Monday, September 28, 2015

TV Show Review: Boy Meets World - Season 6

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Funny at times, serious at others with characters to carry us through both
Cons: A bit over the top at times, especially if Eric is involved
The Bottom Line:
Funny, serious
Meld well this season.  Still, at
Times over the top

“When Did I Ever Have a Bad Idea?”

Welcome to college.  That’s right, after five years of watching the gang travel from sixth grade to twelfth grade (don’t ask), the main characters on Boy Meets World are prepared to go to college in season 6.  This was the first full season I watched, and I remembered it being a bit over the top.  What surprised me was just how serious the show was at the same time.

If you are new to the show, it follows the misadventures and misunderstandings of new college freshman Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) and his friends and family.  That includes his longtime girlfriend Topanga Lawrence (Danielle Fishel), his best friend Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong), and Shawn’s girlfriend and Topanga’s friend Angela Moore (Tina McGee).  There’s also Cory’s brother Eric (Will Friedle), who is rooming with Shawn’s long lost half-brother Jack (Matthew Lawrence).  We also get next-door neighbor and teacher from sixth grade on up Mr. Feeny (William Daniels).  Rounding out the cast are Cory’s parents Alan and Amy (William Russ and Betsy Randle) and younger sister Morgan (Lindsay Ridgeway).

Of course, before we can get to college, we must deal with the season five cliffhanger.  The show picks up right where it left off as Topang has just proposed to Cory at their high school graduation.  The reactions to that are decidedly mixed, and the end result almost leaves us with a wedding.  Meanwhile, Mr. Feeny has retired and moved to Wyoming only to find himself drawn home, where he winds up teaching at the college where all the students are now attending.  He’s also crushing hard on the school’s dean (William Daniels’ real life wife Bonnie Bartlett in a recurring guest star role).

While Cory and Topanga are now engaged, they move into the dorms down the hall from each other.  Naturally, this means that Cory is rooming with Shawn and Topanga is rooming with Angela.  Things get a little awkward early on when Shawn and Angela break up, but the gang soon learns how to still hang out as friends.  Meanwhile, Eric and Jack get a beautiful new roommate, Rachel (Maitland Ward), who sends the best friends into competition mode trying to win their new roommate as a girlfriend.

Over the course of the season, Cory almost ruins his college career before it even begins, the gang learns that honesty can have its drawbacks, Eric turns Rachel into a star a la The Truman Show (this was 1998 and 1999 after all), a new professor (played by Ben’s brother Fred Savage) crosses the line with Topanga (in a PG rates way that fits the show), a new Matthews is born, and someone gets married.

As I said earlier, I remembered this season as being a bit over the top, and there is definitely plenty of that here.  Most of it comes from Eric, who has descended to a level of goofy that would only work on a sitcom.  Granted, he was never smart, but he seems to get dumber with each season.  Not that Cory is far behind.  He can overreact with the best of them, too, but he is still a great main character.  The constant sub-plots involving Rachel, Eric, and Jack and the guys trying to impress their new roommate are a bit repetitive as well.

And yet….

About half way through this season, the show takes a turn toward the serious and hits us with one episode after another.  It all starts when Shawn and Jack’s father comes to visit and has a heart attack, which sends Shawn into a tailspin.  Then, when Amy Matthews goes into labor early, the baby boy is extremely sick and has to stay in infant ICU.  In a storyline that actually shows some maturity in Eric, he become a big brother for a boy in an orphanage and then must make a decision when a family on the other side of the country wants to adopt him.  It’s one thing after another, and I found myself tearing up as I watched many of these episodes.

Yes, the show still has laughs, but these storylines definitely make things more serious.  But here’s the thing, I always wanted to go beyond the two episodes I was planning to watch every night.  It was hard to stop because I had to see what would happen next with the characters.  And I’d seen these episodes when they first aired, so I had very, very fuzzy memories of some of these storylines, too.  Somehow, the more serious tone works.

Actually, I think it works because we like the characters.  When these episodes first aired, I had only started watching in season 5.  I still felt the pull to know what was happening to them.  Now that I’ve watched the series from the beginning, I’m finding that my connection to the characters is even stronger, so I feel the pull more.

Obviously, that means the acting is sharp.  The cast knows their characters, and they hit these scenes dead on.  Whether we are supposed to be laughing or feeling, it is truly great.

I’ve got to mention the writers, too, who find that perfect balance between laughs and serious moments while fully bringing the viewers along for the ride.

Like the last few seasons, this is a bare bones season set.  We get all 22 episodes on three discs in their native full frame and stereo sound.  Nothing in the way of extras is offered.

If you are new to the show, this might be a different season to hook you on Cory and the rest.  But if you have been enjoying Boy Meets World, you’ll definitely want to continue their adventures in season 6.

Season 6 Episodes:
1. His Answer
2. Her Answer
3. Ain’t College Great
4. Friendly Persuasion
5. Better Than the Average Cory
6. Hogs and Kisses
7. Everybody Loves Stuart
8. You’re Married, You’re Dead
9. Poetic License: An Ode to Holden Caulfield
10. And in Case I Don’t See Ya….
11. Santa’s Little Helpers
12. Cutting the Cord
13. We’ll Have a Good Time Then
14. Getting Hitched
15. Road Trip
16. My Baby Valentine
17. Resurrection
18. Can I Help to Cheer You
19. Bee True
20. The Truth About Honesty
21. The Psychotic Episode
22. State of the Unions 

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