsense hypercompetent nature, his valuable and well-delivered life lessons, his absolute devotion to his discipline of teaching and, most importantly, his unshakable and unconditional (but never inappropriate) paternal love for his core students, all grounded by William Daniels' rock-steady, assured, and gravitas-laden performance. Feeny's reputation continues to live on decades after the show ended its run, with retrospectives and best-of lists routinely anointing him as the greatest teacher in the history of television, and among the best in all of fiction. It says something that he stands head-and-shoulders above Mr. Turner, who is absolutely no slouch as a teacher himself. Not bad for a role William Daniels nearly turned down for fear that it might mock teachers.
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    • Mr. Turner is ironically a retroactive one. He was introduced as a gambit to entice older viewers to tune in. It didn't work, and Turner eventually got phased out of the show. Despite that, he still remains one of the most popular characters of the series with the main fanbase, who eventually grew up to become the college-age demographic the showrunners were trying to target. It probably helps that Cory himself fits a similar mold to him in the spinoff series as he is a relatively new teacher.
    • Plays With Squirrels, Eric's Bad Future self who became a hermit after the group's friendships became irreparable in "Seven the Hard Way". Despite only being in one episode, and one of the most divisive episodes of the show to boot, Mr. Squirrels is popular enough with the fandom that Girl Meets World reveals that Eric still uses the persona to mediate disputes in the town he's the mayor of.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In a season 1 episode, Shawn goes on a fishing trip with Alan in Cory's stead. Cory accuses Shawn of stealing his dad, Shawn calls Alan "Dad" just to troll Cory and the whole thing is played for laughs. Cut to season 2's finale, and the gag takes on a sadder tone. Then when we get to season 6...hoo boy.
    • In the episode "Turkey Day", when Shawn suggests having Thanksgiving dinner with the Matthews and his mother supports the idea, Chet says, "Over my big, dead body." Ouch.
    • In a 2015 podcast with actor Phil Morris, Will Friedle, in the last 10 minutes, opened up about his ongoing struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. He still suffers panic attacks almost daily and said that this forced him to quit on screen acting, until his Role Reprise as Eric Matthews on Girl Meets World that same year. He was on medication towards the end of Boy Meets World, which caused his weight gain in the last season, but he also said that being medicated was the only reason he was able to get in front of a camera at all. It was never Friedle's intent, but knowing this makes watching Eric's weight gain being made fun of in "She's having my Baby Back Ribs" kind of awkward.
  • Growing the Beard: The High School Years, starting from Season 2 through Season 5, tend to be viewed as the highest point of the series quality-wise.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The Bad Future in "Seven the Hard Way" depicts Shawn traveling the world as a writer and photographer alone. In Girl Meets World, this is exactly where he ends up.
  • He Really Can Act: All of the cast got the chance to show off their dramatic chops but the best example is probably Will Friedle. Because his character was often the silliest his emotional scenes had the most impact. In "Eric Hollywood," he makes a pretty decent Romeo.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Alan's mid life crisis in "Cutting The Cord" about not wanting to be seen as an "old man" by the new baby becomes this when, in "Girl Meets Home for the Holidays", Josh says that he had Alan as a father at his best.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In one episode in season two Eric has a lucky towel that he calls "towelie", which is also the name of a talking, drug-addicted towel on South Park. Especially since later on in the show's run after South Park had premiered Eric started making a bunch of references to it.
    • Cory's last name is Matthews and Topanga's last name is Lawrence. In the fifth season Shawn met his half brother Jack, who is played by Matthew Lawrence. Talk about a coincidence.
      • On that same line, Will Friedle's middle name is Alan, the same as the Matthews patriarch.
    • In the season 1 episode "Teacher's Bet", Cory trades places with Mr. Feeny for a week and realizes being a teacher is hard work. Guess what career path he's chosen in the sequel?
    • Similarly, Cory has a line in "Class Pre-union" that's a lot funnier given where he ended up in the sequel: "You're gonna grow up to be your dad, you're gonna grow up to be a Feeny clone, am I the only one left here with some vision?"
    • Eric breaks up with one of his Girl of the Week who is a musician, she gets really popular by writing breakup songs about their relationship. A certain artist would later become quite infamous for this.
    • In "Easy Street," Shawn gets a job working at the docks and claims to have unloaded "the same Turkish freighter that brought in the Outbreak monkey!" He the rubs his hands on Cory's face and says he's taking him down with him. This is a lot funnier if you've seen Cabin Fever.
