Jedediah Lawrence is a memorable Boy Meets World character appearing in Seasons 2,3,6, and 7 of the iconic 90s sitcom. Throughout the series, the former hippie builds a guitar for Bruce Springsteen, divorces his wife Rhiannon, and moves into a bachelor pad.
Though the character is infamous for multiple reasons, he is best known as Topanga Lawrence’s father. However, to the dismay of many fans, three different actors portray Jedediah throughout the series.
Who is Jedediah Lawrence?
Jedediah Lawrence is Topanga’s father and Rhiannon’s soon-to-be ex-husband. In his early appearances, Jed comes across as a hippie and refers to himself as a Luthier, otherwise known as a guitar maker.
Later in the series, Jedediah divorces his wife Rhiannon and admits to infidelity with another woman. The Season 6 portrayal of Jedediah is especially damning, as he comes across as an arrogant moron while bearing zero resemblance to the original actor’s depiction of the same role.
How is Jedediah Lawrence Introduced on Boy Meets World?
Jedediah Lawrence first appears in Season 2, Episode 22: Career Day. Mr. Lawrence presents to Cory and Topanga’s English class as a Luthier (a maker of guitars). Topanga’s dad admits to having recently crafted a guitar for famous rockstar Bruce Springsteen.
Jedediah Lawrence Family Members
Jedediah is Topanga’s dad and purportedly a good father for most of the series. However, in Season 7, he reveals infidelity that leads to his divorce from Topanga’s mother, Rhiannon.
Rhiannon is Jedediah’s wife in the first five seasons, though the couple divorces later. Rhiannon does not appear on-screen until Season 6 though she is referenced in earlier episodes.
Nebula Lawrence is Topanga’s sister and Jedediah’s oldest daughter, though she disappears from the series after Season 1. Nebula is never again referenced, and the writers operate as if Topanga is an only child.
Jedediah Lawrence Best Boy Meets World Moments
Jedediah Presents at Career Day
Jedediah impresses Mr. Turner’s class at career day while embarrassing Cory’s dad, Alan Matthews. Jedediah holds an appealing job as a luthier and captures the attention of the young students when admitting to building a guitar for Bruce Springsteen.
Since Alan Matthews works at a grocery store, his career stories pale compared to the more popular guitar maker. Despite his popularity with the students, Shawn Hunter attempts to embarrass Jed by pretending to mistake luthier for Lutheran. Shawn replies that he’s a Presbyterian.
Jedediah Plays Guitar at Alan & Amy’s Anniversary
When Eric attempts to combine his underground rave with his parent’s anniversary party, he calls on some attendees to play Alan and Amy’s wedding song on stage (My Girl by The Temptations).
Jedediah volunteers to serve as one of the performers, which makes sense with his musical background. He joins Reginald Fairfield and Gordy from The Tongues to recreate The Matthews’ wedding dance.
Jedediah Proclaim’s ALF The Best Television Show
Jedediah rips modern television and proclaims ALF was superior to contemporary series like Ally McBeal. Rhiannon laughs at his notion and embarrasses him in front of his soon-to-be in-laws. In response, Jedediah takes offense and mocks his wife in front of the others.
The argument is the first time Topanga notices something amiss with her parents. Previously Topanga viewed her parents as the model for what she and Cory might become.
Jedediah and Shawn Laugh About Cory and Topanga
When Cory enlists Shawn to visit Jedediah in hopes of reuniting him with Rhiannon, Shawn recalls that Jedediah hated him. When Shawn confronts Jed about the tension, Jedediah proclaims that he always worried Shawn would be the kid in the basement with Topanga.
Shawn and Jed laugh that Cory turned out to be the proverbial basement dweller. Unfortunately, the good vibes quickly disintegrate as Jedediah lives in a dirty bachelor pad that Cory rudely criticizes. The best friends also soon learn of his infidelity with a woman named Marie.
Who Played Jedediah Lawrence on Boy Meets World?
The initial actor playing Jedediah was Peter Tork, previously a member of the made-for-tv rock-n-roll group, The Monkees. Tork appears as Jedediah Lawrence in two episodes, spanning seasons two and three.
His musical talent is displayed in the Season 3 episode Rave On when he plays guitar on stage with fellow The Monkees bandmates, David Jones and Mickey Dolenz. Jones and Dolenz portray Reginald Fairfield and Gordy (a member of Alan’s old band, The Tounges), respectively.
Of the three actors to portray Topanga’s father, Tork is the most memorable and the one fans remember most fondly. Peter Tork captured the hippie-musician motif that aligned with Topanga’s initial characteristics.
McKean portrays Jedediah in the Season 6 finale: State of The Unions. Many viewers were disturbed by his portrayal as it harshly contradicted the character’s previously established personality and demeanor.
McKean delivers a good performance as a skilled actor, and the disturbance emerges through no fault of his own. Instead, it is the writers and producers who set the stage for viewer dissent.
In some respects, McKean’s performance might have been too good. Topanga’s father comes across as a conceited malcontent who embarrasses his family in front of the future in-laws.
Boy Meets World replaced McKean with Mark Harelik just two episodes later in an inexplicable turn of events. Harelik appears in the 2nd episode of Season 7, For Love and Apartments.
Though the series broke for its offseason between the casting change, the sequence of the episodes from State of The Unions to For Love and Apartments was just one episode apart.
Like McKean, Harelik delivered a good performance but was burdened with the producers’ complete lack of pride in their show’s legacy. A new actress, Marcia Cross, also replaced the previous actress for his wife, Rhiannon.
Why Did Multiple Actors Portray Jedediah Lawrence?
The Boy Meets World writers and producers were largely unconcerned with continuity. They seemingly didn’t care about obvious changes to primary characters. But, of course, several behind-the-scenes factors always inform casting decisions.
For example, the show’s direction changed after Season 3 because of pressure from network executives. As a result, the hippie version of Jedediah was no longer a viable character for the target demographic.