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Girl Meets World S01E01: "Girl Meets World"

The most unbelievable part of the Girl Meets World pilot isn't that Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) are now grown adults with children of their own, or even that Girl Meets World is a series that exists at all. It's that there's enough room for Riley (Rowan Blanchard) and Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) to move around on the New York City subway without accidentally grazing someone's boob or feeling like they might suffocate at any moment. Where is this magical subway? What is this magical world? Oh right, it's the extension of the one created in Boy Meets World, a place where you meet your soulmate in middle school and all of life's important lessons are taught over the course of 22 minutes by your insightful, advice dispensing neighbor, who also happens to be your middle school teacher, who happens to be your high school principal, who happens to be your college professor.

Boy Meets World and the idyllic scenario that it portrayed for seven seasons in the 1990s, chauffeured Cory and Topanga through their blossoming sixth-grade romance all the way to their eventual marriage and post-collegiate lives. It shaped and molded a generation during those years, eventually morphing from the childish series it started as, into a thoughtful story about adolescence and young adulthood. The series was always humorous, but it wasn't afraid to also tackle more adult subjects like sex, abandonment, alcohol, and loss. This is the series that taught us the power and importance of friendship, and in one of the series' finest hours, the idea that when you lose one friend, it's easy to lose all friends, and eventually yourself. 

Fans of the original series rejoiced last year when Disney Channel announced it was making a spin-off of the popular series featuring Cory and Topanga and their two children. The current television landscape is littered with antiheroes, with dark and depressing stories about murders and the end of the world, and so perhaps it should come as no surprise that viewers were desperate to feel the familiar heartwarming tendencies of a show like Boy Meets World again. Girl Meets World certainly fits the bill, but the series—the first and only born from our collective nostalgic desires—is not for Boy Meets World fans. It's a tween series on a tween network made for tweens, and fans of the original series should not expect anything more than that.

Oh yes, there's plenty for Boy Meets World fans to enjoy about Girl Meets World's pilot, including a fun cameo by William Daniels' beloved Mr. Feeny to close out the episode, but fans hoping to find a series about Cory and Topanga will be disappointed to find that they play little more than supporting roles in this new series. Fishel's Topanga barely registers in the pilot save for the wild reaction from the studio audience when she first appears. And Cory only has the screentime he does because his role as Riley's teacher and mentor requires it. If you're tuning in to find out what married life is like for Cory and Topanga 14 years after they left for New York in the BMW finale, then I'm sorry to say that's not what you'll get. 

But if you're tuning in to find a show about growing up and finding one's place in the world, then you'll probably walk away from the pilot a happy viewer. Girl Meets World is a worthy successor to its parent series, fits in well with Disney's current programming slate, and for a new generation watching the Disney Channel, the series is actually funny and well written. In the pilot, Riley's desperate to break out from her goody-two-shoes ways to be more like her daring and from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks best friend Maya. They lead a "no homework" rebellion in Cory's classroom, which ends badly for Maya when one of the sparklers she's stolen from Farkle (the son of BMW's geeky Minkus) to light everyone's homework on fire sets off the the sprinkler system. 

The episode ends as you expect it to, with Maya telling Riley she's a bad influence and Riley making the decision to not give up on Maya or their friendship. The similarities to the friendship between Cory and Shawn (Rider Strong) and Riley and Maya are obvious—perhaps a little too obvious, really—but their friendship is the basis for the series and it works just as effectively as it did in the original series. I fully expect to see the show give voice to these similarities somewhere down the line, preferably in a patented life lesson speech from Cory that he cribbed from Mr. Feeny.

Girl Meets World might not be the show we wanted it to be, but it's the show it needs to be for the Disney Channel and it will probably enjoy a nice run of episodes. Just as Cory has grown up and graduated from the young man we last saw 14 years ago, so have Boy Meets World's fans and we should probably just accept that we're not the show's target demographic any longer. Girl Meets World is very much a series about Riley and her own adventure meeting the world, because as Cory tells his daughter in the pilot, he's already met it. 



