9 Episodes of "Girl Meets World" That Everyone Should Watch

If anybody were to ask me what my favorite TV show of all time is I would probably struggle between "Parks and Rec" and "Boy Meets World". But ultimately, "Boy Meets World" was what I grew up with, what I learned the most from, and what I still love to watch whenever I have the chance. It was one of the most realistic shows I have ever watched (aside from the getting married out of high school part, but Cory and Topanga are an exception). So you could guess that when I heard there was going to be a new spin-off of my all-time favorite show, I was a little skeptical. I didn’t think there was any way it could live up to my beloved "Boy Meets World". But to my delightful surprise, I was wrong. Even though Disney Channel has changed a lot over the years, "Girl Meets World" – just like Cory and Topanga – is an exception. It is not only created by the same people who produced "Boy Meets World", but it also has some of the same cast, the same caring nature, and teaches the same quality life lessons that are so important for everyone to learn, no matter their age.

The show follows Riley Matthews, Cory and Topanga’s daughter, while she is in middle school. Cory is her teacher, she has a “bad influence” of a best friend named Maya, a crush named Lucas, and a genius best friend, Farkle. For you hardcore "Boy Meets World" fans, this is basically the same core group that featured Cory, Shawn, Topanga, Mr. Feeny, and Minkus. If you’re wondering if some series favorites make appearances in this new spin-off, the answer is yes. You’ll be very happy if you were a fan of Eric, Shawn, Angela, Jack, and the entire Matthews family. I would love to tell everyone to watch the entire series -- because it is really worth it -- but if you’re looking to just get a taste of what this show is about, here are some of the episodes that had me thinking “Wow, I can’t believe this show exists.”

(Warning: spoilers!  But don’t be discouraged, they are still worth watching!)

1) 1x6, “Girl Meets Popular”

In this episode, Riley struggles with the typical middle school desire to be popular. When she realizes that the only group she can really shine in is among the nerdy kids, she takes that role to the fullest extent… and goes a little too far. She embraces the “nerdy” look by emulating the look of a Harajuku girl. Despite the fact that the nerdy kids worship her, Riley learns the importance of truly being yourself rather than copying the customs of a culture that is not hers… A Disney Channel program that addresses the problems of cultural appropriation? SIGN ME UP.

2) 1x12, “Girl Meets the Forgotten”

The premise of this episode involves Riley and her friends being assigned to certain electives at school. While Riley and Maya are assigned to lunch duty, Lucas and Farkle are paired up with the janitor (who is played by an old "Boy Meets World" cast member!). The kids learn all about the hard work that goes into the jobs that most kids take for granted at schools. In other words, the episode makes a great commentary about the lack of respect people tend to show for the service industry and how to fix that… a lesson plenty of adults would definitely benefit from.

3) 1x13, “Girl Meets Flaws”

Riley’s finds out that a bully called Farkle “a nothing” and he starts to believe that he should change the way he acts in order to be accepted. But Riley and her friends want to prove to him that bullies cannot dictate who you are. They learn that the best way to prevent someone from making you feel bad about your flaws is by accepting the fact that you have them, and owning them proudly.

4) 2x1, “Girl Meets Gravity”

When the Matthews family loses someone important to them, Riley recognizes the importance of making your personal mark on the world. She considers the fact that while she and her friends may see themselves as the center of the universe, there is so much more happening around them to appreciate before it’s gone.

5) 2x2, “Girl Meets the New World”

After an entire season of Riley and Lucas hinting their crushes on one another, their friends wonder why they have not officially become a couple. As the episode progresses, even though Riley and Lucas clearly like one another, they take into consideration how great of friends they are and decide they would rather maintain their friendship as it is. This episode both addresses the idea of what to do when being pressured by your friends, as well as the pressures from society in general to be in relationships. Riley and Lucas just want to be kids, which could also be a commentary on media today being so focused on rushing kids into romantic standards.

6) 2x4, “Girl Meets Pluto”

Riley finds out for the first time that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. She is then forced to face the struggle of dealing with something you have always believed to be true changing, and what that means for your future. She teaches Cory’s best friend Shawn the importance of believing in things even when the whole world is telling you not to. (Bonus: if you’re wondering what happened between Shawn and Angela, you should definitely watch this episode!)

7) 2x9, “Girl Meets Mr. Squirrels Goes to Washington”

In this episode, Cory’s brother, Eric, is running for senator and recruits the kids of Riley’s class to run his campaign. The kids, in turn, get frustrated that they are not able to participate in the election. They want their voices to be heard, which is a really inspiring way to see that some people who have the privilege of voting take it for granted.

8) 2x15, “Girl Meets I Am Farkle”

After taking an aptitude test, Farkle – the son of Cory’s old friend Minkus – is deemed a genius. However, upon further testing, Farkle’s guidance counselor considers the possibility that he has Asperger’s syndrome. Riley and her friends then explore what this disorder means and how they can help their friend come to terms with it. This surprised me a lot, in a great way, because this is something that is rarely discussed in children’s programming. To see this addressed really made me happy, especially considering the positive and encouraging way the kids respond to it.

9) 2x16, “Girl Meets Cory and Topanga”

In this episode, Riley is feeling inferior to her parents because of all of their great accomplishments. She believes that to be great, she must be like them, but as a young person, she doesn’t have the same opportunities as them. This frustrates her and causes her to evaluate the meaningfulness of her life… Some real deep stuff, as always. With other kids watching this program, they can learn, as Riley does, the importance of being unique and not needing to follow the same path as her parents to be a great person. (Thumbs up for flashbacks!)

As is a common theme of children’s programming, there are a lot of profound messages to be found in this show. But I feel like "Girl Meets World" really takes it to the next level. While some of these topics have been explored in a lot of other children’s TV shows, this program introduces them in a way that that really stands out. I mostly enjoy the way Cory’s character, their history teacher, connects his class curriculum to real, applicable lessons that kids can use in their everyday life. Though this show is obviously geared toward young people and is aired on a children’s television network, I think it could definitely affect people of all ages. As for me, a twenty-one year old college student, this show definitely enriched my life in ways I would have never thought possible. (And made me cry more than I thought… but that’s nothing new).  Basically what I’m saying is, Michael Jacobs and April Kelly – both creators of BMW and GMW – should keep adding to this story forever. I will definitely keep watching.