REVIEW Girl Meets World delivers on nostalgia, but the magic remains to be seen

Girl Meets World Cast

In just nine days, Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence-Matthews will return to television for Girl Meets World, the Disney Channel sequel based on their fictional daughter… But, if you’re a Boy Meets World super-fan like me and don’t feel like waiting another second, the whole episode is now available for free download through iTunes!

After watching the pilot, my biggest takeaway is that Michael Jacobs — along with Boy Meets World‘s Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel — tried to remain true to the tone of the much-loved TGIF original.

To foster that goal, there are many parallels: The young star, Riley, has a well-meaning, bad-influence friend, Maya. There’s a love connection between Riley and Texas-transplant Lucas that could easily be sculpted into the kind of relationship Cory and Topanga shared. There’s a nerdy classmate, Farkle, who (spoiler alert) is later revealed to be Minkus’ son. The kids even go to a school named after John Quincy Adams.

Girl Meets World - Cory and Topanga
Honeymoon in Hawaii picture front and center!

With so much overlap, there are a few places where it feels like GMW is trying too hard. In the opening scene, for example, Cory and Riley have a father-daughter chat about how this is still “his world” and she needs to make it her own. It’s an obvious reference to the titles of the shows, but comes across as a bit unnatural.

In contrast, the best moments in the GMW premiere are the subtle nods to the original. (Hint: Wait until the very end of the 22-minute pilot for the best part!) It’s also great to see Cory and Topanga back together with the same dynamic that’s endeared them to audiences for decades.

One thing I had to come to terms with during the pilot is that, sadly, my 20-something self isn’t the target demographic for the saccharine Disney show. My only hope is that GMW is able to evolve in the ways Cory and Topanga did from their early 1990s tween years until their post-marriage college years — although the Disney Channel isn’t know for great character development.

Watch Girl Meets World on iTunes now or on Disney Channel’s televised premiere on Friday, June 27 at 9:45/8:45c.

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