The big premiere of “Girl Meets World” is finally here! Ever since the “Boy Meets World” spin-off was announced, fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of one of the best TV couples – Cory & Topanga.
“Girl Meets World” brings Ben Savage & Danielle Fishel back and along with the comes a cast of new faces. GMW will follow the life of Cory & Topanga’s teenage daughter Riley played by Rowan Blanchard. Joining Riley in her seventh grade antics are her best friend Maya (Sabrina Carpenter), know-it-all Farkle (Corey Fogelmanis), Texas cutie Lucas (Peyton Meyer) and Riley’s little brother Auggie (August Maturo).
Now, for fans of “Boy Meets World,” we definitely have to say give the show a chance. You will find hints of what you loved about the original all throughout GMW.
We had the chance recently to visit the cast on the set and also talk to the creator Michael Jacobs. So we are listing things you need to know about “Girl Meets World.” PS, there may be spoilers below in case you haven’t had a chance to watch the first episode via WatchDisneyChannel.com or iTunes.
1. This isn’t a reboot. It’s a continuation.
Jacobs told us at a recent set visit that he wasn’t too sure he wanted to reboot “Boy Meets World.” “When I got a call from Disney Channel asking if I was interested in doing a continuation of “Boy Meets World,” I really wasn’t because I thought what they originally wanted was a remake of the original show,” he said. “I didn’t feel there was any reason to do that then this fellow named Cory Marsh, who is a big fan of ‘Boy Meets World,’ called me back and said, look, will you think of something. I called him the next day and said if you want to do a brand new show, Cory and Topanga have now been married 13 years, 14 by the time it would air, so they have a 12 year old girl and they’d have a boy. Why don’t we show them as parents which could be a two level show. It could be a study of parents that are learning how to be parents as kids grow up in a world that is much tougher than the world of “Boy Meets World.””
2. The Matthews family takes on the Big Apple!
In the series finale of “Boy Meets World,” Cory and Topanga headed to New York City. “Girl Meets World” picks up with the Matthews family in New York which opens a whole new set of adventures for Riley and Maya.
3. Cory is the new Mr. Feeny, but then again he isn’t exactly Feeny.
What’s more awkward than just being a seventh grader? How about being a seventh grader with your dad as your teacher! Cory is now a middle school teacher and his class consists of Riley, Maya, Lucas, and Farkle. That’s right, he’s taken over for Mr. Feeny, but he isn’t exactly like Feeny. “Ben won’t be Feeny. Feeny was Feeny. Ben will stumble because Cory stumbles through his lessons and fatherhood because it’s what you want,” Jacobs told us. We’re guessing he won’t always have everything as together as Mr. Feeny did.
4. History repeated itself with the casting of Sabrina and Rowan.
While on set with Michael Jacobs, he chatted a little bit about the casting of the show and told the story of how he knew right after Rider Strong’s audition that he was Shawn. They already had Ben in place and it turned out to be the perfect pairing. The same thing happened with Sabrina and Rowan, but it was opposite. Sabrina caught the eye of Jacobs first and even though they still had to go on a nationwide casting search, he knew she had it. Then, when they were auditioning for the role of Riley, they were looking at 14 year old and 15 year old girls who looked like 13 year old girls. He said, “the problem is, you can’t do a coming of age story if you’ve already come of age. We did these auditions with these teenagers and I felt like right after the audition they were going to go out and raise their children and say hi to their husbands. It just smacked artificial to me.” When Rowan came in, everyone said she was too young and even Rowan thought that. Jacobs continued, “I sat down and spoke to her and asked her to read lines and for the first time, the lines spoke to me because it was a girl that was confused. She wasn’t formed, her opinions were rubber. That’s why I think that Rowan is a remarkable casting.” He added, “Rowan comes in and just trips over her own feet, crashes into the wall, thinks she’s blown the audition and is in near tears. I say, Rowan, you may be too young and she’s like “I don’t want to be too young.” The casting director looked at me and said “you’re going to go to war for her aren’t you” and I said “I don’t think I’ll have to.” I brought in Gary Marsh and Adam Bonnett and they took a look at her and I remember Gary’s reaction, “I’m really intrigued.””
5. Mr. Feeny will “pop up” a lot in season 1.
It was confirmed early on that William Daniels would be reprising his role of Mr. Feeny in the pilot. While you’ll have to wait until the end of the episode to see the physical version of him, he is always watching over the Matthews family. Keep an eye on the subway station set. You’ll see a giant poster that reads “It’s cool to stay in school” with Mr. Feeny on it. How Mr. Feeny got on a poster is beyond us, but we love that his presence will be felt throughout the show.
6. There are more “Boy Meets World” references to keep an eye on.
Riley and Maya attend John Quincy Adams Middle School. If you remember, Cory, Shawn and the gang attended John Adams Middle School and High School in Philly and John Quincy Adams is the son of John Adams.
7. Cory and Topanga originally had three kids.
In “Girl Meets World,” you’ll meet Cory & Topanga’s two kids – Riley & Auggie. Did you know that there were originally supposed to be three kids? Earth to Echo star Teo Halm was cast as the couple’s oldest son Elliot, but later on it was decided it wasn’t working out. Disney released a statement saying, “Various creative changes are often made as a project transitions from pilot to series.” We’re a little bummed we won’t have a new Eric-like character.
8. Many familiar faces will be returning.
It’s already been confirmed that many of your favorites from “Boy Meets World” will be popping up in season 1. So who is returning? We already know Mr. Feeny, but Minkus (Lee Norris) will be returning because, wait for it, he’s Farkle’s dad! Also returning for the holiday episode will be Alan, Amy and Shawn. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Eric will show up in season 2. Will Freidle, please come back to acting in front of the camera…just for one episode! Also, where is Jack (Matthew Lawrence)?
