What Happened to Joey The Rat in Boy Meets World?

Joey “The Rat” Epstein made a lasting impression on Boy Meets World, appearing in 16 episodes from Season 2 to Season 5. However, Joey’s most memorable episodes occurred in Seasons 2 and 3, where he formed 1/3 of Harley Keiner’s gang, along with Harley and Frankie “The Enforcer” Stechinno. Joey returned in Season 5’s graduation episode.

Who is Joey “The Rat” Epstein?

Joey Epstein is a Boy Meets World character known primarily as a member of Harley Keiner’s gang, along with his best friend, Frankie Stechinno. Joey is a known menace at John Adams High School and rarely attends classes. In addition, Joey regularly operates schemes, including forging Janitor Bud’s time card and selling stolen tube socks.

When Does Joey First Appear on Boy Meets World?

Joey first appears in Season 2, Episode 1: Back 2 School. Cory and Shawn enter John Adams High School for the first time when Frankie slams Cory into the locker for “almost being in his way.” 

After Shawn explains that they are looking for their homeroom, Joey tells him their homeroom is inside the lockers. Shawn saves them the trouble of sticking him in the locker by voluntarily entering it and closing the door.

Who Are Joey’s Best Friends on Boy Meets World?

Joey and Frankie are best friends until Joey’s suspension during Season 3. Joey is also friends with his gang leader, Harley Keiner, and his replacement Griff Hawkins. Take a look at a more detailed outline.

Frankie Stechinno

Joey and Frankie are the best of friends throughout their mutual episodes. Though they are beneath Harley and Griff as self-proclaimed lackeys, they are primarily inseparable throughout their high school tenure. When Joey gets suspended in Season 3, Frankie must seek new friends in Cory and Shawn.

Harley Keiner

Joey reveres Harley, although his admiration is not reciprocated. Harley often bullies Joey and refers to him as the weak link of the gang. Joey feels threatened by Harley and does whatever he can to please him. In some cases, Joey is operating from Stockholm syndrome as his loyalty to Harley.

Griff Hawkins

After Harley is shipped to reform school during Season 2, a new student, Griff Hawkins, takes over the gang. Joey is good friends with Griff, who encourages Joey to join the wrestling team. Griff ends up staging a massive wrestling match in the John Adams gymnasium featuring Vader, Yasmeen Bleath, and Robert Goulet.

Why Does Joey Leave Boy Meets World in Season 3?

The show addresses Joey’s dismissal from John Adams High School in the Season 3 episode, New Friends and Old. The plot insinuates that Joey was permanently suspended, prompting Frankie to seek new friends. His suspension resulted from burning Cory and Shawn’s clothes and forcing them to wear cheerleader costumes in front of their classmates.

Why Does Joey Return to Boy Meets World in Season 5?

Joey returns to Boy Meets World in Season 5 for the graduation episode. He and Frankie consider themselves the Cory and Shawn of the underworld and plot their futures as career criminals. They ask Shawn and Cory to sign their yearbooks and include their address and times when they won’t be home.

In retrospect, Joey graduating from John Adams seems far-fetched as he was suspended in Season 3 and never once attended class. On the other hand, Frankie’s graduation was more legitimate since he became a good student, especially in Mr. Turner’s literature class, during Season 4. 

Who Played Joey The Rat on Boy Meets World?

Blake Sennet plays Joey The Rat Epstein on Boy Meets World, though he was credited under a different name, Blake Soper, during his BMW tenure. He previously appeared on two episodes of The Wonder Years in the early 90s.

Aside from appearing in other shows like Melrose Place and Smart Guy, Sennet is known primarily as a musician. His former band Rilo Kiley was well-regarded in the indie rock scene. Although the band dissolved in 2013, Sennet remained active in the music scene with various projects.

