From 1993 to 2000, the beloved sitcom Boy Meets World aired as part of ABC's incredibly popular TGIF sitcom block. The series chronicled the life and adventures of young Cory Matthews, a boy growing up in Philadelphia, as he moves from middle school to high school and all the way to college. Along the way, Cory is joined by his best friend, Shawn Hunter; the future love of his life, Topanga Lawrence; his family, including zany older brother Eric; and his wise and fair but strict teacher, Mr. Feeny.
As a hallmark series of the TGIF genre, Boy Meets World featured plenty of episodes that offered an important lesson at the end. But it also featured some episodes that were truly over the top in terms of humor, tributes to other genres and dream sequences alike. Here, we take a look back at the best and worst episodes the series produced in its seven-season run.
10 Best: Brave New World
It's pretty hard for a series to produce the perfect series finale, regardless of whether the series is a sitcom or a drama. But Boy Meets World managed to turn in one of the strongest sitcom finales of all time with the two-part episode "Brave New World." The finale finds Cory and Topanga, now married, contemplating a big move from Philadelphia to New York City.
It features countless flashbacks to some of the series' most important and emotional moments, life-changing decisions for almost all of its main characters, and the ultimate decision to have Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Eric all move to New York together. But the series finale is arguably best remembered for its final scene, in which the group bids farewell to Mr. Feeny and truly thank him for all that he has taught them over the years. His final lesson to them, even once they've left the room, still brings the tears: "I love you all. Class dismissed."
9 Worst: The Honeymooners
Episodes of sitcoms that truly embrace elements of the absurd are almost always hit or miss... and usually wind up being in the miss category, more often than not. The season seven episode "The Honeymooners" definitely fits the bill in that regard. Taking place right after Cory and Topanga's long-awaited wedding, "The Honeymooners" follows the newlyweds on their honeymoon to Hawaii.
It's there that Cory and Topanga seriously consider never leaving Hawaii and just living their lives running a beachfront business, despite all the responsibilities that await them back in Philadelphia. One of the other major problems in this unrealistic episode comes in the form of Eric, who stalks the newlyweds around Hawaii and goes to implausible lengths to do so.
8 Best: Family Trees
Shawn Hunter is by far the series' most complex character and provides the series' with some of its meatiest emotional material, and Rider Strong is always up for the task. The seventh season episode, "Family Trees," essentially serves as the culmination of his series-long arc of struggling to accept his identity.
In this episode, Shawn learns the woman he always believed to be his mother, Virna, wasn't his biological mother. He struggles with alcohol use in the episode and goes down a truly dark path. Alan and Amy Matthews offer to officially adopt him, and make him a member of the Matthews family once and for all. Ultimately, Shawn chooses to remain a Hunter, as a sign of loyalty and love for his late father, Chet. But he will always be a member of the Matthews family, because, as an earlier episode states, you don't have to be blood to be family.
7 Worst: Angela's Ashes
The character of Angela Moore was a late addition to the series, and one that fundamentally changed the DNA of the show, regardless of whether you think her introduction was for better or for worse. But her final episode, "Angela's Ashes," is undeniably one of the worst episodes of the series, specifically due to how her exit is handled, and the manipulative portrayal of emotions involved.
Angela's father returns and tells Shawn that he has been reassigned to Europe, and wants to take Angela with him so they can repair their distant relationship. Angela tells Shawn she will only go to Europe with her father if Shawn says it's okay. A series of miscommunications follows, all revolving around Angela forcing Shawn to make the decision for her, so she won't have any blame in ending their relationship.
6 Best: Teacher's Bet
The first season episode "Teacher's Bet" takes lessons learned in the classroom and applies them to life in the real world with heartbreaking consequences. After Cory mouths off one too many times in class, Mr. Feeny challenges Cory to try and teach his class for one week. If students perform better on an upcoming test than they do when Mr. Feeny is teaching, Cory will win a bet they make.
