Friday, June 13, 2014

When this Boy Girl Meets World?

There are only a few things that are guaranteed to turn me into a puddle of crying mush, and they are, in no particular order:

1) Any and all of Stepmom, starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. 
2) The episode of Adventures in Odyssey when Eugene becomes a Christian (don't judge, it was really significant when I was 12). 
3) When Dobby dies in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Or really, just all of reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
4) The end of White Christmas. 
5) "For Good."

All of these things are very sad, but there has not been a moment in pop culture history that continues to KILL me as this does, every time I catch a dang rerun of it. 

When Boy Meets World went off the air, it was May 2000, and I had just promoted out of Valley Academy, and I was a mess. I had friends that I was never going to see again, a teacher I loved and wasn't going to get to bother see every day, and the daunting prospect of starting an entirely new life, which, at 14, was too much. So, what did I do? Recorded a VHS of this episode, holed up in my parents' bedroom, rewound this scene over and over again and cried my eyes out for three months (My parents are saints. Believe me).

I say all of this to say that Boy Meets World has meant a lot to me over the years. I have seen every episode multiple times, and my brother and I continue to quote it to each other on the reg. I'm still not over the several episodes where Cory and Topanga broke up because Cory kissed Lauren the ski tramp. Mr. Feeny is still my role model. The Plays-With-Squirrels episode is, as far as I am concerned, a television gem to be preserved and enjoyed for many generations. So, obviously, when I found out that Disney was reviving BMW with Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel parenting their own kid, the world ceased to spin and I have been following all news of the spinoff fairly religiously. Well, Christmas has come early, and the free download of the pilot has shown up on iTunes! Naturally, I have already downloaded and watched it, and basically, sort of loved it. 

When we left Cory and Topanga in the last episode of BMW, they were off to New York, where Topanga had gotten an offer as an intern at a law firm. This is picking up in real time, we assume, since Cory and Topanga's daughter, Riley, is 13, which is about how many years the show had been off the air when they filmed the pilot. We don't find out exactly what Topanga's job is in the pilot, but we do find out that Cory and Topanga are still in New York, and Cory has taken up the post of middle school history teacher at John Quincy Adams Middle School (a homage to the setting of BMW, John Adams High School). Solid, and fits in with the character quite well, I think. 

"Let's not call it detention. I
prefer "Hooked on Feeny!" - George Feeny

There were quite a few things about the pilot that I enjoyed, and one of which was the casting of Riley. Rowan Blanchard reminded me SO MUCH of Ben Savage in the early episodes of BMW that it was a little scary. She had the same facial expressions and a lot of the same cute voice inflections, and she definitely has the same sort of innocence that Cory's character had in the beginning of the show. In the same way, her best friend, Maya, who is clearly supposed to be Riley's Shawn, was just enough like Shawn, but not at all the same character. I got a sense that she was going to be much more difficult to control than Shawn ever was, which should be interesting for Disney Channel, since most of their shows have plots like, "How many views will Jessie get on her blog this week?" or whatever. Of course, I also appreciated the obligatory cameo from my hero, Mr. Feeny, who appears to Cory maybe as a dream, maybe not, when Cory gives Riley her "key to discover the world" (an NYC MetroCard), and telling him "Well, done, Mr. Matthews." I almost teared up just looking at it. Love Mr. Feeny. 

I also appreciated that they haven't changed Cory's character as he has become a parent. Cory was always a bit of a meddler, and he hasn't changed in this incarnation. He actively attempts to separate Riley from the new cute guy in class, Lucas, by forcibly pulling his chair away from hers in the lunchroom (which looked JUST LIKE the BMW lunchroom and made me smile), and from the few scenes we saw of Cory and Topanga together, it appears that Topanga still disapproves of this here as much as she used to. 

Speaking of Topanga, the lack of her in the pilot is really the only negative thing I have to say about it (that and that Danielle Fishel's hair extensions are out of control. Seriously. No one has hair that long at our age. You look stupid.) I assume this is because the plot line of the older Matthews brother was cut from the pilot and most of her scenes involved him. Hopefully, we will see much more of Topanga in future episodes. 

I read on a compilation of Whisper posts that someone posted that they felt sorry for people who are still listening to Disney (guilty), rereading their same books from childhood (super guilty) and can't get out of the past. Well, with all due respect, sometimes, things that are as comfortable as your old pair of Chucks are just what you need. I am happy to say that Girl Meets World might be one of them.  

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