CLASS NOTES

– Riley's little brother Auggie doesn't get much screentime in the pilot, but his questions during Riley's meltdown resonated with me: "Do bears know how to smile? Why is cake always so delicious? Will my drawings ever get any better?" Screw Riley, I want to hang out with Auggie! 

– We still don't know much about Lucas AKA Riley's crush to end all crushes, but this is what we DO know: He's from Austin, Texas, thought a subway rat was a pony, and he knows geography well enough to find his way back to class after being dragged away by Cory. He doesn't talk much, but that will probably change down the line.

– Team Farkle. SHUT UP, HE RULES.


What did you think of the pilot?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 3/11/2016

Season 2 : Episode 30

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If anyone is still reading this review: What happened to Ben Savage's nose? If you watch Boy Meets World, his nose is short, round, and proportional, but is now longer and pointier. There is a character in the movie, "Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang", that is something of a child catcher and he has this ridiculously long, pointed nose. Now, every time I see Savage, I think of him.

The two girls could be twins.

Corey's parents are supposedly going to return in a holiday episode.

It's kind of a cute show. Maybe it might have been better on ABC Family though.
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I watched the first episode yesterday. The show was reminiscent of the first three seasons of Boy Meets World. Riley was very-well cast: Rowan Blanchard has the same face/facial expressions and mannerisms as Ben Savage, her on-screen father. This episode was reminiscent of BMW Season 2, Episode 4 "Me and Mr. Joad," where Cory led a rally against a test, except Riley rallied against homework (though Maya provoked the riot). I will be watching more of the episodes. On a side note, it was also great to see Jackée Harry in the subway. If only the show could work in an episode that features the cast of Sister, Sister.
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Great interview with EP Jaobs on YouTube: Unfortunately he confirms Will Friedle will not appear in Season One, but is hopeful that he may show up in the future.
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Oh! I just posted this. What a great interview!
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An aftershow that's 3.5 times as long as the actual episode...groovy.
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Was that the guy who plays Farkle in a wig as Back of the Class Brenda?!? Tell me that's HIMcause that kid is my favorite actor on this show regardless!
FARKLE RULES!
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It was alright and even pretty good at times. But at the end of the day it's a Disney show so I tried not to have too high of expectations. The setup of the show was very strong and I think it has great potential. I like how they managed to adapt the format with a totally different NYC setting and vibe. Could not stand Farkle.
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So. Cory:Riley::Shawn:Maya::Minkus:Farkle?

Topanga seems like a combination of Lucas and Back of the Class Brenda.
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kinda boring
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Yeah do a quick search for Girl Meets World and you'll find a few interviews with the cast and crew talking about how it's not only about Riley growing up but also about Cory and Topanga and how growing as a person doesn't stop once you reach adulthood. So even though I didn't find the Pilot very funny at all, I did appreciate the BMW references and the Mr.Feeny cameo. I'll be watching the rest of the series based on nostalgia alone. But I do hope Disney Channel allows for some wiggle room for What subjects the show can touch up upon. A lot of potential here, Disney, don't waste the opportunity.
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Only good thing in this episode was Mr. Feeny...Cory was ok,Topanga was bad,Farkle was f-ing moron,can't stand that troll,Riley boring,Maya one step away from selling herself on street and Lucas seems to old to be there...he's almost tall as Ben....
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Can't wait for the upcoming appearance by Minkus.

"So your name...is Farkle Minkus?"
"Don't wear it out."
"I don't see how anyone would."
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It's going to be bizarre.
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Are there clips of Mr. Feeny from, this pilot? I care not for the series. I just want to see the old characters. ;)
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It wouldn't be much of a clip. He shows up at the very end in Cory's imagination. You don't even get a closeup of him, and all he says is something along the lines of "Well done, Mr. Matthews," before he disappears.
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he shows up at end of episode
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Wow, the whole episode.
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He had one line, at the very end of the episode, during the credits. And also, his face is on a poster in the subway.
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I think leaving out Cory and Topanga in the early episodes is a good idea. The older audience already knows the idea behind the show and they need to get the younger ones on board. I think we will be seeing more of Cory and Topanga as the show progresses.
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So I guess the younger generations will enjoy it more.
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The first episode was alright, I could see myself liking the central friendship when they stop trying to hammer in the good girl/bad girl dynamic so hard. They also need to tone down the Farkle-yness of Farkle, I mean, Farkle is great and all, but I got tired of the first person Farkling.

