Class is back in session.
Class is back in session.
Sometimes, every once in a while, if you’re really lucky, something comes around that totally shocks you, that stops you dead in your tracks, that is so surprising and wonderful and unexpected that it can’t possibly be true. For us, that was the news that The Disney Channel is developing a Boy Meets World spin-off. It’s so exciting and bizarre and unlikely that it’s still hard to believe.
Earlier in the week we were treated to a similar experience, the breaking of news that would change the state of the world of which we know. That development, of course, was the announcement that not only had Disney purchased Lucasfilm, but they were planning to produce Episodes Seven, Eight and Nine. We still recall vividly when, at eight-year-old, our brother’s friend told us that not only had George Lucas created the greatest movie franchise and fictional universe known to man, but he was planning to expand the galaxy far, far away with three prequels and three sequels, making the Star Wars we knew just middle chapter of the grand epic. This changed everything, altering our view of what the future would be like. And for years we held onto the idea, this promise of the sequels, even when the prequels failed to live up to their predecessors, especially since the prequels failed to live up to their predecessors. But, at some point, you have to let go, and we chalked up the talk of sequels to the same gossip that had us believing for years in the eventual existence of Spaceballs 3: the Search for Part 2. So when out of the blue, out of the literal darkness in post-Sandy New York, came the news that, after all these years my brother’s friend was right, the future we envisioned will finally come to pass, we were absolutely astounded.
And even that revelation paled in comparison to the announcement of new life for Boy Meets World.
Season 2, Disc 1, Episode 1: “The Prom” (!)
12:20am: PIZZA and Saved by the Bell. And the episode that’s the turning point for the series.
A rather odd search term today, part of which we understand, part of which we’re not so sure about, as one of today’s top phrases was “jason feeny.” Certainly, we could see why someone would end up on this site by searching for Feeny, as Boy Meets World’s Mr. Feeny (as portrayed by the esteemed William Daniels) is one of our all-time favorites, someone whom we should write about more. We’re thrilled if this is where searching for “feeny” takes you. And we cite the name “Jason’ at least once a week, thanks to our preferred SNL cast member, Mr. Jason Sudeikis. But “Jason Feeny?” We don’t know who that is. So since you get enough Sudeikis on this site (for example, earlier today, for no reason at all), we’re going to devote this post to the distinguished, debonair, George Hamilton Feeny.
In a post we hope to craft soon we’re going to argue that the shows that comprised TGIF (Family Matters, Full House, Perfect Strangers) weren’t entirely terrible. They certainly had their deficiencies, and no one would confuse them with truly smart, groundbreaking television. But they had their time and their place, and we’re important shows of their era. However, the cream of the crop from that block was Boy Meets World, which joined the TGIF line-up in 1993. In fact, it’s probably the only real quality show from that group by most criteria, and while we would accept a case that Full House and Family Matters were lackluster sitcoms, we’ll go to our graves defending Boy Meets World.
Lasting seven seasons, just barely making it to the new millennium, the show (through a few time jumps) followed Cory Matthews from elementary school to college, often reinventing itself in the process. Over its run the show featured new characters and locations, and even a change in comic sensibilities and personalities, but the one constant was Mr. Feeny. He started as school teacher to Corey, his brother Eric, his longtime love Topanga and best friend Shawn, then became their principal and finally their professor. But through it all he was their mentor, their guide, dispensing equal parts wisdom and tough love. So it was fitting then that the series ended with those children, now grown, thanking Mr. Feeny for teaching them, for caring about them, and for shaping them into who they are.
Did you cry? A little bit? That’s okay. Us too.
With Parks and Recreation making its long, long-awaited return tonight, we thought it would be appropriate to take a look back at a post we wrote in September of 2009, just before the show returned for its sophomore season. Right now, in January of 2011, Parks and Recreation is widely recognized as one of the best, if not the best, comedies on television (which is why it was so excruciating when the series was pushed until mid-season to make room for the abominable Outsourced), but just about 17 months ago when it was coming off a lackluster, somewhat disappointing first season the story was much different. It’s developed into one of the most reliable, warmest, funniest shows on network TV or any other channel, and boasts perhaps the deepest ensemble cast, but back before its second season the jury was still out, and it was a show very much still finding its footing. But Jumped the Snark went ahead and asserted the potential of the show, watching the first season and finding much room for improvement but also much room for greatness. And we think its fair to say that both this blog and Parks and Recreation were vindicated.
In that post we outlined three areas where Parks and Rec most needed to progress to reach the quality of a show like The Office, its spiritual forefather (and not only has Parks and Rec equaled its progenitor, it’s now surpassed it. The student has become the teacher). Let’s take a look at those recommendations and how Parks and Rec took them into consideration.
Today in their “Where are they now?” posting, TMZ featured Rider Strong, AKA Boy Meet’s World‘s resident bad boy/sensitive poet Shawn Hunter. However, we take an exception to their ostensibly derogatory summary of his post-World career, as they write:
In 2004, Rider graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University.
In 2009, Strong appeared in one episode of “Castle.”
That feels like a dig to me, no? How does it feel to you?
I think we all remember his role in the season 3 episode of Veronica Mars “My Big Fat Greek Rush Week” as Wallace & Logan’s classmate and fellow participant in the Stanford prison experiment. Strong, you may recall, played a guard in the exercise who bullied concurrent guest star and captive Samm Levine into pissing his pants (it was quite the guest star-studded episode, as Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson, appears as the professor conducting the experiment. What Veronica was doing this whole time I don’t recall).
So to say that in the intervening years since the end of Boy Meets World that Strong has only gone to college and appeared on one episode of a somewhat popular ABC show is unfair, and plain wrong. And, in addition to his spot on Veronica Mars, he also keeps up a pretty strong twitter presence.
We’re kidding here, of course. But Strong, according to his twitter, has been working on his own films and even doing some theater. And, more importantly, one time about 6 years ago we ran into him on the N train. And he was gracious and kind, even as we completely geeked out, and no doubt made him feel uncomfortable from across the train car. He was the first (but not the last) cast member of Boy Meets World that we have had the good fortune to meet, and for that he’ll always have a place in our heart.
And that, TMZ, is the kind of fact you can’t find on IMDB.