I was a 90s kid and therefore I was a Boy Meets World kid. As a kid who was never all that into animation and wasn’t allowed to stay up past 8pm on any given night, I generally was drawn to watching daytime reruns of live-action shows, of which Boy Meets World was my favorite. During my high school years as I got more interested in television, I made a diligent effort to go back through the series and make sure I saw every episode. What is special about the show to me is that even now in my early twenties I can watch and enjoy the episodes, recalling just how it felt to be facing my pre-teen years. Because I have had this experience with the show, along with programs like Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens, I had a hard time seeing that most of the programming that was available to my younger sisters revolved around obtaining and maintaining fame in some way. There really was a lack of shows that dealt with general and relatable childhood experiences. While I was skeptical about the creation of Girl Meets World, I also was hopeful that it might function to fill that void in Disney channel’s lineup, and after watching the pilot of the show multiple times I can honestly say that I believe it does just that.
Riley Matthews is just a regular kid. She is young, awkward, and trying to find her own place in the world, just as her dad Cory did on Boy Meets World. Her relationship with her parents is strong, and there is a good level of give-and-take as they encourage her to branch out on her own and “make it her world” without going too far. Her best friend Maya is a troublemaker, but also a victim of circumstance who must lean on Riley and her solid family structure at times (she is also a reminder that a thirteen year old can be significantly cooler than I am). There is a cute boy, a dorky boy and a comedic little brother, but the most important element that carries over from the original is the show’s heart. It presents issues of identity and relationships in a way that will be relatable to a whole new generation of kids who have grown up with a landscape of child pop stars and dogs with blogs.
The first episode airs tomorrow night. I truly do hope that this show will be a hit for Disney. I know that I’ll be watching.