For over a year now, I have been a seesaw of skepticism and excitement, waiting for the premiere of Girl Meets World. I grew up watching Boy Meets World – you could say it was my first favorite show. A lot of my comedic style stems from that show, which means a lot to me as a comedy writer. Cory and Topanga were my first standard of romance, Shawn Hunter was my first real crush. Mr. Feeny was the teacher I always wished I had. Eric was (eventually) the hilarious weirdo of my dreams. In fact, I think Eric Matthews (or Plays With Squirrels as we cool people call him) is completely the basis of my love for weird humor.
I’ve watched the teaser. I thought it was cute, but disappointing. I watched the opening credits. I thought… that song is not nearly as iconic as the Boy Meets World theme (both versions!). But I was still going to watch it, this revamp of my adolescence. Of course. How could I not??!
Within the first five minutes of the pilot, I know that Girl Meets World is going to be great. The first scene, one we’ve already seen almost all of in the teaser, was a little extreme on the cheese factor. But mixed in with that cheese was a delightful humor and impeccable comedic timing on all accounts that just couldn’t be ignored. Girl Meets World is probably just as good as Boy Meets World. At least for a beginning. It’s got the same heart, that same ability to teach you a lesson while making you realize humans are more complex than you think they are as a kid, and the same humor. I laughed for the whole episode, caught by surprise by almost every joke, even the ones I should have seen coming.
The story focuses around Cory and Topanga’s daughter Riley (Rowan Blanchard), and her best friend Maya (Sabrina Carpenter). They have a similar dynamic to Cory and Shawn. Riley is the good girl, and Maya is the bad girl. In the pilot we learn the lesson that sometimes Maya needs to influence Riley, and sometimes Riley needs to influence Maya. Much like the old series, if not for the well-timed jokes, the script would feel like a bad after school special. But it doesn’t. Honestly, it’s perfect.
Cory is Riley and Maya’s teacher, and while it may be wildly unrealistic that a school would ever place a daughter in her father’s class, it’s so great for the show. Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel still have that same chemistry, it almost feels as if Boy Meets World was never off the air. There’s even a love interest for Riley, a very attractive (that was the best I could come up with trying not to be a perv about a hot little boy) Texas transplant named Lucas (Peyton Meyer) who at one point confuses a subway rat for a pony in the first really weird joke of the series. No doubt Maya will be playing the field for a few years. And a strange, overachiever named Farkle (Corey Fogelmanis) – who is Minkus’ son! And yes, Farkle is his first name. It’s also what he says out loud when he’s sleeping. He’s perfect. I love him. I love all of them.
Within the first five minutes of the pilot, I know that Girl Meets World is going to be great.
Despite taking place in NYC, all the of sets are reminiscent of the old set. The window in Riley’s bedroom, the classroom, the cafeteria. Although as a New Yorker, I was slightly irked by the fake subway station and the fake train itself. No, kids, you cannot open the subway door with your bare hands once it’s closed all the way, especially not without exerting any force. But, what can ya do.
All in all, I am so pumped for the rest of this season to come. I am so happy that a new generation of kids will grow up watching one of the great shows of my youth, and maybe even decide to check out the old series. And when it’s all said and done, that theme song that I wasn’t sure about in the beginning, I now find myself humming infectiously.
I think this is gonna be good, kids. I think this is gonna be very, very good.
Marla Pachter is a comedic writer, obsessed with all things television. She doesn’t discriminate against TV shows, which either results in pleasant surprise or an eviscerating review for your reading pleasure. Marla loves Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine Nine, and she will probably be watching new seasons of Grey’s Anatomy until she’s 90. Sometimes she writes TV shows herself, but they don’t air on television. She also likes big butts and she cannot lie. (That was a lie). @MarlaPachter