The following is a guest blog post by Jeremy Pape. If you’re interested in contributing to this blog contact us with your ideas and we’ll look them over.
The news of Girl Meets World’s cancellation is bittersweet. On the one hand, the idea we now permanently say goodbye to the Matthews family dynasty is like a warm, familiar, blanket being torn in the washer.
On the other hand, I think many of us have been in various stages of accepting this fate for a while. What once held great promise soon dissolved into unmet potential.
As I have been considering this post for some time, many thoughts have come to mind. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. However, this show never really “met” the demographic where they were at.
Today’s “tween” is, by and large, obsessed with social media. This was a topic sometimes discussed on GMW. When they did this, infrequent as it was, they mostly hit the mark. Yet, at the core of the show’s universe is a sort of 1950s style value system. There are many positives to gain from that mentality. In this regard, see “Girl Meets The Forgotten”, an episode that, while not perfect, certainly embodied the spirit of its predecessor. As time went on, the show got away from expressing these messages.
Everyone may blame Disney for that, and that’s fair to an extent. After all, Disney came to Michael Jacobs, so they rightfully had control of the series. Truthfully it’s a tricky business writing specifically for that tween audience, those who are just finding themselves and refining their worldview. The original series was labeled a “family” show, which meant that while kids and tweens certainly made up a large part of the audience, the intent wasn’t to write for them. This could explain the difference in the shows.
Another point of interest worth examining is who the audience was paying attention to. All of the actors in the show are very talented, and their perspectives diverse. Sabrina is a fabulous singer, and has been promoting her music (and doing a fantastic job of it!). Rowan’s contributions in the world of feminism and culture seem to get more of a mixed reaction. I’m not talking about disagreeing with her stances. That is something that is understandable. What I mean is that on her social media, you’d see people commenting stuff like “stick to acting” or some teenage viewers with no idea what she is trying to talk about. This is a problem. I believe this show didn’t teach enough about racism/bigotry and general prejudice. Numerous pertinent issues were left untouched. Personally, I learned many of those lessons by watching Boy Meets World, so I know the capabilities of the writers. We’ll never know why that avenue was left largely unexplored.
There are many things I will miss about the Meets World universe, but what I think I will miss the most about GMW is the interactions I have had with many of the people reading this. My hope is that the show influenced today’s younger viewers in a positive way. With luck, that influence will spur them to put something creative and kind out into the world.