We've Met Girl Meets World! Two Takes on the Disney Channel Series' Premiere

Girl Meets World ReviewMore than a month ahead of its official broadcast premiere, the first episode of Disney Channel’s Boy Meets World follow-up, Girl Meets World, is currently available to verified Watch Disney users. Here, TVLine Editor at Large Matt Mitovich and Staff Editor Andy Swift — coming from distinct points of view — share their first impressions of the series, which follows Cory and Topanga’s daughter Riley as she struggles to find her own “world.”

PHOTO | Girl Meets World: The Matthews Family Rallies Together In First Poster

As a father to two 11-year-old boys, Matt Mitovich regularly finds himself watching every new episode of Jessie, Dog With a Blog and Liv & Maddie. On a scale of 1 to 10, his familiarity with the original Boy Meets World rates a generous “2.”
The first thing that struck me — compared to Dog With a Blog, where the studio audience will hoot and holler over the most chaste of hugs between a boy and a girl — is that Riley’s BFF Maya (onetime Austin & Ally guest star Sabrina Carpenter) is a tad overt for Disney Channel, very much the Samantha to her Charlotte, in attitude as well as her overly calculated style. (At one point she even welcomes the label of “the opposite of innocent,” which was… interesting.)

The half-hour as a whole seemed to tackle weightier issues than, say, “Which of Jessie‘s charges will be voted school mascot?!” as it explored the semi-conspicuous, spinoff title-justifying “Make your own world” theme. That initial vibe may come as comfort to BMW fans, who have fretted that GMW‘s Disney Channel home will water down meaty messages. Here, the question is: Will mild-mannered Riley (Rowan Blanchard), to her dad’s regret, emulate Maya’s rebellious ways? Or will the script get flipped?

All told, I’m not sure we have laid witness to the actual “show” yet, which is often the case with pilots. As Andy notes below, the episode was very Topanga-lite. Also, was the Token Wee Sibling ever given a name? (Riley’s brother seemed to just materialize at one point!) Will Jackée Harry appear in every subway scene? (And how does a 90-lb. girl easily force open famously stubborn subway car doors?) Did the students run roughshod over that Mr. Feeny the way teacher Cory gets dissed here? And wait, did Cory and Topanga move into Ted Mosby’s old place?!

I’ll be curious to see what my sons think.

RELATED | Girl Meets World Welcomes Back Boy Meets World‘s [Spoiler]

Andy Swift is a 26-year-old Boy Meets World fanatic, whose long history of TV shipping began with Cory and Topanga… and who still cries every time ABC Family airs a rerun of the series finale.
As anticipated, Riley and Maya are very much the 2014-female versions of BMW staples Cory and Shawn. Riley’s the daddy’s girl with good intentions, while Maya’s the bad girl with a questionable home life. Maya’s also not afraid to lead an (often literal) rebellion, and just like Shawn during his brief stint as “Veronica,” she loves her makeup.

Then there’s Farkle, who’s not quite the Minkus clone I assumed him to be. Sure, he’s got a wacky name and that same strange attachment to his teacher, but don’t expect the girls to be using Farkle for paper airplane target practice. (In a post-bullying world, that probably wouldn’t fly, anyway.)

Though the legendary Mr. Feeny (played by the great William Daniels) only makes a brief appearance in the pilot, his spirit is always present within Cory, who’s picked up many of his mentor’s habits – including his penchant for turning classroom lessons into life lessons for a select few students, while conveniently ignoring everyone else in the class.

BMW fans may gripe about the dearth of Topanga in the pilot, though given the episode’s Riley/Cory-centric storyline, it’s understandable that she initially takes a back seat. That said, the characters’/actors’ “reunion” has always been one of the new series’ selling points, so here’s hoping for more screen time moving forward.

Girl Meets World premieres Friday, June 27 at 9:45/8:45c (following the premiere of Disney Channel’s Zendaya-fronted original movie Zapped). Prior to that, iTunes will have a free download available June 13. The show will then make its regular time slot debut Friday, July 11 at 8:30.

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35 Comments
  1. Thea says:

    And I thought I couldn’t get any more excited about this show… How wrong I was!