The sound editing felt really off in a lot of parts, the laugh track cut in and out in a really audible way, and in at least a couple of scenes I had a small problem hearing certain characters.
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It's pretty much the exact show I thought it would be, which isn't a bad thing. It's definitely geared towards a younger audience, but it's nowhere near as obnoxious as a lot of the Disney shows can be. The Feeny cameo was entirely worth every minute. I'm sure as Riley and Maya, etc. are more established and fleshed out, we'll see more of Cory and Topanga. I'll definitely check out a few more episodes and always check in when we get some of the old gang showing up.
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I always find it puzzling when tv.com writers refer to and link to sites other than tv.com.
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You mean wikia?
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Second episode "Girl Meets Sneak Attack" is currently up on WATCH Disney. More lines for Topanga in the teaser alone than in the whole pilot...
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Because the target demographic for this show is the tweens...I didn't have high expectations. I pretty much thought it would turn out the way it is. The roles were way over acted unlike the show back in the days but much like the shows now. The little brother in the first scene just looked like he read lines off a cue card. and Cory just seemed like he was trying too hard to be a wise parent. overall pretty good though
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Because the target demographic for this show is the tweens...I didn't have high expectations. I figured it might be adorable and funny in its own way and that's exactly what it was.

Team Farkle! That kid had some awesome timing. Sadly, I think the weakest young actor of the lot is the young girl who plays "Riley" but I hope she'll get more comfortable.

I think I'll keep watching.
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Does Maya look like Britt Robertson's little sister to anyone else?
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Staff
My thoughts exactly.
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Okay!! That's what it is. I was looking at her other credits trying to figure out why she seemed familar. It's because she looks like Britt Robertson.
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It was nice to see Mr. Feeny, but why would there be a poster of a Philadelphia schoolteacher in a New York subway? Is Mr. Feeny the national spokesperson for the Stay-in-School campaign?
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I wouldn't be surprised to see the class travel to Europe or somewhere and Feeny's image is on a poster over there. He seemingly has the power to do anything he wants.
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When he got tired of being a college professor, he moved to NY and became a subway conductor.

He's now the best subway conductor they've every had, and he teaches all the other subway conductors how to be subway conductors.
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And when those subway conductors eventually move on to bigger and better things, Feeny will inexplicably find a way to follow them.
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I expected Girl Meets World to focus mostly on Riley and less on Cory and Topanga, especially for the pilot. I'm sure as the series progresses we'll definitely see more of them. Right now the focus has to remain on Riley to establish her character.

But I'm still hoping Eric will make an appearance sooner or later.
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Was slightly disappointed that we didn't see more of Topanga and Corey's point of view but if I'm being honest with myself I didn't really expect to.. The MR. Feeney reference was very touching but sort of gave off the vibe that his character is supposed to be dead? Did anyone get the sense of that? Was hoping he had a scene in the classroom with Cory or something but just the cameo enough was probably the highlight for me. We'll see how the rest of the season turns out as pilots are always a bit off. I did still get the Disney vibe from the show but far less than most of the stuff. It was also really cool seeing the end little tittle thing from the original series with that cool cut out music.
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Mr. Feeny's scene was more of a reference to his and Cory's final conversation in the last episode of Boy Meets World.

Cory: You coming with us, Mr. Feeny? You gonna sneak up on us in Central Park or something?

Mr. Feeny: No, I shall remain here.
Cory: No, you'll always be with us. As long as we live, okay?

