I had of course heard about it for nearly a year, this idea of a show that would take two of my favorite characters and bring them into a new era. You see, for those of us in Generation X there are benchmarks that we can all share, at least the ones born after 1975, because for us the ’90s were a more influential decade than the ’80s. The years between 1990 and 1999 helped to define us more than any years before and since, so we wax nostalgic about them. That’s why “Girl Meets World,” a new show on the Disney Channel speaks to us, even now.
That’s why I set the series to copy on my DVR, because I wanted to see Cory and Topanga again. They are like old friends. We grew up together and I want to see what’s happening with them now. Just as they are, I am also a parent struggling with the idea that I’m the adult now, and dealing with the idea of discipline and structure in the house. But the glory of it being a sitcom is that I can also laugh at the parts where the parents don’t always get it right, and they always have a chance to change and adapt to each situation as it comes. As a parent, I also have the chance to adapt, and sometimes I can even laugh at myself for getting it wrong.
In the series premiere, Riley (Cory and Topanga’s daughter) has a best friend, Mya, who is a bit of a bad girl. It gives us a chance to see right off the bat how her parents deal with the idea of a bad influence on their daughter, and instead of judging Mya harshly they help both girls understand that it’s okay for them to be different, that they both have qualities that are wonderful and they can motivate and help each other *without being the same.* Yes, these are age old lessons, but they’re ones Cory and Topanga learned themselves right on the air for all of us to see so long ago.
That’s what really hits home, the feeling that it all comes full circle, that we can go back again and feel what we felt while simultaneously using what we’ve learned in the meantime to grow and move forward from the other side of things. Shows like “Boy Meets World,” were good for their value lessons, but they were also positive reinforcements for kids like me who were dorky but who still enjoyed that time period for what it was. Now “Girl Meets World” shows me that while Cory and Topanga are still dorky, the influences they had growing up helped them to be good parents, and I feel the same way in my own life.
And to top it all off, Mr. Feenie, the old, wise teacher/principal makes a guest appearance at the very end of the series premiere, further expanding the theme of going back to move forward, one we could all learn from.