I’ve truly enjoyed this blog project and being able to rediscover and reconnect with a television series that was a large part of my childhood, Boy Meets World. It is really interesting how my views have changed over time though and what I notice now that I didn’t really notice when I was watching the show when I was younger.
For example, I don’t think it ever entered my mind when I was younger that Cory and Topanga are very young to be telling each other that they love one another. To me, when I was younger, that seemed perfectly reasonable but going back and watching the episode in which Cory first tells Topanga that he loves her, I realize that they’ve really only been dating a few weeks. That’s moving really fast, even for puppy love. Who knows, maybe I have become slightly jaded by the world, even though that’s normal, but it is hard to believe that these 8th graders really do grasp what true love is. The writers of the show can have their character say what some aspects of loving someone are, wanting to take care of them and be with them for better or worse, but that doesn’t make it necessarily believable when it’s coming from an 8th grader. But hey, they did stay together for most of the series and then got married so maybe they did have a better grasp on love than I was giving them credit for.
I think now that I’m older and have been exposed to more dramatic television, I have also come to greater appreciate the simplicity of these storylines. Typically, Cory and Shawn get in trouble for doing something stupid, they lie to try to cover it up, finally have to come clean, and then learn a lesson through it all. Most conflicts are always resolved by the end of the show so the plot arc must occur and resolve within 22 minutes of storyline. Life is not nearly that simplistic or easy to tie together so I truly appreciate the release from reality you can experience when viewing entertainment that typical has a happy ending.
This episode dove more into the dynamic of the young but loving relationship between Cory and Topanga. At this point, they’ve been together over three months or so and they both mean a lot to each other. Topanga gets sick and has to stay home from school. Well, once she is out on sick leave, all of the popular, attractive girls in school start swarming Cory because they are attracted to the fact that he is taken and therefore something that they cannot have. Cory likes the attention but plays with fire when one of the prettiest girls, Missy Robinson, invites him and Shawn over to a “party” at her house.
Long story short, it wasn’t a party. It was two guys, and two girls, and the girls had one intention, which was to pair off with the guys and make out. Cory withstands the come ons of Missy for most of the night but ends up giving in and kissing her. He is devastated that he betrayed Topanga and ends up telling her everything that happened. She is at first upset, and then angry, but ultimately ends up forgiving him if he promises to never cheat on her again.
The theme I gathered here is that we shouldn’t play with fire- this time in a metaphorical sense considering that Cory has already has started a literal fire in his school as well. Deep down Cory knew what this girl’s intensions were. He didn’t want to tell Topanga about the party and convinced himself it was okay to go without her because lust and curiosity got the best of him. Ultimately it proved to not be worth it because he ended up hurting Topanga, who he has genuine feelings for and not just lustful thoughts.
Ahh, once again another prime example of our major characters being able to get away with far more than any of us would ever be able to in real life! In this episode, Eric decides to plan an illegal rave but comes across a major issue when he is reminded that the rave is the same night as his parents’ wedding anniversary. Instead of cancelling the rave or celebrating his parents’ anniversary on another night, he decides to just have a joint rave/anniversary party at which the Monkees, disquised as family and friends, get up on stage and play a few songs as well.
I’m sorry but this episode had to have the least amount of realism of all of the episodes I have watched so far. The boys get away without punishment, ONCE AGAIN, because they are able to lie, recover, and in this case have the Monkees play an apology song to smooth things over with their parents. Forget that this rave is “illegal” and that their parents, some teachers, and school principal are all in attendance- everyone is having fun and the Monkees are playing so everything is good. Really? Clearly this could never happen in any distorted realm of reality.
However, there was still a solid, all-encompassing theme present in this episode. In this case, it was the importance of family. Cory and Eric must work together to plan this party and once they discover that they have hurt their parents, they realize how important is to acknowledge how much the people we love mean to us, especially family. I think it is often easy now that many of us are living on our own to forget how important our parents and siblings are but we should all do what we can to make sure that they know how much we care about them.
In this episode, Shawn and Cory are on the hunt for a juicy journalism story, similar to how broadcast news students here must often find stories around our school as well. In their pursuit, they acidentally discover that the school janitor has been ducking out of school early to go play the track. Once the video proof that they have is shown to the public on the school’s television show, it is Mr.Feeney’s responsibility to fire the janitor even though he only had two months left before his retirement and before getting his pension.
The essential theme of this episode is crucial for other Grady students and I because it talks about the importance of the media to tell the truth but to also be prepared for repercussions involved in sharing that truth. Shawn and Cory were so excited to uncover a true scandal at the school but although janitor Bud should not have been doing what he was doing, the boys still felt bad that their story got him fired. Often working in the media world will present moral dilemmas like the one Shawn and Cory faced here and as media professionals, it is essential that we take into account the importance of sharing our knowledge versus the amount of harm sharing that knowledge could do. Sometimes it is worth the risk and sometimes it is not.
