Why a New “Boy Meets World” is an Awful Idea
If I had to pick my favorite television show of all time, it would be Boy Meets World. The show has experienced a resurgence in popularity over the past few years, as ABC Family has refused to stop playing reruns. Good. They shouldn’t. Ever.
I could go on a long tangent as to why Boy Meets World is my favorite show. I could talk about the writing, which holds up consistently to this day. Every season, from the early years that focused on an awkward middle child to the later, more mature story arcs, is watchable again and again. That’s the definition of good television writing. Community may be my favorite on-air show, but Boy Meets World is my all-time favorite, because it represents everything a sitcom should be.
Now, TVLine is reporting that the Disney Channel is in the early stages of developing a sequel series. This means that the story will follow Cory and Topanga’s daughter. Disney is reportedly in the process of attaching Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel. The series would be called Girl Meets World.
Let me make something clear: This is my Star Wars VII.
And it’s a horrible idea. A lot of critics will accuse this new series of not doing justice to the original. They’ll say things like, “Disney keeps ruining my childhood!” or “Why can’t they come up with an original idea?!”
There are problems with both of these complaints. First of all, Disney isn’t ruining anyone’s childhood. Your childhood is over and encased in the past. The movies you grew up with won’t Marty McFly themselves out of existence. The business endeavors of the Disney Channel or movie studios won’t retroactively negate the awesomeness of original works. So “ruining your childhood” is not why Girl Meets World is an awful idea.
It’s also not an awful idea because of the second complaint. The whole “original idea” argument is ridiculous. Every movie we love, every show we watch on a weekly basis, and every book we read is little more than one of the same five to seven ideas with different makeup on. There are no original ideas. There are original characters, and settings, and plots, but certain storytelling elements are timeless. The idea of a girl “meeting” the world is timeless, just as Cory Matthews “meeting” the world back in 1993 is still timeless. So not being “original” is not why Girl Meets World is an awful idea.
The reason a sequel series is an awful idea is because, even though great storytelling hasn’t changed, television has. Boy Meets World was a flawed television show, but that’s part of what made it so great. They had ridiculous, horror movie parody episodes alongside very serious, albeit ridiculous episodes about cults. They subtly covered sex before marriage, and they wrote a middle school boy darn near perfectly.
In this age of political correctness, Girl Meets World doesn’t stand a chance. I don’t expect the Disney Channel to tackle life for a girl in middle-class America in 2012. Is Girl Meets World going to tackle the Internet? Facebook? Online bullying? Furthermore, Boy Meets World went through crazy story arcs. An episode from 1993 looks like a different show than one from 2000. The original sitcom adapted to their audience and to their culture, for better or worse. Depending on who you talk to, Boy Meets World had its peak at different points. There is no pleasing the core audience when the original is so varied.
The reason this show is a bad idea is because it won’t be able to balance being wholesome with today’s big issues. The age of the sitcom, when serious topics were filtered through pop-perfect backdrops, is over. Now, Girl Meets World will likely end up being too wholesome–and therefore irrelevant–or it will be so cutting edge that it will lose the franchise’s original appeal. That said, I’ll watch the crap out of this show for at least a few episodes, and I’ll give it a chance — especially if Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel are involved.
Question: What do you think of this?