Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Life lessons from “Boy Meets World”

Alyssa Rosenthal ’13

Managing Editor

As I’m sure most of you know by now, Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel recently signed on to reprise their roles as Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence on the TGIF staple “Boy Meets World.” The new show, titled “Girl Meets World,” will follow Cory and Topanga’s lives as they raise a 13-year-old daughter. With all the buzz about the sequel and the speculation of which characters from the 90’s hit will make appearances on the new show, I’ve found myself thinking about what made “Boy Meets World” so special during its seven-year run. Aside from being incredibly funny, the sitcom explored themes and taught life lessons that have stuck with me since the show ended and that I hope will be woven into the new show as well. That being said, here are the most important life lessons I learned from watching “Boy Meets World.”

Be yourself no matter what. We all remember when Cory, Shawn, and Topanga were in middle school and Topanga dressed like a hippie and was constantly talking about the strange things she would do with her parents. Cory and Shawn always made fun of her for being “weird,” and she was better friends with Minkus, the token stereotypical nerd, than she was with the two main characters. Fast forward a few years, and Cory and Topanga are dating and along with Shawn the three of them begin to develop bonds that rival those of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. We know that these relationships endure through college and Cory and Topanga get married, and I know everyone is hoping to see Rider Strong reprise his bad boy on the sequel. All of this happens after we meet a rather bizarre, unique, 12-year-old Topanga who refuses to change for anyone, and still finds the love of her life. Topanga taught young girls that it is okay to express yourself however you want, and that you don’t need to conform for life to work out in your favor.

You can be tough and emotional at the same time. This is one that people might have missed, because it didn’t come up in every season. Remember Harley Keiner, the bully in seasons two and three who dressed like John Travolta in “Grease”? He was constantly putting Cory in lockers and intimidating the middle schoolers, but he had a poetic and emotional streak that he often tried to hide. He didn’t really reconcile with this until he returned to the school and had to confront Griff, who had taken his place, and he came to terms with who he was as a person. I’m not saying that the show made it alright to be a bully, but it did show that there is often more to people than meets the eye, and that accepting this will help you form relationships and better appreciate people for who they are.

And finally, my personal favorite and the one that nearly every “Boy Meets World” lover will remember; “life’s tough, get a helmet.” Because we all empathize with Cory, we were definitely a little frustrated when Erik smacked him on the forehead and delivered this message, but by the time Cory gives it back a few seasons later we’ve come to understand that Erik might have been a little smarter than we thought. Life is tough, and we need to be prepared for anything and everything it might throw at us. “Boy Meets World” taught us to put on our metaphorical helmets and attack life head on, because if we do we will be rewarded. It might not be with a fairytale-esque love story a la Cory and Topanga, but it is the only way to take advantage of everything life has to offer, and “Girl Meets World” will be the perfect opportunity for us to make sure Cory and Topanga are doing just that.

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