Thankfully Mr.Feeney has a heart of gold and although the school board made him fire Janitor Bud from his janitorial duties, he was able to find a loophole and employ him as his secretary long enough for him to get his pension. This also shows that sometimes, even though people don’t necessarily deserve it, we should do our best to give them a second chance. People screw up and we would want to be given a second chance if we were in their shoes as well.
This episode as well was also more focused on the character development of Shawn. Before Shawn’s dad just up and left him, they were living in a trailer park. Shawn went back to visit and when he was there, he found a baby pig that had been abandoned as well. He decides that he knows how this pig feels and that he wants to take it in and care for it in the way that Mr.Turner took in Shawn.
The conflict in this episode arises from the fact that Topanga believes that it is animal cruelty to raise a pig in an apartment instead of on a farm. Shawn and Topanga place Cory in the middle of their argument and try to force him to take sides. Cory initially sides with Topanga but once he finds out that she called animal control on Shawn, Cory changes his mind. Ultimately Shawn ends up getting to keep the pig and him and Topanga make up and probably become better friends despite their conflict.
The central theme of this episode is that sometimes there is not a clear right and wrong answer. Shawn was right in that he took the pig in and was taking care of him but Topanga had a valid point that pigs aren’t traditionally raised in an apartment. Cory is also forced to choose between the two, which isn’t fai because neither one of the, were wrong.
In this episode, Shawn and Cory shockingly enough get into trouble once again. The boys decided to sneek into school at night to turn in late chemistry papers. Well, all is going well until they start a fire accidentally. Shawn wants to just leave but as Cory does, he pulls the fire alarm. Doing so awakens the school janitor and essentially saves his life. The janitor sees Cory and shares the new of who saved him. Everyone in school then starts treating him like a hero because they have no idea that he started the fire. Only Mr.Feeney suspects foul play and he is ultimately the person that encourages Cory to come clean.
Something interesting to me in this episode and in this series in general is that although these kids get punished somewhat, it is never to the extent that students would today. In this episode Cory sets fire to his school for breaking in at night and he only gets detention and has to help repaint the school. Eric also buys a paper offline and is caught but doesn’t get expelled for academic dishonesty or receive a zero, he solely has to do the paper over. This lack of appropriate, severe repercussions ultimately leads to a decrease in the realism of the series in my opinion.
Despite my grievances, the theme of this episode is that honesty is crucial as well as integrity. I guess Cory had to learn the importance of both the hard way in this episode as well as what truly defines a hero. Mr.Feeney says that a hero is defined as “someone who does the right thing when the right thing isn’t the easy thing to do.” Cory had to own up to his mistake, just as Mr.Feeney expected he would, and because of that he is seen by Mr.Feeney as heroic. This episode also addressed the issue of fame and false popularity, both of which went away once Cory came clean. Another essential theme is that you really only need the people that’ll stand by you through thick and thin. Cory ends the episode with the quote that he’s “happy just being plain old Cory… I have my best friend and my girlfriend..that’s all I need.”
I this episode we get to know more about the hard and complicated life of Shawn. As previously mentioned, his family has left and he is now living with Mr.Turner but continues to miss class. Cory, being the good friend that he is, always lies for him but Shawn is forced to go see the school counselor to try to figure out his lack of motivation among other things.
Well the counselor in her attempt to bond with Shawn, reveals that she went to Paris, France to find herself before continuing on to college. Shawn decides that she’s advising him to drop out of school and attempts to run away. Shawn argues that he “can’t be happy in school until I’m happy about myself” but at the pleading of Mr.Turner, decides to come home and Turner promises to take Shawn to Europe over the summer if he stops skipping school.
I liked this episode because I think it is very easy for people, especially college students about to graduate, to relate to. What will be the next step we take? And do we really know all there is to know about ourselves? No, I don’t think so and neither did Shawn. I’m not arguing that a kid Shawn’s age should runaway but I do think you learn a lot more about yourself when you’re on your own, out of your comfort zone, in someplace new. Maybe we should consider the counselor’s advice. I only have one summer left in college and if I can, I’m going to France. I’ll have the trip of a lifetime and I will learn more about who I am and what I want to do in life.
Once again there is a slight disconnect between episodes because we now have no idea where Veronica went but Shawn is now back to chasing other girls. I argue that this is intentional to make him appear as a huge flirt and skirt chaser but it does leave the audience with unanswered questions, which can be risky due to potential confusion. The constant in this series though is Cory and Topanga, or so we believe until Cory tells Topanga that he loves her in this episode and she consequently dumps him.
Topanga is completely taken aback when Cory announces that he loves her and honestly, I cannot blame her. I, myself, was thinking “you’re in the 8th grade and haven’t even been dating long, how can you honestly be telling this girl that you love her?” But my view and the view of the audience largely changes throughout the episode.
