[UPDATE: Danielle Fishel has posted her own statement about Girl Meets World.]
Just about every other person who came of age watching Boy Meets World back in the 1990s – or when the Disney Channel began reruns in the early 2000s – was hit by a strong wave of nostalgia when the story broke earlier this month that BMW co-creator (no pun) Michael Jacobs and the Mouse House are actively putting together a followup TV series, titled Girl Meets World.
GMW revolves around the 13-year-old daughter of (still) married couple Cory and Topanga Matthews. We’re currently waiting to learn any major plot details beyond that – though, it’s confirmed that Cory is now a junior high teacher, following in the footsteps of his ever-tormented mentor and neighbor George Feeny (William Daniels).
Everyone’s been waiting for confirmation that Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel are returning to portray the adult Cory and Topanga, seeing how the two literally grew up playing those roles throughout all seven seasons of BMW. In fact, at this point, it’s fair to say that fans of Jacob’s original coming-of-age sitcom would be up in arms if another pair of grown-up actors were recruited to portray those characters in Girl Meets World (Topanga’s parents, on the other hand…).
TV Line reports that Savage and Fishel have indeed signed on to return as parent-age Cory and Topanga. (Are you feeling old yet, members of Generation X?) There are still plenty of other Boy Meets World cast members who could/should make an appearance on Girl Meets World – be it crazy Uncle Eric (Will Friedle) or ‘Uncle Shawn’ (Rider Strong) – especially since, let’s face it: the majority of the audience that’s going to tune in for this series (initially) will be grown-up BMW fans yearning to see some familiar faces on the sidelines.
On that note: it will be interesting to see whether or not Girl Meets World develops the sort of following that its predecessor did. Looking back, it’s all the more easy to see why Boy Meets World was successful: the show has likable leads, memorable supporting characters and manages to offer wholesome family entertainment without fully sugar-coating the lives of younger people (see: Cory’s frustrations with abstinence).
Can Girl Meets World manage a similar feat once nostalgia has worn off for Boy Meets World fans? It could be tricky, seeing how the tone of that series might end up closer to Disney Channel TV series from the past decade (ex. Hannah Montana) – or, alternatively, if the style doesn’t change, more cynical modern viewers might perceive it as too corny. As the wise man once said, we shall see…
Update: Fishel has posted the following statement (via Tumblr):
First of all, let me say that you, the fans of Boy Meets World, have been awesome. That word is often used incorrectly by people, including myself, on a daily basis but you have truly been awe inspiring. You, yes, even YOU, are the reason that Girl Meets World WILL BE MADE. J
I do not know how many BMW cast members will be returning for GMW, or how often they may appear if and/or when they do appear. I am going to do my best to not speak for others with this open post. But because I have known Michael Jacobs, Ben Savage, Rider Strong, Will Friedle, and Bill Daniels for 19 years, I know we share many of the same feelings regarding the 7 wonderful years we spent making BMW. Those years were among the most warm, hilarious, insightful, educational years of my life and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Another thing I wouldn’t trade for anything is the integrity and the heart with which BMW was made. I promise with the entirety of my heart that we will make GMW with the same honesty, innocence, and intelligence that you learned to expect from BMW.
I say this because making the decision to do the show involved more conversations than you can possible imagine. These conversations were with the same people I mentioned above because they were all instrumental in creating and maintaining the heart of BMW. The first comment out of every person’s mouth was, “Let’s only do it if we think we can create something as special as we did with BMW.” When the news leaked that GMW was in the making, literally days after I first heard about the project myself, Michael Jacobs and I had a conversation and we talked about how we were both so blown away by the reactions from all of you. We felt honored. We felt nostalgic. We felt touched by the excitement in your comments, tweets, Tumblr, and Facebook posts. But most of all, we felt inspired. We felt inspired to bring these characters back to life and to tell you more of their stories. Michael said to me, “Danielle, when I read what people say BMW meant to them it makes me so very proud of all of us. I think it is important for us, for as long as we are fortunate enough to have this opportunity to do GMW, that we all look each other in the eyes every so often and make sure we know we have something of value to offer the audience.” I think we have that with GMW.
I say that so that I can say this: GMW is a new show. It isn’t BMW brought back to life but in current day. It will have familiar faces, familiar themes, and familiar messages. It will also have new faces, new themes, and new messages. BMW never spoke down to the audience and we are going to do our best to never do that with GMW. But please keep in mind that this there will be episode 1, of season 1, of a brand new show. We started at the same place with BMW but we evolved and we evolved quickly. For those of you who knew and loved BMW, please allow this show to evolve as well. Stick with us. Give us a chance.
In the meantime, a sincere thank you to every one of you for all of your tweets (I read them all, every day. It killed me not to be able to talk about it!), even those of you who asked us not to do it. There were only a few of you but I know why you don’t want GMW to happen and I appreciate that BMW meant enough to you that you don’t want to see its legacy tarnished. I can assure you, we don’t want that either. Your love, dedication, and appreciation means more to us than you could ever know and it will be the driving force behind our passion to make the best show we can possibly make. Thank you for giving us the chance to do it again.
More on Girl Meets World as the story develops.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.