Girl Meets World showcases a child’s need to separate themselves from their parents expectations and become their own person. The show portrays a modern version of wanting to be able to discover who you are and what you want to become but giving yourself enough room to learn from your parents and those who may expand your knowledge of the world. All while giving the viewer a sense of familiarity which causes them to become comfortable with the unfamiliar show with its sense of warmth, family, and most importantly a sense of continuation from Boy Meets World.
Before watching the pilot episode, I must admit I did not have many expectations for the series since I realized that it would either be a hit or miss seeing how Girl Meets World could either make me wish that I could have all the episodes on my laptop so I can marathon the series and and make me nostalgic over Boy Meets World or I would simply end up disliking it and not bother watching the rest of the series.
Luckily, the nostalgia hit me like a ton of bricks as the characters began to resemble the personalities of Cory, Shawn, and Minkus when they were sitting in the classroom listening to Mr. Feeny’s lectures but this time around it was Riley Matthews (Rowan Blanchard), her best friend Maya Fox (Sabrina Carpenter), Shamus Farkle (Corey Fogelmanis) and others who sit inside the familiar classroom to listen to Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) teach.
During the beginning of the episode, we see Riley and Maya sitting near the fire escape, both planning to sneak out of the house in order to take the subway to school. As they are about to sneak out, Cory appears which causes the girls to crawl back into the room they were previously in.
After asking how Cory knew this event was going to happen, he explains that “It’s not your world yet, it’s still my world. Because if it was your world, Maya would have you on the subway already, thinking you put one over me. But you didn’t.” The quote itself sets the theme for the rest of the episode; Riley wanting to define how she lives her own life and finding her “own world.”
The scene soon transitions to Riley going on her first subway ride with Maya and I quickly realized that their friendship resembled Shawn and Cory’s childhood relationship where Riley is seen as the voice of reason and Maya being seen as the troublemaker.
After arriving late to class, Riley compares her own life to the Civil War saying that it is “a war we fought against ourselves.” There the audience notices that she is fighting against becoming more carefree, dangerous, and a bit more like Maya but at the same time she does not want to disappoint her father Cory who explains that she is just like him. Maya soon convinces Riley to join her in fighting against doing the assigned homework so Riley can be more like her.
As the show continues, I began to witness and appreciate the innocent moments that came along with the show such as the cheesy jokes and lines to the adoring moments where I began to feel like a part of the Matthews’ family.
Although it was only the first episode, I did find one major similarity between Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World. That similarity being that both shows allow you to grow up and mature with it because you can relate to the situations going on. It become a show that you can sit down with your whole family and every member, no matter what age, would end up enjoying it. Although this spin off show is targeted to a much younger audience, it still appeals to older viewers (like myself) because you can find yourself murmuring “hey I can relate to Riley Matthews or Maya Fox because I was once like them.” You find yourself reliving the same situation Riley was in about wanting to escape your parent’s world but still needing them to be there for you. Even a parent can relate to the slight fear in Cory’s eyes when it came to the realization that his daughter is growing up and he is soon going to have to let her go off on her own even if it means that boys will be present in that world.
As the episode came to a close, Maya found herself setting off the fire alarm while trying to burn her classmates homework and Riley had done nothing to stop her causing Cory to tell her that she had “missed the moment to stand by your girl. You were so busy trying to be her, Riley, you forgot the best thing you can do for her is be you.” It seemed like those words caused a spark within Maya who later tried to push Riley out of her life and even physically getting her off the train when it had come to a stop only to have Riley return to Maya and fight for her.
That moment was when I found myself falling in love with the episode because not only did Riley realize how she wanted her life to be and who she wanted in it but she also realized that she does not have to be like someone else in order to enjoy herself.
Riley explains that her civil war is over and that she won but immediately asks her parents “what happens now?” That quote seems vital to the episode because a child’s wish is to be an adult but even if we are allowed to make our own decisions and give ourselves freedom we still need people by our side to guide us and accept and approve the decisions we make. It shows that we can not find our own world without the people who were previously in it to make that world better.
The next scene is Cory, Topanga, Riley’s little brother Louis (August Maturo), and Riley’s friends all at the subway station where Cory hands Riley a New York City subway pass, allowing her “to meet the world” and go on her own.
The scene soon transitions Riley and Maya about to get on the train with Maya asking Riley “So where do you wanna go?” in which Riley responds, “Don’t know. Big Word.” “Ours now?” “Yeah, but my dad did say I have to be home by five.”
When the two come back from their trip, Riley finds her family waiting for both girls. Showing that your family will always be there for you along with the people who allowed you to grow and be the person you are today. Cory soon take a glance behind him and sees Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) who says “well done, Mr. Matthews” and soon vanishes, leaving only a poster with Mr. Feeny on it with the words “Stay In School” written on it.
Overall, Girl Meets World is a brilliant coming of age story and does not set an age limit to whoever is watching. The episode transitions and connects well causing it to flow easily and allow the audience to understand the theme of the episode. The acting marvelous and is more than I can have ever asked for and I would also like to give two thumbs up to Corey Fogelmanis and Jackée Harry who both stole the show with their wit, commentary, and actions causing every scene they were in to become memorable. My only complain being that there was the lack of Danielle Fishel in the first episode but other than that I did not exactly want the pilot to end. I hope to see how the show continues to grow and evolve as the season goes on and I wish the series nothing but success.
I would also like to thank the producers and writers of the show for giving Girl Meets World the same sense of familiarity I once had with Boy Meets World, even with the first episode, Girl Meets World gave me the assurance that even at the age of 19 I can steal grow up and learn from the upcoming series. Your hard work on both shows are extremely appreciated.
Currently, the Girl Meets World pilot is available for FREE for download on Itunes and you can catch the premier of Girl Meets World on Disney Channel on Friday, June 27 at 9:45 P.M.