The lessons being taught that week in particular concern racism and all forms of prejudice. A B-plot in the episode features Eric's new girlfriend, a kind young Japanese girl named Linda, being subjected to racism. Cory is profoundly shaken by this incident, and by reading The Diary of Anne Frank, which leads him to make an incredibly moving speech in front of his class. It's one of the first real times in the series that Cory seems to learn from his mistakes... and a first glimpse of Cory's future as a teacher, as Girl Meets World explores.
5 Worst: The Witches of Pennbrook
Yet another episode of Boy Meets World that goes down the path of absurdity is the season five Halloween special episode "The Witches of Pennbrook." Also serving as a crossover with fellow TGIF series Sabrina the Teenage Witch, "The Witches of Pennbrook" introduces the character of Millie, Jack's current girlfriend who may or may not be a witch. Millie is portrayed by another TGIF faithful, Candace Cameron-Bure of Full House fame.
It's a beyond confusing episode - not least of all because it's one of only a handful of episodes where Eric Matthews is shown to be the smart one in a situation. But it goes all in on the idea of witches invading Pennbrook, even featuring a sacrificial ritual involving the Hunter brothers, that Eric foils through sheer dumb luck. The episode's events are never referred to ever again. And honestly, that's for the best.
4 Best: Cult Fiction
Shawn Hunter doesn't exactly have the most conventional or easiest family life. As a result of his parents frequently being out of the picture, Shawn spends a few seasons living in the custody of one of his teachers, Jonathan Turner. Late in the series' fourth season, Shawn begins to express anxiety about his future, and as a result, he finds himself preyed upon by a cult posing as a youth center. He becomes totally devoted to the world of the cult, terrifying both Cory and his family.
Shawn seems fully committed to the cult... until Mr. Turner gets in a tragic motorcycle accident. It's only through the intervention of Cory, Mr. Feeny, and Alan Matthews that Shawn is able to sever connections with the cult and its manipulative leader Mr. Mack. The episode concludes with one of the most heartbreaking and raw scenes in the entire series, as Shawn tearfully addresses God and asks for help while sitting at Mr. Turner's bedside.
3 Worst: Singled Out
Nothing says "boy, this is a great idea for an episode!" quite like having your show's dumbest character pretend like they're going to Harvard, just so he can get on a dating series and woo women who'll think he's smarter than he actually is. For some reason, Boy Meets World decided to have an entire episode revolve around just that idea when Eric sets out to appear on the MTV dating show Singled Out.
Eric does a lot of dumb things over the course of the series to try and get a girl to go out with him, but this just might be one of the dumbest. Making matters worse, it's revealed in the end that the girl he wins a date with also lied about her own identity to get on the show, which makes them feel like they're perfect together. There's no punishment for Eric's plainly selfish behavior, but once again, the whole ordeal is never discussed again.
2 Best: And Then There Was Shawn
During the stretch of the fifth season when Cory and Topanga are on the outs, the series produces its best episode of all time. A send up of the cheesy slasher horror films that populated 1990s cinema, the episode "And Then There Was Shawn" follows a dream sequence in which Cory and the gang find themselves trapped in the high school with a serial killer on the loose.
The episode features plenty of the hallmarks of ridiculous horror movies, including a mysterious message written in blood, scream queens like guest star Jennifer Love Hewitt, ominous heartbeat sounds and phone calls, and the suspicion that the killer is among them all along. The twist in the end is that this is all a nightmare of Shawn's making, since he feels like he's ruining everything good in their lives, most notably Cory and Topanga's relationship. But despite its serious ending, the episode remains one of the funniest of the entire series, filled with jokes at a mile a minute pace.
1 Worst: Heartbreak Cory
Maybe it's unlikely to expect high school students to be totally faithful to each other and be together forever with no obstacles along the way. But no matter how unrealistic that premise may be, it doesn't mean that Boy Meets World had to go and introduce the plot of Cory cheating on Topanga with Lauren during their high school ski trip the way they did in the fifth season episode "Heartbreak Cory."
The episode features dumb decision after dumb decision on Cory's part, including hiding the truth of the entire cheating and Lauren's secret letter of feelings from Topanga. It all sets up an arc of episodes where Cory and Topanga aren't together, which does allow them to grow and realize how much they love each other. But the execution could have been much, much better than it actually was.