A Thought On Boy Meets World

Still watching Boy Meets World. Had a thought about season 3. The final episode – the season finale – is about the main character Cory Matthews and how he feels about his older brother Eric Matthews moving out of the house to go to college at the end of the school year. The 90s sitcom Very Important Lesson that Eric learns is that his relationship with his brother is important and they barely know each other and now that they’re older the three year gap isn’t really much of a difference and yadda yadda yadda. It’s brought up a couple of different times that Eric has his own friends and his own things to do and basically just always had better things to do than talk to Cory.

Here’s the weird thing about that. In seasons one and two, Eric’s best friend Jason Marsden (played by Jason Marsden) was a recurring character. In season three, that character makes no appearances at all. Season three’s finale revolves around focusing on his own life while at the same time season three in general has had Eric come completely unmoored from his own social life. It also depicts Eric and Cory’s relationship mellowing out significantly from the second season, when Cory was a seventh grader (his eighth grade year is mysteriously not depicted) and Eric did everything in his power to keep Cory’s existence from reflecting poorly on him in any way at all. Throughout season three, Eric is depicted as having a much greater and much more friendly presence in Cory’s life. So the season three finale is about how Eric never does the thing he is frequently depicted doing (without being dragged into it as he was in earlier seasons) because he’s too busy doing the thing he is never depicted doing.

Also, Cory’s entire eighth grade year isn’t depicted, even though the early episodes of season three pick up right where season two left off. At the end of season two, Cory’s best friend Shaun Hunter has just moved in with his English teacher, Jonathan Turner, a series of events that made sense in context. At the beginning of season three, Shaun has been living with Jon over the summer and they’ve gotten comfortable with each other, but Shaun hasn’t ever lived with Jon during the school year. We know this because in the first episode, Shaun expects he can use his close relationship with his home room teacher to avoid getting in trouble for being late to school and is unpleasantly surprised when Jon flat-out refuses to give him any special treatment. I don’t think Cory and Shaun’s exact grade level is ever specified in season three, but it’s definitely true that they start the season fourteen years old and end it fifteen years old. In American education, that’s ninth grade. Season one they were 11/12, season two they were 12/13, and now in season three they have leaped ahead to 14/15 despite the fact that the gap between seasons clearly only extends over the course of one summer.

It’s not like this kind of sloppy continuity unexpected from a pre-Renaissance television show (and honestly, Boy Meets World doesn’t really get good until a few seasons later – its best episode is undoubtedly the season five episode that parodies slasher flicks). Shaun and Cory’s girlfriend Topanga, the two most significant characters in the show outside Cory himself, both have siblings who cameo in season one that get retconned out of existence when they become inconvenient, so it’s not like sloppy continuity is any kind of stranger to the show. It still rustles my jimmies.

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