To be completely honest, chances are everyone saw this coming. The writing was on the wall for months. That doesn’t make it any easier of a pill to swallow, though. The Disney Channel has officially canceled “Girl Meets World” — the “Boy Meets World” sequel series — after three seasons.
The news was announced by co-creator Michael Jacobs on the show’s writers room Twitter account.
“It is with incredible pride in our work and complete sadness that things end, that I report to this wonderful audience that our show is over,” he writes. “I just officially got the call, and would like to thank this audience for its incredible love and loyalty. Please watch our January episodes. We leave you with three incredible souvenirs of a show we couldn’t be more proud of. As I look back I can tell you with absolute certainty — We gave you our best.”
When he says they gave viewers their best, that’s no joke. While many would expect a half-hour comedy on the Disney Channel to be a show for kids, “Girl Meets World” was so much more. It took the nostalgia that “Boy Meets World” fans had for the original show, and channeled it into something brand new — that in a fraction of the time managed to rise above the original in quality.
It became the life story of a young girl named Riley (Rowan Blanchard) growing up in New York City, coming to terms with what that means in the modern age. It dealt with issues the original show wouldn’t dare touch, simply because times have changed since “Boy Meets World” took the air.
A perfect example of that was introducing a seemingly polyamorous relationship between Riley, her best friend Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) and the boy they both liked, Lucas (Peyton Meyer). That storyline was an example of this group of kids learning about life in ways “Boy Meets World” didn’t cover because while that show was about Cory (Ben Savage) growing up, it was also a primetime network sitcom.
“Girl” skewing to a younger audience let the stories of these tweens play out in a way that you couldn’t help be engaged by. So much so that it was often hard to tell who the titular girl in “Girl Meets World” was.
While the series is set around Riley — as the daughter of original “Boy” Cory and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) — it was often Maya who became the show’s most engaging character. Originally introduced as the Shawn (Rider Strong) of Riley’s crew — the bad influence/best friend — Maya quickly became something else. She was a beautifully flawed character, through whom many of us lived vicariously, as she looked in on Riley and her perfect life at home.
In that way, Maya was the most relatable character on the show — but also often the one that learned the most from the lessons it taught. It’s not unlike how Shawn was viewed on “Boy Meets World” — but the energy she infused into the character brought it to life in a way nobody could have expected.
The most unfortunate thing is “Girl” still had so much story to tell. The end of Season 3 will roughly coincide with the end of the group’s first year of high school. That means fans will miss out on how these best friends transition into adulthood, what their first years of college could be like, and so much more.
Of course, given that the show was on the Disney Channel it’s hard to imagine how they would have pulled that off. It begs the question of whether it ever belonged on that network in the first place.
While it presented the network an opportunity to grow up, the show might well have been better off somewhere it could grow into — like Disney’s other cable network, Freeform.
Freeform would have been the perfect home for “Girl” as it reached its high school years and continued to develop. While it may be regarded as a “children’s show,” it’s clear that it was reaching far beyond that as it continued to grow. Sadly, it seems that growth was just too far out of Disney Channel’s core.
A move to Freeform never came to pass, and it looks like this is the end of the line for “Girl Meets World.” It’s a very sad state of affairs for one of TV’s best sitcoms — and a proper example of how to revisit a classic comedy, sorry “Fuller House” — but there is a light in the darkness.
While it’s over, you can’t take away the 72 episodes — the final three have yet to air — that Jacobs and his cast and crew gifted to the world. In the age of streaming, “Girl Meets World” will never really go away. And maybe when a new crop of kids start learning about the world, they will find the show on Netflix and make a few new friends.
In the meantime, make sure you catch the final three episodes of “Girl Meets World” when they air Jan. 6, 13 and 20 on Disney Channel.