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I thought the pilot was pretty good for what it is. The creator and cast have said all along that it would be a new show for a new generation. I think they tried a little too hard to appease fans of BMW by forcing references to the original show, with all the "my world" "your world" stuff, and the fact that every character has a counterpart in the other show. I wonder if we'll soon be meeting the class mean girls, Frankie and Joey.

I did enjoy the more subtle references, though. Like the school Riley goes to is John Quincy Adams Middle School, and that she gave Lucas a 'thumbs up,' like Cory gave Topanga in this scene.

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The show was enjoyable and could easily grow into something worthy of all the hype. Seeing Cory and Topanga together was definitely the highlight. Farkle was a mix of the intellect of Minkus, the eccentricity of early Topanga, and the over-the-top wackiness of later Eric--and thus is much more interesting than the rather bland Lucas (despite the EP already dubbing Riley and Lucas "the new Cory and Topanga.") Disappointed to hear that despite attending tapings. Will Friedle is apparently not appearing during season one.
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I'm a huge Will Friedle fan and have every hope he appears in the series--but not until the second season. Eric seems to me a character that would overshadow any episode he showed up in as anything more than a glorified cameo. Let the family we are getting introduced to establish themselves. If they want a "big guest" then it would be much smoother, I think, with Shawn coming to visit or something along those lines. Let Uncle Eric come in when we have a relationship with Riley built up and then we can see a real interaction between the fresh and the familiar. Just my personal thoughts.
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I saw it a week or so ago, it's been free on iTunes since then, and I enjoyed it enough to watch it when I notice it's on and I have nothing better.. but other than that, it's ok, better than normal Disney shows but still not as good as I had hoped. I never assumed Corey and Topanga would be in it much, it's not about them, it's about their daughter and her version of a Shawn.
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Actually, Girl Meets World is a Family show just like Boy Meets World was... So of course it is about Cory & Topanga also as well... They're main credit to the show offer as Riley's parents... Even on top of that there, Cory is spot centered into middle of it as their teacher...

Well, Riley can't find her away to grow-up and meet the world without her parents... Even into Boy Meets World Alan & Amy Matters and Feeny all show Cory & Topanga and Shawn thus meeting the world and grow-up....
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they would be on it, obviously, but they are in no way the focus just like the parents on BMW weren't the main focus. Their involvement in storylines will come and go when needed, but the show is ABOUT their daughter, not them or their old friends.
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Disney Channel can't make Girl Meets World, like any other Disney show on there... Involving around just only one generation, and skipping over the parents needs...

No, it's not just only about their daughter and her friend's journey... It's also about Cory & Topanga's journey with their own family living into New York City... Where their daughter and her friend comes to Cory & Topanga to be teach, learn and given lessons... Of course Cory & Topanga is involved with Girl Meets World, and it's also about them... It's safe to say this, Cory & Topanga became mentors of the show... Just like Feeny was with Boy Meets World...
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Keep on watching people!!!

You will see why Cory & Topanga is involved with Girl Meets World also about them.... And it isn't just only about their daughter and her friend's journey.... It's also the fact matter, about Cory & Topanga's journey with their own family living in New York City...

Yes, the main key is their daughter and her friends journey by fact of the next generation holds.... And their will be some Episodes doesn't come based around Cory & Topanga... But they're not really cutting down the parents with Girl Meets Worlds be say being air on Disney Channel... Because on their daughter and her friends journey... They need Cory & Topanga teach, learn, given lessons about life as the next mentors... Just like Feeny was with Boy Meets World....
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Farkle is awesome. Good stuff all around.
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I actually thought it was pretty hilarious and the girl who plays Maya is terrific.
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The acting wasn't stiff as most of Disney's other shows, and the writing was actually not bad, given the very common "Goody-two shoes wanting to be bad" plot. Way better than Disney's normal (from what I've seen of them.)
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There was enough nostalgia for me to enjoy the pilot, and would hope the target audience appreciates it on its own merit.
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