The Legacy of Girl Meets World Following Its Cancellation

In 2012, the Internet was flooded with excitement over a Boy Meets World spin-off called Girl Meets World about the thirteen-year-old daughter of Corey and Topanga. While I had never been a diehard fan of Boy Meets World, I had enjoyed the re-runs and was interested to see what Disney’s spin-off would do with both the familiar and new characters.

Fast-forward almost seven years to now, where after three successful, highly praised, and much loved seasons, Girl Meets World didn’t get picked up for a fourth season and its final episode premiered on January 20. While a part of me can understand how lower ratings and the shadow of its predecessor led to its demise, I also have trouble understanding why Disney and others involved with this show were able to give up on it so easily.

I watched all three seasons of the show and regularly texted with a friend about the plot developments. The narrative definitely started to suffer under the constraints the Disney Channel places on the content of their television shows to keep it kid friendly. As Riley Matthews and her friends entered high school and began to grapple with more mature issues, they and their peers seemed unrealistically squeaky clean and cheery in comparison to my own freshman year. Still, I was endeared by the characters, teared up at the occasional flashback or cameo by a Boy Meets World character, and at times, on the edge of my seat waiting for both romantic and platonic relationship problems to be worked out. And how often do we see TV characters evolve from middle school awkwardness to a more confident high school status? It wasn’t a perfect show, but it handled character growth (seriously, Farkle Minkus’ trajectory over these three seasons was fantastic) so well that it only seemed logical for this show to continue to the extent Boy Meets World did.

The farewell to this series is even harder to take as the show is currently nominated for Outstanding Children’s Programming by the Producer’s Guild of America. Even more confusing is the endless stream of people saying how we need more shows like this that tackle topics such as cultural appropriation (Season 1, Episode 6: Girls Meets Popular), autism and neurodiversity (Season 2, Episode 15: Girl Meets Farkle), women in STEM (Season 2, Episode 26: Girl Meets STEM), yet don’t raise hell when the one show doing this gets cancelled.

But the three seasons we got weren’t all for naught. Girl Meets World gave us many things, especially Rowan Blanchard. If you need hope for the future of our country and our world, then look no farther than Blanchard’s social media presence which is full of thoughts on identity, intersectionality, and feminism. She’d definitely raising the bar for the caliber of stars Disney cranks out.

Despite this sudden goodbye to a promising television show, there does seem to be a glimmer of hope that the show could be renewed elsewhere. My friend and I have discussed before that a channel like Freeform (formerly ABC Family) would be a great home to this next era of Girl Meets World. I’d love to see it find a home amongst shows like The Fosters and Switched at Birth whose narratives explore the foster system, sexuality, deaf culture, suicide, and many other important issues. The show would be able to really speak about important topics in an age-appropriate way that was starting to feel less and less possible on the Disney Channel. But who knows if or where the show might find a new home.

The first two seasons of the series are available on Netflix.

 

Here’s a compilation of Boy Meets World characters making cameos in Girl Meets World:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU-HNX-J9dc

 

Featured Image: Disney

Maggie Stough

Maggie Stough

Maggie is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and is currently trying to make the most out of post grad life (read: figuring out what she’s supposed to be doing on this planet). When she’s not having an existential crisis, you can find her working on a novel, having a cuppa, petting a dog, reading a YA novel, coloring, getting her cardio in at a concert, or quilting.
Maggie Stough
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