Cory climbs into Topanga’s window to get some answers and shares that he knows he loves her by saying that “all I know is you and I belong together.. I’ve always been able to talk to you, to make you laugh, and I’ve always wanted to take care of you.” Topanga asks if that’s what it means to love someone and when Cory responds “yes,” she feels comfortable telling him that she loves him too. Although they are young, the audience is reminded that they’ve known each other forever and that they are also wise beyond their years.
Considering that this episode was largely sad despite the happy ending, Eric and Shawn were once again necessary throughout the episode for comic relief. There are numerous examples from Eric doing and saying ridiculous things in order to escape having to tell his girlfriend that he loves her to Shawn getting “thinking cramps” whenever he tries to help Cory come up with a good plan to get Topanga back.
The theme of this episode is that you should be honest and say how you feel, even though putting yourself out there can be dangerous. A line from the episode is that “without truth, you have nothing,” which is what encourages Cory to figure out why exactly Topanga dumped him. Through that he discovers that they feel the same way about each other but that she was solely scared to admit it. This is obviously something that almost anyone can relate to and you find yourself relieved and excited once Cory and Topanga get back together and she tells him she loves him as well.
The beginning of this episode makes it very apparent that there are always time gaps in between episodes and sometimes it is hard to figure out who is together, what has most recently happened, etc. It also doesn’t help that Shawn is always bouncing from girl to girl, like he does in this very episode, which revolves around him getting to date the infamous and beautiful, Veronica Watson.
The episode starts with a very public breakup between Veronica and her boyfriend, which of course encourages Shawn to jump forward, comfort her, and ask her out on a date within oh, about a minute. The humor that Boy Meets World is known for is evident here because when Shawn first asks her out for Friday she says that that’s too soon, she’s too heartbroken from her breakup, but then Shawn says “how about Saturday?” and of course Veronica responds saying that’s perfect. Glad one day can make the difference between being devastatingly heartbroken and being completely ready to move forward. Oh, if life was just that easy.
In this episode we also learn more about Shawn’s current living situation because he has moved in with Mr.Turner. The central conflict in this episode then arises from the fact that Mr.Turner lies and says he is going out of town for a wedding but he is in fact just staying in town to have a date with his girlfriend without Shawn being around. Shawn brings the beautiful Veronica back to Mr.Turner’s to escape the prodding eyes and questions of Cory’s family and Mr.Feeney and then runs away once he realizes Mr.Turner lied to him just because he wanted to get him out of the house.
The essential theme of this episode is established through the conversation Mr.Turner has with Cory’s dad once Shawn has run away. Mr.Turner is really upset that he has betrayed Shawn’s trust and he’s convinced he is not fit to be taking care of Shawn. He asks Mr.Matthews, “why do I feel so stupid?” and his response is “welcome to the parents’ club.” He continues to say that parents don’t always know what they’re doing and you can’t be perfect, but you learn as you go and all you can do is assure the kids that you love them and want what is best for them.
Like most episodes, this also ends on an entertaining note and with a line that is referred to as a Boy Meets World classic. When Cory is complaining to Eric earlier in the episode Eric says “Little bro, life’s tough, get a helmet” and then proceeds to hit him on the head. So to even the score, Cory switches the paper Eric is trying to turn and then uses the line back on him before hitting him and running away. This sibling back and forth is very believable and helps the audience bond with the characters even more.
This first episode of the season dives more into the intricate friendship between Cory and Shawn. The primary conflict in this episode is that the students have returned from summer vacation and now Cory has a serious crush on Topanga. He wants to ask her to be his girlfriend but he is too scared to. To get Cory to overcome his fear, Shawn asks Topanga out himself and along with Topanga’s friend, Trini, concocts a plan to press the exact buttons he knows will force Cory to finally gain the courage to take the plunge and put himself out there.
The humorous aspects of this episode stem from the fact that Cory has known Topanga for years but now that she has become more attractive to him, he has issues telling her how he feels or even maintaining a basic conversation. This diverges from the view the audience previously had of Cory because although he has a history of being slightly shy around girls, he’s typically a much better talker than how he becomes around Topanga in this episode. This further develops Cory’s character by making him seem vulnerable and sensitive, increasing the empathy the audience can feel towards his character.
A common aspect of every Boy Meets World episode is that there will always be a unifying conclusion, which typically resolves conflict and establishes a theme. The theme for this episode is that sometimes friends know what’s best for you and can help you get passed what’s holding you back, even if it’s yourself. Shawn had to think outside the box and deal with Cory being angry with him temporarily because he knew that ultimately it would bring Cory greater happiness.
This deeper view into the relationship between both Shawn and Cory and Cory and Topanga only further lays the groundwork that will be an essential plot aspect for the entire series of Boy Meets World.