14. “The Happiest Show On Earth” (Season 3, Episode 21)
WHAT HAPPENED | Three months after their breakup, Cory can’t keep his mind off Topanga. So when she wins a trip to Disney World, he and Shawn follow her there so Cory can tell her how he feels.
WHY IT ROCKED | Any ABC family sitcom worth its salt in the ’90s had its characters visit Disney World, but this episode also had every other hallmark of a great BMW episode: Cory and Shawn’s friendship, Cory’s enduring love for Topanga and Eric trying to pull off some inane scheme — in this case, covering for Cory using a homemade dummy.
13. “Cory’s Alternative Friends” (Season 1, Episode 4)
WHAT HAPPENED | Cory gets self-conscious about his appearance, so he tries to change his hairstyle, but only makes it worse, leading him to join the other outcast kids in his class.
WHY IT ROCKED | 1. It marked the debut of one Topanga Lawrence (AKA Cory’s lifelong soul mate). 2. It featured their first kiss. 3. One of the show’s most enduring lessons is that it’s who you are as a person that matters, and it’s a lesson that’s echoed through every episode since. 4. Did we mention Cory and Topanga’s first kiss?
12. “And Then There Was Shawn” (Season 5, Episode 17)
WHAT HAPPENED | Feeling the affect of Cory and Topanga’s breakup, Shawn starts a class-wide argument leading Feeny to send everyone involved to detention.
WHY IT ROCKED | The Simpsons has its “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, BMW has this awesome parody of Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and everything in between. Also a pile of falling books kills Jennifer Love Hewitt. (Excuse me, Jennifer Love <i>Fefferman</i>).
11. “It’s About Time” (Season 7, Episode 7)
WHAT HAPPENED | Shawn thinks he and Cory won’t be best friends after Cory marries Topanga, so he refuses to be best man at their wedding, leading Eric to take over and move it to a more expensive venue.
WHY IT ROCKED | Shawn and Cory’s friendship was the bedrock of this show, but as Shawn (rightly) realizes, growing up means that sometimes who your best friend is changes as well, so he passes the mantle to Topanga, Cory’s now-wife. But as we all know, he’ll always be Cory’s best man.
10. “Seven The Hard Way” (Season 7, Episode 16)
WHAT HAPPENED | When a prank war goes too far and almost breaks up the gang, Eric reunites them with this immortal phrase: “Lose one friend, lose all friends, lose yourself.”
WHY IT ROCKED | Three words: “Plays With Squirrels.” (Also, the gang’s attempt to group hug Mr. Feeny.)
9. “Heartbreak Cory” (Season 5, Episode 14)
WHAT HAPPENED | Cory sprains his ankle during the Senior Class ski trip and spends all night talking with a girl named Lauren, who volunteers to take care of him. But when he kisses her, he keeps it from Topanga.
WHY IT ROCKED | Cory’s love for Topanga was always unquestionable, so to see him falter was a reminder that even the best relationships need work.
8. “If You Can’t Be With The One You Love…” (Season 5, Episode 18)
WHAT HAPPENED | Depressed by his breakup with Topanga, Cory starts drinking and convinces Shawn to as well. When they get in trouble, Cory’s dad blames Shawn and calls him a negative influence.
WHY IT ROCKED | BMW never shied away from tough subjects, and this one dealt with not just underage drinking, but with Shawn’s self-destructive behavior and predisposition towards alcoholism. What’s more, it highlights just how much Shawn needs Cory and his family.
7. “Chick Like Me” (Season 4, Episode 15)
WHAT HAPPENED | Shawn goes undercover as “Veronica” for Cory’s newspaper story, quickly learning what it’s like to deal with a teen boy’s advances.
WHY IT ROCKED | While the episode does play with the idea of Shawn and Cory in dresses, its main message remains that girls have their own difficulties that they face, and that they should be treated well — something Shawn learns after spending a day in another person’s high heels.
6. “We’ll Have A Good Time Then” (Season 6, Episode 13)
WHAT HAPPENED | Shawn and Jack’s ne’er-do-well dad Chet shows up at their college, but his visit is cut short when he has a heart attack. As Chet lies in the hospital, Shawn finally talks about his issues with Jack and his father, only for Chet to have a second heart attack and die.
WHY IT ROCKED | Shawn’s issues with his father have popped up throughout the series, but seeing his father in a hospital bed forces Shawn to finally face them. Even though Chet dies shortly after, Shawn is able to get some form of closure.
5. “Raging Cory” (Season 5, Episode 12)
WHAT HAPPENED | Cory and Eric realize they have different relationships with their father; he has meaningful conversations with Cory and plays sports with Eric. After going skydiving and taking a trip to the art museum, Alan realizes he needs to have the same kind of relationship with both his sons.
WHY IT ROCKED | As the seasons went on, Eric seemed to get wackier, but this episode serves as a great reminder that there was always more to the older Matthews — and that even his family needed to remember that sometimes.
4. “Resurrection” (Season 6, Episode 17)
WHAT HAPPENED | As Cory’s newborn brother remains in intensive care, Cory tries to reconnect with the old, “weird” Topanga, which upsets her as she thinks he’s avoiding reality. However, Shawn returns and reassures Cory that everything will be OK.
WHY IT ROCKED | This episode, more than any other, highlights not just how much Cory needs Shawn’s friendship, but how he’s now become a part of the Matthews family. (Alan even tells the nurse that). Not to mention, Topanga’s reenactment of the lipstick heart she drew on her face all those seasons years ago.
3. “The Eskimo” (Season 5, Episode 13)
WHAT HAPPENED | After Shawn and Cory tell Mr. Feeny they have nothing left to learn now that they’ve applied to college, he assigns them personal goals to accomplish by the end of the week.
WHY IT ROCKED | Most of the learning on the show took place outside the classroom as Cory, Shawn and Topanga dealt with events in their own lives. And in the biggest lesson of all, Mr. Feeny taught them (and us) that even though you finish school, you’re never quite done learning.
2. “My Best Friend’s Girl” (Season 3, Episode 1)
WHAT HAPPENED | Cory’s too nervous to ask Topanga out. But when Shawn does, he gets jealous and finally admits his feelings for her at Eric’s film club screening.
WHY IT ROCKED | Sometimes you need your best friend to help you do what you can’t bring yourself to, and that’s just what Shawn does when he schemes with Trini (Topanga’s best friend) to make Cory jealous on purpose.
1. “Graduation” (Season 5, Episode 24)
WHAT HAPPENED | Cory tries to convince Topanga to go to Yale, while Shawn tries to complete Mr. Feeny’s last assignment and write what’s in his heart.
WHY IT ROCKED | A proposal, a heartfelt speech and a song. This episode has all the makings of a great episode of TV. But what makes it the perfect BMW episode is that everyone’s forced to deal with the ultimate sign of growing up: graduation — or in Mr. Feeny’s case, retirement.