    • Some network executives must have taken notice of Eric's "Good Looking Guy" TV show idea, because the number of police procedurals starring Fair Cops has gone way up since the mid-90s.
    Eric: All day long I've been watching crimes on TV solved by old guys, by fat guys, by guys in wrinkled raincoats; so naturally, it occurs to me, what this world needs is Eric Matthews: Good Looking Detective.
    • Rider Strong pointed out on Twitter that the season 4 opening sequence, which involves Cory jumping into a convertible with his friends, resembles the memetically popular "Friday" music video.
    • "Picket Fences" had a running gag where Cory and Topanga were really fixated on the nook of their dream house. Girl Meets World has two nooks as the regular discussion place for the characters, one in the living room, and the other in Riley's bedroom.
    • In "Angela's Ashes", Cory reads a report of a person who died from a pigeon flying into their mouth, 1000 Ways To Die would later use the same concept
    • In the episode featuring the famous Plays with Squirrels persona of the Bad Future, Cory tells to Topanga to not tell Eric (aka Plays with Squirrels) that they have a daughter. Years later, they do have Riley. Whom he also calls his "niche".
  • Ho Yay:
    • Cory and Shawn, so very much. It's even joked about and parodied in-universe in later seasons.
    • Jack and Eric, to the point where a running gag of the WWII episode is Jack insisting that Eric is just his roommate.
  • Informed Wrongness: In First Girlfriends Club, Shawn is kidnapped by three of his ex-girlfriends because of his previous womanizing ways. Only problem is, one of the girls was a manipulative harpy who tried to force Shawn and Cory to stop being friends and another seduced Shawn to help her friend seduce Cory. Only Dana, who we did see Shawn profess real feelings for, had a genuine beef if he did indeed drop her as unceremoniously as she claims.
    • In the subplot of "Cyrano", the subplot revolves around Amy being mad at Alan for getting her a trash compactor for their anniversary. However, Alan points out he got it for her because Amy had wanted one for a while so it was actually a very thoughtful gift, yet she's upset because it wasn't expensive jewelry or anything, so Amy comes off as very superficial.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Jack, in "No Such Thing As A Sure Thing." True, it's his douche-season, but you can't help but feel sorry for the guy as you watch him struggle with his gambling addiction, even if it is Played for Laughs.
    • Topanga was needlessly harsh towards Cory at the beginning of season 7, but she was also visibly distressed and emotionally shattered by her parents' divorce after years of looking up to them as a shining example of undying love.
    • Angela was very rude towards Shawn after their breakup, but when it's revealed why she broke up with him (her mother walked out on her and she felt she'd do the same to Shawn and hurt him), it's really hard not to feel bad for her
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "UNDAPANTS!!!!"
  • Misblamed: Rachel received some flack from the fandom due to the events of The War and Seven the Hard Way kicking off due to her banning Cory and Shawn from her dorm room after they parked in her spot. Except, the parking spot was reserved due to her being R.A.. When they retaliated by (somehow) parking her car up in her room, she went to report it to Mr. Feeny, who merely laughed it off and borderline congratulated the pair for the prank, which she herself lampshades as she expected him to act appropriately considering all she heard about him. Disregarding the fact that she revenge-pranked them (and Topanga) back (with Feeny disregarding it yet again) alongside Angela, it was Cory and Shawn's last prank that went too far and endangered the whole group's friendship, alongside other factors.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Crossed when the bullies vandalize Mr. Feeny's house, and later threaten to do the same at the school. All because they didn't want to study.
    • In-universe, Cory and Shawn blowing up a revealing picture of Rachel and putting it on display in the Student Union was considered this, as before that they had merely been in a escalating prank war. Even they acknowledged that they went too far.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Psychotic Episode, full stop. As if Cory's nightmares about killing Shawn weren't bad enough, we have Eric's subplot with the crazy roommate keeping the stuffed corpses of his dead family members around...and it's implied he killed all his previous roommates! Yeah, it's no wonder the Disney Channel's not too keen on this episode.
