I can think of few better ways to spend an afternoon of Fall Break than watching Boy Meets World reruns. The theme song, the thinly veiled moral written unapologetically into each episode, and the character named (without even so much as a snicker from any of the others) Topanga—could the makings of a teenage dramedy have come together more perfectly? Evidently, someone at Disney thinks so. That, or someone thinks revisiting perfection in the hollow name of ratings is worth corrupting the property of our pre-teenage weekday nights.
That’s right, folks. They’re bringing back Boy Meets World. Only this time, it’s called Girl Meets World, and it’s slated to star Cory and Topanga’s daughter.
There are several reasons that I am unequivocally convinced this is a horrible idea. First of all, the generation being targeted by a Boy Meets World spinoff will likely have no idea of the greatness of the original. And the original audience—current college students—will castigate the new series from here to kingdom come if Disney turns Boy Meets World into Hannah Montana 2.0.
Admittedly, it’s smart of them to shift to a girl’s perspective, if only to provide the thematic distance from Boy Meets World that the show will need to create its own sense of self. But there have been and continue to be so many mindless Disney series featuring pre-pubescent girls—from The Wizards of Waverly Place to something called Shake it Up (“BFFs CeCe and Rocky realize their dreams when chosen to dance on TV!”)— that I can’t help but be pessimistic.
Screen Rant compares the reboot to Degrassi: The Next Generation, a spinoff of the original Degrassi series that is now best remembered as the hilarious-in-hindsight breakthrough gig for rapper Drake. Degrassi: The Next Generation succeeded in both garnering a new audience and attracting the first series’ fans by including many of the original cast members.
But it also dealt with serious issues—violence, drug abuse, and family problems—that were never delved into so deeply in the comparatively saccharine Boy Meets World.
This is part of what troubles me when it comes to Girl Meets World’s prospects. If it’s going to be a true sequel to the original show, it will likely seek to “update” the themes of the original episodes without dramatically changing their tone. If that’s the case, do I really want to watch Cory and Topanga’s little girl struggling with first date blues over Facebook?
I think the answer lies in recognizing that a great deal of Boy Meets World’s charm was rooted in the series’ gentle ’90s hokiness. It wasn’t trying to live up to a legacy and, as a result, it gave us the endearingly creepy Mr. Feeny—and, moreover, an unassuming journey through adolescence right when we most needed consolation in our own angsty trajectories. And I just don’t think a Disney show called Girl Meets World can live up to that.