Girl Meets World premiered in 2014 and is a sequel series to Boy Meets World. Both of these shows were extremely important to me as a child. I grew up watching Boy Meets World with my older brother. Of course, at that point, it was the later seasons, Cory and Topanga were in an established relationship, Shawn and Angela were going through it, and everyone was in college. I couldn’t connect with it the way my brother could.
When Girl Meets World premiered, I was 12, and I could finally connect with the characters my brother loved through a new story. Flash forward almost 10 years and here I am, rewatching it. I’m 21, I’m in college, and it seems like I shouldn’t be able to relate to this show anymore, but I still do. This show and its predecessor knew how to perfectly balance the childish comedy of a Disney series with the hard-hitting lessons of growing up in a world that isn’t always rooting for you.
The series lives in a perfect world. The conflicts are small and rarely span multiple episodes, but the lessons still apply to life. The episodes are easily digestible and somehow, I still find myself tearing up at them. Episodes range from discussing friendships to the loss of arts in schools. The lessons are presented in a way that still entertains while delving into the complex issues that children and adults alike will face in life. No issue in any one episode is surface-level. The series also focuses heavily on friendships and the power that they can hold over one’s actions. As someone who grew up with a small group of friends who were inseparable, I love being able to look back on Riley, Maya, Lucas, and Farkle, as they not only explore the issues plaguing their generation or their school, but also the issues that plague every tight-knit group of people who care about each other. There are so many issues that arise in their friend group that I’ve seen or been a part of myself, even now. While they’re still scaled down for the consumption of pre-teens and teens, the conflicts in the friend group are immortal. Riley doesn’t stand up for Maya, Lucas is in love with Riley and Maya, and they both love him and he can’t choose, Riley and Farkle have to figure out who they want to be, and more. These are all issues I still face as a 21-year-old, and being able to go back and explore these feelings and issues with a series I find comfort in is absolutely astonishing.
One of the most fascinating concepts explored in this show is that of the power of future generations. People tend to forget that the power does not end with their generation. Power is infinite and ever-changing, and Girl Meets World reflects that. There is no bias, only inspiration. I watched this show when I was trying to figure out who I was. While the show was focusing on a group of middle school friends, I was in high school. I had friends, I had conflicts, and I had a whole life that was somehow reflected in the media I was consuming. I was invested in a show that was a direct response to my life and what was happening in it. I was shown that I had the power to change my life in whatever way I saw fit. That’s a feeling I haven’t let go of for 10 years, and I don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon, no matter how childish that may seem.
Girl Meets World can be defined as a lot of things: boring, childish, bad, etc. But I will always define it by the positive traits it has; it’s relatable, real, and emotional– all traits that I have been able to adopt for myself and my future. This show has always been more than just a show to me, even before I knew it. I was given the chance to bond with my brother, to learn that mistakes are inevitable, to protect the arts, to love unabashedly and completely, and to know that I have the power to change the world as long as my friends and I put our minds to it. I don’t think I’ll ever let go of this show. Its lessons, characters, actors, and storylines will always be integrated into everything I do and everything I believe. I will happily take on the world as long as I can thank Riley and Maya along the way.