Boy Meets World vs. Girl Meets World
Fans of the beloved show, Boy Meets World everywhere were overcome with joy when it was announced in late 2012 that Disney was in the early process of developing a spin-off of the popular 90’s show, with Girl Meets World. Fans were even more excited to find out that characters Corey Matthews and Topanga Lawrence of Boy Meets World would star in the new sitcom as the parents of the shows’ main character Riley Matthews as she faces the everyday challenges of life, starting with her journey in the seventh grade. It was also said that many characters from the original show would make appearances in the new series such as Corey’s parents, Amy and Allen Matthews, his best friend Shawn Hunter and of course, Mr. Feeney. But just how high are the expectations surrounding the new series, which debuts on Disney Channel June 27th? Probably pretty high, but where there are high expectation, there is also room for disappointment.
Boy Meets World was part of ABC Family’s T.G.I.F. Friday lineup from September 1993, to May 2000. The show followed the life of Corey Matthews, his friends and his family as they faced challenges in everyday life and had to find ways to work through the obstacles. The series was an immediate hit, generating millions of viewers each year. The show is largely considered one of the best shows of all-time. So the questions is this; how will Girl Meets World compete with Boy Meets World? Very simple. It won’t.
Boy Meets World had it all. It seemed every character in the show played a major role in many episodes. The problems the characters faced were real-life situations. Corey and Topanga had a relationship arguably none have seen in television. They broke up and got back together many times on the show. They had chemistry. Shawn and Corey had one of the best friendships ever seen on television also. They fought, they hugged, they cried. They did everything together.
At the time Boy Meets World in 2000, television was shifting from scripted TV sitcoms to reality television. Shows couldn’t keep up with the success rate that reality television was gaining. Disney Channel still had a solid run with hit television shows such as Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens. The shows were still considered family-oriented and dealt with teenage problems, but the shows were losing their stability. It almost seemed like the producers and writers of these shows were trying too hard to appeal to their audience and going over the top with unrealistic content. It seemed like Disney shows were trying to shift away from showing problems that kids face in reality, such as underage sex, drug use, and underage drinking, and instead just trying to entertain their audience with comedy.
Boy Meets World didn’t shy away from such topics. From the time the show ended in 2000, other shows and other ideas were taking over mainstream. The idea of having shows that dealt with such racy topics were being eliminated from new and emerging TV shows as a plan for Disney shows to play it safe. The notion of sex and drinking isn’t even considered being discussed on Disney shows today. Everything is clean-cut. Even today, the episodes Prom-ises, Prom-ises and If You Can’t Be With The One You Love, both aired in 1995 from Boy Meets World, are not aired on the network because they deal heavily with sex and underage drinking, respectively. Prom-ises, Prom-ises, was an episode that aired during the shows fifth season that had to do with prom and Corey’s attempt to have sex with Topanga in a hotel room on their prom night. If You Can’t Be With The One You Love was also a season five episode. This episode featured Corey stealing a bottle of whiskey out of his father’s liquor cabinet and drinking in order to dull the pain of his recent breakup with Topanga. Corey and Shawn both became drunk and urinated on a cop car in the episode. Sex was a constant topic as the characters grew up. In fact, once Corey and Topanga were married, sex became a re-occurring topic in their relationship.
Yes, those may be topics that are uncomfortable for some, but they are topics that are real. People can relate to them, because a lot of that happens in the world today. The fact that Boy Meets World wasn’t afraid to cover these issues is a big reason why the show was so appealing and successful. This is another reason why Girl Meets World will not be able to compete with Boy Meets World. With Disney’s restrictions on particular content, it won’t give the writers of the new show the freedom to pick ideas and topics that they had on the original show. Down the road, this could develop into a problem in finding new content for future episodes and could cause the show to become repetitive.
In fact, in the 1990’s ABC shows as a whole were a huge success because a lot of them, just like Boy Meets World were family oriented and appealing to audiences. Check out Family Matters and Full House for examples. Ratings soared through the roof because people could relate to the content on the shows.
Today, we see Disney Channel shows such as Dog With A Blog, where a family dog that talks is the center of attention. Dog With A Blog may appeal to children and young teenagers because of humor, but there really isn’t any real-life content that kids can relate to that would set the show apart from other shows they compete against for ratings. Today, Girl Meets World couldn’t possibly fit in Disney’s theme of safe teenager television shows if it even considers to make an impact in comparison with Boy Meets World. Girl Meets World will only work if it were on a different channel, such as ABC Family, where Boy Meets World was aired. ABC Family doesn’t have the same restrictions as opposed to Disney because they don’t necessarily appeal to the same audience. ABC Family is a bit more mature of a television network as far as viewer content is concerned. something that Boy Meets World thrived on. Girl Meets World simply will not be able to cover these racy topics because Disney Channel doesn’t approve of these issues.
ABC Family has many popular shows dealing with racy topics such as the shows, The Secret Life of the American Teenager and The Fosters. Secret Life is a show heavily based on teenage sex and enjoyed a strong run for numerous years on the network, and The Fosters is an up-and-coming show that is already gaining popularity while dealing with many different topics such as gay marriage.
Now it isn’t a fact that Girl Meets World won’t be successful today, but the fact that so many shows are watered down and the fact that the show is on a different, more kid-oriented and safer network so-to-speak really makes it difficult for shows today to contend with shows of the past 10-15 years. It is just a different time and a different place for television. If Girl Meets World can adapt to their audience or change their story lines or even change networks, then nothing is out of the question as far as the possible success that the show can have. Girl Meets World will spark some interest with multiple characters from the beloved 90’s hit making appearances, but in the end only time will tell if the new show is a success or a failure.
What do you think? Leave a comment.