Sennet explains his Boy Meets World tenure, in detail, on the Pod Meets World podcast. He reveals that he stepped away from acting after substance abuse challenges. The former cast member also reveals that he and Ethan Suplee (Frankie) pitched a Boy Meets World script to Micheal Jacobs built around a theme of The Catcher in The Rye. Although Jacobs said he loved the script, he never used it in the series.

The 5 Best Joey The Rat Moments in Boy Meets World

1) Joey Forges Janitor Bud’s Time Card

Joey forges Janitor Bud’s time card so the old man can skip off to the racetrack while still getting paid for an entire workday. But, unfortunately, Cory catches Joey on film for a documentary project assigned by Mr. Willimas. Ultimately, Janitor Bud is fired but re-hired as Feeny’s secretary.

Joey’s infamous line from this episode was directed at Cory Matthews, 

“so next time you go sticking your nose someplace where it don’t belong, you remember this; you suck.” 

Joey The Rat Epstein

2) Joey Wrestles Cory at an Extravagant Event

Cory and Joey are both vying for the John Adams High School wrestling team’s lowest weight class, which only has one spot available. Although Cory initially defeats Joey to earn the spot, Joey repeatedly taunts Cory while requesting a rematch. He calls Matthews “Yellow” for not agreeing to a rematch. Eventually, Cory feels pressure to grant Joey’s request.

To settle the conflict, Matthews agrees to wrestle Joey in an event set up by Griff Hawkins. Griff somehow gets Yasmeen Bleath and Robert Goulet to show up at John Adams High School and stages the event like a primetime boxing match. In addition, Vader, who is Frankie’s father, also attends the event and beats up Eric Matthews. Mr. Feeny eventually shows up to shut down the event.

3) Joey Sells Out Tickets for a Student Film Club Showing

When Eric becomes president of the student film society to improve his college transcripts, he is forced to promote a screening of the 1969 musical film, Paint Your Wagon. Unfortunately, Eric has trouble selling the tickets prompting Joey to promise to sell the tickets for a cut of the profits.

Joey also makes a funny remark in response to other students booing Eric’s film promotion, saying, “shut all your traps; it says Clint Eastwood’s in this picture.” 

Later in the episode, Joey and Frankie make good on their promise to sell out the showing. However, they only do so because they changed the film from Paint Your Wagon to a horror film called Texas Gut Suckers Part 5: Leon’s Revenge. 

They also arrange for the central star, Leon, to be a guest at the screening. However, when the curtains open, students see Mr. Feeny standing on the stage, at which point everyone scurries. 

4) Joey Attempts to Find Harley’s Replacement

When Harley is banished to reform school, Joey and Frankie actively seek a new leader. They initially set their sights on Eric Matthews by dressing in LL Bean and other preppy clothing in an attempt to impress him. But, unfortunately, Eric makes his disinterest clear and tells them off.

Later in the episode, Griff Hawkins makes his Boy Meets World debut. Because of his cool demeanor and popularity among women, Joey and Frankie immediately gravitate to him. Eric even helps set up an introduction, ultimately prompting Griff to become their leader.

Though Griff is initially resistant to the idea, he realizes that Frankie and Joey can get him out of contentious situations, such as jealous boyfriends threatening him for stealing their girlfriends. 

5) Joey Graduates from John Adams High School

Despite not appearing in Boy Meets World’s fourth season, Joey returns during Season 5 to graduate from John Adams High School. Although we don’t hear his name called on-screen, as we do with the main characters, we can clearly see him seated in a cap and gown.

Joey’s graduation makes very little sense when analyzing the show’s history. First, he was several years older than Cory, Shawn, and Topanga, as was his friend Frankie who also apparently graduated. Both were upperclassmen in Season 2 when Cory first entered High School.

Secondly, it’s a massive reach to believe that Joey had the grades to graduate, considering he never attended class and instead loitered in the hallways while other students were learning.

Finally, Joey was suspended from John Adams High School during Season 3 and possibly expelled, considering he disappeared from the series until graduation. While plotholes are part of any TV series, this one seems excessive, even by Boy Meets World standards.

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