  2. Lysh says:

    Hah! I love Andy’s little bio. Cory and Topanga were definitely an OTP of mine, too.
    I’m both nervous and excited about this show. I’m mostly looking forward to the reunion aspect, honestly, but hopefully the new kids will be able to sell it to me.

    • Rachel says:

      I’m like you! I hope the new generation have the same complex and interesting personalities as the ones we grew up with.

      • Andy Swift says:

        I know I sound 100 years old saying this, but it’s kind of crazy to see how much kids have changed from when BMW premiere in 1993 to now. The main girls in GMW are much more sophisticated than Shawn and Cory were at their age, and rightfully so.

  3. Brian Kaplan says:

    Sqqquuuuuueeeeeee!

  4. Sara says:

    Matt, I’d be interested in hearing what your kids think about this show too. There’s a whole bunch of us that will be watching this show for nostalgia reasons, but if its going to survive then the actual demographic has to like it too. I really hope it does well!

  5. Kathryn says:

    I misread at first and thought it said the “death” of Topanga…

  6. Ally Oop says:

    As a mom of 2 daughters, this might be a good middle ground show to watch. I was a fan of Boy Meets World so am excited about this. This is reminiscent of what Degrassi: The Next Generation did, in which the show brought back characters from the original series as parents (Spike and Joey) and a teacher (Snake). Degrassi did well because while it brought in adult characters, it still stayed true to the original concept by focussing on the kids. While the show had a very big adult following from fans of the original series, it attracted a great deal of younger fans.

  7. Dee says:

    Thank you Andy!! So glad that you have put me at ease at least temporarily! I still get emotionally every time the series finale comes on as well so you are not alone!! Class Dismissed!

  8. windlesspoet says:

    That’s so Raven, Hannah Montana, Wizard’s of Waverly Place and others have made it for the time needed for the children to grow. I would love to have seen this on Prime time, we really do no have any family oriented shows anymore. Everything has content that is questionable for even young adults. I think with all the buzz from Social Media and Disney we know it is coming and even a 39; I cannot wait. Boy Meets World was my way to relate to my younger sister. She is now 34 and have children of her own that cannot wait too. Just keep it going…I still get laugh and cry through the episodes. Love the old, cannot wait to experience the new.

  9. I love how much Maya/Riley’s “rebellion” mimicked when Cory was running for president and was promising things left and right and pumping his fist in the air. I’m not sure if it was that episode or a different one, but at some point either him or Shawn definitely also asked why they had to have homework if they had to be in school every day. First episode was definitely clunky, but it sure looks like it has potential for a new girl to meet the world!

  10. wow for a second I thought that said DEATH of Topanga in Andy’s writeup lol

  11. Kim says:

    Maybe this is me but Maya’s tights with short shorts…. as a 32 year old non- parent: NO. She’s too young to be rocking that outfit. And Cory and Topanga should be a good segregate parent and give her some real clothes.

  12. WHY IS NO ONE DISCUSSING THAT MR FEENY IS DEAD!?!?! Cory obviously sees his spirit from time to time, but this is just sad!!

  13. Luli says:

    Just saw the episode… I liked it, bit I NEED MORE Cory and Topanga! MORE.

  14. abz says:

    Just watched the pilot. It was okay. but it was just a pilot so I think I need a few more episodes to let it grow on me. And even though I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. They made the wrong decision putting it on Disney Channel. It should’ve been on ABC Family.

    • Luli says:

      Ditto on the ABC family thing… I think they can only have a kiss every season… Imagine that? Amy and Alan had more action than Cory and Topanga, but we’ve just seen the first ep, so who knows…

  15. Rodney says:

    They need to reduce the amount of Farkle and increase the amount of Topanga. Also, Farkle needs to stop talking about himself in the 3rd person.

  16. The Anonymous Kid in the Back of Mr. Feeny's Classroom says:

    I was immediately distracted by how much more mature “Maya” appeared and spoke as compared to “Riley,” who was a perfect choice to play an insecure 7th grader…Maya, not so much…Sweet concept, though! Topanga’s acting abilities have flowed seamlessly into this series. At times, Cory seemed forced and shouted alot of his lines. You’re right, this belongs on ABC Family, where it could have MUCH more freedom to explore contemporary issues.

  17. daleg879 says:

    Better than I expected!

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