I’ve talked about a few of my favorite television programs before here on CXF. When it comes to discussing about the pick of the litter, I can easily name my favorite cartoon, drama, or thriller (and don’t worry, there’ll be write-ups about those in the future!). My favorite sitcom in TV history though, would probably have to be Boy Meets World. Its great characters, storylines everyone can relate to, and realistic look at life as a teenager had me tuning in every single Friday night from 1993 to 2000. While it wasn’t all great ( the last season especially was horrid), I would put seasons 2-5 among the best television in sitcom history.
Boy Meets World was a family-friendly show that premiered during ABC’s famous T.G.I.F. line-up where it remained for its entire run. The series portrayed the life of Cory Matthews, an average kid from Philadelphia who goes through life from a junior high pre-teen to a married college man. The show also explores his family and friends around him, including his best friend Shawn, girlfriend Topanga, older brother Eric, on and off younger sister Morgan, parents Alan and Amy, and next door neighbor, educator, and overall role model, Mr. George Feeny. Even though the last episode aired 14 years ago, its popularity remains intact today.
Now with the recent premiere of Disney Channel’s sequel series Girl Meets World which shows Cory and Topanga having their own family, complete with pre-teen daughter, years later, it opens BMW to a whole new audience. There were so many great episodes that it’s hard to limit it to just 10 but here you have it, the top 10 episodes of Boys Meets World:
10.) My Best Friend’s Girl (Season 3. Original Airdate: September 22nd, 1995)
This is an episode that has grown on me tremendously over the years. This is the one where Cory and Topanga first get together as a couple.
This was the premiere of Season 3 and was the start of a new school year. Cory hit puberty and after a lot of teasing throughout the previous seasons, he is finally determined to ask Topanga out. Little does he know it won’t be as easy as it seems. Double points for a guest starring role by the late, Brittany Murphy.
This was definitely a favorite growing up. Cory and Shawn pretend to be accomplished musicians so they can meet girls at school. The lie gets them in even more deep water when their “band” is hired to play the school dance. Meanwhile, Alan, tries to recreate his younger years as a musician by reuniting with some old bandmates, including guests stars, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork of the Monkees, and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick. This episode gave us Cory’s hilarious rendition of the name game and taught kids like me an important lesson growing up, that’s it’s not cool to be someone you’re not because sooner or later, people see right through you.
8.) Cult Fiction (Season 4. Original Airdate: May 2nd, 1997)
Now this is the BMW episode most people remember as it’s one of the many “very special” episodes that was broadcast.
The story here is that Shawn feels lonely after his family abandons him, and Cory is consumed with Topanga. Shawn befriends a girl who introduces him to “The Centre,” a cult who feeds on the weak minded. This gives Shawn an easy way out of his problems. The more his friends warn him about the dangerous faction, the closer he draws to the Centre and its dangerous leader, Phillip Mack. Shawn’s legal guardian, the wise English teacher of John Adams High, Mr. Turner, then gets into a fatal motorcycle accident and in a surreal but touching moment, Shawn calls out to God to save him. Shawn eventually smartens up and denounces the faction. This episode was the last we saw of Mr. Turner but it was implied in later seasons that he survived.
Poor Cory is labeled immature by his brother Eric and hapless Mr. Feeny is deemed boring by Mr. Turner. Both men then team up to show their detractors that they can live life on the edge. How do they prove this? By riding a dangerous new rollercoaster. The faces they make after the ride had me cracking up for weeks.
6.) If You Can’t Be With the One You Want… (Season 5. Original Airdate: March 6th, 1998)
Another very special episode. So special that Disney Channel refused to air it in the years it was running in syndication.
Wanting to shed his “goody good” image and to try to forget about Topanga, Cory starts drinking. His shenanigans result in him urinating on top of a cop car and is busted. Cory decides to forsake the habit but the same can’t be said about Shawn who still escapes his problems with alcohol. One of the most powerful moments concerning Cory and Shawn’s relationship that couldn’t be matched.
5.) The Grass is Always Greener (Season 3. Original Airdate: January 12th, 1996)
As great as the episode where Cory and Topanga first came together was, the episode where they first break up is equally as great. Sensing that their relationship is in a rut, Cory breaks a date with Topanga one night to go to a party with Shawn. He also lies about his identity to make himself look cooler. Later, he finds out that Topanga has been doing the exact same thing which brings a crossroads in their relationship. This was the perfect moment to break off their romance. Keeping them together for so long would have gotten boring. Good television writing suggests that you break couples up only to bring them back together stronger. It also gave them an opportunity to explore other love interests and character arcs throughout the season. Don’t worry folks, the happy couple reunited at the close of the season.
4.) The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Season 3. Original Airdate: February 6th, 1996)
I loved this episode growing up because it boasts a special guest star in Larisa Oleynik aka Alex Mack!
After Shawn is labeled a bad boy heartbreaker by the girls at school, he falls for Oleynik who says she can’t date him because he isn’t, “boyfriend material.” Shawn is then determined to change her mind after she goes out with Cory and deems him suitable for a relationship. I’m sure most of us have been there when we tried to woo a love interest over who just isn’t interested. A lot of us also hoped for the ending this episode produced.
3.) Sister Theresa (Season 2. Original Airdate: November 25th, 1994)
A hilarious edition that I can never get enough of. After taking advice from his mother to be more polite to people, Cory accidentally steals the heart of Theresa, an unstable girl who is also the sister of the school’s resident bully, Harley Keiner. Theresa starts sending him gifts and putting the moves on poor, reluctant Cory who fears for his life if he does the wrong thing to her. Pure hilarity from start to finish as it shows that Cory was able to get a girl by literally doing nothing.
2.) Sixteen Candles & Four-Hundred-Pound Men (Season 4. Original Airdate: November 15th, 1996)
This is an all-time classic for me being a huge professional wrestling fan.
The school’s overweight bully, Frankie Stechino, recruits the help of Cory and Shawn to help him bond with his father, former world champion, Vader, by giving him tips on his wrestling matches. Frankie wants to take things one step further by having the duo appear with him ringside for Daddy’s big bout against Jake “The Snake” Roberts at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Only problem is that it’s on the same night as Topanga’s Sweet 16 party. As you can probably tell, all sorts of hijinks ensue! Major brownie points for Cory and Topanga having a romantic dance inside a WWE ring, Shawn Michaels being name dropped, and Cory and Shawn rocking Vader masks!
1.) Heartbreak Cory (Season 5. Original Airdate: February 6th, 1998)
This installment is memorable for two reasons. It produced the beginning of a very important story arc that dominated the second half of the show’s fifth season and it boasts an appearance by Linda Cardellini.
Cory and the gang go skiing in the mountains for their senior class trip. Cory falls and hurts his foot falling off the bus and is stranded at the ski lodge with its attractive receptionist, Lauren (Cardellini). After spending the whole night talking to her, Cory realizes that he’s attracted to her and later finds that the feeling is mutual. They soon share a kiss and go their separate ways. Topanga eventually catches wind of this which sends their relationship into a spiral. This was the beginning of Cory and Topanga’s rocky relationship that covered most of the season and produced some pretty emotional rollercoasters.
Of course there were some close calls that didn’t make the list such as: Fear Strikes Out where Cory tries to gain confidence to kiss Topanga, The Uninvited where Cory is invited to the party of a popular girl at school while Shawn isn’t, and the campy horror parody, And Then There was Shawn. As I stated before, there were so many great episodes. To this day, I still love going back and watching Boy Meets World whenever I have the chance. It’s something that I grew up with and is apart of me. If you haven’t already, go check it out and be sure to check out Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World every Friday night.