If you are a child of the 90s, there’s a pretty good chance you know what I mean when I say “Plays-with-squirrels.” If you don’t understand that, you probably at least know the Feeny call or the very specific intonation of “*gasp* Topanga.”
Boys Meets World was just one of those generational touchstone shows, like Full House or Saved by the Bell (though I TOTALLY missed Full House) because it was part of the successful TGIF block and then rerun over and over again on Disney Channel. Also, it was awesome. Honestly, the more I thought about writing this post, the more hilarious bits and pieces of this show I remembered.
I am not ashamed to say that Boy Meets World totally shaped (warped?) my sense of humor. I can trace many of the things I love most in television shows and movies back to Boy Meets World.
How you ask?
- Meta-humor. This show was pretty damn post-modern for a sitcom. Let’s see, there’s the occasional breaking of the 4th wall, there was the time Eric went to Hollywood to star in his own sitcom– Kid Gets Aquainted with the Universe– and discovers a group of angsty, sometimes insane actors playing versions of the people in his life. The show could be completely campy and over the top, and it did it really well. It had a sense of humor about itself. Hell, I still have a very strong memory of a meta joke about the show’s scheduling.
- The Bromance. Look, JD and Turk are fine, and I bow to their Guy Love but let’s be honest– no one beats Shawn and Cory. Those two were devoted companions since they were like, six. Shawn has a major breakdown at Cory’s wedding because he doesn’t want to be replaced. And you know what? I’ll admit it, I cried when Shawn comes back from his road-trip-to-find-himself when Cory’s little brother is born prematurely, so that he can be there for his best friend. (Shut up). Really, Shawn and Cory’s friendship was one of my favorite things about the show, and their epic bromance obviously left an impression on me (House/Wilson, JD/Turk, etc. etc.).
- Parody– Some of the greatest episodes of this show were epic, full blown parody episodes. The Slasher film episode with Jennifer Love Hewitt as Jennifer Love Fefferman? Magic. There’s also a Hamlet parody, a Happy Days parody, a Casablana parody, a Real World parody, and so many more. The show was not afraid to be just completely ridiculous, and that was usually when it was at its best.
- Earnestness– Despite being a very silly, self-referential, meta show, it was also a relatively earnest one. There was usually a lesson to be learned– provided, generally, by the voice of reason and compassion, Mr. Feeny. Frankly, this is something I like because, well, despite being a sarcastic appreciator of the ironic, the truth is I’m a relatively earnest person. And this show did an excellent job of mixing the earnest with the absurd. Plus, it had the truly outstanding “guitar music of earnestness.”
But, I won’t end on that earnestness. Instead, I’ll offer: