What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Girl Meets World revisits the main characters from the '90s sitcom Boy Meets World. Here Cory and Topanga are the parents of Riley, a tween who's trying to learn life lessons alongside her bad-girl bestie (sound familiar?) and under the caring guidance of her teacher, who just happens to be her dad. As such, she makes some questionable decisions in the spirit of mild rebellion -- mostly led by the aforementioned BFF -- in her quest to make the world her own. Instances of negative peer pressure usually exist to teach a positive lesson of some sort, but younger kids may not make the connection between cause and effect. Expect some flirting between teens and plenty of scenarios that wouldn't fly in your kids' reality, but there also are some heartwarming moments between friends as well as parents and kids.
What's the story?
GIRL MEETS WORLD chronicles the coming of age of 11-year-old Riley Matthews (Rowan Blanchard), a studious girl who's discovering boys and her own limits under the watchful eyes of her parents, Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel). Riley's best friend, Maya (Sabrina Carpenter), is always by her side to guide (or misguide, as is often the case) her way through the ups and downs and to add some spice to Riley's life. Then there's Lucas (Peyton Meyer), the new class cutie who seems smitten with Riley, and Farkle (Corey Fogelmanis), a know-it-all classmate with dueling crushes on both Maya and Riley. Riley's desperate to spread her wings, find herself, and conquer the world, but that's no easy task when your parents have high expectations for you and your dad isn't only your dad, he's also your teacher.
Is it any good?
Disney revisits familiar sitcom territory in this spin-off of the wildly popular '90s series Boy Meets World, which followed Cory's teen years and eventual marriage to Topanga. Now, more than a decade later, they're the role models for young Riley as she learns the same kinds of life lessons they muddled through in the original. The show clearly hopes to appeal to two demographics: now-grown Boy Meets World fans who can relate to some of Cory's parenting uncertainties, and the younger crowd who will want to follow Riley's ups and downs. Of course, in some cases, these could be parents and kids who can watch together.
For a project attempting to woo such different groups of viewers, Girl Meets World manages pretty well. Cory and Topanga aren't the only familiar faces you'll see as the series evolves, but these reunions never overshadow the modern-day story of Riley, which is predictably pristine fare that doesn't tackle anything really serious. What it does instead is present a loving family structure whose members value honesty and communication, even when their views differ. What's more, it makes an effort to show development in many of the characters, including Cory; who loosens the reins on his young daughter as she proves her maturity; and Maya, who sometimes allows herself to be influenced by Riley rather than the other way around.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how Riley's reality compares to yours. Does hers seem to be an average lifestyle? Can you relate to her problems? How might you solve them differently than she does?
Kids: Have you ever felt pressured by a friend to do something you didn't want to do? Is it hard to say "no" in situations like those? How do other people's expectations affect yours? To what degree is it important to feel accepted by your peers?
Communication is important to Riley's relationship with her parents. Kids: Is honesty always the best policy? How does it feel when you get what you want by being dishonest?