Boy Meets World was a coming of age sitcom and TGIF staple that ran for seven seasons in the ‘90s. The show followed Cory Matthews (Ben Savage), the middle son of a middle class family, as he traverses the minefield of adolescence from age 11 through college. The show premiered 30 years ago on September 24, 1993.
Cory was joined on this journey by his rebellious best friend Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong), odd duck turned girlfriend Topanga Lawrence (Danielle Fishel), and his dim, girl-crazy older brother Eric (Will Friedle). Watching over the teens were Cory’s parents Amy (Betsy Randle) and Alan (William Russ), and the wise and passionate, if not long-suffering, teacher Mr. Feeny (William Daniels). Later seasons added the hip, young teacher Mr. Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn), the lead trio’s friend Angela (Trina McGee-Davis), Shawn’s half-brother/Eric’s roommate Jack (Matthew Lawrence), and their other roommate Rachel (Maitland Ward).
The show was born when ABC tasked producer Michael Jacobs with creating a show for the preteen demographic. Savage had signed a contract with ABC for a show, so the series became known as The Ben Savage Project. Jacobs courted Daniels for the role of Mr. Feeny, but Daniels didn’t want to play a character that made fun of teachers. Once Jacobs reworked the character to be a mentor for his young charges, Daniels agreed to play Mr. Feeny. Strong was the first actor who auditioned for Shawn, Fishel secured the role of Topanga after the original actress didn’t work out, and Friedle nabbed the part of Eric for his good looks and comedic talents.
Boy Meets World tackled issues that preteens and teenagers face with equal parts realism and humor. Cory and his friends learned about navigating the hierarchy of high school, bumbling teen romances, and sibling rivalries through mostly lighthearted scenarios. The show, however, did not shy away from serious issues like classism and absentee parents. While most episodes put the young characters in funny situations, others had them confronted by harsher realities of the real world.
Boy Meets World was a huge hit with its main demographic and their parents. By the time of its fifth season, it was the No. 1 show in its timeslot for both kids and adults up to age 49. The series ended in 2000, then 12 years later most of the cast returned for the sequel series Girl Meets World, centered around Cory and Topanga’s young teen daughter.