9. Cory’s little brother Josh will appear.
If you remember, at the end of “Boy Meets World,” Cory’s parents had another son named Josh. Today, Josh would be 16-year-old and he will be popping up in GMW. Jacobs told us, “It is inescapable that [Josh] would be part of this. We cast a kid named Uriah Shelton and he’s a star, he’s fantastic. We’ve now done 3 episodes with Uriah as Josh.”
10. “Sister, Sister” fans will enjoy a special cameo in episode 1.
Another show we loved from the 90s was “Sister, Sister.” Do you recognize the lady sitting next to Lucas on the subway in the first episode? It’s none other than Jackée Harry who played Lisa on “Sister, Sister.” We love 90s throwbacks.
11. Cory will butt heads with Alan.
Since Cory and Alan have kids similar in age, will there be competition? Yep! That is addressed in the holiday reunion episode. “We remember that Alan is not just a grandfather, he’s a father. Fathers compete with each other,” Jacobs revealed. “The competition between Alan and Cory to be a father is what’s examined in the holiday episode. It’s lovely and you’ll enjoy it because of that.”
12. The show has a catchy theme song.
Sabrina and Rowan are both singers and while you won’t really hear them sing in the show, they do sing the theme song, “Take on the World.” Take a listen here!
13. Michael Jacobs’ son gives the show a stamp of approval.
Michael Jacobs has created many beloved shows like “Dinosaurs,” “My Two Dads,” “Charles in Charge,” and of course “Boy Meets World.” He has four kids and the oldest three each claimed one of his shows as their own. His youngest son Danny never felt like he had a show of his own until “Girl Meets World.” “My best moment was when Danny watched the pilot and smiled at me,” Jacobs said. “I just saw him so moved by the pilot and he said “this is my show?” I said, “do you want it?” He said “I want it,” so I’m good.” Fun fact: Danny played Josh Matthews in an episode of BMW.
14. This is a show for the “every man” and “every girl.”
Over the years, you are going to fall in love with Riley the same way you fell in love with Cory. “Every show gets tested and we go through focus groups. What we were hearing is “who do you want to be?” Maya, Maya. Everyone was Maya. Everybody got nervous and we were like is Riley testing high enough?,” Jacobs revealed. “I said, don’t you understand? Every Riley in the audience wants to be Maya. It’s Ben all over again. In the beginning of “Boy Meets World,” Cory was never the highest testing character. It would be Shawn, it would be Topanga, it would be Feeny, it’d be extra #7. After year 3, it was Cory, year 4, Cory. He became the aspirational character. He showed the vast, predominant every man audience that “we are going to have a life.” Most shows on TV now, it’s hard to look like that, it’s hard to sound like that, it’s hard to have a girlfriend or boyfriend that looks like that as well. We want to do it real. I want a stumbling, gawky, unsure of herself child to grow up in front of us again. We did it once and we were successful.”
15. Don’t expect Cory & Shawn to be the Cory and Shawn you remember.
Jacobs promises that the holiday episode will be a big one. In addition to having Shawn, Alan, Amy and Josh back, things between Cory & Shawn will be different. “The reunion episode, when the cast came to play, you’ll see that in about 6 months in December. It’s gorgeous because what happens is, there’s Cory and Shawn together again and they’re trying to be Cory and Shawn. It’s not that “boom” they hit the ground running from where they left off,” Jacobs teased. “They don’t know how to be Cory and Shawn. Cory says “I haven’t seen you for 3 weeks” and Shawn says “13 years.” What happened in that time is illustrated between them and all of a sudden you have one startling realization. You’re rooting for the girls. The boys and the girls have two completely different agendas. Cory and Shawn are Riley and Maya and all of a sudden you’re rooting for them to beat these boys. That dichotomy and realization made me realize we made it.”
16. Rider Strong and Ben Savage step behind the camera.
Both Rider and Ben will direct episodes of GMW. One of the episodes that Rider directs is called “Girl Meets First Date.”
17. The show will give you major feels.
“We can’t tell you how many times we read “Don’t screw this up Disney. This was my upbringing.” We took that to heart and I thought to myself, I just read a biography of Van Gogh, and he died and didn’t know what he was,” Jacobs said on set. “We are lucky enough to have heard we did good while we’re still alive. That’s why it was worth doing. The reaction to that particular series. There’s a column I want to play in. It’s “The Wonder Years” and “Happy Days” and those were the shows I was raised on. What I loved about them was at the end of every episode, I felt something. If I’m emulating anything, it’s that I want people to come out of it feeling something.”
18. Finally, we’ll leave you with this. Don’t judge the show just off the pilot.
During our chat with Michael Jacobs, he said multiple times to not compare the pilot episode of “Girl Meets World” to the entire series of “Boy Meets World.” Give the show a chance and you’ll fall in love with Riley the same way you fell in love with Cory.
“I don’t want the new show to be compared in pilot to an entire 156 episode series. The worst nightmare I have is that we’ve gotten all of this wonderful press and I’m scared to death of “oh that wasn’t worth waiting for. What did he give us?” You can’t possibly compare an entire series of a show to a pilot but I promise you, if you look at the pilot of “Boy Meets World” and look at the “Girl Meets World” pilot and watch the episodes unfold, we’re as good or better. Divorcing myself completely from having done both shows, the reason that I believe that the original audience from “Boy” if they still around will be well rewarded by the growth of these characters because the world is different. After the pilot was completed, we immediately wanted to touch on issues. What we were reading was can you please do what “Boy” did.”
For more, watch our exclusive interviews with the cast below. “Girl Meets World” premieres June 27 at 9:45pm on Disney Channel.