  • Periphery Demographic: An interesting example, in that the producers were clearly trying to attract one (namely, young adult males), as the plethora of parental bonuses, bringing on old actors (though they often played against type), references to Beavis And Butthead and later South Park, the endless Lampshade Hanging and winks to the audience, and the entire existence of Mr. Williams and plotlines revolving around he and Mr. Turner all demonstrate... but they weren't really successful. Today, the show is fondly remembered by the actual target audience, Generation Y, as one of the most clever and creative shows to ever be part of the TGIF block. Of course, it's also popular with younger audiences who have seen reruns. But it never really caught on with the Gen-X hipster types.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Seasonal Rot: Season 7. It had a few good episode and some very memorable moments (i.e. "Plays With Squirrels"), but it was not very good overall. It had many wacky and cartoonish plotlines that didn't fit with the series, tons of Mood Whiplash between the wacky plotlines and serious plotlines, Flanderization up the wazoo, especially with Eric who went from being ditzy to being mentally insane, and just not as many laughs to be had. Fortunately, this was the final season and the finale ended the series on a good note.
  • The Scrappy: While Rachel wasn't all that popular before, she earned ire from the fanbase at start of season 7 for pretty much kicking Jack out of the apartment following their break-up over the summer, leaving both Jack and Eric (Who had previously moved out to give Jack and Rachel space after they started dating, but had just been asked to move back in by Jack) homeless as she had invited Topanga and Angela to move in following their own break-ups and misinterpreting something Jack had said as his intention to move out; it's especially harsh because her first introduction was when she's kicked out of her own apartment after breaking up with her boyfriend and Jack and Eric decide to take her in. From there until the end of the season (And series), she never really recovered her popularity because she came off as a self-centered bitchnote . She also receives a lot of flack due to the "The War" and "Seven The Hard Way" which all started because she banned Cory and Shawn from her and Angela's dorm room for stealing her parking spot.
    • Mr. Norton from Season 3 is universally despised for being a corrupt teacher in every sense of the word in a school where all the other teachers actually care about their job, and not even in a way that was funny. Thankfully his stint was short-lived.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Season 7's "She's Having My Baby Back Ribs" was written after criticisms over Danielle Fishel's slight weight gain over the past few seasons, and can be summed up as both "Nobody's perfect, so don't focus on slight flaws and focus on the positives instead." and the quote from Mr Feeny below.
    Mr Feeny: Unfortunately, we live in a society where we have to look a certain way, so we're all under pressure to live up to unrealistic expectations.
    • Also from Season 7, Topanga's ordeal with her parent's divorce gave the message "Love can die, but it's still worth having even if it's not forever."
  • Strawman Has a Point: At least in regards to "The War" and "Seven The Hard Way" - It was her reserved parking spot due to her position as R.A. and Shawn deciding to poke her with a stick.
  • Tear Jerker: Now has its own page.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: When Angela tells Rachel Topanga is pregnant in "She's Having My Baby Back Ribs", Rachel theorizes that's why Topanga and Cory got married. This would've made an excellent subplot or plot point in the main plot, yet it's never expanded upon.
  • Vindicated by History: In the episode "Picket Fences" Cory tries to buy a starter home for him and Topanga so they can leave their ramshackle apartment despite barely having any money. The realtor draws up a special mortgage plan for them so they can buy the house but the plan requires signatures from the parents, and Mr. and Mrs. Matthews refuse to sign it because they don't think Cory and Topanga will be able to make the payments. The moral of the episode is that you need to work to earn what you buy and not rely on others for help. This episode aired in 1999, many years before the late 2000s economic recession which was caused in part by this kind of financial behavior: young couples buying homes they couldn't afford through subprime mortgage payments.
  • The Woobie:
    • Shawn. After Character Development and Break the Cutie, it seems pretty reasonable that he'll join a cult in one episode to make himself happier. The later seasons didn't help with his development with Angela only for the two to break up due to Angela feeling she would up and leave him like her mother did (not helped by Topanga breaking up with Cory as well due to her Despair Event Horizon following her parents's break up). It doesn't get better with Girl Meets World either.
    • Eric, a LOT of bad stuff just keeps happening to the poor guy and no one ever takes him seriously. Not even himself.
    • Cory could sometimes be this in the show's early seasons, particularly a first-season episode where his status as middle child and only making second string on the basketball team make him feel worthless and unloved. The later seasons ampted it up with his devotion to Topanga and nearly losing her twice, the first being because some girl kissed him despite knowing he was dating Topanga and the second time being that Topanga was distraught by her parents's divorce that she didn't see Cory and her lasting long.


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