My name is Melissa, I am almost twenty five years old, and I am a huge fan of Girl Meets World.
Like most people my age, I grew up watching a little show called Boy Meets World. Seeing Cory Matthews and his best friend Shawn Hunter travel through teenage perils made my eyes widen in wonder. Would I go through the same situations as them? Could I get through it with humor and understanding? Would I be a good person like Cory and Shawn? (I turned out fine, if you were wondering.) The show ended with Cory, Shawn, and Topanga moving to New York to start their adult lives, and I was left with a hole in my heart.
On June 27, 2014, the hole was filled by a show called Girl Meets World, the sequel to Boy Meets World. The show follows Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley, and her best friend, Maya, as they navigate teenage life. Sound familiar? I will admit, I was very nervous when the show was originally announced. Disney Channel shows lately are very slapstick and nonsense. They don’t hit the issues that kids go through and try to encourage them to work through them. Boy Meets World originally aired on ABC, where they had that room to move. Now that Disney owns the rights to the show, they tend to ignore episodes, like the teen drinking and premarital sex episodes, that could actually teach something.
Girl Meets World has been doing a stellar job of teaching lessons that were overlooked in the original series, one of the biggest ones being sexism. Our two main characters are female, whereas the two main characters were male in the original show. We get to see the opposite side of the coin: how are girls treated as opposed to their male counterparts? Shows today tend to shy away from dealing with this head on or won’t acknowledge the issue. Girl Meets World does. In the latest episode, “Girl Meets STEM”, Riley’s class has a science experiment assigned where one partner had to put a ball of sludge in a beaker while the other tried to figure out the results. The partners were male/female. When the partner assigned to the sludge ball went to fulfill their part of the experiment, all of the girls ended up being the ones assigned to the sludge by their male counterparts. The science experiment ended up being a social experiment about girls and boys. Riley refused to hold up her end of the experiment because of the unfairness of the situation. Everyone caved. Teacher explains the meaning of the experiment, lesson learned, roll credits.
Why is this show so great, then? First, you have Riley. She is pretty naive but sees the world through open eyes. She starts each episode thinking things are sunshine and rainbows, then is faced with the problem at hand. She assesses each situation and tries to find a fair and equal solution for all, like her mother and father before her. Then you have Cory, who stepped into the role of Feeny effortlessly. He relates historical events to issues that kids go through today. He combines teaching, parenting, and compassion masterfully. Lastly, you have Topanga, “an Amazon warrior,” as Maya lovingly calls her. Topanga grew up to be a lawyer. She fights for the little guys, but still keeps her feminist beliefs close. Topanga is the guiding light for Riley and Maya to become strong, confident women.
The show has also highlighted the importance of teachers and all the hard work they put in, the struggles of someone on the Autism spectrum and the animosity they feel, the hurt of having a parent walk out, and so many other things. If you chose not to watch the show because you thought it wouldn’t hold up to the original, try it.
Have you been watching? What is your favorite episode so far? Comment below and we’ll discuss!