Patricia Makris ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff TV Writer
The series finale of Disney Channel’s hit, Girl Meets World, titled “Girl Meets Goodbye,” aired on Friday, January 20th. After three successful seasons, the announcement of the show’s cancellation was first shared by the official “Girl Meets Writers” Twitter account. At the time of the announcement, there were still three episodes left to air. Fans eagerly waited during the holiday season for the decision, as many of the network’s other series had already learned of their fate.
As a spinoff of the popular 90’s sitcom Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World centered around the life of Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley Matthews. With the help of her family and friends, she was introduced to the world around her and encouraged to make it her own. Through all the adventures, challenges, laughs, and tears, several key lessons were born. At the top of the list: people change people.
All of the characters, in one way or another, impact each other through their unique bond. They have many differences overall but each contribute something important to their group. At the core of the show, friendship is considered the strongest entity one could possess. Riley and her friends grew up with the undying support and dedication for one another that helped them through their toughest lessons. Their fans witnessed this firsthand and also built their own friendships with some of these ideas in mind.
In the two-part season finale, Topanga reveals she has been given a job offer that would move the family to London. Needing help to make a final decision, Topanga enlists some recognizable faces from Boy Meets World (most of whom had already made guest appearances on Girl Meets World). After some tender moments, followed by a weird interaction with her brother-in-law, Topanga decides to retreat in order to think on her own. Meanwhile, Riley and her friends are trying to cope with the possibility of being split up. In the end, everyone finds Topanga sitting in her coffee shop, which has become a regular hangout for Riley and her friends. Topanga considers it her “bay window” (a special place in Riley’s room where the friends go to solve their problems) and realizes she can’t leave it behind. The Matthews end up staying in New York, right where they belong.
Riley’s best friend Maya Hart’s biggest lesson learned throughout the seasons is that hope isn’t for suckers. Just as everyone hoped Topanga would make the right decision in the finale, it’s time once again to test the power of hope. In an exclusive with TVLine, it was first announced that the Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World series creator Michael Jacobs was involved in early talks to have the series revived on another network or streaming service. According to Jacobs, his team originally signed on to do four seasons with Disney Channel and that is how the show was planned out. As of January 17, it was announced that the streaming service Netflix was not interested in picking up the series.
Between strong reviews and multiple award nominations, including two consecutive Best Children’s Programming Emmys and pending PGA, WGA and Humanitas Prize nominations, on paper, it may seem like there is no logical explanation for why the show was not renewed. While Disney Channel is known for consistently changing its lineup, especially as young cast members grow up, most of their more popular series’ seem to last around four seasons, or past 65 episodes, starting with That’s So Raven (2003-2007.)
Despite the uncertainty of Girl Meets World’s fate, it is important to note two very important silver linings. First and foremost, the creator of the show agrees that it should not have been canceled and is making a serious effort to have it revived. As previously mentioned, Jacobs and his team had planned for four seasons and may have ideas for more. In an interview with TheWrap, Jacobs explains that if the series were revived, season four would not be approached as a final season because a network or streaming service probably isn’t looking to only buy one season.
The other notable silver lining is the response of the fans as a result of the cancellation. Several online petitions were launched across various social media platforms, with hashtags such as #SaveGMW #HuluSaveGMW #GirlMeetsHulu #GirlMeetsAmazon among many others. On Tumblr, a paper airplane campaign (#Planes4GMW) was started as a way of sending fan letters to encourage other networks and streaming outlets to consider reviving the series. The paper airplane is a notable symbol in both Boy Meets World and Girl Meets World. Members of the cast and crew, as well as prominent entertainment news organizations, picked up the story. This brought even more attention to the series and the fans’ mission to save it. Jacobs explained to TVLine that he attributes outside interests in reviving the series as a result of overall fan reaction and the paper airplane campaign.
For anyone who still needs to meet the world, for anyone who believes in the greater good of others, for anyone who wants to believe in hope, for anyone who is unique, for anyone who loves learning, for anyone that doesn’t want to be defined by their past, for anyone that believes that inner beauty is a sign of strength, for anyone who needs help understanding their wild (but lovable) group of friends, for anyone that loves their siblings, for anyone who is a fan of Boy Meets World, for anyone who wants to visit Riley Town, for anyone who wants to learn about Belgium 1831, for anyone who wants to learn how people change people: Girl Meets World is EXACTLY the show you want to get behind. Now more than ever, kids (and kids at heart) need to be reminded of the power of a good friendship. To the fans making their voices heard: don’t give up. As for the cast and crew, it’s safe to say they did their best, left a good mark, and people will remember them fondly.