Thursday, May 22, 2014

GIRL MEETS WORLD Sequels Popular 90s Sitcom on the Disney Channel

From 1993 – 2000 BOY MEETS WORLD was a fixture of ABC’s TGIF prime time line-up and the show has been popular over the last thirteen years as it has been syndicated for reruns.  The show chronicles the everyday events and life lessons of Cornelius “Cory” Mathews as the character, and the actor who plays him (Ben Savage) grows up from an elementary school aged student to a twenty-something college graduate who marries his high school sweet heart.  I never watched the show while it originally aired, but I have caught the reruns and have to admit that when I come across an episode while channel surfing next thing I know a two hour block of time has flown by and there I am with a smile on my face having enjoyed a good family-friendly sitcom which is something that you don’t see much on television anymore.

When I was growing up family sitcom was a popular format for shows with series like FAMILY TIES, GROWING PAINS, THE COSBY SHOWS, MR BELVEDERE, THE FACTS OF LIFE, THE FACTS OF LIFE, WHO’s THE BOSS and BOY MEETS WORLD.  More recently there has been show’s like HOME IMPROVEMENT and EVERYONE LOVES RAYMOND, and ACCORDING TO JIM that aired in the 2000’s but have all been off the air now for at least 5 years now.  Sitcoms like these brought families together to enjoy a laugh, see that everyone’s families had quirks proving we all aren’t so different from one another, and provided dramatic situations  that often served as teachable moments about societal and personal growth issues.  While MODERN FAMILY and THE MIDDLE may fall into the “family sitcom” category I struggle to come up with a list of show names for current programming that really fits into this niche.

There is a saying you can’t go home again and maybe these shows are just a nostalgic part of my youth, similar to how LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, MY THREE SONS, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, THE BRADY BUNCH & HAPPY DAYS might be thought fondly of by my parents.  That being said, I appears Disney has noticed the void in family themed sitcoms and is trying to bring people back home to the Mathews family.  On June 27th the DISNEY CHANNEL will debut a new sitcom GIRL MEETS WORLD which is a spin-off of the original BOY MEETS WORLD.  Two actors who played primary roles in BOY MEETS WORLD, Ben Savage (Cory Mathews) and Danielle Fishel (Topanga Lawrence) are returning as a married couple in GIRL MEETS WORLD  dealing with raising a tween daughter named Riley (played by Rowan Blanchard).  In the first season of this new series we see that Cory has followed the path of his adversary/mentor/neighbor in BOY MEETS WORLD school teacher Mr. Feeney  and has become a teacher himself.  A teacher who is teaching classes at the middle school that his daughter is about to start attending.  The show will also focus on the relationship of Riley with her “best friend” Maya Hart (played by Sabrina Carpenter) who comes from a different background.  A similar dynamic to the Cory Mathews / Shawn Hunter storylines of the original series where Cory's friend Shawn was the rough kid from the "other side of the tracks".  Check out these trailers from GIRL MEETS WORLD:

You see a lot of similarities from the original series in this new version, Cory following in the footsteps of Mr. Feeney with an emphasis of scenes taking place at school, a new character named Farkle that seems like a rehash of the Minkus character from BOY MEETS WORLD, and a brother to Riley that has a lines that make him seem to be scripted to be like a young Ben Savage from the early years of the original show.  Hopefully the new show will be able to balance out connecting itself to the characteristics that made BOY MEETS WORLD a quality show while still giving GIRL MEETS WORLD its own life and approach to developing its plots and characters.  One thing that is different from the two shows though is definitely the opening theme songs.  GIRL MEETS WORLD follows the trend Disney has of developing its tween/teen actresses into musical performers.  Rowan Blanchard and Sabrina Carpenter perform the show’s opening.  Take a listen…what do you think?

I’m not overwhelmed by the trailers, but they don’t look horrible either. I’m also interested in seeing some of the cameos from past characters such as Minkus (Lee Norris)  and Shawn (Rider Strong) and if they are scripted into the show nicely or just thrown in to cater to the fans of the original show who may be watching with their children or grand children now [notice they also throw in a grandpa/grandma cameo].

Minkus returns
Shawn makes a cameo

So I’ll probably watch a few episodes with my kids and we’ll see what they think.  Maybe I’m just being nostalgic but I’m rooting for GIRL MEETS WORLD to be a hit on the Disney Channel.

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