Boy Meets World surprised viewers with continuity several times throughout the series, challenging its reputation as a show laden with continuity errors.
Boy Meets World Continuity Examples
Despite its ongoing status as a timeless 90s sitcom, Boy Meets World is often criticized for continuity errors, such as replacing Topanga’s parents with new actors and retroactively embellishing Cory and Topanga’s origin story. For nitpicking viewers, these errors can damage the show’s legacy.
In contrast, modern viewers often dismiss continuity errors as something every show engaged in throughout the 90s. Their premise remarks that since these sitcoms predated binge-watching, viewers were unlikely to remember specific details about previous episodes and seasons.
While this is a comforting justification for some viewers looking to discount glaring inconsistencies, it’s not actually rooted in fact.
Even Boy Meets World, a show regularly criticized for this problem, demonstrates pristine continuity and multi-seasonal callbacks several times throughout the series. These diamonds in the rough, albeit few and far between, indicate that the writers were aware of the show’s lineage.
Let’s take a look at some instances when Boy Meets World DID care about continuity:
Season 3, Episode 10: “Train of Fools”
Despite Jason Marsden disappearing from the series after Season 2, Eric directly references his best friend in the Season 3 episode, Train of Fools.
After bragging about securing a date with supermodel Rebecca Alexa, Eric reveals that his introduction came through Jason, her second cousin.
Season 3, Episode 13: “A Kiss is More Than a Kiss”
When Lindsay Ridgeway replaces Lily Nicksay as Morgan Matthews in Season 3, Episode 13, A Kiss is More Than a Kiss; she directly references the character’s unexplained absence from previous episodes.
Ridgeway makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to having been in her room “for a really long time” and noting that it was the longest time she’d been out. She does not go as far as alluding to Nicksay, however.
Clearly, the writers were not confident that regular viewers of the series would overlook Morgan being an entirely different person and suddenly back on the series after a prolonged absence.
Season 3, Episode 22: “I Never Sang for My Legal Guardian”
Shawn’s Uncle Mike appears in Season 2, Episode 18, By Hook or by Crook, in which he repairs Mr. Turner’s Harley Davidson for an affordable price. Mike reappears at the trailer park in Season 3, Episode 17, The Pink Flamingo Kid.
Later in the season, Shawn directly references him in the Season 3 episode, I Never Sang for My Legal Guardian. When Shawn decides to move out of Mr. Turner’s apartment, he tells Cory he plans to move into his Uncle Mike’s trailer.
Later in the episode, it is revealed that Mike’s trailer disappeared, preventing Shawn from moving in. However, Chet Hunter finally returns home shortly after that.
Season 4, Episode 7: “Dangerous Secret”
When Shawn enlists Cory to help him care for a battered classmate, Claire, he argues that “cops make things worse” while urging Cory not to involve law enforcement or his parents in the ordeal.
Cory argues that Shawn’s distrust of law enforcement stems from his previous unlawful behavior. He references the Season 1 mailbox cherry bomb and the Season 2 theft of Turner’s motorcycle.
Ultimately, Shawn concedes that he has to involve law enforcement to get his classmate the care she needs and protect her from her abusive father.
Season 4, Episode 21: “Cult Fiction”
After spending most of Season 4, Episode 21: Cult Fiction in Mr. Mack’s Cult, Cory forces Shawn to confront his intense emotions stemming from Mr. Turner’s motorcycle accident.
Cory blocks Shawn from leaving the hospital room and reminds him that Turner took care of him, referencing Seasons 2 and 3 when Turner took Shawn in after his parents abandoned him.
Shawn eventually confronts his emotions and pleas God to spare Turner’s life. Unfortunately, the handling of this storyline after the episode would go on to become one of the worst continuity errors in the series’ history.
Season 5, Episode 15: “First Girlfriend’s Club”
Three of Shawn’s ex-girlfriends, Dana, Libby, and Jennifer, reappear in Season 5, Episode 15: First Girlfriend’s Club. Shawn dated Dana and Libby in Season 3 and Jennifer in Season 4.
Dana even makes an apparent reference to Season 3, Episode 3: The Grass is Always Greener when Shawn developed intense feelings for her.
The plot involves the three exes attempting to prevent Shawn’s current girlfriend, Angela, from suffering the same fate.
Season 5, Episode 24: “Graduation”
Multiple characters from Seasons 1-4 appear in Graduation, including Minkus, Joey, and Frankie. Minkus also verbally references Mr. Turner though we never actually see him on-screen.
Some argue these cameos only add to the continuity problems with these characters since Joey The Rat could not have possibly graduated based on his previous history in the series.
Season 6, Episode 17: “Resurrection”
In the most precise reference to a previous season’s episode, Topanga reenacts her infamous lipstick scene from Season 1, Episode 4: Cory’s Alternative Friends in Season 6, Episode 17: Resurrection.
Shawn Hunter also recites his line “Use a mirror babe” from the same Season 1 episode, though this time in a more affectionate tone.
Season 7, Episode 7: “Family Trees”
In Season 7, Episode 7: Family Trees, Shawn Hunter receives a letter from his estranged mother, Virna, who had not appeared on the series since Season 4. Her letter reveals that she is not Shawn’s birth mother.
While Virna Hunter doesn’t appear in the episode, the reference hit home for longtime fans of Boy Meets World.
Long before binge-watching, viewers still appreciated when writers acknowledged their loyalty to the series by referring to forgotten characters and previous seasons.
Season 7, Episode 13: “I’m Gonna Be Like You, Dad”
Much is made of Eric Matthew’s character development (or retrogression?) throughout the series. Many fans who stuck around through Season 7 longed for the Eric of old, especially Season 3 Eric.
The writers threw those fans a bone in Season 7, Episode 13: I’m Gonna Be Like You, Dad when Alan Matthews asks Eric if he remembers when he wanted to be a weatherman.
The question directly references Season 3, Episode 13: Stormy Weather, when Eric interned as a weatherman at WIXB.
Boy Meets World’s Continuity in Context
Maintaining a long-running TV series is complex, and some storyline and character inconsistencies are inevitable over time. There are also extenuating circumstances that are outside creative control.
For instance, guest actors may progress in their careers and price themselves out of the show’s budget. Other times, logistical and scheduling problems can force the hands of casting agents.
Character development may also shift, especially in the first season of a sitcom. In Boy Meets World’s case, the Topanga character of S1 was written far differently than in the remainder of the series.
As a result, we can forgive Season 1 continuity errors like Topanga and Shawn’s disappearing siblings as the show still finding its creative footing. The same can be said of Minkus vanishing from the series before Season 2.
However, there is also more than a fair share of continuity errors in Boy Meets World’s later seasons, many of which cannot be attributed to anything other than laziness and disregard for the show’s core fanbase.
Failing to distinguish these brands of inconsistencies from the unavoidable ones is a disservice to the legacy of Boy Meets World. As this article outlines, the show was indeed conscious of its character’s histories.