If you’re reading this, there is a great chance that, by now, you’ve figured out the world isn’t perfect. Indeed, life is full of injustices as we all too often find the planet we inhabit serving as a playground on which no good deed goes unpunished – or in this case, no good show goes un-cancelled and/or un-released on DVD. Enter Boy Meets World. If you spent any amount of time watching network television on Friday nights from 1993-2000, you may remember ABC’s comedy-drama series about a boy (Cory Matthews, played by actor Ben Savage) becoming acquainted with the harsh realities outlined above. For seven indelible seasons, Boy Meets World documented the ebb and flow of the grocer’s son and his immediate gang (which namely included Danielle Fishel as Cory’s soul-mate Topanga, Rider Strong as his best friend Shawn, Will Friedle as his brother Eric, and William Daniels as the near omnipresent Mr. Feeny) as they laughed, cried, learned, and inevitably faded into a Philadelphia backdrop. More after the jump:
Citing poor sales numbers as a foundation for cancelling all future DVD releases of the series, Disney’s Home Entertainment cashed in its chips on Boy Meets World back in 2005 following the DVD release of the show’s first three seasons. As a result, fans of Boy Meets World were effectively denied their sovereign right to enjoy the series within the comfort of their own homes long after Cory and Topanga finally participated in coitus. Enter Lionsgate Home Entertainment. In 2008, the studio division announced it had acquired the rights to the series with the intent of giving the show its long overdue digital-video-disc release. Earlier this month, Boy Meets World’s triumphant return to pop-culture relevancy began with Lionsgate delivering on phase one of that promise via re-releasing Seasons 1-3 of the show for home consumption.
In hindsight, the 22 episodes that make up the first season of Boy Meets World are admittedly my least favorite. Amazingly, in spite of the impressive amount of immaturity still employed in other areas of my life, I now find the trials and tribulations of elementary-age Cory a little too adolescent even for my own taste. That’s not to say that, in between Cory’s bouts with detention for listening to the Phillies game in class and sulking over his spot on the “B-team” in basketball, there aren’t some gems in the first season. Episodes which come to mind as particularly standing out include: “Cory’s Alternative Friends” which features Cory and Topanga’s first kiss and “Once In Love with Amy” in which Cory is convinced, after finding some provocative clothing in her bowling bag, that his mother is having an affair.
The 23 episodes that comprise the second season of Boy Meets World sees Cory, Topanga, and Shawn enter John Adams High School (specifically, the 7th grade) and, upon revisiting, reminds me of why I have my DVR set to record the show at obscene hours of the day. Standouts from this season include: “Wake Up, Little Cory” which displays the show’s willingness to portray controversial issues as Cory is forced to clear Topanga’s new-found reputation as being “easy,” and “On the Air” in which Cory and Shawn try their hand at radio piracy with the racy “Lunchtime Lust.”
Prepubescent follies aside, the 22 episodes of the third season marks the beginning of Cory and Topanga’s romantic relationship (found in the season premiere “My Best Friend’s Girl”) and continues the run of good, mostly clean, teenage fun found in the previous season. From beginning to end, this is my favorite season of the three covered here and highlight episodes include: “What I Meant to Say” in which Cory becomes the poster-boy for what not to do when he utters those three magical words to Topanga (Hint: The words aren’t, “let’s have sex”), “Rave On” which showcases rare teamwork between Cory and Eric as the two attempt to turn a reputation-altering rave into a wedding anniversary party for their parents, and “A Kiss is More Than a Kiss” in which Cory, in the midst of a breakup from Topanga, attempts to date other people (Note: This episode makes the cut in part because it displays the show’s willingness to poke fun at itself when Cory’s little sister Morgan reappears from a long, unexplained absence, played by a new actress).
Aside from Shawn and Eric’s amazingly good hair, not a whole lot exists in the way of special features. Boasting a bonus episode from Season Four (“Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow” in which Topanga cuts her luscious locks to prove to Cory that beauty is an internal construction and Eric pitches his awesome television series idea Good Looking Guy) as well as audio commentary from the cast and crew, Season One sadly takes home the prize for “most special features” of the three. Season Two features only audio commentary with cast and crew as well as a breakthrough technology known as “Picture-in-Picture video commentary.” Finally, Season Three ditches all commentaries/special features in exchange for “The World According to Boy” Pop Quiz that consists of “finish the quote” and “who said it?” questions from the show (Note: I was honestly disappointed in myself for missing one).
Now’s the part of the review where I should attempt to protect myself from criticism by disclaiming that, by certain measures (i.e. continuity issues which beg questions like “Where is Mr. Turner?” or “Why does Cory’s little sister Morgan look so different?” and recycled storylines which stir up questions such as “Why can’t Shawn just accept that, even though he grew up in a trailer park, Cory is his best friend?”), Boy Meets World isn’t what one might call “an excellent sitcom.” That said, I’m a sucker for nostalgia and, as such, I refuse to nit-pick a show that still brings me as much unapologetic joy as Boy Meets World does. In spite of its shortcomings, something has to be said for a token of our past that is not only capable of entertaining us in the present but also reminding us of what it meant to live a day in the life of our former selves.
So here’s to you, Boy Meets World. In a world filled with injustice, the prospect that I may still yet own every last episode of you on DVD is a testament to the fact that, every once in awhile, things can indeed go our way.
All three seasons of Boy Meets World are presented in presented in Full Screen, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio, and English subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired.